Liberty Magona to reduce production before June idling

Liberty Steel’s Italian coil re-rolling facility, La Magona, will slow production starting this week due to a shortage of hot rolled coil. In a letter sent to the economic development ministry (Mise), trade unions have asked for an urgent meeting with the government and the company, sources close to the firm tell Kallanish.

From mid-June the entire mill will be idled. The plant will consume its HRC stock until the end of the month, but it is running out and “finding HRC suppliers willing to work with a company in financial trouble is proving to be challenging”, a source comments. Most HRC suppliers are refusing to work with Liberty Steel as the company is not in the position to provide bank guarantees following the collapse of lender Greensill Capital.

Its main supplier, ArcelorMittal, is said to have “cut Liberty Magona’s lifeline” after Liberty’s Liege plant failed to pay the supplier for HRC.

Coating and galvanising lines no.1 and no.4 will stop production at Magona. Galvanising line no. 5 and coating line no. 2 will continue to operate until mid-June. At the end of the month maintenance works will be carried out at pickling and galvanising line no.4, sources say.

With a capacity of 600,000 tonnes/year Magona counts one pickling line, two rolling mills, two galvanising lines and one coating line. One more galvanising line was idled in 2010. With a substantial investment on this line, the company could reach a capacity of 900,000 t/y, sources observe.

Liberty Steel did not respond to requests for comment before deadline on Friday.

Natalia Capra France