Liberty Steel confirms sheet supply disruption at Belgian mill

Liberty Steel confirmed this week disruptions in the supply of substrate for hot-dip galvanized (HDG) sheet steel production, which is impacting delivery of galvanized coils at their Liege-Dudelange HDG line in Belgium.

“There are some intermittent production issues at one of our HRC suppliers, which is temporarily impacting deliveries to Liberty Liège-Dudelange. The team is working with all of our suppliers to mitigate the impact,” a Liberty Steel spokesman said.

Market sources said this week they had been approached by customers looking to replace HDG orders at other mills.

“I had a customer who approached me this week and I asked why they need so much material suddenly and they said Liberty Liege could not deliver and there is no benefit of imports in the market,” a European mill source said.

A second European mill source reported that lead times in HDG were now extending to 10 weeks from eight and that their order book was full.

The operations at Liege-Dudelange, Belgium were bought from ArcelorMittal in July 2019 in a Eur740 million ($707 million) deal and were part of the remedy package imposed by the EU for ArcelorMittal to take over Italy’s Ilva.

London-based Liberty Steel, part of GFG Alliance, said in a previous statement that it intends to increase sales at the plants by 50% by 2022.

According to analysts at Jefferies Research Services, Dudelange and Liege in total have annual capacities 1.6 million mt of galvanized/coated steel, 300,000 mt of cold-rolled coil and 200,000 mt of tinplate.

According to ArcelorMittal’s website, Dudelange consists of two hot-dip galvanizing lines, two electrogalvanizing lines, two slitting and two cutting lines. It produces Aluzinc, Alusi, Usibor and EG sheet.

— Len Griffin, Laura Varriale