The prolonged ownership crisis at Acciaierie d’Italia (ADI) and its lower output may lead to a structural shortage of flat steel products, not only in Italy but also at a European level, Italian steel trade association Assofermet warns.
“The quality products available thanks to Taranto production are very often not available within the EU perimeter. Buyers are therefore forced to turn mainly to Asian steel mills, facing import restrictions which increase costs … The crisis at ADI is part of an already very complicated context for the steel sector,” Assofermet says in a document sent to Kallanish.
EU safeguard measures result in a decrease in the quantity of steel imported into the EU. The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will meanwhile introduce a tax on goods coming from territories outside the EU from 2026. The result will be an inevitable increase in the cost of steel products available in the EU.
“The national [Italian] manufacturing sector’s growth needs a primary steel industry, upstream of the supply chain, that can support it with the necessary quantity of steel,” comments president of Assofermet’s flat steel division Paolo Sangoi.
ADI’s production crisis is happening at a time of low steel availability in Italy and Europe. “Steel output is decreasing: the production levels of 2012, the year of the seizure of the hot-end area of the Taranto plant, have not been reached over the past ten years … With declining steel production and the rising cost of steel, it is essential to preserve the industrial value of the plant,” Assofermet concludes.
ADI, the joint venture between state company Invitalia and ArcelorMittal, registered steel output below 3 million tonnes in 2023, according to preliminary data. This is below the shareholders’ initial objective of 4mt in 2023 and 5mt target in 2024.
ArcelorMittal says it is open to an amicable solution to the conflict with authorities, and prepared to give up its stake to partner Invitalia for a price that “is only a fraction” of the company’s investment into ADI since 2018. While Invitalia refused ArcelorMittal’s recent offer, the steelmaking group assures it is still on the table (see Kallanish passim).
Natalia Capra France