Ukraine’s largest steelmaking company Metinvest declares force majeure

Ukrainian mining and steel company Metinvest, which normally manufactures around 40% of the country’s steel, declared force majeure March 1 due to the Russian invasion, the blocking of sea shipments and a ban on cross-border payments.

“We regret to inform you that, like many other Ukrainian and Ukraine-related companies, Metinvest enterprises are facing what we consider to be a force majeure situation,” the company said in an address to clients and partners.

“The ongoing hostilities in Ukraine, military blockades of sea ports, destruction or threat to land infrastructures could impair the performance of our contractual obligations,” it said.

Martial law was declared across Ukraine on Feb. 24. In addition, the National Bank of Ukraine imposed a moratorium on cross-border payments.

“Please consider the above as a declaration of force majeure,” the company said.

Metinvest suspended hot-end and rolling operations at its two iron and steel works — Ilyich and Azovstal in Mariupol — in the wake of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

In 2021, the company provided just over 40% of Ukraine’s 21.4 million mt of steel output. It also produced 31.3 million mt of iron ore concentrate.

Ukrainian iron ore miner and pellet producer Ferrexpo already declared force majeure, while another major steelmaker, ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih, said last week it would slow production to a technical minimum.

Last year ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih made 4.9 million mt of steel, or 23% of total Ukrainian production.

Steel pipe manufacturer Interpipe said it has had to halt operations due to the disruption to shipping and risks to personnel and assets.

— Ekaterina Bouckley