SMS Mevac to supply a 150-ton X-eed VOD facility to Fujian Fuxin Special Steel

SMS Mevac GmbH, Germany, has received an order for the supply of an X-eed Duplex VOD facility from Fujian Fuxin Special Steel (part of Formosa Plastics Corporation), based in Zhangzhou, China. The aim of the project is to enable the production of austenitic and ferritic stainless steels. Fujian Fuxin plans to commence production of stainless steel at the
Zhangzhou plant at the end of 2014. The VOD facility will be equipped with two tanks and two vacuum covers, a joint four-stage vacuum pump system with automatic vacuum pressure control (VOD-SC) and a common alloy storage and addition system.To protect the environment, the VOD unit's vacuum pump system will include a gas cooler and integrated bag filter system. The scope of supply covers the entire mechanical process equipment
as well as the complete electrical and automation systems, with the latest level 1 and 2 control and monitoring technologies. SMS Mevac of Essen, Germany, is the center of competence for VOD technology within the SMS group. For this project, certain components will be supplied locally by SMS Siemag Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

  Outokumpu sees bigger underlying loss due to low nickel

Finnish stainless steelmaker Outokumpu warned of a bigger underlying loss in the current quarter due to weak nickel prices, dashing market expectations for an improvement. Europe's economic slowdown has hit Outokumpu and other steelmakers in the region. Lower nickel prices have encouraged customers to hold off from purchases in hopes of cheaper steel prices ahead. Markets had expected cost cuts to help the company forecast an improvement in the second half of the year, but it said its underlying operating loss would likely widen sequentially in the third quarter. Outokumpu shares fell 8.7 percent to 0.491 euros by 0723 GMT. Its second-quarter underlying operating loss expanded to 80 million euros ($105.75 million) from 72 million euros a year earlier. Analysts on average expected a loss of 79 million euros in a Reuters poll. Weak demand and prices have raised concerns that it may have overpaid for its purchase of ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel unit Inoxum late last year, particularly since it agreed to sell off Inoxum's Terni mill in Italy to appease regulators. Outokumpu said it was in talks with "a number of interested parties" on the sale of the mill, and that it aims to sign a deal during the second half of the year.

  EU threatens to tax more imports of Chinese steel

The European Union threatened to expand tariffs on steel pipes from China to curb import competition for EU producers. The EU opened an inquiry into whether Chinese makers of seamless pipes and tubes that have an external diameter exceeding 406.4 millimeters (16 inches) and that aren't made of stainless steel sell them in the 27-nation bloc below cost, a practice known as dumping. The EU already imposes anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese seamless pipes and tubes with an external diameter not exceeding 406.4 millimeters and of stainless steel seamless pipes and tubes. Those two sets of levies, imposed in 2009 and 2011, respectively, after dumping probes, were meant to aid EU producers including ArcelorMittal and Salzgitter AG. The new investigation will determine whether shipments from China are “being dumped and whether the dumped imports have caused injury” to the EU industry, the European Commission, the bloc's trade authority in Brussels, said on Feb. 16 in the Official Journal. The commission has nine months to decide whether to impose provisional anti-dumping duties for half a year and EU governments have 15 months to decide whether to apply 'definitive' levies for five years. The probe stems from a Jan. 3 dumping complaint by an industry group on behalf of producers that account for more than 25 percent of the EU's output of seamless pipes and tubes that have an external diameter exceeding 406.4 millimeters and that aren't made of stainless steel, said the commission, which didn't identify any companies.

  Japan steel output at 5 year high; weaker yen boosts export demand

Japan's quarterly steel production hit a five-year high as the economic stimulus unleashed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe depressed the yen and helped stimulate demand from export and construction industries. The data augurs well for the earnings of top Japanese steelmakers such as Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and JFE Holdings for whom an improving demand picture will help raise product prices. Crude steel output rose 2.1 percent to 28.07 million tonnes in the April-June period - the first quarter of Japan's fiscal year - from a year earlier, reaching the highest since the 31.06 million tonnes produced in the same period in 2008, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said. The increase compares to a 4.1 percent drop predicted for the April-June quarter by Japan's trade ministry in early April. The ministry said at that time the decline was expected due to weak demand from shipbuilders and car makers. The gain came largely because exports are recovering on the back of a weaker yen and domestic demand for construction is rising, the Federation said. The yen has fallen 14 percent against the dollar in the first six months this year, supported by the Abe government's push to end two decades of economic stagnation with a mix of monetary easing and fiscal expansion. The output in June alone rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 9.28 million tonnes, marking the fourth straight monthly increase. Output for the first six months to June grew 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 54.71 million tonnes, also marking the highest since the same period in 2008. Japan's government expects demand for Japanese steel products to rise 1.3 percent year-on-year to 24.44 million tonnes in the July-September quarter.

  Tata Sponge bags Prestigious TPM Award

Tata Sponge Iron Limited, Joda, in the Keonjhar district of Odisha has been conferred with the prestigious TPM award from the Japanese Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM). Congratulating all the employees in the organization, Sri Suresh Thawani, the Managing Director expressed his heartfelt thanks and said that Tata Sponge is able to maintain its flag fly high while many other sponge iron companies are moving towards closure. This was the benefit of practicing TPM in the company. He expressed his special thanks to Sri J. P. Mishra, Divisional Manager (Operational Excellence) and all the TPM Pillar Heads for their untiring contribution for achieving this coveted award. Present amongst other departmental heads, Sri ParthaChattopadhyay, the Chief Operating Officer of the company reiterated the benefits of TPM in the company and urged all to take this journey forward for achieving a world class manufacturing excellence. Also present in the function both the President and the General Secretary of the Tata Sponge Shramik Sangha congratulated all employees and commended the efforts of all and urged all to continue practicing the TPM to take the company to much greater heights. Having conferred with the TPM Excellence, Category-A award, Tata Sponge has own the distinction of becoming the first ever sponge iron company in the world. As a result of hard work of one and all, the employees celebrated the proud moment and the achievement.

  Outokumpu underlying Q2 loss seen widening

The world's No.1 stainless steelmaker Outokumpu is expected to report its second-quarter underlying operating loss widened to 79 million euros ($104 million) from a loss of 72 million euros a year ago, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. The company forecast in April that April-June underlying operational loss would be on the same level or slightly worse than the 77 million euro loss in the first quarter. The analysts estimate Outokumpu could turn profitable next year and the average forecast for the 2014 underlying operating profit is 143 million euros. Analysts from the following banks and brokerages contributed to this poll: ABG Sundal Collier, Carnegie, Danske Markets, DNB Markets, Evli, FIM, Handelsbanken Capital Markets, Inderes, Nordea Markets, Pohjola and SEB Equity Research.

  Russian steelmakers boost capacity, seek help to fight imports

Russian steelmakers are lobbying for protection against cheap Ukrainian imports while they invest at least $2 billion in new capacity near their customers to cut transport costs and sew up their home market. In what steelmakers hope will be the first of a series of protective measures, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced this week Russia would not extend quotas for pipe supplies from Ukraine in the second half of 2013, a boost for domestic steel pipe makers. In steel section and rebar, two major types of construction steel, for example, imports from Ukraine account for about a quarter of an annual market estimated at 12 million to 12.5 million tonnes, Sergey Donskoy, an analyst at Societe Generale, estimated. Industry group Russian Steel is asking authorities to restrict imports of Ukrainian steel rod. The group, which represents all Russian steelmakers, also advocates the use of anti-dumping tariffs. Russia must "implement measures to improve the effectiveness of the trade mechanisms for protecting domestic companies", Russian Steel said in a recent presentation. Meanwhile, Severstal, NLMK and Evraz plan to launch new rolling mills this year and next to produce products such as rebar near major domestic markets. "The new mills are looking to replace the imports, but it's far from clear if they'll succeed," said BCS analyst Oleg Petropavlovsky, who added that with part of the market locked up in long-term contracts, supply chains could be difficult to break. "I'd be wary of forecasting a rebalancing of the market. At the moment we're expecting tighter competition and lower prices once the mills reach full capacity."
Medvedev said steel output would probably shrink by 1 to 3 percent in 2013 as he urged that measures should be taken to support Russian producers. The steelmakers themselves provide differing views of the Russian market for steel. Demand for rolled products in central Russia could rise by 7 to 8 percent in 2013 over 2012, NLMK's head of long products business, Alexander Buraev said. NLMK, Russia's third-largest steel firm, also forecasts a 5 percent rise in rebar demand this year. It aims to capitalise on these increases by launching a new mill in the central Kaluga region in the third quarter with an annual capacity of 1.6 million tonnes of steel and 1.5 million tonnes of rolled products. Severstal, Russia's second-biggest steelmaker, plans to start operations at a 1 million tonne-capacity rolling mill in the fourth quarter to cater to demand for construction products in the Volga region and southern Russia. "The customer's proximity plays an important role here. Our current customers with operations in the South and Volga area have committed to buy from this mill since day one," said Dmitry Gorshkov, marketing director of its Russian steel division. Gorshkov forecast healthy regional demand growth over the next five to six years.

ThyssenKrupp sells 1.25bn-euro bond as junk issuance slows

ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany's biggest steelmaker, is selling 1.25 billion euros ($1.67 billion) of bonds in its first benchmark-sized deal in a year, as issuance of high-yield debt slows in Europe. The company is marketing bonds due August 2018 that will be priced to yield 290 basis points more than the swap rate, the lower end of the marketed range, according to people familiar with the transaction. The Essen, Germany-based steelmaker last sold benchmark-sized notes in euros in February 2012. Sales of speculative-grade, or junk, debt by European companies slowed to 2.8 billion euros so far this month, down from 8.9 billion euros in January, a record for the month, Bloomberg data show. Junk bonds yield an average 5.9 percent, easing from an eight-week high of 6 percent on Feb. 5, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Euro Non-Financial High Yield Constrained Index. Yields reached a record low of 5.4 percent on Jan. 14. The company, which is cutting more than 2000 jobs from its European steel business that profit slumped 38 percent in the first quarter as the global economic slowdown eroded demand. ThyssenKrupp is rated Ba1 by Moody's Investors Service, one level below investment grade, and one step lower at BB by Standard & Poor's. Unibail-Rodamco SE, Europe's largest publicly-traded property owner, is selling 750 million euros of bonds due 2021 that will yield 83 basis points more than swaps, people familiar with the deal said. It's the Paris-based company's first bond sale since October. Swedish bank Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB is planning to raise 1 billion euros by selling seven-year covered bonds. Volvo AB, the world's second-largest truck maker, is selling three-year fixed notes and five-year floating-rate notes in Swedish kronor, according to people familiar with the deal.

Alpha Natural beats forecasts on cost cuts

Alpha Natural Resources Inc, the top U.S. producer of coal used for making steel, reported a narrower-than-expected quarterly operating loss thanks to aggressive cost-cutting, sending its shares up more than 15 percent. The company, which curbed output last year to control costs as low prices battered U.S. coal producers, said it may "further adjust" its operations to reflect industry conditions. Revenue tumbled in the fourth quarter and the company's operating loss widened, but the loss was much smaller than analysts expected. CRT Capital Group analyst Kuni Chen said lower costs helped Alpha Natural beat estimates, while its cost forecasts were also better than he had expected. "The future for a lot of these companies is basically positioning defensively for as long as possible until the markets recover," he said. "We think we're going to see more of that recovery in 2014 and 2015, so you need the cost structure and the balance sheet flexibility to make it through." Chen said Alpha's balance sheet looked "well-positioned." For the fourth quarter, Alpha's net loss narrowed to $128 million, or 58 cents a share, from a loss of $793 million, or $3.62 a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $1.56 billion from $2.07 billion. The Bristol, Virginia-based company took a charge of $188 million to write down the value of assets, which it said was based on conditions in the coal market and lower expected future production, especially of thermal coal, used in power stations. Excluding the impairment and restructuring charges and other special items, Alpha's adjusted loss was 19 cents a share. Thermal coal is expected to be 35 percent cheaper than natural gas this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and that may spark a recovery in consumption, which dropped to its lowest level in two decades in 2012. But even if demand improves, high inventories look set to delay price increases. Prices of metallurgical coal, used in making steel, have not offered much relief, pulled down by weak demand from China, the world's largest producer and consumer of steel.

SSAB eyes stabilising steel demand in H2

High strength steel maker SSAB posted its fourth straight quarterly loss, but said it expected some stabilising in demand in the second half of the year. Steelmakers across the world have been struggling to cope with weak prices and demand as Europe remains mired in crisis, a pick up in the United States has been patchy and China's economy has slowed. SSAB, which completed an 800 million crown cost-cutting package in the first quarter, said the second quarter was hit by continued weakness in Europe as well as falling prices in China and sluggishness in the Australian mining sector. Improved economic conditions in the United States have not helped demand there while negative currency effects also impacted results. SSAB said it expected improvements in the latter part of the year in the United States - which accounts for around 40 percent of sales - and more stable demand in China in the second half, though areas of weakness, like Australian mining, would probably persist. "Even if there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding trends on the steel market, most signs indicate stabilization in demand during the second half of 2013," SSAB Chief Executive Martin Lindqvist said in a statement.
The company's operating loss was 115 million Swedish crowns ($17.4 million) and compared to a profit of 755 million in the same period a year ago - the last time it was in the black - and the average forecast of a profit of 95 million crowns in a Reuters poll.

Nucor expects 'modest' earnings boost

Nucor Corp., the largest U.S. steelmaker by market value, expects “modest” gains in earnings this quarter as prices rise. Demand from the automotive and energy markets is boosting margins for sheet steel, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor said in a statement. The shares rose 0.8 percent to $45.65 in New York. They have climbed 5.8 percent this year. The price of hot-rolled steel coil has risen 14 percent since reaching a two-year low on May 24. The benchmark product used in cars and trucks was at $647 a short ton, according to data from The Steel Index. “We are continuing to see incremental improvements in the domestic economy, which should benefit NUE's strategic end markets,” Anthony Rizzuto, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in New York, wrote in a note. NUE is Nucor's stock ticker. Second-quarter sales fell 8.4 percent to $4.67 billion, exceeding the $4.59 billion average of 11 estimates. Net income fell to $85.1 million, or 27 cents a share, from $112.3 million, or 35 cents. That trailed the $93.7 million average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Shipments from the company's steel mills fell 3.4 percent to 5 million tons, the company said. Apparent U.S. domestic steel consumption in the first five months of 2013 declined 7.7 percent, according to the latest data compiled by Bloomberg. Usage has dropped at a faster rate than U.S. production, causing prices to fall, said Andrew Cosgrove, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries in Princeton, New Jersey.

U.S. Steel among companies seeking import relief

The U.S. Commerce Department launched one of its biggest trade investigations in years into charges that manufacturers in South Korea, India and seven other countries are selling steel pipe used by oil and natural gas producers at unfairly low prices in the United States. Imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from the nine countries totaled nearly $1.8 billion in 2012, more than double their total in 2010, as rising U.S. oil and natural gas production have increased demand for the pipe. In 2010, the United States slapped duties on imports of OCTG from China after they hit about $2.8 billion in 2008. That created an opening for the other foreign suppliers. The latest case targets South Korea, which exported about $831 million worth of the pipe to the United States last year, as well as India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine. U.S. producers are asking for anti-dumping duties as high as 240 percent on India, 158 percent on South Korea, 118 percent on Thailand and 111 percent on Vietnam to offset what they say is below market pricing, and lesser but still hefty duties on the other five countries. For two countries, Turkey and India, U.S. producers are seeking additional countervailing duties to offset alledged government subsidies. The Commerce Department will make a preliminary decision on countervailing duties in September and on anti-dumping duties in December. Final decisions will come in 2014. U.S. companies seeking the relief include U.S. Steel, which told the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) at a hearing that it spent $2.1 billion in 2007 to boost its OCTG production by buying a smaller manufacturer. But "for three years now, I have heard the same tale from our salesmen: 'Imports are underselling us. We must lower our prices or our customers will go elsewhere," Doug Matthews, a senior vice president at U.S. Steel, told the panel. Under the U.S. system, the Commerce Department investigates charges of unfair trade and determines whether duties are appropriate and if so at what level. But the ITC must approve the probe and has the final word on whether duties are imposed. The commission will vote in mid-August on whether there is enough evidence that the imports are injuring U.S. producers for the Commerce Department to continue with the probe. Other producers involved in the case include Maverick Tube Corporation, Energex Tube and TMK IPSCO.

Onomichi to use more Korean steel after settling price talks

Onomichi Dockyard Co. will use more imported steel from South Korea after settling price talks with Posco before resolving discussions with its supplier in Japan. The shipbuilder has agreed with Posco to accept a price increase of about 5,000 yen ($50) a metric ton for the three months to Sept. 30, or less than 10 percent more than the previous quarter, President Takashi Nakabe said in an interview. Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., the world's second-largest steelmaker, and Toyota Motor Corp., its largest auto customer, agreed to raise prices by 10 percent. Onomichi's decision reflects the pressure on Japanese shipyards to save money on steel as overcapacity curbs earnings. Kobe-based Onomichi is unable to accept price increases of more than 5,000 yen a ton, Nakabe said. While still negotiating prices with domestic supplier JFE Holdings Inc.'s steelmaking unit, Onomichi plans to boost its purchases of steel from Pohang-based Posco to about 15 percent this quarter from 10 percent in the previous three months, Nakabe said. Kim Ji Young, a Seoul-based spokeswoman at Posco, declined to comment.
“I'd like domestic mills to consider competition with overseas suppliers more seriously,” Nakabe said in the interview. “Imported steel prices and Japan's export prices remain lower than what domestic mills offer in Japan.” Japanese steel companies have been seeking increases to absorb higher raw material costs and the weakening of the domestic currency. Nippon Steel and Toyota agreed to raise steel prices by 10,000 yen ($100) per ton for the first half of the year to March 2014, compared with the previous six months. The price of Nippon's steel products averaged 77,700 yen per ton in the six months ended March 31, according to a May 10 statement from the Tokyo-based company. JFE Steel Corp.'s average price was 68,400 yen in the period, the parent company said on April 23. Closely held Onomichi, which operates shipyards in southern Japan's Hiroshima prefectures, got all its steel from JFE before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008, according to Nakabe. It uses 7,000 tons to 8,000 tons of steel per month.

EU steel demand will only return to growth in 2014

European steel demand will fall by more than previously estimated this year due to a very weak first quarter and return to modest growth only in 2014, steel industry body Eurofer said. Eurofer in a quarterly outlook, titled "First glimmers of hope?", said that economic indicators meant the likelihood of a near-term stabilisation of the EU economy had increased. However, a stronger than usual seasonal slowdown had occurred in the first quarter due to a harsh winter, depressing domestic demand and weakening exports. The weak quarter, and its knock-on effects later in the year, meant that apparent steel consumption, which takes into account changes in stock levels, would fall 3.1 percent this year and only return to growth in the first quarter of 2014. In its previous quarterly outlook published in May, Eurofer had seen growth returning in the fourth quarter and a full-year drop of 2.0 percent. Growth next year would be 1.8 percent, lower than the 3.2 percent it had previously forecast. Consumption fell by 10.0 percent in 2012. The industry body said poor access to credit continued to cap investment, but loose central bank monetary policies, improved balance sheets and reduced economic uncertainty should make banks more ready to lend in the rest of 2013 and in 2014. Eurofer said it saw global economic growth accelerating from mid-2013, causing a mild rebound in export demand. Investment and private consumption should rise next year. Real steel consumption, reflecting end-user demand, fell 5.1 percent last year, with a further drop of 4.4 percent seen this year and a 0.6 percent rise in 2014.

US opens probe into steel pipe imports from 9 countries

The U.S. Commerce Department launched one of its biggest trade investigations in years into charges that manufacturers in South Korea, India and seven other countries are selling steel pipe used by oil and natural gas producers at unfairly low prices in the United States. Imports of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from the nine countries totaled nearly $1.8 billion in 2012, more than double their total in 2010, as rising U.S. oil and natural gas production have increased demand for the pipe. In 2010, the United States slapped duties on imports of OCTG from China after they hit about $2.8 billion in 2008. The duties slapped on imports from China created an opening for the other foreign suppliers. The latest case targets South Korea, which exported about $831 million worth of the pipe to the United States last year, as well as India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine. U.S. producers are asking for anti-dumping duties as high as 240 percent on India, 158 percent on South Korea, 118 percent on Thailand and 111 percent on Vietnam to offset what they say is below market pricing, and lesser but still hefty duties on the other five countries. For two countries, Turkey and India, U.S. producers are seeking additional countervailing duties to offset alledged government subsidies.

  Italian steelmaker Arvedi interested in Lucchini's Trieste assets

Italian steel producer Arvedi Group is interested in leasing the iron and coke producing unit in Trieste of the country's second-largest steelmaker, Lucchini, and may subsequently buy the plant, Arvedi said. Lucchini was placed under "special administration" late last year after being declared insolvent, a procedure designed to save large companies and avoid big job losses. In a letter to Piero Nardi, the administrator in charge of Lucchini, Arvedi said it was particularly interested in the presence of a thermal power plant, owned by a company called Elettra Produzione Srl, near the site of Lucchini Trieste e Servola SpA. It said it was interested in seeking commercial synergies between the production of pig iron and electricity, without elaborating. No financial details were disclosed and neither Lucchini nor Elettra Produzione Srl could immediately be reached for comment. According to media reports, Nardi has received a dozen expressions of interest for Lucchini's assets. The plant in the northeast Italian port city can produce about 500,000 tonnes of pig iron and also coke, part of which goes to Lucchini's main Piombino plant in central Italy to be processed into steel. The remaining volume is sold on the international market. Russian steel producer Severstal acquired Lucchini, previously owned by the family of the same name, in 2005. Severstal has since sold a majority stake to its owner, Russian businessman Alexei Mordashov, to facilitate its sale. The disposal of the troubled steelmaker, has proven very difficult in the context of falling steel prices and economic recession.

  German steel industry sees no recovery this year

Germany's steel sector should not get its hopes up following some positive data at the start of the year, with demand remaining weak and competition in global markets intensifying, a trade group said. "I don't expect any major leaps," Hans Juergen Kerkhoff, president of the German steel association, told Reuters, adding he did not see any sustainable recovery across Europe either. Austerity measures aimed at cutting budget deficits have hit economic growth across the European Union and are particularly painful for the steel industry because of the accompanying slowdown in demand for cars, appliances and new buildings. Germany's steel sector, which accounts for about a quarter of Europe's crude steel production, has performed better than its counterparts in France, Italy or Spain, but is still expected to post only moderate growth this year. "There is still uncertainty in the markets, just like there was in the second half of 2012, when both traders and processors were cautious," Kerkhoff said on the sidelines of a steel industry conference. Customers have now started refilling depleted inventories, driving up output by 5 percent in January, the biggest monthly gain since September 2011. However, a 4 percent decline in new orders raised doubts that restocking would continue. ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steelmaker, warned that it was unlikely to return to growth until its next financial year, though a spokesman said its workers were no longer on shortened hours this month. ThyssenKrupp had curbed the working hours of about 2,000 of its employees from last August, under a government-subsidised programme set up in the 2008-2009 recession to help companies bridge the downturn without widespread job cuts. It could return to shortened hours next month at short notice. Europe's steel sector overall has a tough year ahead, with EU steel demand, including inventory adjustments, seen down 0.7 percent this year before a 3 percent rise in 2014, European steel producers' lobby group Eurofer said.

  Arrium's first-half loss widens

Arrium Ltd., Australia's second- largest steelmaker, reported a wider first-half loss after writing down the value of steel assets due to a stronger Australian dollar and weak demand. The net loss was A$447 million ($461 million) in the six months ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of A$74 million a year earlier, the Sydney-based company said in a statement. It had an underlying profit of A$51 million, down from A$77 million. Credit Suisse Group AG forecast A$36 million. Australian steelmakers have struggled in the past two years against lower steel prices, higher labor costs and a stronger local currency. Arrium promoted Andrew Roberts, 46, the head its mining consumables unit, to succeed Geoff Plummer as chief executive officer. Roberts, who led acquisitions and expansions in Asia, Australia and the Americas, “will bring new ideas to the strategic direction of the company,” Evan Lucas, a Melbourne- based strategist at IG Markets Ltd., said in a note to clients. “The restructuring and asset impairments will also provide Roberts with clear air to move the company back to profit.” Arrium will pay a first-half dividend of 2 cents a share, it said. Credit Suisse had forecast a payout of 1 cent to 2 cents. Arrium reiterated that full-year earnings will be “significantly skewed” to the second half due to uncertainty in commodity prices and a planned increase in iron ore shipment.

  US, China restocking could boost steel price

One of Russia's largest steelmakers, NLMK, said it saw a potential uptick in global steel prices thanks to signs of increased buying from China and the United States, the world's two top consumers. "Global demand for steel in the second quarter was weak, but now in China and the U.S. we are seeing signs of restocking, which to some extent may support prices," NLMK President Oleg Bagrin said, as the steelmaker launched a new Russian mill in a bid to profit from domestic demand for construction products. NLMK, controlled by magnate Vladimir Lisin, said its new 1.5 million tonne capacity mill in the central Kaluga region should help boost the firm's share of the domestic rebar market to 23 percent by 2015 from 17 at present. Russian producers have turned to the internal market as steelmakers around the world struggle to cope with weak prices, hit by slowing growth in China and the United States and prolonged weak demand in crisis-hit Europe. The firm said it saw Russian demand for long products used in construction, such as rebar, rising 7 percent in 2013. The firm said it expected its crude steel output to grow by 4-5 percent quarter-on-quarter to 3.9 million tonnes in the third quarter.