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Arcelor-Mittal steels itself against financial crisis


Arcelor-Mittal steels itself against financial crisis


The biggest steelmaker in the world is preparing to cut 9,000 jobs. Arcelor-Mittal plans to offer voluntary redundancy packages to three per cent of its workforce, predominantly white-collar positions, to save three-quarters of a billion euros. Unions at the group, which is based in Luxembourg, claim 6,000 of those cuts could come in Europe.

Arcelor-Mittal has a workforce of 326,000 in more than 60 countries. As the economic slowdown has ground away demand for new cars, consumer goods and construction, so Arcelor-Mittal has had to cut back. Production in the third quarter was down 15 per cent at 25.6 million tonnes and there are more cuts to come in the fourth quarter.

The Chief Executive, Lakshmi Mittal has already said fourth quarter earnings will slide by as much as 48 per cent to below 2-billion euros. When he made that gloomy prediction, he also said output would be cut by more than 30 per cent.

Belgian and French stainless steel plants have been added to the list of a dozen or so sheet steel works likely to be affected as the car industry scales back output. The company has already said it is considering production cuts and short time working at four of its major German plants, and there are reports that a thousand production jobs in Poland are facing the axe.

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