Bluescope Steel withdrew earnings outlook for second half of 2020 on Thursday citing economic uncertainties following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The steelmaker on Feb 24 had announced that its second half (H2) 2020 gross earnings will be similar to H1 2020’s earnings of $302.4mn, as reported by Davis Index. Although the company said that its performance in the second half till date has not been impacted by the virus, the rapid transmission of COVID-19 across the world and the quarantine measure taken by governments could impact demand for its products.
Bluescope has reaffirmed robust steel demand in Australia and stable demand in New Zealand, while its operations in China are ramping up for resumption. However, business shutdowns in Malaysia and temporary halt of auto production by several North American automakers is expected to hurt sales of North Star, Bluescope’s subsidiary in the US.
North Star’s expansion project for an additional annual 850,000mt steel production capacity with an investment US$700mn is under progress. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned mid FY2022. North Star has an annual production capacity of around 2mn mt of hot-rolled.