ArcelorMittal is forecasting apparent steel demand to recover in 2021 with a growth of 4.5-5.5pc compared to a 1pc decline last year.
Steel shipments are expected to increase this year compared to 2020 barring the impact of ArcelorMittal USA’s sale and the deconsolidation of ArcelorMittal Italia in Q1 2021.
The steel producer foresees increased consumption in its central markets as the economy gradually improved during H2 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic’s related lockdowns. After destocking for more than a year, the steel industry is recovering from global inventory substitutions as demand rises to match the apparent demand boost.
The company’s priority focus this year is on improving costs, products, and carbon-based growth while adding to margins in developing markets. New projects include ArcelorMittal’s Mexico hot strip mill expansion set to be completed in 2021. The company restarted its Brazil cold rolling mill project, scheduled to start in 2023, and its phase 2 expansion in Liberia that is targeted to reach first concentrate in Q4 2023.
The steelmaker is persistent about reaching its 2050 net-zero group carbon emissions goals as several technological routes are evolving, including its first Smart Carbon projects that will begin production in Ghent, Belgium in 2022 and the first hydrogen reduction project in Hamburg slated to start production in 2023-2025.
Executive chairman Lakshmi N. Mittal also informed of the board’s appointment of Aditya Mittal as the new CEO of the company effective immediately.
2020 production down
The company’s crude steel production declined by 20pc to 71.5mn mt in 2020 from 89.8mn mt in 2019. The steelmaker shipped 69.1mn mt of steel last year, down 18.2pc from 84.5mn mt in the prior year.
ArcelorMittal’s iron ore production increased by 1.6pc to 58mn mt in 2020 from 57.1mn mt in 2019, while the material’s shipments increased by 3pc to 38.2mn mt from 37.1mn mt during the same timeframe.
However, the company’s consolidated sales decreased by 24.6pc in 2020 to $53.27bn from $70.62bn in 2019. The company’s EBITDA stood at $4.3bn in 2020, the lowest in the steelmaker’s history and down 17pc from $5.2bn in 2019.
Iron ore output rises in Q4
Crude steel production fell by 5.5pc to 18.8mn mt in Q4 2020 from 19.8mn mt in the same quarter in 2019, while steel shipments tallied at 17.3mn mt down 12pc from 19.7mn mt during the same period.
Iron ore output stood at 15.3mn mt in Q4 2020 3.4pc over 14.8mn mt in the prior-year period and shipments tallied at 10.6mn mt up 10.4pc from 9.6mn mt. Sales reached $14.18bn in Q4 2020 down 8.6pc from $15.51bn in Q4 2019.
In Q4 2020 EBITDA tallied at $1.73bn up 86.6pc from $925mn in Q4 2019, as performance improved in all steel segments, real demand increased on manufacturing recovery, and restocking was boosted.