Brazilian flat steelmaker Usiminas warned of a sales decline over the following few months because steel consumption, mainly from the automotive industry, has softened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement announcing blast furnaces Nos. 1 and 2 at its Ipatinga steelworks 1 plant are being idled, the company did not disclose how much it anticipates the sales decrease will be.
Blast furnace No. 3 will remain operational at the plant, as will steelworks 2 and the company’s rolling mills and galvanizing lines, the statement added.
Steel sale volumes increased by 4pc to 1.04mn mt in the first quarter of this year from 1mn mt in Q1 2019, while iron ore sales increased by 17pc to 2.21mn mt from 1.89mn mt during the comparable periods.
Usiminas posted a net loss of BRL424mn ($77.3mn) in Q1 2020 after a net profit of BRL76mn during the first quarter of last year.
The company’s net revenue reached BRL3.80bn last quarter, increasing by 8pc from BRL3.5bn in Q1 2019. Usiminas’s EBITDA increased by 17pc to BRL569mn in Q1 2020 from BRL488mn during the same quarter last year.