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ArcelorMittal to Invest in Asturias

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Steel giant ArcelorMittal (MT - Free Report) announced that its Flat Carbon Europe segment plans to undertake several investments at their Aviles site, located in Asturias in Spain. The investments will amount to €17.2 million (roughly $23 million), and will include a new tinplate inspection line, an upgrade of the roll shop, the revamping of hot-rolled coil yard #15, revamping of the electrical system of galvanizing line #2 and several mechanical improvements in the pickling line.

Through these investments, ArcelorMittal will focus on improving the product quality, besides internal logistics and customer service. The segment also aims at starting coke oven batteries 7 and 8 in Aviles by mid-November, after they were shut down in Dec 2011, due to the fall in steel demand in Spain and Europe.

A few days ago, ArcelorMittal announced that it plans to restart an expansion project at its Monlevade and Juiz de Fora sites in Brazil.  The project expansion is expected to increase the annual production capacity from 3.75 million tons to 4.9 million tons.

Monlevade is expected to produce 1.05 million tons per year of coil on capital investment of $140 million. The expanded wire rod from Monlevade is expected to enhance supply of added value products mainly to the domestic construction and automotive industries.

On the other hand, Rebar capacity at Juiz de Fora will be increased from the current 50,000 to 400,000 tons a year. Also, the site’s melt shop will produce an extra 200,000 tons of billets per year using its new ladle and new sixth strand in the continuous caster.  Additional rebar at the Juiz de Fora site is expected to go into downstream cut and bend operations for civil construction end users.

Few weeks ago, ArcelorMittal released its second-quarter 2013 results. The company posted a net loss of $0.8 billion or 44 cents per share in the quarter compared with a net income of $1 billion or 66 cents per share a year ago. Barring one-time items (restructuring and impairment charges), loss was 32 cents per share. Analysts polled by Zacks were expecting earnings of 9 cents a share on average for the quarter. The results were impacted by lower pricing and weak demand.

Revenues declined 10.1% year over year to $20.2 billion in the reported quarter and missed the Zacks Consensus estimate of $20.7 billion. Sales increased 2.3% on a sequential basis due to higher steel shipment volumes. Shipments declined 1.8% year over year to 21.3 million metric tons in the quarter.

ArcelorMittal currently maintains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the steel industry with favorable Zacks Rank are Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation , Ternium S.A. (TX - Free Report) and Kobe Steel Ltd. . While Nippon Steel maintains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Kobe Steel and Ternium each hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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