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Liberty Steel Restructuring Sparks Output Uncertainty

Via AG Metal Miner

 

Liberty Steel UK (LSUK) plans to reduce steelmaking and mothball some of its UK assets as part of restructuring plans. The group instead wants to focus on high-value, alloy-steel production in order to remain competitive.

“Despite the injection of £200 million ($244 million) of shareholder capital over the last two years, the production of some commodity grade products at Rotherham and downstream mills has become unviable,” Liberty announced in a statement from Jan. 12. The company went on to cite high energy costs and imports from countries without the same environmental standards as the primary issues.

Rotherham is to supply specialty steels via its Stocksbridge and Brinsworth plants, which make up Specialty Steel UK. This company primarily focuses on the aerospace, energy, and engineering supply chains.

Restructuring Leaves Steel Output Uncertain

Steps towards restructuring also include reducing crude steel production at its Rotherham site in South Yorkshire. Moreover, the organization will source billet and slab from third parties to continue rolling there and at merchant bar roller Scunthorpe.

One company official declined to indicate by how much Rotherham would cut melting. He also declined to indicate where the site would source semi-finished products. In the end, the only answer given was that they would come from “external sources.”

Rotherham has one 150-metric ton electric arc furnace that can pour roughly 1.22 million metric tons per year of crude steel, which it casts into ingot. The plant can also roll 560×400, 140×140, and 180×180 blooms, specialty long steels for the automotive sectors, and rebar.

Steel Production for Liberty Steel Altered in Numerous Ways

Meanwhile, Scunthorpe can produce up to 400,000 metric tons per year of merchant bar products. These include flat, round, and square bar, and steel angles (both equal and unequal). It also produces steel convex bar, steel beams and channels, and steel crane rail.

LSUK will also mothball hot rolled coil producer Liberty Steel Newport in south Wales, turning it into a sales and distribution hub. That site can roll hot rolled coil in 980-1,540mm widths and in 1.5-12.5mm gauges. These tend to supply the construction, automotive pipe and tube, yellow goods, materials handling, and power sectors.

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Liberty Performance Steel West Bromwich is also set to idle, the company said. “These actions … may potentially impact up to 440 roles across the business,” the parent group added. “The company will consult with employee representatives, trade unions, and UK Government throughout the process.”

By Christopher Rivituso

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