ArcelorMittal to Restart Brazil Furnace on Improved U.S. Outlook

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, will restart one of its furnaces in Brazil on improving economic conditions in the U.S. and Europe, the company’s biggest markets.

The steelmaker based in Luxembourg will restart in June the third furnace at its Tubarao steel complex in Brazil’s southeastern Espirito Santo state, said Benjamin Baptista, chief executive officer for the company’s Brazilian unit. The 2.5 million metric ton-a-year furnace, which has been shut since November 2012, is expected to operate at full speed in the last quarter of 2014, boosting Tubarao output to 7.5 million tons, he said yesterday.

“We are making the decision to reconnect the shut third furnace next year and operate the plant at full capacity,” Baptista told reporters in Rio de Janeiro. “We have a forecast that the U.S. economy will be better next year than this year, that the situation in Europe already reached its bottom and that there is a moderate optimism about the European economic growth next year.”

ArcelorMittal said on Nov. 7 third-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to $1.71 billion after cost cuts and plant closings, beating analysts estimates. Chief Financial Officer Aditya Mittal said at the time he expects steel use in Europe and the U.S. to rise in 2014 after an expected decline this year.

Arcelor will take about three months to ramp up the furnace after it is reconnected, Baptista said today, adding that Tubarao will be producing with all its three furnaces for the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis. The third furnace will produce steel slabs exclusively for the export market, he said.

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