Mittal Sees Steel Demand Growth in Autos, Railways

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, sees “solid” demand for steel from the auto industry and railways even as usage declines in China.

Demand for steel in infrastructure “will continue to grow,” Lakshmi Mittal, the company’s billionaire chief executive officer and chairman, said today at the Steel Success Strategies conference in New York.

“The global automotive market is expected to grow by 33 million cars between 2007 and 2020,” of which 32 million will come from developing economies, he said in a speech.

Europe, the biggest market for Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, has become more stable, although it still has “structural problems,” Mittal said.

The global steel industry is suffering from excess production capacity, which is keeping a lid on prices. The cooling real-estate market in China, the world’s biggest steel consumer, is curbing demand for the metal. Mittal said today ArcelorMittal is forecasting demand in China to grow by about 3 percent in 2014, down from about 7 percent last year.

Mittal also said ArcelorMittal has no plans to acquire other companies.

The steelmaker has cut $4.8 billion in costs since 2008 and is targeting a further $3 billion in savings by 2015. It has reduced its workforce by more than 80,000 and closed plants in Belgium and France.

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