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Outokumpu sets stainless output target

Keywords: Tags  Outokumpu, stainless, Mika Seitovirta, Calvert, Inoxum, ThyssenKrupp, Kari Parvento, Thorsten Schie

NEW YORK — Outokumpu Oyj is planning to melt and cold-roll more than 200,000 tonnes of stainless steel at its Calvert, Ala., mill in 2013, according to company chief executive officer Mika Seitovirta.

“The volume target from Calvert is to reach deliveries above 200,000 tonnes for both melt shop and cold-rolled. I think this is a really feasible target,” Seitovirta said during a conference call Monday discussing the recent merger with Inoxum Group, the stainless arm of Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp AG.

The melt shop at Calvert started up last December (, Dec. 10), and early indications are positive, Seitovirta said.
“I think technically, but also customer-wise, we have only good news,” Seitovirta said. “The customers feel that it’s good quality what we are providing from there.”

The melt shop has the capacity to produce 900,000 tonnes annually.

Seitovirta hinted that the Espoo, Finland-based company would be market-sensitive with the ramp-up of Calvert, saying that the newly combined entity’s strategy would be “to move away from the volume thinking ... to a more return-on-asset way of thinking.”

Outokumpu’s facility in Mexico (Outokumpu Mexinox) and Calvert had about 20-percent market share in the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) region in Inoxum’s fiscal year 2011, according to the presentation.

Investments in the Calvert facility in 2012 are expected to total €270 million ($353 million). Outokumpu described last year as its “peak year” in terms of capital spending, with “significantly lower” expenditures planned for 2013.

Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC is in the process of hiring 150 workers at Calvert.

“The Calvert site’s 150 new positions will fulfill the remaining shift positions at our new, world-class melt shop that came on line late in 2012, as well as some additional positions in our cold-rolling mill as we continue to ramp up full operations,” the company said in a release promoting a jobs fair.

The Calvert, Ala.-based company is offering operator, maintenance, electrical and mechanical positions, according to the release.
Outokumpu expects positive growth in most stainless end-use markets in 2013, with the consumer goods sector expected to rise by 4 percent globally, automotive to grow by 2 percent and the chemical and petrochemical market to increase by 5 percent.

“Particularly oil and gas (continue to show) strong growth,” Seitovirta said during the call.

The company is bullish on the Americas, predicting cold-rolled stainless consumption of 2.12 million tonnes in the region this year, up 4.4 percent from a forecast of 2.03 million tonnes in 2012.

“Continued high growth rates can be expected” in the Americas, Seitovirta said.

The company is planning to reach positive earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) for its Americas business by 2014, according to the presentation.

In other news, Kari Parvento, previously executive vice president for ferrochrome and research and development at Outokumpu, has been named as president of the company’s stainless coil America’s business.

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