LONDON ArcelorMittal SA
posted its largest-ever quarterly loss during the final three
months of 2012 as the companys ailing European unit
continued to struggle with weak demand.
The Luxembourg-based steelmaker
recorded a net loss of $3.99 billion in the fourth quarter of
2012, compared with a loss of $1 billion in the same quarter of
2011. The companys fourth-quarter revenues fell to $19.3
billion, down nearly 14 percent year on year.
"(Last year) was a very
difficult year for the steel industry, particularly in Europe,
where demand for steel fell a further 8.8 percent," chairman
and chief executive officer Lakshmi Mittal said in a
ArcelorMittal has battled lower
demand in Europe by cutting costs and closing lossmaking
plants. The company "took a number of important steps to
address the challenges we face, including concentrating our
operational footprint on our more competitive assets and
reducing net debt," Mittal said.
On Jan. 24, ArcelorMittal
announced that it would permanently close up to six finishing
lines and a coke plant at its troubled Liége steelworks
in Belgium on the back of a "further weakening of the European
economy and the resultant low demand for its products."
flat carbon Americas unit logged an operating loss of $138
million in the fourth quarter vs. a gain of $1 million in the
same quarter of 2011 as sales dropped nearly 7 percent year on
year to $4.7 billion
fourth-quarter weakness was partially attributed to lower steel
prices in the North American plate market and lower slab prices
in Brazil and Mexico.
For the full year, ArcelorMittal reported a net loss of
nearly $3.73 billion compared to a gain of $2.26 billion in
2011 on sales that fell more than 10 percent to $84.21