LONDON Global steel major ArcelorMittal SA has strengthened its mining team with the addition of two iron ore traders from Australian investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd.
Robin Nundoo, Macquaries Singapore-based iron ore trader, joined Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal in August after six years at the investment bank. He was joined at the steelmaker by a second, as yet unnamed, Macquarie iron ore trader.
While ArcelorMittals steel profits have been severely hit by slack European demand, iron ore shipments from its operations in North America and Africa are growing and are expected to drive a recovery the groups underlying profits this year.
The steelmaker shipped 3 million tonnes of iron ore from its Liberian operations alone in the first eight months of 2013, and confirmed that its $1.5-billion plan was on schedule to start ramping up to 15 million tonnes per year by 2015.
The hires suggest that the steelmaker is looking to enter the iron ore swaps market, iron ore derivatives brokers said.
While larger Chinese steelmakers have started to use iron ore derivatives to hedge their raw material input costs, European steelmakers have so far been reluctant to participate.
ArcelorMittal confirmed the hires, but doesnt have any plans to enter the iron ore and steel derivatives markets "at this time," a company spokesman told AMM sister publication Steel First. "We have been managing raw material prices through a hedging program that has been in place for 25 years."
A version of this article was first published in AMM sister publication Steel First.