A two-week shutdown is planned, the reason being cited as insufficient demand in Europe
At the end of last week, the Liberty Ostrava (Czech Republic) Steel Plant announced that it will stop the only operating blast furnace №3 for two weeks from October 23. Reuters informs about it. The company cites insufficient demand in Europe. Repairs and maintenance are planned for the downtime.
During this period, full employment will be maintained, customer orders will continue to be fulfilled, as the relevant rolling mills will remain in operation, the company said. Available stocks will be used to fulfill obligations.
According to Czech media, the company’s trade unions are concerned about the situation and are calling on the company and government officials to meet to clarify it. According to Moravskoslezsky denik, the future operation of the blast furnace and the support of primary production remain uncertain.
“We have been briefed on a certain plan by the MOB (Make or Buy) department to assess and manage the core production. This department must determine when it still makes sense to produce raw materials for our factories, and when it is more profitable to buy these semi-finished products from external suppliers,» said the representative of the trade unions Petr Slaninab
If the scenario repeats itself in the future, and the plant switches to stop-start mode in the case of the blast furnace, the trade unions fear the impact on the work of the entire enterprise – from the coke oven and the blast furnace to the steel and rolling shops and the subsidiary LEPO.
Workers’ representatives also express concern about whether there will be people willing to sell the semi-finished products of the steel plant in Ostrava, because, according to them, there is a problem with paying suppliers.
Liberty Ostrava and its subsidiaries currently employ about 6,000 people.
Recently Liberty Steel brought out in a simple way the only operating blast furnace at the plant in Galaţi (Romania), citing severe weather in the Black Sea and a sharp drop in the water level in the Danube, which affected the supply of sufficient raw materials for the safe operation of the unit. As sources reported, the launch of the blast furnace is scheduled for October 24.
According to Argus Media, Liberty has been struggling with weak market conditions in recent months, which has resulted in a shortfall in working capital. The company imported Russian and Indonesian raw materials for its European rolling lines.
As GMK Center reported earlier, in September Liberty Steel announced a stoppage of one of the largest coke ovens – №11 – at the enterprise in Ostrava. The reason for the shutdown was the inefficiency and unprofitability of the unit, as well as excess capacity on the market.