ArcelorMittal SA, the world’s largest steelmaker, on Wednesday reported third-quarter profit rose 29 per cent but said it would cut output by nearly a third as a sharp economic slowdown dampens demand for steel used in houses and cars.
Warning of tougher times, ArcelorMittal said it needed to “rebalance supply and demand,” putting on hold an ambitious expansion plan that would have increased steel shipments by a fifth by 2010.
It posted third-quarter profit of $3.8 billion in the July-September period, up 29 per cent from $3 billion a year ago. Sales surged 38 per cent to $35.2 billion.
The company has benefited from high steel prices earlier this year even though demand is now falling in lucrative core markets in Europe and the United States. Sales in emerging economies — Asia and Latin America — are more resilient, it said. The production cut of 30 per cent is double the 15 per cent the company warned of last month. ArcelorMittal will start idling plants this month and next and could not say how long that might last.