[Ferro-Alloys.com] Swedish steelmaker SSAB will idle another blast furnace at its Raahe steelworks in Finland from the end of November in a bid to cut costs and capacity, the company said during its earnings presentation.
The blast furnace has a capacity of 1.3 million crude steel/year and the stoppage will at least be for four-six weeks. The company will decide when to restart it according to market conditions, an SSAB spokesman told S&P Global Platts.
SSAB has another blast furnace in Raahe, also with a capacity of 1.3 million of crude capacity, that will continue to run, the company confirmed to Platts.
SSAB since mid-September has already idled a small blast furnace with a capacity of 500,000 mt of crude steel/year at its Swedish plant in Oxelosund. The spokesman confirmed that the restarting date for this plant is also linked to market condition. In Oxelosund, the company is currently running a second blast furnace that has a capacity of 1 million mt of crude steel/year.
SSAB has in total five blast furnaces in Europe, with the biggest in Sweden having a capacity of 2.5 million of crude steel/year.
Demand for SSAB Special Steels weakened during the third quarter, primarily in Europe. Shipments were down and operating profit was lower year on year at SEK 358 million. Margins declined during the quarter, mainly due to higher iron ore costs, the company said.
According to the press note, demand in Europe was seasonally lower and weaker business conditions meant that the decline was more pronounced than usual.
Market prices of iron ore decreased during the latter part of the quarter and will lead to lower raw material costs for SSAB Europe during the fourth quarter, the company expected.
Heading toward the end of the year, the company sees a more pronounced seasonal slowdown than usual. (S&P Global Platts)
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