ArcelorMittal Sees 2021 Global Apparent Steel Consumption to Rise 4.5%-5.5%
By Annalisa Villa
February 12, 2021 - ArcelorMittal expects global apparent steel consumption in 2021 to rise between 4.5% and 5.5%, compared with a decline of 1% in 2020, the largest global steelmaker said Feb. 11.
ArcelorMittal sees consumption to grow in all its core market as economic activity progressively improved during the second half of 2020 with lockdown measures eased. Following a prolonged period of destocking, started at the end of 2019, the global steel industry is now benefiting from a massive replacement of inventories globally through all its customer base with real demand that is also increasing after the pick up of the apparent demand.
ArcelorMittal total steel shipments in Q4 2020 were 17.3 million mt, 1% lower from 17.5 million mt in Q3 2020. On a comparable basis, excluding ArcelorMittal USA (following its sale to Cleveland Cliffs on Dec. 9, 2020), steel shipments in Q4 2020 increased by 1.5% to 15.5 million mt compared with 15.3 million mt in Q3 2020. ArcelorMittal reported solid Q4 results with EBITDA of $1.7 billion (almost double of Q4 2019 level) and ended 2020 with a net debt of $6.4 billion, the lowest level since the 2006 merger. This allowed the company to resume dividend payments, with an initial 30 cents per share to be paid in June in addition to a $570m share buyback program.
"Achieving our $7 billion net debt target marked the end of a long-term deleveraging program, and the start of a new phase which will allow the company to focus on delivering sustainable shareholder returns as we continue to transform for the future. This process will be supported by changes we made to our portfolio, increasing the quality of its earnings potential, and by the investments we are making in high-growth projects and markets, such as those in India, Mexico, Brazil and Liberia," said Lakshmi N. Mittal, Executive Chairman of ArcelorMittal.
"The combination of our stronger balance sheet, targeted growth profile and competitive cost positioning underpin our commitment to delivering more consistent returns across the cycle. They also position the company favourably to lead the industry's transition to low-emissions steelmaking as part of our 2050 net zero commitment. 2020 was a year in which we saw further acceleration in the drive to decarbonize the global economy," Mittal added.
"Ahead of COP26 an increasing number of countries have now made net zero commitments -– it is imperative these commitments are now accompanied by policy to enable success. Although we must continue to navigate the COVID-19 challenge, I expect 2021 to be another year of progress for the company," he said.
The Board of Directors of ArcelorMittal also announced Aditya Mittal, currently President, CFO and CEO ArcelorMittal Europe, as the new Chief Executive Officer of the company. This was a move well planned in advance and expected by the market.
"The world is transforming at a very rapid pace and this change brings challenges but also many opportunities for ArcelorMittal. I'm very much looking forward to this next chapter," the new CEO said on a conference call on Feb. 11. "I'm focused on ensuring we continue to perform well and the biggest challenge of the day is how we decarbonize the steel industry."
Aditya Mittal, son of Lakshmi N. Mittal, joined the company in 1997 from Credit Suisse where he worked in the investment banking division. He identified the opportunity of combining Arcelor and Mittal Steel and led the merger offer which culminated in the creation of ArcelorMittal. As well as being CFO of ArcelorMittal he took up operational responsibilities, first as CEO ArcelorMittal Americas and then as CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe. He was named President in 2018.