Global steel giant ArcelorMittal on Thursday posted a net loss of USD 559 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020 amid COVID-19 disruption and termed the quarter as the most difficult period in its history. The world's largest steelmaker had clocked a net loss of USD 447 million in the year-ago quarter, the company said in a statement.
The Luxembourg-headquartered integrated steel and mining company follows January-December fiscal year. Sales in April-June quarter were USD 11.0 billion, as compared to USD 19.3 billion in the corresponding period in 2019, the company said.
The company said that total steel shipments in second quarter of 2020 were 23.7 per cent lower at 14.8 million tonne (MT) significantly impacted by the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic across all regions.
Operating performance in 2Q 2020 reflects the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic primarily on the steel business, with reduced demand leading to a 23.7 per cent sequential reduction in steel shipments, it said.
"The first six months of the year, and particularly the second quarter, have been one of the most difficult periods in the history of the company, with demand for steel considerably disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic," ArcelorMittal Chairman and CEO, Lakshmi N Mittal, said.
Mittal said "as a group we responded swiftly to protect our people, assets, profitability and cashflow, ensuring the company is in as strong a position as possible to weather this very challenging period.
"We implemented a comprehensive range of measures that include reducing production, capex and fixed costs, as well as raising capital to further strengthen the balance sheet which has taken our net debt close to the level at which we will prioritize returns to shareholders," he added.
Mittal said there are now signs of activity picking up, especially in regions where lockdowns have ended, but clearly it is prudent to remain cautious about the outlook and added that the company is examining what structural changes might be required to ensure the company is well configured to prosper in the coming years as demand recovers.