Arcelor Mittal Shuts Furnaces as Auto Industry Demand Falls

Output in plants in France and Belgium will be cut by 30%

ArcelorMittal said on Oct. 31 it was shutting down furnaces at a dozen sites across Europe for at least six months in response to a sharp fall in demand from crisis-hit carmakers.

The move will slash output by up to 30% at the Dunkirk, Florange and Fos-sur-Mer plants in France, as well as a site in Belgium, according to Michel Wurth, a member of the group's management board. He did not name the other sites affected by the measures, which will run until at least March 2009.

Wurth said the group was not planning any permanent layoffs but that the hundreds of staff left without work would be forced to take leave, register for training programmes, or for temporary unemployment benefits.

ArcelorMittal had already announced an overall cut in production of 15%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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