Steel Supplies from Liberty Steel in Europe Reportedly Hit
Argus reported that Liberty Steel's Liege plant in Belgium and Dudelange plant in Luxembourg have cancelled 2020 contracts and stopped deliveries to numerous customers. As per Argus report, one northern European buyer said it had not received coil for seven days and that Liberty's supply arrears were worse than those of any other mill. Buyers in France and Italy also said they had had contracts cancelled, while a trading firm said it was owed 1,000 tonnes that should have been delivered this year.
Some customers have been receiving cold-rolled coil from Liege's stocks in the last week, but the plant's galvanising line has not been running for a few weeks because of a lack of substrate. Some customers have been told they must cancel existing orders, which they were already forced to renegotiate early this year at higher prices for April delivery at the latest, and supply their own hot-rolled coil for the plants to process. The company advised customers that it needs to look into the legalities of ownership of the HRC to ensure toll-processing is possible.
Liberty has had struggled to secure substrate from its main supplier, ArcelorMittal, in the last year or so. ArcelorMittal has been supplying the lines recently, but on a cash-upfront basis. Proforma payment has become increasingly difficult, given steep price rises and the company's strained working capital position. It did manage to secure some feedstock from elsewhere in the last couple of months, by importing and having traders finance the material.