ArcelorMittal today said it is reducing production and temporary idling steelmaking and finishing assets due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The steel manufacturing giant, who has a partnership with Air Liquide, issued a statement on the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) this morning, which said the company is either seeing, or expects to see, a significant decline in industrial activity in many, if not all, of the geographic markets in which ArcelorMittal operates, which is impacting its business.

In responses to this, ArcelorMittal is reducing production and temporary idling steelmaking and finishing assets, adapted on a country by country basis in alignment with regional demand as well as government requirements.

ArcelorMittal said this will not necessarily happen uniformly at assets across the globe given the escalation of the virus is at different points in different regions.

The statement said, “While Europe is currently the epicentre, according to official World Health Organisation (WHO) data cases in the NAFTA region have now exceeded those in China, with cases also increasing in Africa, India, South America and the CIS.”

“Where demand for our products continues, for example for food packaging, we will endeavour to maintain reduced operations to ensure we can meet customer’s requirements.”

In order to mitigate the impact of the lower level of production, ArcelorMittal is implementing significant measures to preserve cash and reduce costs in-line with reduced production levels.

This includes accessing measures introduced by governments to support companies throughout these unprecedented times.

ArcelorMittal is attempting to harness its skills and resources in a useful and collaborative way to help address the challenges presented by Covid-19.

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“Specifically, we have focussed our actions on collaborating to address the severe lack of the required safety and medical equipment, including face masks and ventilators,” the company said.

“Our businesses across the world have now collectively donated to various initiatives. We have also been utilising our global network to help facilitate the transfer of equipment to and from regions most impacted.”

“Furthermore, we have also been able to contribute the 3D printing expertise of our R&D team to a global effort focussed on developing a 3D printed ventilator prototype.”

“This prototype will be tested imminently in hospitals and, if successful, will massively increase the ability to rapidly produce ventilators.”

“We are now focussed on the prototype for a more advanced ventilator which also has the ability, in addition to providing lungs with oxygen, to feeding medicine incorporating AI algorithms.”