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EEOC Sues Schuff Steel for Race & National Origin Discrimination

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:34 am

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has charged in a lawsuit filed on 28 September 2022 a steel fabrication and erection company Schuff Steel Company violated federal law by harassing African American and Hispanic employees at its location in Eloy in Arizona and retaliating against them when they complained. According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Schuff Steel’s Eloy plant manager regularly used racial slurs against Black and Hispanic employees, including using the N-word, as well as anti-Hispanic slurs. Additionally, the EEOC alleges the plant manager told his staff that he preferred white employees and yelled white power at work. The plant manager also ridiculed Hispanic employees who did not speak English well.

The EEOC further charged that when Schuff Steel employees complained to human resources or to the plant manager about the harassment, the plant manager retaliated against those employees by firing them or moving them to the graveyard shift. The anti-Hispanic and anti-African American harassment ultimately forced some employees at Schuff Steel to resign

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harass­ment based on race and/or national origin, as well as retaliation for complaining about it.
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RINL VSP Back in Black in 2021-22 after 6 Years

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:35 am

Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited CMD Mr Atul Bhatt while addressing shareholders of RINL mentioned that during the financial year 2021-22, RINL achieved highest turnover of INR 28,215 crores since inception, with a growth of 57% over the previous year. Also, that the Company earned positive Profit Before Tax after 6 Financial Years. During the year, the company achieved an EBITDA of INR 3469 crores with a growth of 148% over the previous year.

Best ever performance was registered during the year in all major production areas with growth over previous year, in spite of curtailed operations in Q4 on account of coking coal crisis. The hot metal production of 5.77 million tonnes achieved during the year is the highest for any single unit of Public Sector Steel Plant in the country. Best Ever Performance was registered during the year in all important Techno Economic parameters.

High End Value Added Steel production was increased by 29% over previous year. Based on the Customers requirement, 22 new grades were developed during the year.

The Company achieved a growth of 81% in the Sales to Projects Segment. With this, a growth of 28% was achieved in Domestic Sales, though the Automobile Sector was impacted by shortage of semiconductor chips. With focus on High End Value Added Steel production, growth of 18% was achieved over the previous year.
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General Court Upheld Prohibition of Thyssenkrupp & Tata Steel JV

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:37 am

Europe’s General Court has dismissed an appeal against the EC’s 2019 decision to prohibit Thyssenkrupp’s proposed joint venture with Tata Steel, ruling that the EC succeeded in proving there was a sufficient degree of probability of competition being harmed by the JV. However the case is on appeal to the Court of Justice of the EU, which will make a final determination regarding the legal standard.

The EC claimed that the JV would not have resulted in the creation or the strengthening of a dominant position but would have led to a significant impediment to effective competition in a substantial part of the internal market, making it a gap case under the EU Merger Regulation.

The last time the GC ruled on a gap case, in 2020, the legal standard implied was higher: with the GC indicating a strong probability, when demonstrating that there would be an SIEC, and sufficiently high degree of probability of price increases.
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Worthington Industries to Separate Steel Processing Business

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:38 am

Columbus Ohio headquartered Worthington Industries Board of Directors have approved a plan to pursue a separation of Steel Processing business into a new public company. Worthington Industries plans to effect the separation via a distribution of stock of the Steel Processing business, which is expected to be tax-free to shareholders for US federal income tax purposes. The Company expects to complete the separation by early 2024. New Worthington will be a market-leading company with premier brands in attractive end markets in Consumer Products, Building Products and Sustainable Energy Solutions. As a more focused company, New Worthington will be well-positioned to capitalize on key trends in sustainability, technology, remodeling and construction and outdoor living. New Worthington will continue to pursue a growth strategy focused on leveraging its robust new product pipeline of sustainable, tech-enabled solutions to disrupt mature markets. New Worthington will continue to leverage the Worthington Business System, which powers a winning culture and higher growth and profitability through Transformation, Innovation and Acquisitions. The new company’s high margins and asset-light focus is expected to enable strong free cash flow generation and returns for shareholders. Further, New Worthington’s value will no longer be highly correlated to the price of steel, providing the opportunity for premium sector multiples. Benefits of the Separation 1. The planned separation is expected to provide both the New Worthington and Worthington Steel with: 2. Enhanced agility and sharpened strategic focus: Each company will have a sharper focus on its distinct markets and strategic priorities 3. Tailored capital allocation strategies: Each company is expected to have modest leverage and ample liquidity combined with strong cash flows, providing flexibility to deploy capital toward its specific growth opportunities. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as Worthington’s lead financial advisor, and Latham & Watkins LLP is serving as primary legal counsel.
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EPCG to Vote on Buying Zeljezara Niksic Steel Mill in Montenegrin

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:40 am

SeeNews reported that Montenegrin state owned power utility company EPCG t will propose to shareholders to launch the process for the acquisition of steel mill Zeljezara Niksic from Turkey's Toscelik. The proposal is on the agenda of the extraordinary shareholders' meeting of EPCG, to be held on 3 October

Last month, Montenegro's Prime Minister Mr Dritan Abazovic said the government gave the go-ahead to EPCG to start talks for the acquisition of Zeljezara Niksic. He had said “EPCG commits to negotiate the sale price and the way to execute the acquisition of Zeljezara with the Turkish company.”

Toscelik acquired Zeljezara Niksic in 2012 for EUR 15.1 million after placing the best bid in an auction launched by the government. Toscelik suspended production activities at Zeljezara Niksic in March 2021, due to a drop in orders caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, the Turkish company said it is in talks for the sale of the steel mill.
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Primetals to Modernize Plate Mill Drives of SIJ Acroni in Slovenia

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:41 am

Slovenian steel producer SIJ Acroni, which is part of SIJ Group, has tasked Primetals Technologies with the replacement of the existing cycloconverter drive control for the upper and lower motors on the plate mill's roughing stand at the Jesenice production site in Slovenia. Rendering the old drives obsolete, Primetals Technologies installed the VarioVerter cycloconverter solution. The project aims to increase availability and secure the supply of spare parts for the drives. Two main factors played a role when SIJ Acroni chose Primetals Technologies as supplier: a variable replacement concept and competitive investment costs.

Primetals Technologies' scope of supply included implementing two VarioVerter cycloconverter controllers, replacing the field control units, commissioning, and a new workstation for easy and remote maintenance and diagnosis of the drive system. The integration into the plate mill's existing basic automation control system was re-established, leaving the interface largely unchanged. To be able to reuse the existing power modules, Primetals Technologies’ tailormade connection cabinet with amplifier cards handles the hardwired interface between the controller and the thyristors.

Installation and startup were completed on schedule. After a short startup period, the VarioVerter was adjusted to handle all products and yield strengths without restrictions. Additional technological functions, like ski control, were included in the control of the VarioVerter cycloconverter.

SIJ Acroni is Europe's leading producer of stainless quarto plates. The company also specializes in electric and custom steels, which are sold as hot and cold-rolled coils and heavy plates mainly for use in niche products. SIJ Acroni’s plant is located in Jesenice, about 60 kilometers northwest of Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia.
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US Steel Submits New Contract Proposal to Workers

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:43 am

US Steel has made a new contract offer to steelworkers that would slightly boost its proposed pay increase from 13.6% over four years to 15% and that would cap health insurance spending at the current level. US Steel President & CEO Mr David Burritt said in a letter to steelworkers “This proposal provides strong wage growth, strong upside opportunity and strong downside protection for our employees. We know that the steel industry can be volatile. That is why our responsible compensation proposal of robust base wage increases, a guaranteed payable-now bonus, uncapped profit sharing, and inflation protection, combined with premium-free healthcare, is designed to support and reward employees through business cycles.”

He added “We revised our proposal to meet our employees’ need for consistency in health care but to also meet our needs to control costs. Instead of the High Performance Network, we are proposing a cap and recover plan that will keep health care costs at 2022 levels. If costs rise, we will work with the USW to offset the costs. This is similar to what the USW negotiated with other steel companies.”

US Steel is offering a 4% increase the first year, a 3% pay raise in years two and three and a 4% wage hike in the fourth year. That's a compounded pay increase of 15%, still short of the 20% Cleveland-Cliffs is offering.
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AMNS India Submits EoI for Srei NBFCs

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:45 am

BQ Prime reports suggest that AM/NS India has expressed interest to buy Srei Group's non-bank lenders under the bankruptcy law and has submitted unsolicited expression of interest. The creditors are yet to decide whether they can allow the entry of a new bidder in the current scenario

An EoI, if accepted, will allow AM/NS India to enter the data room for the Srei Group companies. Data room access is allowed to prospective bidders so they may formulate a firm bid under the insolvency proceedings. Such access could arm the steelmaker with inside information in its legal battles, the first person quoted above said.

In August, Srei Infrastructure Finance had approached the Supreme Court, challenging a National Company Law Appellate Tribunal order that allowed AM/NS India to take control over Odisha Slurry Pipeline under insolvency. The lender has claimed that it was not given the same treatment as other secured creditors in the fund distribution strategy proposed by the steel firm in its resolution plan.

Earlier this month, financial creditors to Srei Infrastructure Finance & Srei Equipment Finance had restarted the bidding process for two bidders who were participating in the insolvency proceedings. The bidders-a consortium between Varde Partners and Arena Investors, as well as consortium led by UK-based entrepreneur Shon Randhawa-had been given an extended opportunity to submit revised bids after they had failed to submit earnest money deposit previously.
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Hyundai Steel Strike Clouds Steel Availability in Korea Further

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:47 am

Joonang Daily reported that supply disruptions loom in South Korea’s steel industry as the country’s two largest steelmakers POSCO & Hyundai Steel, accounting for 80% crude steel production, are struggling to fully operate their plants. While POSCO is still in the process of restoring its Pohang plant that was flooded by Typhoon Hinnamnor earlier this month, labor unions at Hyundai Steel have been going on a series of strikes after failing to negotiate with management.

Hyundai Steel’s four labor unions went on strike for eight hours on 24 & 25 September. They said they will continuously stage strikes unexpectedly until the company accepts their demands. Hyundai Steel unions are demanding a base monthly pay raise of KWR 165,200 and 15% of last year’s operating profit as incentives. It also requested KWR 4 million of bonuses, arguing that employees of Hyundai Motor, Kia and Hyundai Mobis received that amount. It already voted on the strike and 94% of workers agreed to a walkout. It won permission from the National Labor Relations Commission to go ahead with its plan.

As a result of disruptions at POSCP’s Phang plant, steel prices have surged by 8-10% and are expected to rise even more rapidly in coming weeks as Hyundai Steel employees are planning more strikes.
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CCI Clears AM/NS India’s Acquisition of Essar Group Assets

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:49 am

India’s Competition Commission of India has cleared the acquisition of certain ports and power infrastructure assets of Essar Group by AM/NS India. The deal covers port assets in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha as well as two power plants at Hazira and an electricity transmission line.

The proposed combination involves the acquisition of certain power assets of Essar Power Hazira & Gandhar Hazira Transmission. The port assets include Hazira Cargo Terminals, Ibrox Aviation & Trading, Essar Bulk Terminal, Essar Bulk Terminal Paradip and Essar Vizag Terminals. Other assets are Snow White Agencies & Bhagwat Steel. This acquisition is worth USD 2.4 billion.

The deal covers a 25 million tonnes per annum capacity jetty at the all-weather, deep draft bulk port terminal at Hazira, Gujarat, captive and adjacent to the Hazira steel plant.

It also includes a 16 million tonnes all-weather, deep draft terminal at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, along with an integrated conveyor connected to AM/NS India’s 8 million tonnes a year iron ore pellet plant in the port city.

The deal also covers a 12 million tonnes deep-water jetty at Paradip, Odisha, along with a dedicated conveyor that handles 100% of pellet shipments from AM/NS India’s Paradip pellet plant.

It also includes a 270 MW multi-fuel power plant at Hazira, which has a long-term power purchase agreement with the adjacent steelmaking facility, a 515 MW gas-based power plant, and allied land.

And so is a 100-kilometer Gandhar to Hazira transmission line, connecting AMNS India’s steelmaking complex with the central electricity grid.
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German Government Announces Price Brakes For Electricity & Gas

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:50 am

The German federal government has announced EUR 65 billion comprehensive package of measures to contain the energy price crisis on 29 September. German Chancellor Mr Olaf Scholz said “We will get through this winter. The government would crack down on energy providers that are making excess profits amid the high energy prices that have been largely caused by Russia's war against Ukraine as well as Moscow's reduction of gas exports to Europe. There are excess profits by some producers who can simply take advantage of the situation that the very expensive price of gas determines the price of electricity, and that therefore make a lot of money. We are firmly determined to change the market rules in such a way that such windfall profits no longer occur, or that they are skimmed off.”

German Steel Federation W Stahl President Mr Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff said “The announced brake on energy prices, including industry, is an important step in the right direction. The steel industry and the steel-based value chains face intense international competition. They are under existential pressure due to the exploding prices for electricity and gas. Now it's all about speed and effectiveness. It is about bridging the crisis and preventing serious damage to the industrial base.”

He also said “The skyrocketing energy prices are endangering Germany as a steel location and the steel-based value chains based on it. The current energy crisis must be prevented from causing permanent damage to the industrial base, with all the consequences for value chains, jobs and investments. Rapid action to bridge the crisis is urgently needed. We therefore appeal to the Council of Energy Ministers to create solutions, particularly for energy-intensive industries such as the steel industry. Now it is important to take very fast-acting measures that can immediately bring electricity and gas prices to an internationally competitive level.”

While gas is only partly used in Germany to produce energy, the current market design has caused the high gas prices to jack up general energy prices, meaning that providers who produce energy from other sources such as wind, solar or coal are making huge profits. Extrapolated for the year as a whole, the additional costs for electricity and gas in steel companies in Germany are currently around 10 billion euros compared to the beginning of the previous year. This is around a quarter of the turnover that the industry has achieved on average in recent years.
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European Industry Seeks More Measures over Energy Crisis

Strategic Research Institute
Published on :
30 Sep, 2022, 6:52 am

The energy intensive industries in Europe have welcomed the efforts undertaken by the Member States to solve the energy crisis in the European Union. Nevertheless, ahead of the next Extraordinary Energy Council, they underlined the need for more immediate and efficient measures to be put in place, as we observe the crisis circumstances worsening day by day in our industries.

They said “With the current gas price reaching about 200 EUR per MWh, the situation remains unbearable for the energy intensive producers. The impact of the volatility and extremely high levels of gas and electricity prices cannot be sustained. The consequences are already felt among the industry, with shut-downs of plants and reduction of production in many sectors with the consequence of job losses. The competitiveness of the European companies is threatened.”

They said “We reiterate our call on the European leaders to urgently introduce EU-wide measures aimed at addressing the impact of natural gas prices on industrial competitiveness and measures designed to disconnect electricity prices from gas prices. Moreover, the Temporary Crisis Framework needs to be prolonged and reviewed to adapt to the current circumstances. It must be more flexible and allow for fast approval of the state aid. For example, such requirement as negative EBITDA must be removed, as it means the aid would arrive too late.”

The statement has been made by following associations

Fertilizer Europe

CEMBUREU

Glass Alliance

Euromines

Cepi

Eurofer

Eurometux

Cefic

Eurima

European Lime Association

Euro Alliance

EXCA

Cerame Unie

On 30 September, the Council of Energy Ministers of the European Union will meet to decide on contingency measures for the energy markets.
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