Articles in Category: Company News

The Financial Times is among many news sources reporting on the announcement made this week in Brussels that the E.U. and U.S. will end 17 years of litigation over claims and counterclaims that both Boeing and Airbus have received unfair state support in one form or another.

Both sides have won cases at the World Trade Organization (WTO) level. Those wins have resulted the threat of some $11.5 billion in tariffs on E.U.-U.S. trade in both directions.

NBC quoted U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai as saying the two sides have come to terms on a five-year agreement to suspend the tariffs at the center of the dispute.

The threat remains that the tariffs could be reimplemented if U.S. companies are not able to “compete fairly” with those in Europe. However, the statement left open quite how that would be prosecuted.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

Boeing-Airbus dispute nearing an end? Maybe not quite

Airbus plane

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Much was made about moving away from litigation, a strategy that has clearly failed to achieve much after 17 years of lawyer fees.

“Today’s announcement resolves a long-standing irritant in the U.S.-EU relationship” Tai said.

“Instead of fighting with one of our closest allies, we are finally coming together against a common threat,” she added, stressing it is time to put aside the fight and focus on China’s economic assertiveness.

That final point underlines a key issue here.

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German integrated flats producer Salzgitter-Flachstahl has warned its customers of potential delays to deliveries after a lightning strike at the plant impacted steelmaking and rolling operations, a company official told MetalMiner.

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Lightning strike impacts Salzgitter-Flachstahl operations

Salzgitter AG

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The company sent a letter to its customers on June 9, explaining that a lightning strike at the weekend at a substation on site caused its blast furnace and convertor shops — as well as its hot strip mills — to operate at lower levels, the source said.

The incident completely halted all production for only one hour. However, the aftereffects caused various disruptions that continue to impact operations. Furthermore, the stoppage impacted in digital controls, electrical cable feeds and motors on production lines. In turn, that caused the plant to operate at lower levels, the source said.

He did not say, however, either at what capacity percentage Salzgitter-Flachstahl is now operating or in what areas. He also did not indicate what previous production levels were before the incident.

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. and E.U. have reportedly reached a deal to end the long-running AirbusBoeing dispute over state subsidies; meanwhile, U.S. steel capacity utilization touched 82.6% last week, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported; and, lastly, Cleveland-Cliffs announced increases to its second-quarter and full-year 2021 financial guidance.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

US, EU reach deal to end Airbus-Boeing dispute

Airbus plane

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Allegations of state subsidies between the U.S. and E.U. vis-a-vis their respective aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, have extended all the way back to 2004.

Now, the parties have reportedly reached a deal to end the dispute.

Per media reports, the deal features a five-year suspension of tariffs stemming from the ongoing Airbus-Boeing dispute.

In 2019, the World Trade Organization authorized the U.S. to impose up to $7.5 billion in tariffs on E.U. goods. Meanwhile, last year, the WTO authorized the E.U. to impose $4 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods.

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including steel sector news, the Biden administration’s release of a 250-page supply chain report and much more:

steelmaking in an EAF

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The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

Week of June 7-11 (steel sector news, Biden administration’s supply chain review and more)

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

This morning in metals news: production has resumed at Tenaris‘ steel plant in Koppel, Pennsylvania; meanwhile, Anglo American said it has demerged its thermal coal operations in South Africa; and, lastly, the United Steelworkers union commented on the Biden administration’s recently released supply chain review.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

Tenaris steel plant in Pennsylvania resumes production

Tenaris logo

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Luxembourg-based Tenaris’ steel plant in Koppel, Pennsylvania, has resumed production after a yearlong hiatus for upgrades.

“Steel production is now underway at Tenaris’s first melt shop in the United States that will soon supply steel bars for its seamless pipe mills in the States and Canada,” Tenaris said in a press release.

“The steel shop in Koppel, PA, part of the company’s strategic acquisition of IPSCO, completed in 2020, has started producing steel bars following a year-long investment of more than $15M USD in upgrades to integrate the facility into Tenaris’ global network of steel mills.”

Last year, on the heels of the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenaris announced idling of a number of U.S. plants. In April 2020, the company said declining oil and gas prices, oversupply in the oil market and COVID-19 operational restrictions underpinned its decision.

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The Atlanta-based aluminum firm Novelis announced it is partnering with China’s leading universities to conduct research into the innovative use of aluminum.

The partnership between Novelis’ Shanghai Customer Solution Center (CSC) and the Tsinghua University Suzhou Automotive Research Institute (TSARI), confirmed by way of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will drive research and development of aluminum products to promote a “low carbon, sustainable future.”

Novelis is a subsidiary of India’s Hindalco Industries Ltd. The company accounts for almost half of Hindalco’s consolidated revenue.

Furthermore, with operations in 10 countries, Novelis is one of the largest aluminum recyclers in the world. It reported U.S. $11.2 billion in net sales for the most recent fiscal year.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

Novelis in China

aluminum sheet

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However, Novelis already has a significant presence in China.

Back in May, for example, the aluminum major announced that it would supply Nissan with a sustainable, lightweight aluminum body sheet for the all-new Qashqai SUV and create a closed-loop recycling system in Europe.

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The Automotive Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose by 4.5% for this month’s reading, as many automakers posted record auto sales in May.

June 2021 Automotive MMI chart

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US auto sales

auto sale

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Among monthly reporters, Ford Motor Co. reported its total sales in the US in May rose by 4.0% year over year. However, retail sales dropped by 11.2%.

Ford’s total truck sales fell by 11.6%. Meanwhile, SUV sales rose by 48.6% and car sales dropped 62.4%.

Furthermore, Ford sold 10,364 electrified vehicles, good for a jump of 184%.

“Growth came from Mustang Mach-E, which totaled 1,945 vehicle sales, while F-150 PowerBoost totaled 2,852 for the month, Escape electrified sales totaled 3,617 – up 125 percent over last year,” the automaker said. “Explorer Hybrid sales also had a big increase of 132 percent over a year ago on sales of 1,156 SUVs.”

Honda, meanwhile, reported an all-time monthly sales record of 176,815 vehicles. Total sales rose by 46.2%. Truck sales rose by 52.2%, while car sales rose by 37.9%.

Similarly, Hyundai reported a monthly sales record for the third consecutive month. Hyundai’s May total sales rose by 56% to 90,017 vehicles. In May, Hyundai also unveiled the IONIQ 5 for North America, which it says has a targeted driving range of 300 miles and the ability to charge from 10% 80% in 18 minutes.

A record May

In their monthly automotive forecast, J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast May would be a record month for new-vehicle retail sales in the US.

They projected retail sales would reach 1,388,600 vehicles, or up 34.0% from May 2020. The total also marked an increase of 10.6% from May 2019.

“The U.S. auto industry is showing tremendous adaptability in maintaining a record sales pace, despite historically low inventory levels,” said Thomas King, president of J.D. Power’s data and analytics division. “May is usually one of the highest-volume sales months with buying activity peaking around the Memorial Day weekend when manufacturers typically offer incremental incentives.”

General Motors to boost deliveries to US, Canada

General Motors said it plans to increase its deliveries of vehicles to customers in the US and Canada.

The automaker said the move aims to “meet strong consumer demand for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.”

Furthermore, production of the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD full-size pickups will increase by about 1,000 trucks per month beginning in mid-July. Meanwhile, shipments of Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups will increase by about 30,000 total units from mid-May through the week of July 5.

GM also said assembly plants that build GM’s “most capacity-constrained products” will not take any dedicated vacation downtime this summer.

Despite the ongoing semiconductor shortage that has impacted the automotive industry, GM expressed optimism about its first-half performance.

“As a result of GM’s ongoing efforts to prioritize semiconductor usage, its success engineering solutions that maximize the utilization of chips as well as the pull-ahead of some projected semiconductor deliveries into the second quarter, the company now expects its first-half financial results to be significantly better than the first-half guidance previously provided,” GM said. “GM is optimistic about the full year and expects to share additional information during its second-quarter earnings conference call on Aug. 4.”

Nonetheless, the automaker said production at certain manufacturing facilities in North America, Asia and South America “will continue to be impacted” by the global semiconductor shortage through June and July.

China auto sales up 8.6%

Meanwhile, auto sales in China rose by 8.6% year over year in April, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sales reached 2.25 million vehicles in April. However, sales dropped by 10.8% from the previous month.

For the January-April period, sales rose by 51.8% year over year.

Actual metals prices and trends

The US HDG price rose by 1.1% month over month to $1,884 per short ton as of June 1. The US shredded scrap steel price rose by 3.2% to $450 per short ton.

Meanwhile, LME three-month copper rose by 2.3% to $10,171 per metric ton.

The Korean 5052 aluminum coil premium increased by 3.7% to $3.91 per kilogram.

Volatility is the name of the game. Do you have a steel buying strategy that can handle the ups and downs?

This morning in metals news: Nucor Corporation today announced it will acquire Cornerstone Building Brands‘ insulated metal panels business; the oil price approached $70 per barrel to close last week; and the aluminum price has retraced over the last month.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

Nucor to acquire insulated metal panels business

mergers and acquisitions

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Nucor announced today that it plans to acquire the insulated metal panels business of Cornerstone Building Brands.

The acquisition comes at a cash purchase price of $1 billion. Nucor said it expects the transaction to close later this year, pending regulatory approvals.

“Today’s announcement accelerates our vision to broaden value-added solutions that Nucor provides to our targeted end markets. Additionally, it enhances our strong financial position with attractive free cash flow conversion rates and accretive EBITDA margins,” Nucor President and CEO Leon Topalian said. “We are excited about this opportunity to acquire a historical leader and innovator in the quickly growing IMP product category serving the non-residential market.”

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ArcelorMittal is eyeing the potential acquisition of Liberty Steel France, which includes a steelmaking plant at Ascoval and rail rolling mill at Hayange, a source within the Luxembourg-headquartered company told MetalMiner.

“We were interested last year, when they were available,” the source said.

ArcelorMittal logo

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Bids are due for assessment likely in July, the source added.

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

ArcelorMittal strategy

One analyst expressed his surprise on ArcelorMittal’s interest in those plants. In February, the steelmaker announced financial results for 2020, stating that its strategy would be to focus on organic growth.

ArcelorMittal also rolls rails in Europe at Gijón in Spain and Luxembourg’s Rodange mill. It also does so in Poland at the Dąbrowa Górnicza and Królewska sites.

The financial difficulties that Liberty’s parent company GFG Alliance now faces could possibly allow ArcelorMittal to acquire the assets at lower prices, the analyst added.

Rothschild & Co (Paris) is managing sale of the assets on Liberty’s behalf, a spokesman for the steelmaking group told MetalMiner in an email.

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals news here on MetalMiner, including iron ore volatility, rare earths production quotas in China and much more:

bulk cargo iron ore

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Week of May 31-June 4 (iron ore volatility, rare earths quotas and more)

Each month, MetalMiner hosts a webinar on a specific metals topic. Explore the upcoming webinars and sign up for each on the MetalMiner Events page.

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