Steel giant ArcelorMittal to cut 450 jobs in Liberia

20 November 2015

ArcelorMittal plans to axe 450 jobs in Liberia to offset losses caused by the global decline in the price of iron ore, the world's largest steelmaker told AFP on Thursday.

Company spokeswoman Hesta Baker Pearson said executives were meeting union officials to discuss the job cuts, which are expected to come into force before the end of the year.

"This action is due to constant drop in the price of the iron on the world market," Pearson (Xetra: 858266 - news) told AFP in Monrovia.

Liberian Finance Minister Amara Konneh told reporters the company, which owns the Tokadeh Mountain mine on the Guinea border, was "going through tough times".

"The company is not making profit so it has no other solution but to reduce its burden," he said.

ArcelorMittal cut its full-year profit target earlier this month and suspended dividend payments, blaming a glut of cheap steel from China's loss-making mills that has pushed down prices.

In the third quarter the company fell back into a net loss of $711 million (654 million euros), having managed a profit of $22 million in the same period last year.

Over the first nine months of the year, the company's losses hit $1.26 billion, ten times the level of last year.

Sales dropped 22 percent to $15.6 billion and operating profit fell 29 percent to $1.35 billion, in line with analyst expectations.

The steelmaker, which also mines iron ore used to make steel, halted work to expand its iron ore mines in Liberia in August last year after staff were evacuated due to concerns about the Ebola epidemic ravaging the country.

It (Other OTC: ITGL - news) said at the time it hoped to restart work and triple output to 15 million tonnes by the end of 2015.

But from January the company will halt operations during the rainy season and begin cutting exports, according to local media.