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Liberty Steel proposes steps for Dunaferr

  • : Metals
  • 23/02/16

Liberty Steel has proposed a "series of steps" to ensure the continuity of the Dunaferr business, the company said today.

Liberty signed a consultancy agreement to assist Hungarian producer Dunaferr, which now has restarted blast furnace two, as well as its steel plant. It has been supplying coke to the plant to keep its ovens running and is also reportedly in the market for other raw materials. The furnace restarted using raw materials that were already at the site, but these will soon run out, according to union sources.

The Hungarian state is paying the wages of Dunaferr's workers and has guaranteed energy supply to help restart the business.

"Further measures will be needed to ensure the long-term sustainable future of the business. Liberty is committed to using its experience to help Dunaferr take these steps," Liberty said, suggesting it has "repeatedly demonstrated its success in stabilising strategically important and complex steel companies that have been under-financed, significantly improving their operational, commercial and financial situation".

Liberty has had financial issues of its own. It is idling three of its UK sites and cutting jobs because of weak markets and high energy costs, it said last month. It has also been in talks to sell its Dudelange galvanising plant to the Luxembourg state, which would then look to find a buyer. But the two parties have not agreed on a value as of yet. The plant, alongside Liberty's Liege facility in Belgium, has been idle for several months.

The company is expected to restart a blast furnace at its Galati site in Romania in the coming weeks, after taking the only running unit off line towards the end of last year.

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