JSW Steel idles US plant, to lay off 160 employees

Suresh P Iyengar Mumbai | Updated on July 16, 2020 Published on July 16, 2020

JSW Steel has suspended production at its US subsidiary Mingo Junction’s factory in Ohio due to a sharp fall in demand. The company has also sent notices to lay off 160 workers at the plant, said sources.

The company blamed the current business condition in the US steel industry for the layoffs. The first set of layoffs will start on July 17 and conclude by the month-end while the second tranche will be completed by August 15, said the company in its notice to employees.

It expressed hope that the layoffs are temporary, lasting less than six months.

JSW Steel did not respond to a questionnaire sent by BusinessLine.

Furnace upgrade

During the shutdown period, the company plans to remove the current 1.5 million tonne per year electric arc furnace (EAF) and replace it with a new Tenova Consteel EAF with the same capacity, said sources.

The Ohio plant had restarted production just last month after a shutdown in April and May. It had installed a new automation system associated with the furnace upgrade during the two months of shutdown.

Earlier, John Hritz, Chief Executive, JSW Steel USA Ohio, said the company is completing existing orders and may close the EAF by the end of August. The upgraded EAF will allow the Mingo Junction mill to produce 12-inch slabs that will be supplied to the company's pipe and plate mill subsidiary in Baytown, Texas and other customers.

Hot rolled coil production in the US subsidiary was up 32 per cent in the March quarter at 73,000 tonnes.

Most of the integrated steel producers in the US have suspended production with a sudden fall in demand after the Covid outbreak and subsequent lockdown.

In the March quarter, JSW Steel has made an impairment provision of ₹1,309 crore including ₹852 crore towards diminution in the value of investments in Chile mining operations, ₹377 crore for doubtful recovery of interest from its US subsidiary and ₹80 crore towards retirement of certain fixed assets in India.

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Published on July 16, 2020
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