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ArcelorMittal halts production at hot strip mill in Indiana

ArcelorMittal has shuttered a hot strip mill at itsnorthwestern Indiana complex as it moves to curtail capacity and optimize itsoperations in the U.S., The Times wroteApril 2, citing a company spokeswoman and a United Steelworkers union official.

ArcelorMittal spokeswoman Mary Beth Holdford was quoted assaying that the company considers all options to implement its Action 2020strategic roadmap, which aims to deliver financial improvements by 2020 throughasset and cost optimization, as well as an improved portfolio of highadded-value products.

Holdford also added that ArcelorMittal is shrinking itsfootprint in North America without layoffs by "leveraging naturalattrition."

More than 300 employees will be displaced amid the closureof the hot strip mill, the article quoted United Steelworkers District 7Director Mike Millsap as saying, but no one will be laid off. Union members canbid for ArcelorMittal's current 182 openings, plus 49 mechanical and electricalpositions.

The article also said the union is still negotiatingdetails, while working to place affected workers in East Chicago, Burns Harboror Riverdale, and retrain others.

Allegedly, ArcelorMittal does not expect to restart theunder-used hot strip mill and is likely to close more finishing lines. Insteadthe company is thought to invest in its remaining assets to operate moreefficiently and address overcapacity.

Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal's deal to its LaPlace and Vinton Long Carbonfacilities in the U.S. for an undisclosed price is expected to close in Apriland help the company meet its net debt reduction target of about US$4 billion.