USSK idles second blast furnace

US Steel Kosice (USSK) has shut down a second blast furnace until early 2023 due to high energy costs and low demand, a company spokesman confirms to Kallanish. Two of the firm’s three BFs are now idle.

The firm idled blast furnace no.2 on 4 September. This was initially supposed to be for a 60-day planned maintenance, but the unit remains off line.

USSK reduced shipments 19% on-year in the third quarter to 867,000 net tons. Raw steel production dropped 26% to 946,000nt, giving capacity utilisation of 75% versus 101% a year earlier. Besides demand headwinds, results were also negatively impacted by escalating energy costs, which parent company US Steel said it expects will also remain high.

Nine-month-through-September shipments fell 7% on-year to 3.04 million nt, with raw steel production down 13% to 3.25mnt, giving capacity utilisation of 87%. Net sales rose 13% to $3.5 billion but Ebitda fell 26% to $577m.

Amid recent reports Metinvest was mulling acquiring USSK, the Ukrainian steelmaker said its interest in the Slovak steelworks may resume in future but the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is currently dampening any acquisition potential.