A global crisis, generated by the pandemic of a new type of the coronavirus, is the hardest one since the World War II, as declared recently by Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary-General. The epidemic disturbed a regular lifestyle and a business rhythm both in small towns and the largest capitals of the world. Everybody suffered – owners of large holdings, small cafes, and employees – literally all owners of small, middle-size and large business. In new reality companies had to suspend their activity, to reduce headcount, to review their plans for future and a financial strategy. Meanwhile every day every person struggles against stress and worries for their families and friends amid information from mass media and horrifying statistics.
Companies of ArcelorMittal Group are represented in 60 countries worldwide, including Italy, Germany and France. Exactly in these countries COVID-19 is spread most of all now. The group is forced to reduce production in a lot of its companies worldwide. In this situation ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih, the largest mining-metallurgical company in Ukraine, is doing everything possible not only to prevent the spread of infection, protect its employees and their families, but also to keep production level and not to lose sustainable development in future.
“One fifth of our employees is now on paid vacations or is working remotely, from home. We took this decision in order to decrease a number of people at the plant’s territory and a number of social contacts inside the company to mitigate a risk of contagion and the spread of virus. To allow such health-driven measures without affecting operation, with operation at several shops still maintained, we have decided to freeze and postpone any non-critical work up to the end of quarantine”, ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih CEO Mauro Longobardo declared. “Meanwhile our team puts all the efforts to keep usual volumes of production and to carry out the orders of our customers, for whom the situation is also not easy now. Of course, our customers have to make changes in their work. For example, we see that several European companies have shut down their facilities, and due to this situation, uncertainty about future business scenario is felt by all customers’ worldwide. Currently it is difficult to forecast when the world will get back to full-scale business activity, considering the growth of morbidity. We consider that a better business forecast will have been available by end of May”.
“Good news is that China has almost overcome the epidemic and managed to get back to normal work. It gave us an opportunity to start shipping our concentrate to China by sea. At the moment we are working to bring exports to 300,000 tons of the concentrate per month. Even though it is extremely complicated to replace shipment by railway to Europe with shipment to China by sea quickly, together with our team and logistics partners we keep the situation under control and are managing to find solutions for different issues. I can also tell about long-term capital investment. Modernization of the company has been our main priority all these years. Now we are revising the current operation plans and short-term investment plan might suffer delays due to the current situation. Nevertheless, we do not intend to change the long-term strategic development for the next five years. All plans regarding implementation of ecological projects have not been stopped. Construction of a new pellet plant, gas treatment at converter shop and modernization of blast furnace No. 9 are key investment objects for our company. We steadily proceed adapting our schedules to the limited availability of external suppliers that have been slowing down operations due to introduction of quarantine regime in their respective countries”, the company CEO said. “Of course, we understand that now it will be much more difficult to achieve all targets and tasks we have set for ourselves. The group, especially in the most affected areas, is suffering tremendous losses due to coronavirus pandemic. Depending on the level such pandemic will reach in Ukraine we need to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Now we are trying to activate all available reserves to decrease costs and to keep business and employees. ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih also understands its responsibility to society – the city and the region where we live and work. That is why despite the difficulties we support Kriviy Rih in this difficult period in an active way – we buy medical equipment, keep on paying taxes in a stable way and help with hospitalization of people in a context of the quarantine. We provide our employees with additional protective masks and respirators (about 250 thousand pieces have been ordered), gloves (100 thousand pairs), washing and disinfection materials, we arrange safe delivery of employees to the shops, as well as disinfection of check-points and bus stops at the company’s territory”. (AMKR/Ukrainian metal)