Liberty Steel plant in Belgium could get a lifeline from a government loan

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The government of the Belgian region of Wallonia is planning a loan Liberty Steels Liberty Liège-Dudelange (LLD) rolling and coating plant looking for a new buyer. The move follows the collapse of the steel company’s main creditor in March. Capital of Greensill.

“In this regard, the LLD company is in the process of judicial reorganization through ‘collective bargaining’ (since May 11th) and there is a significant risk that it will not be able to continue its activities in the short term,” President Willy Borsus said in a statement from June 3rd.

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Liberty Steel lifeline in Belgium?

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The Walloon government is therefore planning to propose to the regional investment fund Sogepa to grant a loan for the plant so that it can continue to operate.

“This region’s proposal is subject to strict conditions, particularly aimed at ensuring full repayment of this loan and organizing a sales process in which Sogepa must be closely involved. By adhering to the conditions set by the region, the bankruptcy of the company can be avoided, ”the statement from Borsus said.

The regional government is also in contact with members of the Luxembourg government on this matter, added Borsus.

The Liège plant is located in Belgium, while Dudelange is located in Luxembourg. The combined production capacity of the plants is 300,000 tons of cold rolled coil per year. They can now produce 1.6 million tons of coated steel and 200,000 tons of tinplate.

Liberty Steel acquired the plants in 2018. ArcelorMittal has reached an agreement with the European Commission to sell the plants in order to advance the takeover of the Italian steel and flat steel producer Ilva.

Meanwhile, the amount of expected credit is not clear. Sources from the Walloon government offices in Namur and near Sogepa were not available for comment.

An industry source described the Walloon government’s intent as “intelligent, otherwise LLD simply would not survive”.

He also noted that LLD could not obtain a substrate for coating from other manufacturers without prepayment. In turn, end users currently do not want to purchase finished products from LLD because they fear that they would not receive them, the source says.

Russian steel manufacturer modernizes Belgian plant

Also in Belgium, Russia Novolipezk steel (NLMK) has started modernizing the four-stand rolling mill on the Clabecq flat roll for 30 million euros (35.8 million US dollars).

The work includes a new descaling system. In addition, the work includes new accumulators for the pump room, the installation of which will be completed in the Belgian summer, announced NLMK.

Clabecq can produce up to 750,000 tons of sheet metal in thicknesses of 3-120 mm per year with slabs from NLMK’s main Russian plant in Lipezk. The plant is located around 450 kilometers south of the capital Moscow.

The Belgian mill is part of NLMK Europe Plate, which also has a heavy plate mill in Denmark and Italy.

The most important end users of the plants are located in the shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, wind energy, energy, high-pressure container production, infrastructure, construction, transport and yellow goods sectors.

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