fieramilano Rho (Milan), 16 May 2019 – After two extremely favourable years, slowing figures and uncertainty marked the start of 2019. This is the snapshot of the domestic steel value chain according to Alessandro Banzato (President of Federacciai and CEO at Acciaierie Venete), Antonio Marcegaglia (President of the Marcegaglia Group) and Alessandro Trivillin (CEO at Danieli & C.), speaking at the «Steel Human» conference, which closed the conference program at Made in Steel.
«We see a great deal of confusion on the market – said Alessandro Banzato -, due both to the domestic and the international situation. Brexit-related uncertainties, an American administration imposing new tariffs and other countries taking countermeasures, geopolitical instability in some geographies are among the main reasons of uncertainty». Given this backdrop «the mood of the market players is negative – commented Antonio Marcegaglia -. However, I reckon that the perception is often gloomier than reality: when we talk to competitors and customers we notice a slow down in the number of orders, but it is a small reduction». «The drop in volumes is generally modest – highlighted Alessandro Trivillin -. We see some margins compression however we are aware that 2018 was a one-off year in terms of profits, which means that the current situation is not a source of concerns». This view is confirmed by production data for the Italian steel industry, which during the first quarter was 6.284 mill tons, down by 2.1% compared to the same period in 2018 (source: Federacciai).
Despite slowing consumption figures, investments in the domestic steel industry remain strong. A good example is Taranto, where, as noted by Federacciai President Banzato, «major investments have been planned. ArcelorMittal needs some time to finalize those investments and start reaping their effects. The harsh remarks we have recently read on papers are in my opinion premature». ArcelorMittal is not the only company which is committed to sizable investments. «Our group – said Antonio Marcegaglia – is going to invest between 100 and 120 million euros every year, twice the level of recent years». Investments will not just directed at plants and machineries: Marcegaglia, Acciaierie Venete and Danieli, in fact, have launched corporate academies to train their employees. As it appears, one of the biggest problem in the field of human resources «is finding and hiring good staff – remarked Trivillin -. The industry is not really attrattive for young people: we must improve our communication strategy in this sense».
Finally, as to acquisitions and mergers, according to the conference speakers, it is unlikely that over the next few years there will be no major merger between domestic steel producers. «I think that any consolidation among the “big” Italian players is highly unlikely in the short term: the companies that are still on the market are fairly well structured and generally solid». This however, does not translate into a still market. «I think that if we look deeper into the value chain – said Antonio Marcegaglia – there is still room for restructuring». Alessandro Trivillin shares the same opinion, «if no default or corporate failure arises, I do not foresee any merger between Italian steel companies».
MADE IN STEEL AWARDS – ArcelorMittal Italia, Aperam Stainless Services & Solutions Italy and Liberty Steel are the three winners of the Made in Steel Awards for the best exhibiting design of the trade show.
The jury recognised ArcelorMittal Italia for the Best Communication Stand category with Clarex and Tresoldi Metalli being the category nominees. Aperam Stainless Services & Solutions Italy was recognized as the Most Friendly Stand. AFV Acciaierie Beltrame and Acciaierie Venete were the category nominees. Finally Liberty Steel was granted the Best International Stand award. Cisa Trasporti Industriali and Calvi Holding were the category nominees.