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Company News, 2000-12-21, 01:00 AM

Reduced capacity at Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG

In connection with the implementation of the industrial strategy of Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG aimed at concentrating steelmaking and most of hot strip production at Duisburg, a number of investments and rebuilding projects are being carried out which will lead to a temporary reduction in capacity.

In the 4th quarter of 2000, in parallel with the relining of blast furnace B, the final phase in the construction of the new continuous caster 3 at Hüttenwerke Krupp Mannesmann will be completed. After a ramp-up phase the facilities are expected to reach full capacity in early 2001.

At Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG itself, rebuilding work taking place on the wide hot strip mill in Bochum and a continuous caster in Duisburg-Beeckerwerth will be completed by May. The hot strip mill in Dortmund will close down in the 1st quarter 2001, followed a month later by the last blast furnace and the steelmaking shop. The restructuring process will thus be completed in the first half of 2001.

In the downstream processing areas strategic investments are being implemented. The linkup of the pickling line and tandem mill in Duisburg-Beeckerwerth is taking place as part of a phased plan during the first half of 2000/2001. Major rebuilding work is being carried out on hot dip coating line No. 6 in Ferndorf.

The implementation of these extensive measures means that crude steel and hot strip capacity in the second quarter of the 2000/2001 fiscal year will be around 300,000 t (8 to 10 %) lower than in the last quarter of the previous fiscal year, which was characterized by full capacity utilization. Consequently, utilization will remain high in the coming months, with demand slightly down due to the inventory cycle. At the same time the lower capacity will contribute to a stabilization of the market.

The forecasts for the European steel industry in 2001 are positive, with production growth in the automotive, mechanical engineering, electrical equipment and packaging industries expected to result in a further rise in steel consumption. The outlook is particularly positive for high value-added flat products such as coated sheet for the buoyant automotive industry.

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