Metinvest plans to acquire assets in Europe to supply enough steel for rebuilding Ukraine

Metinvest plans to acquire assets in Europe to supply enough steel for rebuilding Ukraine

Metinvest mining and metallurgical group will be able to supply a sufficient amount of metal products to restore Ukraine after the war, the company's CEO Yuriy Ryzhenkov said in an interview with ...

At the same time, he said that last year was difficult for Metinvest and the country as a whole. In particular, the group temporarily lost control over our two largest steel mills in Mariupol, which is about 30% of all group assets.

Also, the iron ore mines and mills that are still operational in Ukraine are not running at full capacity because of blackouts, infrastructure damage and the blockade of Black Sea ports. Most facilities are operating at less than 50% of their capacity.

Asked about the possibility of restoring infrastructure and assets, the CEO stated that the exact scale of damage to facilities is still unknown.

"We have seen many videos from the first few months of the war, but we don’t know the actual condition of the assets. It is quite likely that parts of the mills are intact or in an operable condition. Once the city is liberated, we will be able to send our specialists there, and we will know what’s repairable and what’s not. But in any case, our shareholder Rinat Akhmetov has already announced that we will be rebuilding those facilities, and they will not be the same as before," the top manager said.

"We will be moving towards "green steel," towards carbon-neutral steel production, and the new facilities will be built in Mariupol on that basis," Ryzhenkov said.

With regard to enterprises located outside the currently occupied territories, but very close to the front line, their work is affected by problems with the logistics and energy supply of these facilities, but they haven't been resolved in recent months. Some facilities are at 50% capacity. The company has to implement new procedures for the health and safety of our people, as many of these places are still being bombed by Russian rockets. Therefore, there must be arrangements to make it safe for the employees, with hideouts and procedures that they follow when they work.

"Other than that, our employees are in good spirits: they believe in Ukraine's victory and they are still working," the head of the group said.

He added that the company is still the largest steel producer in the country. Any country that needs to rebuild its infrastructure is going to need substantial steel supplies, and the company is ready to supply that in Ukraine.

"Even in this extremely tragic year that we have had, Metinvest has managed to invent and launch 24 new products, and we continue to increase our product line. I am sure that we are going to be able to supply adequate steel products for Ukraine’s plans to rebuild the country. Infrastructure will be a major part of this plan: there will be a need to renew the railway system, housing and roads, and we will be there to supply the steel for this reconstruction," the CEO said.

Asked about investments outside of Ukraine and showing interest in Dunaferr in Hungary, Ryzhenkov explained that the company has been looking at Eastern European steel assets throughout the company's history.

"So, yes, we are interested in looking at those mills. Not just to buy them, but to refurbish them and make them part of a more green and efficient future for the steel industry. We are also looking at the possibility of greenfield investments in some of the steel-importing countries in the EU. For example, Italy is a major steel importer, and we are looking at building a mill there that will produce steel using Ukrainian raw materials," the top manager said.

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