Over 2,000 jobs at risk as ArcelorMittal SA slips to H1 loss

ArcelorMittal South Africa has cautioned that more than 2,000 jobs may be cut after the steelmaker made a damaging headline loss in the first six months of 2019.

The South African subsidiary said it expects to report a headline loss of at least R596 million for the six months to end-June, down from headline earnings of R54 million a year earlier.

Arcelor pointed to a ‘difficult domestic environment’ as the primary reason for its swing into the red. “The SA steel industry continues to face significant challenges,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Certain costs that are not within the company’s control, such as high electricity, rail, port, and primary raw material costs, have contributed to these challenges.

“More significant measures have become necessary, including the review of staffing levels, together with other interventions,” the statement continued.

As a result, the company will soon begin a formal consultation process ahead of a ‘large-scale restructuring’.

The looming threat of job cuts at Arcelor is the latest of several similar statements made by South African industrial giants, including Hulamin, Group Five, Basil Read, Sibanye-Stillwater and Tongaat Hulett.