ArcelorMittal offers to sell plants in swoop for Ilva

Date Mar 16 2018 14:57:53 Source:SHMET

   BRUSSELS, March 15 (Reuters) - ArcelorMittal  MT.AS , the world's largest steelmaker, has offered to sell plants across Europe in an effort to address EU antitrust concerns over its 1.8 billion euro ($2.2 billion) bid for Italian peer Ilva.

    The offer of concessions was submitted on Thursday. No details were provided, in line with the European Commission's policy.

    While declining to provide further details, ArcelorMittal said it hoped the concessions would allay the EU competition enforcer's worries.

    "We understand this remedy package will now be subject to market testing. We hope for a swift conclusion," ArcelorMittal said.

    The company has offered to sell facilities across Europe, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

    The EU antitrust watchdog is now expected to seek feedback from rivals and customers on the concessions before deciding whether to clear the deal. It will decide on the deal by May 23.

    The Commission has said the deal to acquire Europe's biggest capacity steel plant might reduce competition in some flat carbon steel products and lead to higher prices for customers in

southern Europe.

    Based in the city of Taranto in southern Italy, Ilva has been plagued by charges of corruption and environmental crimes for years.

 ($1 = 0.8091 euros)

Edited by SHMET

LME copper prices flat as dollar pares gains; set for weekly drop

Date Mar 16 2018 14:57:12 Source:SHMET

BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) - London copper prices recovered from early losses to trade flat on Friday, with the dollar giving up some of Thursday's gains following reports of another shake-up in the White House.

    U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, the Washington Post reported, taking the dollar lower against the yen.

    A strong dollar makes metals more expensive for holders of other currencies and can weigh on prices. Incoming White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Thursday said he would like the dollar to be stronger. 

    Describing copper as the "lightning rod for global investor changes", ANZ said investors "are likely to remain cautious" ahead of next week's Federal Reserve meeting, at which the U.S. central bank is expected to raise interest rates for the first time this year.



    * LME COPPER: Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange  CMCU3  was flat at $6,917 a tonne at 0455 GMT, after touching $6,883 earlier in the session. It is on course for a 0.6-percent weekly drop.

    * SHFE COPPER: The most-traded May copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange  SCFcv1  was down 1 percent at 51,870 yuan ($8,198.33) a tonne but on track for a weekly gain of 0.6 percent.

    * U.S. DOLLAR: The dollar index versus a group of six major currencies slipped 0.1 percent to 90.074  .DXY  after climbing 0.5 percent the previous day.

    * NICKEL: Nickel  SNIcv1  was the biggest loser among Shanghai base metals, slipping 1.3 percent to 102,740 yuan a tonne but still up 1.9 percent for the week.

    * COPPER: The Democratic Republic of Congo is considering adding copper to its list of strategic minerals in a move that would extract higher fees from mining companies, an adviser to the prime minister said on Thursday. 

    * TARIFFS: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom have agreed to meet next week in an attempt to resolve a deepening dispute over trade tariffs, a European Commission source said on Thursday.


    * Asian stocks slid on Friday as the reports of more chaos in the Trump administration tested investors' nerves, already frayed by fears that U.S. tariffs could hurt the global economy and trigger a trade war.    

Edited by SHMET

Norsk Hydro CEO says securing alumina to replace Alunorte output is priority

Date Mar 16 2018 14:56:30 Source:SHMET

OSLO/LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Norsk Hydro Asa  NHY.OL  sees securing alternative sources of alumina to replace reduced supplies at its Brazilian plant as a priority, Chief Executive

Svein Richard Brandtzaeg told Reuters.

    Brazilian authorities ordered Norsk Hydro's Alunorte plant, the world's largest alumina plant, to cut output by half in late February until it addressed pollution concerns, leading the Norwegian company to declare force majeure with no time set to restart production.

    Alunorte refines bauxite to alumina, which is turned into aluminium at huge smelters. It produces 5.8 million metric tonnes of alumina per year, according to Norsk Hydro's website.

    In a telephone interview, Brandtzaeg said he could not yet say when full production would resume but dialogue with the Brazilian authorities was "very constructive".

    He said Alunorte had supplies to last into April but sourcing extra volumes was a priority.

    "We are looking at alternative sourcing on the international market," he said. "Sourcing extra volumes is a key priority."

    The company said in a statement on Thursday it had put 400 employees that work in its facilities in the northern state of ParĂ¡ on a compulsory 15-day leave beginning on April 2.

    Hydro's shares closed down 1.6 percent on Thursday.

Edited by SHMET

Russian billionaire Potanin buys 2 pct of Nornickel from Abramovich

Date Mar 16 2018 14:55:43 Source:SHMET

MOSCOW, March 15 (Reuters) - Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin's Interros Holding said it had completed the purchase from businessman Roman Abramovich of a 2 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel  GMKN.MM , which has been the subject of a legal battle.

    Abramovich struck a provisional deal last week that allowed him to sell a 4 percent stake in Norilsk to fellow shareholders Potanin and aluminium producer Rusal  0486.HK , pending the outcome of a London court case. 

    Rusal is trying to stop Abramovich from selling Nornickel shares, arguing that would violate a 2012 shareholder agreement. The share purchase by Interros could yet be revoked if the court, which is expected to make a decision in May, rules in favour of Rusal.

    The dispute is part of a long-running battle for control of Nornickel, a $30 billion company that competes with Brazil's Vale for the rank of the world's top nickel producer. It is also the world's largest palladium producer.

    Interros said in statement that it had bought a 2.1 percent stake from Abramovich, increasing its holding in the miner to 32.9 percent.

    The purchase was made at a price of $234 per share, as set out in Potanin's initial offer to buy a stake from Abramovich in early February. 

    Nornickel's Moscow-listed shares were down 1 percent at 10,775 roubles ($189) per share on Thursday, underperforming a broader MICEX index which was stable.

    It was unclear whether Rusal planned to buy the remaining 2 percent stake on offer from Abramovich.

    Asked about its intentions on Thursday, Rusal told Reuters that it "is considering its options in light of ongoing litigation". Controlled by billionaire Oleg Deripaska, Rusal holds 27.8 percent in Nornickel.

    According to the arrangement between the three parties reached in the London court last week, any transfer of this 4 percent stake by Abramovich would be reversed if the court rules in favour of Rusal in the dispute.  ($1 = 57.0670 roubles)


Edited by SHMET

Top U.S., EU officials fix meeting next week on tariffs - EU source

Date Mar 16 2018 14:55:04 Source:SHMET

 BRUSSELS, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom have agreed to meet next week in an attempt to resolve a deepening dispute over trade tariffs, a European Commission source said on Thursday.

    Ross and Malmstrom spoke on the telephone on Thursday and discussed U.S. plans to impose import duties of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium, the source said.

    Malmstrom repeated the European Union's hope that it would be exempted, given that the bloc is a close security ally of the United States, and said the two should work together on the issue of global overcapacity, which was harming both economies.

    President Donald Trump, who has cited national security for imposing the tariffs, has already offered exemptions to Canada and Mexico.    

    Ross and Malmstrom agreed to meet next week although details of the talks remain to be set, the Commission source said.

    Malmstrom met U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday, but emerged from that meeting saying it was not clear how the EU could seek exemptions.

    Trump tweeted on Monday that Ross would lead Washington's efforts to persuade the EU to remove tariffs and barriers that he has described as "horrific" and unfair to U.S. farmers and manufacturers. 

    He has also threatened to set import levies on EU cars.

    The EU disputes Trump's line on tariffs and his emphasis on cars, for which the U.S. tariff, at 2.5 percent, is lower than the EU's 10 percent. For other products, U.S. tariffs are higher, such as trucks at 25 percent compared with an EU rate that can be as low as 10.

    The Commission has said that, if the United States applied tariffs to EU steel and aluminium, then it would launch a legal challenge at the World Trade Organization and consider its own tariffs or quotas to prevent those metals flooding into Europe.

    It has also drawn up a list of U.S. products worth 2.8 billion euros ($3.45 billion) on which it could impose 25 percent import duties.   

($1 = 0.8112 euros)



Edited by SHMET