Steel demand – a key barometer for global economic growth – will increase by 4.5% to 5.5% this year, the company said in its full-year earnings statement.l MANCHESTER: ArcelorMittal reinstated its dividend and named Aditya Mittal as its new chief executive officer as a rebounding steel market helped it shrug off the impact of the pandemic. Steel demand – a key barometer for global economic growth – will increase by 4.5% to 5.5% this year, the company said in its full-year earnings statement. Steelmakers from India to Japan have flagged a recovery in demand and prices after enduring a difficult year in 2020 as Covid-19 crushed consumption. It will pay a dividend of 30 cents a share, the company said. The steelmaking giant halted payouts following a collapse in demand last year. It also announced a new share buyback programme. “Although we must continue to navigate the Covid-19 challenge, I expect 2021 to be another year of progress for the company, and look forward to working closely with Aditya our new CEO, ” said Lakshmi Mittal, who takes on the role of executive chairman. Reinstating the dividend will be a boost for Lakshmi, the billionaire steel magnate who owns 36% of the company. ArcelorMittal achieved its debt target as the company generated cash flow with the recovery in the global economy from the initial effects of Covid-19. The steelmaker has also focused on consolidation, selling its North American operations to Cleveland-Cliffs Inc and shuttering an unprofitable furnace in Poland. It also sold most of its stake in the beleaguered Ilva mill to the Italian government. ArcelorMittal reported fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of US$1.73bil. ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company, with a presence in more than 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18 countries. ─ Bloomberg
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