ArcelorMittal announced it’s selling several northwest Indiana steel plants to an Ohio-based company in a deal worth nearly $1.5 billion. The sale was motivated by a need to please investors after a year of losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
ArcelorMittal posted around $2 billion in losses in the first half of 2020. Its analysts said that’s due to a lagging demand in steel caused by COVID-19 and government efforts to contain it.
Aditya Mittal is the president and chief financial officer of ArcelorMittal. In a phone call with investors, he said selling off most of the company’s U.S. facilities – including all of those in northwest Indiana – will help turn things around.
“So what we’re suggesting is that returns to shareholders is the higher priority than acquisitions and things like that,” he said.
When the sale is completed towards the end of the year, the new owner, Cleveland-Cliffs, said it will be the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. It hopes to increase the company’s presence in steel production for products like cars and construction materials.
ArcelorMittal was sued by environmental groups last December. They say the company hasn't been held accountable for more than 100 environmental violations that occurred at one of the facilities included in the sale. Cleveland-Cliffs recently paid out $50,000 in fines for polluting the air around a taconite processing plant it acquired in northern Minnesota.