Energy costs Celsa force France to cut steel production

Celsa France’s oven will no longer work every day. It will be alone “The days when the price of energy will be at a level that will allow production to be competitive”A spokesperson for the parent company of the Spanish Celsa steel group, which has owned the site since 2007, told La Tribune. The large furnace of the former Atlantic Steelworks, located in the port of Bayonne, between the towns of Boucau and Tarnos, is powered by electricity. with electricity, it shapes into billets, thin steel rods that can measure 13 meters long. Equipment that consumes a lot of energy under current conditions.

“This is an indefinite temporary measure to deal with the high volatility of energy prices. The company is adapting to meet greater competition. We remain committed to maintaining our production levels and continuing to meet the needs of our customers.” the spokesman continues.

Recent investments

A blow with hope of a clear horizon for the 411 workers, workers and temporary workers who work at the main steel complex in the south of France. In June 2019, a leading private Spanish industrial group, employing a total of 12,000 people (including temporary workers) worldwide, announced the construction of a rolling train in France. “has great strategic value for the growth of the group”, in his own words. 60 million euros have been invested in this steel plant, which has its fifth owner since its creation in 1995, successively the Spanish companies Ucin, Aceleria and Anon, and later Arcelor.

The announcement was above all highly symbolic, as 140 jobs were threatened at the site, which then employed nearly 200 people: “With the construction of the loading train, the Boucau-Tarnos steel plant will no longer be satisfied with the production of steel ingots, but will be able to produce finished products, which will increase its competitiveness and profitability.”, explained Francesc Rubiralta, president of the Celsa Group. Construction of the rolling mill, which has since been completed, had to permit the group “Accelerating penetration into the French and Benelux markets”.

Steel: Celsa group starts investment of 60 million euros in the port of Bayonne

The metallurgical and steel industries were primarily affected

The sharp rise in energy prices is forcing Celsa Group, which is aiming for a turnover of 5.3 billion euros in 2021, to reconsider its ambitions today, at least in terms of production. But it is not the only one, because many sectors, first of all, the metallurgy and steel industry, are greatly affected by the increase in electricity and gas prices. And despite government aid, more and more companies are forced to cut production. In Fos-sur-Mer (Bouches du Rhône), ArcelorMittal has closed one of its two blast furnaces. At Dunkirk (North), Europe’s largest aluminum smelter, the pace has also slowed. After the first Duralex that sounded the alarm in September, it’s Arc International’s turn in Arques (Pas-de-Calais) to turn off half the furnaces. Other companies are expected to follow in 2023 when the new rates come into effect, while others are already switching to the night shift to take advantage of the cheaper fares.

Produce overnight: some manufacturers plan to reduce energy costs

Europlasma suspends production for four months

Faced with the same effects, the Europlasma group based in Morcenx (Landes) also made a radical decision a few days ago. “TheInertam (an asbestos waste processing plant in Lands) and Satma Industries (a manufacturer of aluminum foil anodes for electrolytic capacitors), whose operations are heavily dependent on gas and electricity, have temporarily suspended industrial production for restoration purposes. On April 1, 2023, at the end of the winter term his decision”nevertheless, it shows leadership that has managed to create a virtuous circle for its activities in recent years.

Dynamic port

“Our staff will not be on technical unemployment, they will provide technical service on the days when the furnace is closed or during training”, Celsa explains. With an excellent logistics location at the mouth of the Adour, Celsa France’s long-term future is not threatened. In 2021, about 900,000 tonnes of steel passed through the port, imported as scrap and raw materials, then converted into bars, plates and sheets. A jump of about 20% compared to the previous year, but also an increase of about 40 tons compared to 2019.

Dynamic activity for a similarly dynamic port area. In an area covering two departments and four municipalities (Tarnos, Boucau, Anglet, Bayonne), transit products from regional industrial and agri-food basins such as corn, fertilizer and wood, as well as hydrocarbons and sulfur extracted in Lacq near Pau. . The Bayonne Pays Basque CCI, to which he entrusted the management of the region, is doing important work there, especially funded by France Relance, so that this good dynamic continues after a few lean years.