Usiminas’ crude steel output up by almost 10% in 2012

Brazilian flat steel producer Usiminas closed 2012 with a total crude steel output for the year of 7.3 million tonnes, sources close to the company told Steel First on Friday January 11.

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This represents an increase of nearly 10% compared with the 6.7 million tonnes registered in 2011.

Of the total production, 3.9 million tonnes came from the steelmaker’s Ipatinga mill in Minas Gerais state and 3.4 million tonnes from the Cubatão works in São Paulo state, the sources said.

Usiminas, however, told Steel First it would not comment on the figures.

The company is the largest flat steel manufacturer in Brazil and the second biggest in all of Latin America. It can produce as much as 9.5 million tpy of crude steel, but until recently its finished steel capacity stood at only 7.2 million tpy.

It can now produce 9.5 million tpy of rolled steel, however, after concluding its 11 billion Reais ($5.4 billion) steel investment cycle with the commissioning of a new hot rolling mill in Cubatão.

Crude steel production has been increasing since Ternium acquired a controlling stake in the company at the beginning of 2012 and installed Julián Eguren to head the steelmaker.

In the middle of last year, Eguren said utilisation rates had gone up from around 70% to 80-83%.