Tata Steel, the world's no. 7 steelmaker, will mothball a processing mill in Britain on weak demand for steel and a poor economic outlook, the company said.
The closure of the mill at Llanwern site in Newport, south Wales, resulted in 115 job losses. Tata Steel runs a similar mill in Port Talbot with lower costs and said this will supply the market.
The Llanwern Hot Rolling Mill is an important operation for us, and our intention is to bring it back into operation as soon as market conditions permit, Jon Ferriman, Hub Director for the Strip Products UK hub based at Port Talbot and Llanwern, said in a statement.
The company had already cut production capacity from 85-90 percent in the first half this year to 80-85 percent in October, it said. In September, Tata Steel's European unit, Corus, shut down one of four blast furnaces in Scunthorpe and another furnace at the site was idled a few years ago on a long-term basis. Other steelmakers in Europe have made cutbacks to deal with flagging demand. Germany's biggest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp said on Friday it would idle a blast furnace in Duisburg, Germany, to carry out planned maintenance earlier than expected as customers ordered few flat steel products.
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal has closed two furnaces at its Liege plant in Belgium and idled production in Germany, Poland and Spain because of flagging demand and Europe's poor economic outlook.
Tata Steel Europe is the continent's second-biggest steel producer with an annual capacity of 18 million tonnes.
(Writing by Clare Kane, editing by William Hardy)