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Study on the Competitiveness of the European Steel Sector

Within the Framework Contract of Sectoral Competitiveness Studies ENTR/06/054 Final report, August 2008

Client: Directorate-General Enterprise & Industry

ECORYS SCS Group P.O. Box 4175 3006 AD Rotterdam Watermanweg 44 3067 GG Rotterdam The Netherlands

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Table of contents

Executive summary................................................................................................................... ii 1 Introduction.......................................................................................................................1 1.1 1.2 2 Structure of the report.................................................................................................2 Scope of the study: Defining the steel industry .............................................................2

The steel industry: key aspects..........................................................................................5 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Characteristics of companies in the steel sector...........................................................6 Technologies and production processes.......................................................................9 Supply to the steel industry ........................................................................................19 The steel industrys distribution and downstream value chain ....................................20 Internationalisation and consolidation in the world steel industry..............................21 Major changes and consolidation in the European steel industry ...............................23 Production of crude steel and finished steel products.................................................26 Production of steel tubes ...........................................................................................33 Foundry production ..................................................................................................36 Steel capacity and utilization.....................................................................................38 Steel consumption .....................................................................................................41 Development in steel prices .......................................................................................44 Employment levels.....................................................................................................47 Conclusions ..............................................................................................................49

The competitive position of the EU steel industry ..........................................................52 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Analytical framework for analyzing competitiveness ..................................................52 Business conditions...................................................................................................53 Overall competitive company strategies.....................................................................58 Input to steel production............................................................................................61 Processes and output factors .....................................................................................73 Performance of the EU steel industry.........................................................................78 Demand forecasts and market prospects....................................................................89 Conclusions ..............................................................................................................94

Regulatory and Framework Conditions for Competitiveness ........................................98

4.1 4.2 4.3 5

Main regulatory conditions affecting competitiveness of the EU steel sector...............98 Assessment of framework conditions for the EU steel sector.....................................100 Conclusion: Key institutional framework conditions for sector competitiveness........115

Strategic outlook............................................................................................................117 5.1 5.2 5.3 SWOT analysis........................................................................................................117 Possible strategic options........................................................................................129 Epilogue .................................................................................................................138

List of literature.....................................................................................................................140

List of figures
Figure 2.1. Illustration of steels flow in EU15, 2004 6 Figure 2.2. Schematic view over the two process routes; BOF and EAF 10 Figure 2.3. EU steel production by process in the EU27, 2006 (million tonnes) 11 Figure 2.4. Continuous casting steel output, 1992-2006 (% of total crude steel output) 14 Figure 2.5. Iron ore market shares, 2006 20 Figure 2.6. Consolidation in the steel industry: market share of top 5 regional companies, 2006 23 Figure 2.7. Herfindal-Hirschman index (10000 = monopoly) 25 Figure 2.8. World crude steel production, 1950-2007 (million metric tonnes) 27 Figure 2.9. Total crude steel production by regions, 1997-2007 (thousand metric tonnes) 28 Figure 2.10. Share of total world crude steel production by regions, 2007 29 Figure 2.11. Production of crude steel by casting process in world regions, 2005 (thousand metric tonnes) 30 Figure 2.12. Production of crude steel by process in world regions, 2005 (thousand metric tonnes) 30 Figure 2.13. Development in total crude steel production in the EU, 1997-2007 (million metric tonnes) 31 Figure 2.14. EU27 level of steel production by product type, 2006 (thousand metric tonnes) 33 Figure 2.15. Share of total world steel tubes production in world regions, 2007 34 Figure 2.16. Volume of products produced in world regions, 2007 (thousands metric tonnes). 35 Figure 2.17. Development in total steel tube production in the EU, 1997-2006 (thousand metric tonnes) 36 Figure 2.18. Development in total steel castings production in the EU, 2002-2006 (thousand tonnes) 38 Figure 2.19 Development in production, capacity and utilization in crude steel production, 1998-2007 39 Figure 2.20. Share of global apparent consumption of finished steel by regions, 2007 42 Figure 2.21. World apparent consumption of finished steel, 1997-2006 (thousand metric tonnes) 43 Figure 2.22. EU apparent consumption of finished steel, 1997-2006 (thousand metric tonnes) 44 Figure 2.23. Development in steel prices: total output price index, EU27, 2001-2007 45 Figure 2.24. Development in steel prices: total output price index, Germany, 1995-2007 46 Figure 2.25. Development in steel prices: total output price index, United Kingdom, 1991-2007 46 Figure 3.1. Analytical framework for analysing the competitiveness of the steel industry 52 Figure 3.2. Total steel deliveries by mode of transport, 2003 (metric tonnes) 55 Figure 3.3. Iron ore prices - annual contract prices, 1976-2008 65 Figure 3.4. Development in coal prices, 2006-2008 (dollar/tonnes) 66 Figure 3.5. Scrap prices, 2005-2008 (dollar/tonnes) 67 Figure 3.6. Energy prices, thermal coal and natural gas, 2005 - 2007 68 Figure 3.7. Electricity for industry: average price of one kWh (cents), 1996-2006 69 Figure 3.8. The Castrip process 74 Figure 3.9. Value added per hour worked, basic metals, EU14 and the US, 1979-2001 (1997 US$) 77 Figure 3.10. Development annual indexed turnover in EU27, basic metals sector (Year 2000 = 100) 79 Figure 3.11. Development in profitability in the steel industry, 2000 - 2007 (EBITDA pr. shipped ton) 80 Figure 3.12. EU27 extra-regional exports and imports of semi-finished and finished steel products, 1999-2007 (thousand metric tonnes) 83 Figure 3.13. EU27 export markets for semi-finished and finished steel products, 2007 (%) 85 Figure 3.14. Imports of semi-finished and finished steel products, selected countries, 1999-2006 (thousand metric tonnes) 85 Figure 3.15. Origin of EU25 imports for semi-finished and finished steel products, 2007 (%) 86 Figure 3.16. China Exports of Steel by destination (steel mill products), 2006 87 Figure 3.17. Exports of semi-finished and finished steel products, selected countries, 1999-2006 (thousand metric tonnes) 88

List of tables
Table 1.1. Defining the Steel Industry by NACE Codes 3 Table 2.1. The top 15 steel producers in the world, 2007 22 Table 2.2. Crude steel production in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania, 1989-2000 (million metric tonnes) 31 Table 2.3. Carbon steel price index, January 1997=100 45 Table 2.4. Employment in the EU15 steel industry, 1974, and 1997 - 2002 (number of people in thousands) 47 Table 2.5. Employment in the steel tube industry (estimated figures), 1975-2007 (number of people) 48 Table 2.6. Employment in the foundry industry - iron, steel and malleable iron castings, 2001-2006 (number of people) 49 Table 3.1. Cost models for production of steel 62 Table 3.2. Total personnel costs in the steel sectors per year, EU25/EU27 (million ) 70 Table 3.3. Worldwide hourly compensation costs [indicative $/hour] (estimated) 71 Table 3.4. Turnover and pre-tax profits for selected steel producing companies () 81 Table 3.5. Where to build the next steel plant? 82 Table 3.6. Net-exports of semi-finished and finished steel products in EU27 and selected countries with high level of trade flows, 2006 (thousand metric tonnes) 84 Table 3.7. Development in consumption, production, imports, and exports, 1999-2006 (%) 89 Table 3.8. Forecast of total steel consumption of the main steel using sectors (% change on year) 91 Table 3.9. Forecast of consumption of finished steel products by regions (million tonnes) 92 Table 4.10 Regulatory framework conditions for the steel and steel first processing sector 100

Disclaimer: The views and propositions expressed herein are those of the experts and do not necessarily represent any official view of the European Commission or any other organisations mentioned in the Report

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Preface

This Final Report has been produced as part of the Study on the Competitiveness of the European Steel Sector commissioned by the European Commission Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, within the context of the framework contract on Sector Competitiveness Studies (ENTR/06/054). The general context for the Framework Contract for Sectoral Competitiveness Studies is the growing awareness among European policy-makers of the need to adopt policies to respond to structural weaknesses in the European economy, which led to the adoption of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs in 2000. The Commission has committed itself to a horizontal approach to industrial policy but, nonetheless, recognises that the effectiveness of policy needs to take into account the specific context of individual sectors:

Firstly, by understanding those changes and challenges facing industry that are of a general nature, in that they have important implications across a broad sweep of sectors, and that may be the concern of cross-sectoral policy initiatives; Secondly by understanding those changes and challenges facing industry that are of a more specific nature, or of a general nature but with sector specific implications, and that may warrant the development of sector specific policy approaches.

It is, however, almost self-evident that in a rapidly changing economy, policy development is by necessity a continuous process and the status of an industry needs regular monitoring. Before such monitoring can be conducted, however, it is necessary that a baseline is established that can serve as a reference point against which the situation of the sector can be assessed, both currently and in the future. It is the establishment of this baseline reference point which is clearly identified as the purpose of the sectoral competitiveness studies to be produced under the contract. The "Study on the Competitiveness of the European Steel Sector" has been taken forward by the Danish Technological Institute, in cooperation with the ECORYS SCS Consortium and with input from Mr. Armand Sadler, a renowned steel sector specialist and former chief economist at Arcelor. Thanks are due to a number of people who have commented on previous versions of the paper. We want to mention Mr. Jeroen Vermeij (Eurofer), Mr. Max Schumacher and Mr. Heiko Lickfett (CAEF), Mr. Knut Krempien (Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahlrohre) and Mr. Patrick Martinache (ESTA) as well as the European Commission for their engagement in the project and contributions of facts on the many aspects of the steel sector.

Executive summary

The EU steel sector is facing challenges from new competitors particularly from China and is dependent on increasingly expensive raw materials imported from outside the EU. In addition, climate change and new environmental legislation pose challenges which the steel industry will have to counter. Up until now, the EU steel industry has been able to cope relatively well with the rapidly changing fundamentals in the global steel market; intensive restructuring has enabled the industry to position itself as a reliable supplier of high quality steel products to the most demanding client sectors. However, further actions from the industry, the Member States and the Commission are required to enhance the industrys longer-term competitiveness against the background of intensifying challenges and risks. Based on analyses of the current competitive position of the EU steel industry and the challenges and risks it is facing, this report identifies a number of possible strategic options within six fields of action: 1) Engage in the climate change challenge; 2) Respond to the vertical upstream integration trend outside the EU; 3) Promote high technology leadership; 4) Improve knowledge sharing; 5) Create a level playing field and improve the functioning of the EU energy and transport markets; and 6) Improve the skills base. The study covers the production of steel, steel tubes, and casting of iron and steel products in the EU27.

Competitive position of the EU steel industry


Since the 1980s, the EU steel industry has developed from a process- and productoriented industry to a market-oriented industry. This evolution is the result of a restructuring effort characterised by consolidation and closure of inefficient and obsolete plants as well as by selective investment in new technologies. During this transformation process often accompanied by privatisation of state-owned plants - the industry has become more capital intensive and labour productivity has increased considerably, especially so in the new Member States. The steel tubes and foundry sub-sectors followed different trajectories as they have always been privately owned and less prone to state intervention. Today, the EU steel sector is a modern customer-oriented industry with its main customer base found within the EU home markets, particularly in high-end segments. It focuses on high quality products, product innovation and value creation supported by technological development, efficiency, and skilled manpower. The EU steel industry is dominated by large, multinational companies. Only iron and steel foundry production continues to be characterised by small- and medium sized, specialised companies.

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The steel sector overall is confronted with major challenges notably in terms of costs and access to raw materials and energy, which have a serious impact on the industrys performance. Moreover, the increasing capacity, production and international engagement outside the EU constitutes a threat as market share is being lost to non-European countries such as China, the C.I.S., India and Brazil. Furthermore, the EU steel industry is vulnerable vis--vis the new and expected tightening of (EU-specific) environmental legislation. Today, the EU today is the world's second producer of steel, accounting for 15-16% of world steel output, including crude steel, finished steel products, steel tubes, and iron and steel foundry production. However, the past decade has brought about only limited growth in EU steel production, namely 7.4% for crude steel production in the period 1997-2007. This trend was partially caused by intensive restructuring and plant closures in the new Member States. During the same period, steel tubes production has seen an overall increase by 13.2%, which masks however strong underlying annual fluctuations. Data for foundry production are not available for the same period, but more recent data show that iron and steel foundry production in the EU27 increased by approximately 10% from 2002 to 2006. Due to the strong global output growth in the last decade, the EU27's overall share in world crude steel output therefore fell from 24.3% in 1997 to 16% in 2007. In comparison, other world regions have seen significant production growth rates, especially from 2000 onwards. China, in particular, has expanded its capacity and production radically, allowing it to respond to a strongly growing demand at home while also strengthening its position on export markets. In the EU27, increasing demand has been primarily satisfied by increasing imports. As a consequence, the EU steel industry has been losing market share not only within the EU market but also within export markets. Despite this decline in global market share, the underlying performance figures of the EU steel sector have been mostly positive. The spectacular increase in world steel prices within recent years has been a key driver behind this result. Thus, total EU turnover has increased, and data concerning productivity and profitability also show a positive development. Moreover, empirical studies find that profitability tends to increase with concentration, and as such, the increasing concentration of the EU steel industry provides conditions for improved profitability. However at a micro-level, the data collected also point to high differences in profitability. While the EU steel industry is structured to produce and deliver all types and qualities of steel products, its competitiveness is mainly linked to high quality and often tailor-made products in demanding end-user segments. Consequently, the EU steel industrys competitive position is strongly connected to product innovation and value creation, supported by advanced technological development. Furthermore, technological innovations as well as strong customer relationships and collaboration are essential drivers for competitiveness. Also research and development in the EU foundry sector enable the foundries to be in the technological forefront. Often, foundries are engaged in R&D aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by developing lightweight and simultaneously rigid components that are applied to products in the transport sector, such as cars,

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railways, ships, and air planes as well as in the energy sector (windmills). Consequently, such efforts of the foundry sector tend to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Risks and challenges facing the EU steel industry


With increased global competition, the EU steel industry faces a number of competitive risks and challenges. For the foundry sector, however, competition from outside the EU is still limited. Below, the most significant risks and challenges for the industry are highlighted. Challenge 1: The centre of the steel business is moving to the East, and EU producers are faced with new competitors The global centre of gravity for the steel business is moving to the East. China, Japan, India and South Korea represent more than 50% of world steel output (2007), and when adding Russia and Ukraine these countries represent more than 60% of world steel output. Moreover, the EUs relatively strong position on quality and high quality product markets is increasingly challenged as these competitors are improving their technological capacities and competencies as well. Consequently, the EU steel producers face the risk of losing control and global market share, even for quality products. Although certainly not the only competitor, China constitutes the most concrete threat to the EU steel sector. Today, China is a net-exporter of steel and is offering steel products at all levels of quality and at very competitive prices. In this regard, direct and indirect state aid imply that Chinese steel producers are able to reduce prices to artificially low levels compared to the real cost of producing steel preventing a level playing field for European steel producers. Moreover, Chinese steel capacity is increasing with prospects of even increasing its current excess capacity. And with strong incentives to export excess production, exports from China constitute a formidable competition to the EU steel industry. Already, excess capacity has fuelled Chinese exports into European markets: in 2006-2007, China flooded the EU market with both flat and long products. In addition, the threat from other countries is likely to increase in the future as well. E.g. steel production capacity is increasing in the C.I.S. and, depending on domestic demand, exports may increase. In case of decreasing demand for steel, this turns into a significant risk as excess-production leads to increased incentives to export and to stronger competition in general. Moreover, technological improvements in the C.I.S. in terms of EAF-technology imply that the volume of scrap exported from the C.I.S will decrease, leading to increasing scrap prices. This poses a threat to the EU being a net-importer of scrap. Thus, the European steel industry increasingly depends on maintaining and improving its ability to compete with products from China and other new and emerging world steel producers such as India and the C.I.S. Challenge 2: Imbalances in demand and supply for raw materials and increasing input prices With China entering the world steel scene and with the huge increases in Chinese steel consumption, capacity and production, patterns and conditions for steel production are iv

changing globally. Among other things, the rapidly increasing Chinese demand for steel leads to imbalances in the supply and demand for iron ore. The increasing demand for steel, driven by China, has led to an increasing demand for raw materials, and the current raw material supply and demand imbalances are affecting the EU industry heavily as it is very dependent on raw material imports. Thus, access to raw materials has become a pressing issue for the EU steel industry. Moreover, countries outside the EU with better access to raw materials and energy have a competitive advantage in this regard related to lower transport costs. In this regard, it should be noted that the foundry industry is not as directly dependent on imported raw materials as other parts of the steel sector. Access to raw materials is also becoming a key factor in determining future location investments, with some third countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia offering more attractive production conditions in terms of better access to raw material and cheaper energy. Moreover, Africa may gain greater prominence in the future as an iron ore producing region. Consequently, a future scenario could be that primary steel producers will be located outside the EU in locations with good access to raw materials, exporting semi-finished products to the EU. In this scenario the EU will cease to produce semi-finished products. With the current heavy demand for all steel inputs, both raw material and energy prices have increased substantially. As prices of raw materials are set globally, increases affect all producers. Thus, increased input prices do not per se create a competitive disadvantage vis--vis other countries/producers outside the EU. However, in countries where state aid and subsidies are still in place (e.g., Russia, Ukraine and China) pressures on input may be partially alleviated through this kind of support, leading to an indirect disadvantage to the competitiveness of the EU steel sector. Challenge 3: Trade policies and the need for a level playing field The global scope and reach of the EU steel sector implies that international trade regulations, investment conditions, and global competition for markets and resources, are crucial aspects of the institutional framework conditions affecting the sectors competitiveness. While tariffs are becoming less relevant for the industry in terms of market access, non-tariff barriers have become a more prominent issue on the EU trade agenda. Non-tariff barriers cover a broad range of issues including for instance rules and regulations, standards, restrictions in government procurement, subsidies, export and investment restrictions and conditions, and trade facilitation issues. Trade defence instruments include anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures as well as safeguarding mechanisms which are only used very selectively and after a thorough investigation procedure. By way of example, the EU steel industry has filed three anti-dumping cases against China following the recent flood of Chine steel into the EU market and two anti-dumping cases have been filed by the EU steel tube industry. An uneven playing field presents the EU steel industry with serious competitive disadvantages. Specific issues related to trade for the EU steel industry include safeguard v

measures and non-tariff barriers concerning import of raw materials from for instance China, India and Russia, e.g. export taxes and barriers to investments in the steel sector proper or in extracting industries, thus limiting possibilities to secure access to raw materials. The EUs approach to its relationship with China has taken on a more confrontational stance in recent years. In this regard, the EU-China Steel Industrial Dialogue is intended to help recognise and address problems related to Chinese steel production and exports to the EU, with risk of overproduction and subsequent unbalance in the global markets, before they become prominent. Challenge 4: Asymmetric environmental regulation Environmental regulations and sustainable development are main issues in relation to competitiveness. In this regard, particularly the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) is a hotly debated topic. The EU Commissions proposal for ETS review of January 2008 is moving more of the responsibility for European climate policies to the European level. It includes an EU ETS Sector Cap, meaning that Member States will no longer have control over the allocation of the emission rights in the ETS sector in other words, the National Allocation Plans will be abolished. The crux of the competitiveness issue that the steel sector faces due to the ETS lies in its global nature: while the European steel industry is forced to take on additional costs due to the mandatory nature of the ETS, in many other steel producing countries the reductions are mostly voluntary and thus not comparable. This will put EU producers at a cost disadvantage vis--vis their global competitors. Although the EU ETS structural options post-2012 includes embedding ETS in a global agreement, the political, legal, and institutional feasibility of doing so is unknown and uncertain. New regulation in general constitutes a risk for the EU steel industry, as the investment attractiveness of the EU steel industry is diminishing if a long-term stable framework cannot be assumed. Uncertainties in e.g. environmental policies may affect the investment environment negatively and constitute a threat to current investors. However, under the assumption of a well designed environmental policy approach, production and consumption losses for the EU steel industry are considered to be weak in the long run. Challenge 5: Scarce supply of skilled labour in the future The occupational structure of the steel industrys labour force has changed during the restructuring period, and today it consists of a large proportion of multi-skilled workers, technicians, engineers, and managers. For some time, the industry as a whole has been attempting to attract more people with higher qualifications, but as many other industries the steel industry is faced with skills shortage. Moreover, skills and knowledge requirements can be expected to continue to rise, and demand for highly skilled labour can be expected to continue. This constitutes a serious challenge to the steel industry with a decreasing workforce in many European countries. In addition, the average age in the sector is rather high and retirement in the coming years may create difficulties for the industry. Workforce recruitment and workforce development will have to be addressed. vi

The EU steel sectors demand for skilled labour is another challenge to the performance and competitiveness of the EU steel industry, as skills and knowledge requirements are rising while the labour force is decreasing. Thus, attracting and retaining highly skilled labour is increasingly a topic of concern.

Strategic outlook for the EU steel sector


The future of the EU steel industry is by no means determined yet and it is vital that the key stakeholders in the industry as well as policy makers in the Member States and EU take appropriate action to keep the industry competitiveness in a sustainable manner. Six fields of action are thereto identified, and a set of strategic actions are proposed within them. These strategic options address industry options as well as options for the Member States and/or the EU-Commission. As with the challenges, the strategic options are interlinked. Thus, one option may be a partial answer to more challenges. Many of the strategic options are already being practised - in such cases the strategic options should be seen as recommendations for continued priority with support from the Member States and the European Commission. The same may be true for strategic options open to the industry but the relevance, the degree of implementation and the effort applied may vary considerably between manufacturers depending on size, market, business strategy and so forth. Field of action 1: Engage in the climate change challenge Continuous investments in efficient technologies constitute an important opportunity in terms of increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions, and thereby reducing costs. Investments in technological innovation with a view to cleaner and safer technologies are required by legislation, but more importantly such investments can also help to meet increasing demand for cleaner and safer technologies. Thus, innovation and investments in technology and production process improvements are strategic options for companies wishing to gain the first mover advantage and position themselves to customers who are increasingly prosperous, informed, environmentally conscious, and socially aware. More importantly, the EU steel industry could pursue benefiting from the climate challenge by applying a pro-active strategy: Rather than merely responding to the threats posed by legislation, the EU steel industry has the strategic option of engaging in the climate challenge as a means for pursuing new business opportunities for products with high environmental standards. In this regard, a green label for steel products, or other kinds of reliable information on environmental performance of steel products, will support such efforts. The EU steel industry's energy efficiency has improved over the years. The steel industry notes that after 30 years of continuous reduction of energy use in production, energy efficiency improvement has currently reached its limit for further short-term improvements. Thus, breakthrough technologies will be essential for taking current

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capabilities to the next level, and this requires continuous investments and priority as well as engagement in strategic networks and knowledge sharing. Within this field of action, the following strategic options are suggested to the industry and to the policy makers in the EU Member States and the EU: Industry Member State EU

Increased investments in RTD-programmes such as ESTEP Development of business strategies that proactively respond to the climate challenge. Investments in cleaner and safer technologies Commitment to continual priority and investment in R&D with the aim of improving energy efficiency through the discovering of breakthrough technologies. Engaging in strategic networks and knowledge sharing within R&D in energy-improving technologies. Development of green label for steel products.

Field of action 2: Respond to the vertical, upstream integration trend outside the EU Dependency on raw materials is a significant weakness of the EU steel industry, and this becomes a threat in periods with supply and demand imbalances. Due to the increasing demand for steel led by China in particular, which is likely to continue in the short to medium term, dependency on raw materials will remain an important issue of concern. This is also a threat to the EU steel industry from an investment location perspective, as some other countries offer more attractive production conditions in terms of better raw material supply and access to cheaper energy. Moreover, competitors outside the EU are moving to ensure access to raw materials through upstream vertical integration. Some EU-based producers, however, have also taken initiatives in this regard. Matching the market power of iron ore producers may also be a driver for increased consolidation in the European industry. While this challenge is not new, it is of a strategic interest that the EU steel sector increases vertical, upstream integration to ensure future access to raw materials. This strategic option concerns increasing upstream participation and vertical integration through acquisitions, mergers, and joint ventures/partnerships. Another strategic option concerns investment and development in upstream processing and optimisation of raw material and energy utilisation and efficiency, dampening the consequences of supplyside sensitivity. Within this field of action, the following strategic options are suggested to the industry: Industry Member State EU

Increase upstream participation and integration Investing in energy and materials efficiency in production

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Field of action 3: Promote high technology leadership and operational excellence Efficient and flexible processes and high quality and innovative products should be encouraged, prioritised, and developed. Increased efficiency, for example, holds the potential of keeping down costs and energy use and of delivering fast, flexible, and costeffective processes. Management and distribution systems are also important in order to meet customer requirements, i.e. to deliver high quality products to many different customers in different places on a just-in-time basis (e.g. the automotive industry). The EU steel sector already has a strong position in using advanced technologies and in order to maintain and develop the EU steel sector's competitive strength, continuous investments in R&D and new technologies are central with a view to developing high quality products, efficient production and logistics, and more flexibility in the downstream process. Within this field of action, the following strategic options are suggested to the industry and to the policy makers in the EU Member States and the EU:

Increased investment in RTD-programmes such as ESTEP Investment in improved product performance Investment in more efficient and flexible production and distribution processes

Industry

Member State

EU

Field of action 4: Improve knowledge sharing and engage in strategic networking The EU steel industry faces increasing international competition on the EU and on export markets from non-EU producers. Rather than engaging in price competition with competitors from non-EU countries, it appears to be more strategically viable to meet these challenges by focusing on the EU steel industrys current strengths and maintaining and developing its strengths in terms of ability to deliver high-quality and high value added products, solutions, and services based on a strong focus on value creation. Identification and knowledge of customers needs are central in order to keep responding to their needs and requirements. Thus, policy measures that can improve user-driven innovation by systematically identifying customers needs are required. Moreover, collaboration in product innovation with immediate customers, and possibly with endusers, is important if the vision is not only to respond to customers needs, requirements, trends and changes, but also to influence, shape, and lead them. In general, a strong focus on information and knowledge sharing is important. Thus, various kinds of partnerships and strategic networks at horizontal, vertical, and multisectoral levels with a view to knowledge sharing and innovation are highly relevant for pursuing new market opportunities and for maintaining a lead position within in product development and value creation.

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Identification of new niche markets where specialised knowledge and expertise is required is an option that could be explored, with the potential of becoming an exclusive supplier to the relevant market/specific customers. A high degree of specialisation already constitutes one of the strengths of many foundries in particular. This option may not be equally relevant to all companies, cf. many companies are currently focusing on their core business instead of on downstream diversification, but for other companies this constitutes an option for gaining new markets, particularly small- and medium sized companies that cannot compete with the same means as large companies. Improving the capacity to meet future challenges and risks to competitiveness requires access to relevant information. Instruments to improve access to such information comprise investment in sector research programmes and institutions, including activities to gather and process data on the sectors development and its challenges, and elaboration and dissemination of sector forecasts and scenarios. This could prove highly relevant to especially small and medium sized companies with less analytical capacity inside the company. Both the EU and the EU steel industry could have an interest in supporting and strengthening such initiatives at the European level. For sector research to support the sector in adapting to change, evidence suggests that a successful take-up in corporate strategic processes hinges on active support and ownership from social partners in the sector. Within this field of action, the following strategic options are suggested to the industry and to the policy makers in the EU Member States and the EU: Industry Member State EU

Work systematically with identification and knowledge of customer needs Ensure strong collaborative and strategic relationships with customers and partners Engage in strategic networks and collaborations at horizontal, vertical and inter-sectoral levels. Establishment of a European steel knowledge centre focusing on e.g. technologies and new markets. Identification and development of niche markets where specialisation is required (certain companies) Initiatives to improve access to relevant strategic information

Field of action 5: Create a level playing field and improve the functioning of energy and transport markets State aid, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers create problems for the steel industry if agreed trade rules and practices are not applied and respected, and there is a need to improve the competitive environment on export markets. Currently, the playing field is uneven with some non-EU competitors, who often produce their products applying occupational, health and safety, and environmental standards well below EU standards, and with lower x

energy prices and better access to raw materials, thus delivering products at lower costs. If the playing field was more even, the EU steel sector would stand a better chance of competing with non-EU competitors, which would also allow for selectively utilising sales opportunities on international export markets. Environmental legislation, and the EU Emission Trading Scheme in particular, is also of considerable significance for the competitiveness of the EU steel sector due to the energy intensity of steel production and increasing global competition. Thus, it will be highly significant to ensure international coordination, going beyond the EU, of regulations of CO2 emissions. The EU and its Member States should increase their efforts to reach international agreement on CO2 reductions, with the ideal being the establishment of a global CO2 emission trading scheme. If this is not possible, measures to offset the competitive disadvantage of the EU steel industry should be considered. Energy prices still vary substantially across countries, even within the EU, and in some non-EU countries the energy sector is protected and energy consumption is subsidised, implying comparatively lower energy prices.1 As energy is an important input factor in the steel production process, energy security and reliability in terms of prices is of strategic importance to the industry. Further development of the EU energy markets is therefore seen as crucial for the sectors competitiveness. Against this background, the EU and the Member States should increase efforts to improve the functioning of its energy markets with a view to lowering prices and increasing stability and security. Transport costs are also a significant input factor in the production and delivery of steel products. With a view to reducing overall transportation costs for EU steel producers, the EU and the Member States should increase efforts to improve logistic infrastructure and the functioning and of EU transportation markets. Within this field of action, the following strategic options are suggested to the policy makers in the EU Member States and the EU: Industry Member State EU

International coordination of CO2 emission regulation Improving the functioning of the EU energy market Improving the functioning of the EU transport market

Field of action 6: Improve the skills base and take forward strategies for lifelong learning Access to skilled labour is central to maintaining and developing the EU steel industrys competitive performance, notably in terms of maintaining a lead in relation to technology, product quality, and high value solutions as well as pursuing new business opportunities. Access to skilled labour is already a significant challenge/threat to the EU steel industry

However, in recent weeks and months China is reducing its subsidizing of energy.

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and is likely to become of growing concern in the future with a diminishing European workforce and competition for the most skilled labour. The EU, the Member States, and the industry could all enhance their efforts to maintain, retain, and develop a base of highly skilled employees, for instance via targeted training programmes for low skilled workers, via investment in new education and training programmes and lifelong learning including recognition of prior learning, via efforts to improve the image of the industry among young people, and via systems that ensure that knowledge and experience are shared and transferred. Besides attracting more skilled people to the sector, consolidated efforts should be taken to attract, develop, and retain talents through integrated human resource approaches. Within this field of action, the following strategic options are suggested to the industry and to the policy makers in the EU Member States and the EU: Industry Member State EU

Initiatives and commitment to improve the skills base of the EU steel sector Initiatives to improve the image and the attractiveness of the steel industry. Initiatives focusing on retaining and development of talents Development and implementation of lifelong learning strategies for employees in the steel sector

A final comment on dialogue and communication As is evident from this report the steel sector is part of a rapidly changing global economy which in turn is shaping and defining the competitive arena of the steel industry. Steel manufacturers and their representatives in the industry, policy makers in the Member States and the EU must continue the established close and constructive dialogue and communication on many levels to maintain the competitiveness of EU steel sector. As illustrated by the fields of actions each actor plays a different role and each must play their part: Actions are called for in many areas from the concrete development of groundbreaking new technologies led by the industry itself to the policy makers providing a more level playing field. The success is critically dependent on dialogue and communication among the actors.

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1 Introduction

In 2005, the EC set out for the first time an integrated approach to industrial policy with horizontal and vertical initiatives, to provide the right framework conditions for enterprise and innovation to succeed, and to drive the economy forward. The Midterm Review of Industrial Policy in 2007 concluded that this approach has been successful and should be continued, with a focus on how best to respond to globalisation and climate change. In highlighting the importance of productivity as a driver of long-term growth, the European Competitiveness Report 2007 reinforced the importance of industrial policy in helping to deliver the framework conditions that allow firms and employees to raise their productivity. To sustain the progress made under the integrated approach an up-to-date understanding of sectors and the conditions affecting their competitiveness is required, and this prompted DG Enterprise and Industry to set up a framework agreement analysing the competitiveness of sectors and industries. Under this agreement, the first set of competitiveness studies was commissioned towards the end of 2007, with the steel sector being the focus of one of them. The purpose of the study is to provide the EC with a clear and up-to-date understanding of the competitiveness of the EU steel sector which will then allow the EC to knowledgably engage with the sector in the development of policy. This report represents the final report on the competitiveness of the EU steel sector. The study describes and analyses the competitive position of the steel industry in Europe (EU27), defined as the manufacturing of crude steel, steel tubes and steel castings. In broad terms, this sector produces crude steel and semi-finished products for other industrial sectors internally in the EU or for export. The report builds on an extensive literature review and available statistical data. In addition, the report has benefited from dialogue with experts and sector representatives. The study covers the EU27 focusing on the competitive position of the EU as a region. Where relevant, distinction is made between old EU Member States (EU15) and new EU Member States (EU12). Due to data limitations, the data coverage of the EU27 is incomplete in certain areas. In these cases, the actual data coverage is clearly stated. The statistical description of the development of the EU sector takes the present structure of the EU consisting of 27 countries as its point of departure. Thus, for each year (generally 1997-2007) the figures represent the aggregated numbers for all 27 present EU countries regardless of the actual number of Member States at the relevant point in time.

1.1

Structure of the report


The study is divided into the following sections: Chapter 2 describes key aspects of the steel industry including production processes and technologies, application areas and endmarkets, supply, distribution and downstream value chain. In addition, the chapter looks into the overall development and current situation of the EU steel industry in terms of consolidation, production, capacity, consumption, prices and employment. Chapter 3 contains an analysis and assessment of the competitive position of the EU steel industry. Several indicators for competitiveness are considered including business conditions, various input indicators, which can be assumed to affect the competitive performance of the EU industry, as well as process, output and performance indicators. Moreover, the chapter includes a section on the demand for steel products and market prospects. Chapter 4 considers relevant framework conditions for the competitiveness of the EU steel industry, focusing primarily on the regulatory conditions affecting the industry, i.e. environmental regulations, industry specific standards, competition policy and labour market and health and safety regulations. Chapter 5 contains a strategic outlook for the EU steel industry, focusing on likely developments, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and threats of the sector, and possible strategic options. Before turning to Chapter 2, the scope of the industry as analysed in the study is specified.

1.2

Scope of the study: Defining the steel industry


The study covers the steel producing sector defined as the production of steel, steel tubes and castings. The definition of the steel industry and its sub-sectors is further specified by using NACE definitions (NACE codes (rev. 2.0) from the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community):

Production of iron and steel: Production of steel tubes etc.: Casting of iron products: Casting of steel products:

NACE Rev. 2 code 24.10 NACE Rev. 2 code 24.20 NACE Rev. 2 code 24.51 NACE Rev. 2 code 24.52

Table 1.1. Defining the Steel Industry by NACE Codes


Sub-Sector Manufacture of basic iron and steel and of ferro-alloys NACE Code 24.10 Definition This group includes activities such as direct reduction of iron ore, production of pig iron in molten or solid form, conversion of pig iron into steel, manufacture of ferroalloys and manufacture of steel products. This class includes: operation of blast furnaces, steel converters, rolling and finishing mills production of pig iron and spiegeleisen in pigs, blocks or other primary forms production of ferro-alloys production of ferrous products by direct reduction of iron and other spongy ferrous products production of iron of exceptional purity by electrolysis or other chemical processes remelting of scrap ingots of iron or steel production of granular iron and iron powder production of steel in ingots or other primary forms production of semi-finished products of steel manufacture of hot-rolled and cold-rolled flat-rolled products of steel manufacture of hot-rolled bars and rods of steel manufacture of hot-rolled open sections of steel manufacture of sheet piling of steel and welded open sections of steel manufacture of railway track materials (unassembled rails) of steel

This class excludes: - cold drawing of bars, see 24.31 Manufacture of tubes, pipes, hollow profiles and related fittings, of steel: 24.20 This class includes: manufacture of seamless tubes and pipes of circular or non-circular cross section and of blanks of circular cross section, for further processing, by hot rolling, hot extrusion or by other hot processes of an intermediate product which can be a bar or a billet obtained by hot rolling or continuous casting manufacture of precision and non-precision seamless tubes and pipes from hot rolled or hot extruded blanks by further processing, by colddrawing or cold-rolling of tubes and pipes of circular cross section and by cold drawing only for tubes and pipes of non circular cross section and hollow profiles manufacture of welded tubes and pipes of an external diameter exceeding 406.4 mm, cold formed from hot rolled flat products and longitudinally or spirally welded manufacture of welded tubes and pipes of an external diameter of 406.4 mm or less of circular cross section by continuous cold or hot forming of hot or cold rolled flat products and longitudinally or spirally welded and of non-circular cross section by hot or cold forming into shape from hot or cold rolled strip longitudinally welded manufacture of welded precision tubes and pipes of an external diameter of 406.4 mm or less by hot or cold forming of hot or cold rolled strip and longitudinally welded delivered as welded or further processed, by cold drawing or cold rolling or cold formed into shape for tube and pipe of non-circular cross section manufacture of flat flanges and flanges with forged collars by processing of hot rolled flat products of steel manufacture of butt-welding fittings, such as elbows and reductions, by forging of hot rolled seamless tubes of steel Threaded and other tube or pipe fittings of steel

This class excludes: manufacture of seamless tubes and pipes of steel by centrifugally casting, see 24.52

Sub-Sector Casting of iron

NACE Code 24.51

Definition This class covers activities of iron foundries, which includes: casting of semi-finished iron products casting of grey iron castings casting of spheroidal graphite iron castings casting of malleable cast-iron products manufacture of tubes, pipes and hollow profiles and of tube or pipe fittings of cast-iron

Casting of steel

24.52

This class covers activities of steel foundries which includes: casting of semi-finished steel products casting of steel casting manufacture of seamless tubes and pipes of steel by centrifugal casting manufacture of tube or pipe fittings of cast-steel

With regard to iron and steel castings, it should be noted that these product types belong to a sub-sector, which with a common nominator could be called the foundry sub-sector. It is an open question whether this sub-sector actually forms part of the steel industry. Most foundries are highly specialised niche suppliers to other industries (or integrated part of former clients), and many foundries would perceive themselves as belonging to these industries. In the descriptions and analyses of the present study, iron and steel castings are treated as belonging to the foundry sub-sector, referring to iron and steel foundries.

2 The steel industry: key aspects

The EU steel industry is a significant contributor to the EU economy as supplier of basic and high value added products, and accounts for a significant share of the total turnover of approx. 227 billion by the metal industry (3.9% of EU manufacturing) (EU-COM, 2006). Steel demand in the EU has increased by 2.9% on average per annum in the past 10 years owing to significant upturn in demand from the steel using sectors following 25 years of slow growth once the post-war steel boom ended in the early seventies. The steel industry has developed from being an input material supplying industry to becoming a partner of many steel processors, and a supplier of high-tech products and tailor-made components. In addition, production in highly efficient (and thus economical) plants ensures consistently competitive prices. The chemical and physical properties of steel together with its competitive price in comparison with alternative materials make steel a very important and indispensable material for various uses. Steel is the most widely used of all the metals comprising 95% of all metal tonnage produced worldwide. The lifetime varies a lot depending on the sector where it is used. Steel used in construction has a very long life since it is integrated into the constructions whereas steel used in packaging is recovered quickly. The diagram below illustrates the steel flows of the EU15, i.e. input to the steel industry, the output of the steel industry, the use of steel industry products and the recycling of the material.

Figure 2.1. Illustration of steels flow in EU15, 2004

Source: EUROFER The European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries, 2007 (2004). Note: Data taken from IISI Steel Statistical Yearbook 2006, World Steel in Figures 2006, CAEF 2005, European Blast Furnace Committee 2006; Data updated October 2007

About 50% of the input (measured in value of the metric tons) to the steel industry is recovered steel and the other 50% stems from the production of pig iron. The major part of pig iron and recycled iron is produced or recovered internally in the EU. Only a minor part of the pig iron and recycled steel is imported and some export is happening as well.

2.1

Characteristics of companies in the steel sector


Today, the steel sector is highly differentiated in terms of strategic orientation. The following normative categorisation can be used as an overall framework for describing the industry (cf. Boston Consulting Group, 2007): 1. Global players 2. Regional champions 3. Niche specialists 6

Global players The global steel company has a world-wide network with production facilities in each region and a full range of products from very broad commodities down to specialities. The global player produces more than 50 million tonnes and has backward integration. The appearance of global players is a very recent turn in the industry. In the steel industry it could be argued that currently only Arcelor-Mittal is a true global player. However, Arcelor-Mittal may very well be followed by others in the future. By way of example, Tata Steel's intentions of becoming a global player are getting closer after the takeover of Corus. Arcelor-Mittal was formed as a result of about 50 smaller transnational mergers, where Arcelor originated from Arbed in Luxembourg, Usinor in France and Aceralia in Spain. Mittal has its origin in India and Indonesia. Mergers and takeovers are not always straightforward growth strategies to manage, but one possible explanation for the Arcelor-Mittal's success with mergers and takeovers could be the high number of mergers and takeovers that have led to valuable experience in managing change, tested and perfected management systems for executives and managers. Regional champions In between the global player and the niche specialist two types of regional companies with a production volume varying from approx. 5 to 50 million tonnes can be identified: Type 1 regional champions have a strong regional presence with access to low-cost countries and with focus on high-value products and a leadership in technology. ThyssenKrupp and Riva have this profile. These are companies which have formed through cross-border merger activity after privatisation. The borderline to global players is not clear-cut, since the companies have investments all over the world. The big regional champions are candidates for becoming global players through mergers or takeovers. One example is Arcelor. Until recently, Arcelor was a regional champion and the worlds biggest steel company with 15 integrated plants and 20 electric steel plants with a presence in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, and outside the EU (Fairbrother et. al., 2004). The takeover by Mittal turned Arcelor-Mittal into a truly global player. Another example is the recent takeover of Corus in 2007 by Indian based Tata Steel which gave Tata better access to European markets. Type 2 regional champions have a strong regional presence and are often based in a lowcost country. Typically, they have no specialist production and focus on mass production. They need access to modern technology and R&D facilities that can help create the conditions they need to change. These types of steel industries are mainly seen in the New Member States. Their steel making capacity is modest in comparison with the type 1 companies but they are still an economically important sector in their countries. Turnarounds require improvement in quality and efficiency of production, employment mentality and the environment. The effect of years of Communism has been a focus concerning technical issues and a disregard for profitability and management (Times International, 2005). The privatisation and restructuring process in the New Member States has resulted in the closure of many inefficient facilities across Central and Eastern Europe and in a reduction of the workforce of some 65% (Steel Times International, 2005, p.56), and today many of the companies operate with only a fraction of the staff numbers they had in the past.

One example is the Nova Hut plant in Ostrava in the Czech Republic. The company was capable of producing more or less all major steel products that the steel market could absorb, i.e. flat products, heavy sections, wire rods, and pipes, and a machine shop to provide constructions for heavy industry. The plant had its own power plant, a local coal base, and good iron resources from the Central European countries, the Ukraine, etc. Finally the plant was a very good base for the production of steel, and the region was a core market for the steel industry because consumption was expected to increase. In other words, capacity, access to raw materials and markets were present. The plant was taken over by Mittal Steel in 2003. The turnaround required improvement in the quality and efficiency of production, employment mentality, and the environment. Niche specialists At the other end of the spectrum, we find the niche specialist typically producing less than 5 million tons a year. The niche specialist company only has a few production locations but may have multiple sales locations. The product portfolio for each company is usually very narrow. Their products are unique with a high degree of quality and customisation. Many foundries qualify for this category. There are approximately 1,300 foundries (iron, steel and malleable iron castings) in the EU. The European foundry industry is high specialized and dominated by small- and medium sized companies. 2 Thus, the foundry sector is, in comparison with the steel industry, in itself a niche sector, and within the foundry industry, there are different levels of specialisation. Only few foundries cover the whole range of castings, starting from serial production to single part production of heavy castings. Within the foundry industry there are also very small sub-sectors dealing with highly specialised castings. The efficient design and manufacturing of cast components and corresponding tooling is a crucial success factor for these companies. To achieve this, information and knowledge around the design, planning, and manufacturing of cast components need to be accessible in a fast and structured way. This includes the knowledge on new materials, processes and equipment for the manufacture of castings (Homgurg, 2006). The European foundries consist of a wide range of installations, from small to very large, each with a combination of technologies and unit operations selected to suit the input, size of series, and types of product produced by the specific installation. High priority is given to innovation and close cooperation with customers with regard to development. Since castings tend to be semi-finished products, foundries are located close to their customers. The foundries in Europe are delivering high quality products. The know-how and stable production constitute the main competitive advantage for the foundries. Foundries participate along the supply chain and engage in research and development in close cooperation with their customers, e.g. in the automotive industry where foundries work in close cooperation with OEM manufactures (original equipment manufacturers).

In the total foundry industry, covering both ferrous and non-ferrous foundry production, 80% of the companies employ less than 250 people

2.2
2.2.1

Technologies and production processes


The making of steel, steel tubes and steel castings Steel making Steel making is the process of removing impurities such as sulphur, phosphorus, and excess carbon from iron and adding alloying elements such as manganese, nickel, chromium, and vanadium to produce the exact steel required. Steel mills turn molten steel into blooms, ingots, slabs, and sheets through casting, hot rolling, and cold rolling. Molten steel is cast into large blocks called "blooms". During the casting process various methods are used, such as addition of aluminium so that impurities in the steel float to the surface where they can be cut off the finished bloom. Furnaces are used to produce iron and steel. The furnaces contain the material to be melted and provide the energy to melt it. Steel is produced by two different basic technologies, i.e., the Integrated Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) route and the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) scrap-based route. The BOF route: In the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) within an integrated steel mill, molten iron from the blast furnace is changed into liquid steel. The oxygen conversion process consists of blowing oxygen under pressure into the converter (a cylindrical vessel lined with refractory) previously charged with liquid pig iron and scrap. The oxygen is injected until the bath is completely transformed into steel. Most steel manufactured in the world is produced using the basic oxygen furnace, and as such, this technology accounts for most of the production of flat products. Modern furnaces will take a charge of iron of up to 350 tons and convert it into steel in less than 40 minutes. The EAF route: An electric arc furnace (EAF) is a furnace that heats charged material by means of an electric arc. Arc furnaces range in size from small units of approximately one ton capacity used in foundries for producing cast products and up to about 400 ton units used for secondary steelmaking. Temperatures inside an electric arc furnace can rise to 1,800C. For high melting point alloys such as steel- or nickel-based alloys, the furnace must be designed for temperatures over 3,600C. The fuel used to reach these high temperatures can be electricity or coke. Steel production by Electric Arc Furnaces is based on melting scrap using the thermal energy from electric arcs struck between graphite electrodes.

Figure 2.2. Schematic view over the two process routes; BOF and EAF

Source: EUROFER

The use of the different routes depends on the type of products produced and product quality requirements. Flat products are often produced suing the BOF route because of the high quality standards achievable through this process, whereas long products are produced with EAF. Driven by new technological developments, the EAF technology is also used for flat products today. Electric arc furnaces small-scale viability makes this technology an attractive choice for new growth. To make the process more attractive there are ongoing improvements to the EAF design concept, such as twin DC electrodes, oxy-fuel energy, scrap preheat, high furnace aspect ratio, twin shell and DC furnace. However, due to the tight scrap market and consequently high prices (cf. Chapter 3), many new projects are based on BOF using iron ore and coking coal. Thus, both BOF and EAF furnaces are used to produce steel in Europe, and big steel makers produce steel using both methods. E.g., Corus produces carbon steel by the basic oxygen steelmaking method at four integrated steelworks at Port Talbot, Scunthorpe, and Teesside in the UK and at IJmuiden in the Netherlands. Engineering steels are produced at Rotherham, UK, using the electric arc furnace method. Approx. 40% of the total crude steel production in Europe is produced by EAF technologies and the share has been rising for years. Approx. 60% is produced by BOF technologies. Figure 2.3 illustrates EU steel production among the largest steel producing countries by process.

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Figure 2.3. EU steel production by process in the EU27, 2006 (million tonnes)
220 200 180 Million Tonnes Crude Steel 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

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iu m

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st r

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lg

Sp

do

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bl

la

rm

Be

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Re

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Cz

BOF - Basic Oxygen Furnace

Un

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EAF - Electric Arc Furnace

Source: IISI, 2008, at http://www.worldsteel.org/?action=storypages&id=19

Due to the long life of existing plants and the low variable cost of current blast furnace and basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS) plants, the change and deployment of such new process technology does not happen overnight. The cost factor is crucial as it is not economically viable to replace an existing BF/BOS plant with new technologies, such as electric arc furnaces, direct reduction or smelting reduction until the plant reaches the end of its life cycle. However, EAF production is becoming increasingly widespread, particularly in companies in Italy and Spain where more than 50% of the production is EAF produced, and other countries with large steel productions, such as Germany and to a lesser extent Poland, Belgium and UK, also produce steel using EAF. Continuous castings: Continuous casting is the process whereby molten metal is solidified into a semi-finished billet, bloom, slab or beam blank. Prior to the introduction of continuous casting in the 1950s, steel was poured into stationary moulds to form ingots. Since then, continuous casting has evolved to achieve improved yield, quality, productivity, and cost efficiency. Nowadays, continuous casting is the predominant way by which steel is produced all over the world. In the continuous casting process, molten metal is poured from the ladle into the tundish and then through a submerged entry nozzle into a mould cavity. The mould is watercooled so that enough heat is extracted to solidify a shell of sufficient thickness. The shell is withdrawn from the bottom of the mould at a "casting speed" that matches the inflow of metal, so that the process ideally operates at steady state. Below the mould, water is sprayed to further extract heat from the strand surface, and the strand eventually becomes fully solid when it reaches the ''metallurgical length''.

Ge

EU

Au

Po

la

pu

Fr

(2

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ia

Integrated steel mills: Integrated mills are large facilities, and it is only economical to build integrated mills with an annual capacity of at least 2,000,000 tons per year. An integrated steel mill has all the functions for primary steel production: Ironmaking (conversion of ore to liquid iron), Steelmaking (conversion of pig iron to liquid steel), Casting (solidification of the liquid steel), Roughing rolling/billet rolling (reducing size of blocks) Product rolling (finished shapes). Final products from integrated mills are usually large structural sections such as heavy plates, strip, wire, rails, bars, and pipes. The raw materials for an integrated steel mill are iron ore, limestone and coke, which are charged into a blast furnace to make the iron give up excess oxygen and become liquid iron. The accumulated liquid iron is trapped from the blast furnace and cast into pig iron or directed to further steelmaking operations. Ingots of pig iron are used as a raw material for iron casting. Mini-mills: Mini-mills are traditionally EAF-producers, and their inputs are primarily scrap. There are three sources of steel scrap, i.e. internal by-products from the steel mills, new scrap from the first transformation of steel products and scrap recycled from used automobiles and other end products. A typical mini-mill will have an electric arc furnace for scrap melting, a ladle furnace or vacuum furnace for precision control of chemistry, a strip or billet continuous caster for converting molten steel to solid form, a reheat furnace and a rolling mill. Since the late 1980s, successful introduction of the direct strip casting process has made mini-mill production of strip feasible. Often a mini-mill will be constructed in an area with no other steel production to take advantage of local resources and low-cost labour. The capacities of mini-mills vary. Some plants may make as much as 3,000,000 tonnes per year, a typical size is in the range of 200,000 to 400,000 tons per year, and some old or specialty plants may make as little as 50,000 tons per year of finished product. Steel tubes Steel tubes are hollow bodies, for instance, for the conveyance of fluids (liquids or gases). Most are of circular cross section while some are square or rectangular cross section. The terms 'pipe' and 'tubes' are almost interchangeable, although distinctions exist as pipes mainly refer to pipeline applications whereas tubes mainly refer to construction elements. There are three classes of manufactured tubes, i.e. seamless, small-welded, and large diameter pipes and tubes. Seamless pipes and tubes are made of billets in a hot forming process. Welded pipes and tubes are made of hot rolled or cold rolled coil or of plate in the case of longitudinally welded large diameter pipes and tubes. Precision tubes are produced in a cold forming process. While seamless precision tubes are cold drawn from a hot formed hollow, cold formed and welded as well as cold drawn welded precision tubes are based on hot rolled or cold rolled coil. Seamless producers tend to be fully integrated compared to small welded pipes producers, who mostly buy their coils from European steel sources.

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Iron and steel castings Foundries melt ferrous and non-ferrous metals and alloys and reshape them into products at or near their finished shape through pouring and solidification of the molten metal or alloy into a mould. The present study covers ferrous metals and castings (lamellar cast iron, malleable and nodular iron and steel). Thus, the essence of the process of making iron and steel castings consists of pouring molten iron, steel or steel alloy into a mould of the desired shape, dimensionally accurate and of sufficient stability to permit the steel to solidify in the exact shape of the mould cavity (cf. Lankford et al. 1985). Intricate and complicated castings of practically any desired shape or size, and for almost any particular application, can be made in this manner. The foundry process can be divided into the following major activities: Melting and metal treatment Preparation of moulds and cores Casting of the molten metal into a mould, cooling for solidification and removing the casting from the mould Finishing of the raw casting The foundries apply various process options, depending on the type of metal, size of series and type of product. Ferrous foundries largely use lost moulds (e.g. sand moulding) rather than permanent moulds. Moreover, they apply different techniques depending on type of furnace used, the moulding and core-making system, and the casting system and finishing techniques. Each has their own economic and environmental properties, advantages and disadvantages. The majority of foundries specialises in a particular metal and has furnaces dedicated to these metals. An iron foundry (for cast iron) may use a cupola, induction furnace, or EAF, while a steel foundry will use an EAF or induction furnace. A few foundries provide other services before shipping components to their customers. Painting components to prevent corrosion and improve visual appeal is common. Some foundries will assemble their castings into complete machines or sub-assemblies. Other foundries weld multiple castings or wrought metals together to form a finished product. The finished product of a foundry can be more geometrically complex than the product of a rolling, forging, or machining process like milling or turning. The mechanical properties of castings are equal in every direction, which makes them more suitable for multidirectional loading conditions. A foundry is the original way to produce near net shape parts. Castings frequently do not require or only require a little machining to create the finished part. The factors which differentiate one foundry from another relate to the technology used and the customer markets served: Size of casting: some foundries can produce very large castings (i.e. more than 15 tonnes) or large castings (say 8 to 14 tonnes in weight). Most foundries also produce smaller castings. Length of run: some foundries specialise in producing long runs of mostly small- to medium-sized castings. High integrity castings: foundries producing high integrity castings need to have some in-house non-destructive testing (NDT) equipment, usually ultrasonic, but some foundries have radiography equipment. Most foundries have some equipment to

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undertake some testing, and foundries are often able to subcontract testing (including to SCRATA) if they do not have the necessary equipment. Another factor which differentiates foundries is that some are able to produce castings with a good surface finish or tolerance, for example by machining or by technology (investment castings or spinning). Some have specialised in producing high alloy and other special steel castings.

2.2.2

Process improvements Technology has always played an important role in the steel industry - historically particularly in relation to production process improvements. A very important example concerns the introduction of continuous casting in the downstream processing, which revolutionised the industry. First implemented in the EU15 countries, continuous casting became widespread in other countries and today it is a mainstream production method. The importance of continuous steel casting is shown in the figure below. It illustrates the technological head start of the steelworks in the EU15 in 1992 and the rapid development of steel manufacturing capabilities in the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
Figure 2.4. Continuous casting steel output, 1992-2006 (% of total crude steel output)
100 90 80 % of crude steel production 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1992 Slovak Republik 1995 EU15 2000 Czech Republic 2005 Poland 2006 C.I.S

Source: International Iron and Steel Institute

Other important examples are the introduction and refinement of mini mills and the EAF technology and the use of DRI and HBI3 allowing the manufacture of steel along with lower capital costs. For instance, Anthony P. DCosta (1999) has compared the difference in total investments costs between the integrated steel mill using blast furnaces (BOF) and an electric arc furnace facility. For a 3.4 million metric tonnes integrated plant the total investment was estimated to be $2.7b or $793/ton of capacity while new generations of EAF mills required only a total investment of $450 million or $450/ton capacity. Maintenance costs should be added to this, and DCosta estimates blast furnace reline to cost about $300 million or close to the cost of an entire new mini mill.

DRI and HBI are scrap substitutes. Natural gas is used for production of DRI and coal for HBI.

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Moreover, new process technologies are continually being developed within iron making, EAF steel making, and casting technologies with the aim of achieving:

lower capital costs economic viability at small scale lower operating costs raw material flexibility environmental benefits.

High-quality steel is a prerequisite for producing high-value added products. During the past two decades, quality improvements have been developed and deployed, particularly with the introduction of secondary steelmaking, e.g., ladle thermal tracking, ladle additions modelling, ladle power input modelling and process route timing. Other processes developments have also led to substantial improvements in the steel grade quality that can now be produced. Due to improvements in steel quality together with new process and engineering developments, the capability to produce high value added products has increased (see further in the following section). The most important research areas leading to further development in the foundry sector are taken place within:

development of new technologies and casting alloys (control of microstructure at the molecular level); melting and liquid metal preparation; manufacturing of moulds and cores, pouring, solidifying and cooling of castings; knocking out, cleaning and finishing of castings; technological waste management (Danko, 2006).

Europe is particularly strong in terms of research and its implementation within the following technologies:


2.2.3

metal mould casting (gravity, pressure die casting, semi-solid casting) specialised sand casting advanced manufacturing/process development computer design, modelling and simulation.

Application areas and end-markets for steel products Steel is a major component in buildings, tools, appliances, automobiles and various other products. The steel industry primarily supplies the construction sector, the automotive sector, the packaging industry, the consumer goods industry (domestic appliances etc.), and the electrical and mechanical engineering sector.

Construction is a very important market for steel products and increasingly so, as steel is
increasingly used in buildings, and is now established as the material of choice for many construction projects. For the most part, steels popularity in construction derives from its strength and versatility, its durability, aesthetic potential and performance in use, its ability to work well with other materials and to be prefabricated offsite and constructed quickly and accurately onsite.

15

Steel plays a crucial role in the automotive industry. The key properties of steel - strength and ductility - can be modified to suit each application. Big steel producers are involved in the full automotive product cycle, from concept design, materials selection, manufacturing feasibility, prototyping, through to pilot and full-volume production. They continually develop new products to meet the ever-changing needs of the automotive industry. A new generation of advanced high-strength steels enables carmakers to manufacture lighter and more fuel-efficient cars. Packaging is another important market for steel products, i.e. steel serves as a packaging material for food and beverages, household, promotional and industrial products. The qualities of steel in this regard relate to its strength and durability. It protects and secures, shielding contents from water, oxygen and light. Moreover, steel is cost-efficient and enables high-speed operations. Consumer goods cover a variety of smaller markets within, e.g., domestic appliances and manufactured goods in which pre-finished steel is used. Pre-finished steel and polymercoated steel are used for applications such as wraparounds, tops, doors and side panels on washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers, tumble driers etc. In terms of manufactured goods, pre-finished steel is used for applications such as furniture, lighting, electronics, bake ware, etc. The requirements of the appliances are diverse - e.g. materials used to manufacture products for bake ware applications must be able to survive high temperatures, repeat use and the rigours of household cleaning methods, whereas durability and visual finish is particularly important in furniture applications and other interiors products. The electrical and mechanical engineering sector is a very wide and diverse sector covering electric engines and components, machine tools, agricultural machinery, construction machinery, textile and other manufacturing machinery in which steel is used for various applications. Steel pipes and tubes As regards steel tubes specifically, these are suitable for many different applications as pipeline and construction elements, and their main applications areas are: oil and natural gas production oil, gas and water transportation power station technology chemical and petrochemical industry; automotive industry machine construction industry construction industry the mechanical industry domestic appliances and furniture industries.

In oil and gas production, the exploration requires steel pipes that meet stringent mechanical demands and that exhibit a high degree of resistance to corrosion. In the area of transportation of oil, gas, and water, strong quality steel pipes are required to transport the gaseous liquid or solid media across great distances. The pipes must meet particularly high demands in cases of high operating pressures, extreme climate conditions (e.g., in permafrost areas) or offshore pipe laying. This is especially true for oil and gas pipelines. For the hygienic transportation of drinking water, steel pipes with an internal cement mortar lining and external polyethylene coating have played an invaluable role for decades. These products are produced as welded pipelines or large-diameter pipes. They 16

are joined using special fittings or directly by girth welding. A wide variety of seamless and welded tube are also used in pipelines for transporting gaseous, liquid or solid media in the chemical and petrochemical industry and related branches. The large number of different processes, media and products mean that requirements for material properties and tube dimensions are correspondingly complex. Likewise, seamless steel pipes must meet particularly stringent requirements in the area of power stations and similar energy production. From the outset, the international automotive and vehicle industry has made full use of the advantages of steel tubes in its designs. Particularly significant are the weight savings compared with the solid material, the good processing characteristics of seamless and welded tubes, and the close dimensional tolerances. In general machine and plant construction, seamless or welded steel tube is used as a construction element, and for piping systems. Because it can be used in so many different applications, the range of demands which industry places on steel tubes and pipes also varies widely. One major application is hydraulic or pneumatic control systems that are frequently operated at very high pressures. In industrial and hall construction, and increasingly also in housing construction, steel tubes have become an indispensable structural element. Particularly in high-rise buildings and bridge constructions, notably steel-and-glass architecture, steel tubes are used to realise elegant, delicate design ideas. The market for small welded tubes is, as mentioned above, a very fragmented market with a large share of commodity products. Major EU companies concentrate on sophisticated products for the automotive industry, demanding applications in the construction sector, and others. Large diameter pipes are mainly used for the construction of pipelines for the transport of oil, gas or water (line pipe). The current world demand is high due to the sharply rising energy demand. Nowadays, most global projects require high-end quality-products. This limits the number of companies that are able to meet these requirements, but new capacities are being built worldwide, especially in Russia. In the field of hot-rolled tubes OCTG (Oil Country Tubular Goods), line pipe and boiler tubes are particularly important currently due to the high demand in the energy sector. Foundries The foundry industry is supplying finished and semi-finished components to a wide range of engineering and metal-using industries. The main markets served by the foundry industry are the automotive (50% of market share), general engineering (30%) and construction (10%) sectors. As a consequence, the development of the foundry industry has been dependent on the health of the overall EU manufacturing base, which it has served. A growing shift of the automotive industry towards lighter vehicles has been reflected in a growth in the market for aluminium and magnesium castings. While iron castings mostly (i.e. >60%) go to the automotive sector, steel castings find their market into the construction, machinery, and valve making industries. Iron and steel castings vary in size from the size of a fingernail to hundreds of tonnes, and cover a multitude of designs and services. The smallest castings might be used in computer or telecommunication equipment, while some of the largest castings ever produced in the world have weighed about 200 tonnes. Castings for steel-mill service alone cover a very large field, and the transport industry relies on castings for aerospace, railway, and marine use. Other applications include the chemical, petroleum, mining, excavating, agricultural, cement and construction industries. 17

Iron and steel castings are primarily components to be incorporated by the purchaser into a large machine, piece of engineering equipment or plant. The demand for iron and steel castings therefore very much depends on the demand for the plant or equipment for which they are components. Each casting is made to order for the particular customer and the customer in questions specifies the design of the casting. The ownership of the design drawing as well of the pattern, including all intellectual property rights, normally lies with the customer. 2.2.4 Material and product innovation Steel is a constantly evolving material and has considerable potential in terms of its technological properties as well as its surface coating and processing possibilities. By optimising its properties, new applications are developed and this also cements the position of steel in competition with other materials. Thus, the range of steel products is constantly expanding towards new applications and high-value added special steel. Market developments have played an important role in stimulating such product innovations. One important example is tailor-welded blanks, i.e. steel sheets of different thickness and grades that are laser welded into a single blank (first used in the automotive industry to consolidate parts, reduce weights and increase safety). The push-factor for this product innovation was the increasing requirements on the automotive industry to design lighter cars, improve environmental efficiency (reduce fuel consumption), increase safety and reduce costs. This has made car producers look for alternatives to steel such as aluminium and composite materials for body panels, but none have shown the versatility of steel, including its high density and strengths. Steel producers have responded to this by developing the concept of combining various steel options into a welded blank, with a view to reducing the weight of finished parts and eliminating reinforcements and stiffeners. One of the earliest European applications of tailor-welded blanks using the resistance mash seam process were by the Swedish carmaker Volvo in 1979, and one of the earliest uses of laser-welded blanks in Europe was the Audi floor pan by Thyssen AG in Germany in 1985. In the 1990s, tailor-welded blanks were still an innovation, but their benefits in terms of cost-saving, weight-reduction and safety-enhancement together with process efficiency4 have pushed this cutting-edge innovation to become standard, and various other segments are benefiting from it today. Most importantly, tailor-welded blanks have reduced the likelihood of the steel industry losing market shares to plastics and aluminium in auto body construction and manufacturing. Other examples of innovative steel products meeting carmakers demands for weight reduction and increased safety include high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels displaying good formability. Ultra high-strength steel is one of the new grades of automotive steels that have been under development for more than a decade to improve formability and reduce weight and help steelmakers fight off substitution inroads by aluminium, magnesium, polymers and composites manufacturers. Thyssen-Krupp has, for example, developed two new dual-phase steels with strengths of 800 and 980 megapascal (MPa) for automotive light-weighting which, unlike conventional advanced ultrahigh strength-steels, have hot-dip galvanised surfaces. Normally, the high alloy content of advanced ultrahigh-strength steels makes hot-dip galvanising difficult, but ThyssenKrupp has improved the alloying concept and the coating technology used.
4

The specific benefits are numerous (not mutual excluding): fewer parts, dies and spots welds needed, process efficiency (reduced time), lower manufacturing costs, better utilization of steel, weight reduction, improved dimensional accuracy, eliminate reinforcements, improved safety, reduced scrap etc.

18

High-strength steel is used in many other areas and has long been available for many types of industrial products and applications such as pressure vessels, towers, pipelines, machinery and tools. Only recently, has high-strength steel been used as a structural material for building construction and civil engineering. Increasingly, high-strength steel is being adopted for construction of buildings, bridges, and offshore platforms because it offers outstanding advantages for various applications. Other examples of innovations for the construction industry include fire-resistant steels and customised design beams. High-strength steel is also used for industrial machinery due to the need for reducing weight, e.g. steel plates, bars, and welding consumables for equipments such as cranes, dump trucks, and power shovels. In terms of surface coating, innovation is seeking to provide new functionalities such as scratch resistance and easy-clean effects. An example concerns objects made entirely of steel with organic coating which as finished products are intended to be in direct contact with foodstuffs, food products, and beverage for human and animal consumption. The principle examples of coating are lacquers, varnish, polymer films; and the principle application examples are tins for food and drink, packaging for dry foodstuffs, aerosols, etc.

2.3

Supply to the steel industry


The concentration of suppliers to the steel industry is high, notably within iron ore where the just three companies dominate the trade market. The European steel industry depends on overseas supply for a large part of its raw materials, notably iron ore and coking coal. In terms of iron ore, the three biggest suppliers account for approx. 70% of all shipments (EU-COM, ESTP, 2004). Iron ore The estimated worldwide iron ore reserves are immense, equal to 800 billion tonnes. 15 countries produce 96% of the iron ore output. The major global producers are Brazil, China, and Australia producing approx. 60% of world total output. Other major players are Russia and India. In addition, Africa is expected to gain greater prominence in the future as an iron ore producing region (EuroStrategy Consultants, 2005). In 2005 and 2006, CVRD, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton accounted for 30% of world iron ore production and approx. 70% of seaborne exports, thus dominating the trade market with almost three quarter of total world trade.

19

Figure 2.5. Iron ore market shares, 2006

30%

32%

15% CVRD Rio Tinto 23% BHP-Billiton Others

Source: Stahl-Zentrum, 2007, based on data from ThyssenKrupp

Coke and coking coal Nine countries - particularly the C.I.S and the USA - account for 96% of total world hard coal reserves, of which 38% is coking coal. In the EU, Germany and Poland each have reserves amounting to 5% and 6% of total world coke reserves respectively. Australia is the largest seaborne exporter, accounting for approx. 50% of global trade (EuroStrategy Consultants, 2005). Scrap Unlike iron ore and coke, there are no major reserves of scrap. There are three sources of scrap: The industrys own circular scrap from steel works and foundries. The supply of this type of scrap is decreasing due to continuous efforts to improve yields. Left-over material from steel-processing industries (mechanical engineering, vehicle manufacture, container construction, etc.) Old scrap obtained from end products such as cars, household devices, etc. This is the most common type of scrap.

2.4

The steel industrys distribution and downstream value chain


Steel producers must meet the requirements of the downstream industries concerning timely, flexible and secure supplies through a supply chain characterised by a high intermediation rate and a predominant role of distribution. All efforts of distribution are directed towards improving supply chain logistics and the service of the end-customers (Eurometal, 2005). There are several intermediaries from steel producers to finished product producers - i.e. from the mills to the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in the industrial steel supply chain. Intermediaries provide the services between the mills (upstream) and the OEMs (downstream) and include service centres, stockists, contract manufacturers and component suppliers and add value to the product by stockholding or by processing standardised raw materials to the specific sizes, shapes and tolerances required by the 20

customers. The value added to the products by intermediaries thus includes services in different positions along the supply chain. Many foundries are a part of an OEM. E.g. Daimler, BMW and VW have their own foundries. Whereas no data covering the EU27 has been found regarding the quantity and structure of distribution channels, data covering the EU15 from Eurometal gives an indication. Of a market supply of 150 million, 50 million are direct mill sales (approx. 33%), 40 million are sold to SSC5 companies (approx. 25%) and 60 million are sold to steel stockholding companies (approx. 40%). In this regard it should be noted that direct sales figures might be underestimated. E.g. data from Eurofer report higher direct sales number with 80 million tonnes being directly sold to end-users, whereas sales to SSCs and merchants/stockholding companies are equally reported to be 100 million tonnes. Intermediary roles in the value creation Producers are steel mills that produce steel and steel products in standard forms (upstream operators). Producers deliver to intermediaries or directly to OEM customers. OEMs are companies that assemble finished products from parts, components, or modules supplies by intermediaries. Traditionally, wholesalers and importers hold inventories, while OEMs ( original product producers), component suppliers or contract manufacturers do the processing. In addition, SSCs, which have grown considerably during the last thirty years along with the structural changes in most steel-customer industries, combine stockholding and processing activities. Thus, SSCs have become key operators in intermediary services. They transform base products to customised parts and components according to customer requirements (buying of finished steel, processing it in some way and re-selling it in a different form). Service centres are less capital-intensive than steel mills because they do not need furnaces, casters and rolling mills (Metal Service Center Institute, 2003). By contract, traditional stockists focus on ordinary stockholding, i.e. carrying stocks of base products from many suppliers, sourcing products in high volumes from producers. As they do not undertake any processing, their value added to the product is low. Their key competence is delivering their products on time to their customers. Contract manufacturers operate as first suppliers to the OEMs by producing parts, components or sub-assemblies of modules. They rarely hold stocks but manufacture by orders of OEMs. Component suppliers specialise in component manufacturing, either for OEMs or open markets, sourcing materials either from stockists or directly from the mills.

2.5

Internationalisation and consolidation in the world steel industry


In the 1980s, about 60-70% of the steel industry was state owned, and consequently cross-border mergers were rare. During the 1990s, privatisation was a clear tendency in various parts of the world (North America, Japan, Western Europe), and other countries have followed suit since then. Virtually all EU15 steel undertakings became private (Von
5

SSC Steel Service Centre

21

Hlsen, 2006). In itself, the change in ownership increased the competition between steel producers, made it possible for companies to concentrate more on profitability (Mytton & Lewis, 1997:31), and paved the way for consolidation of the until then very fragmented EU steel industry. The tubes and foundry industries have not gone through similar developments as they were not initially state owned. Following privatisation, new large players have been created since 2000. Arcelor for instance, was created through the merger of Arbed (Luxembourg), Aceralia (Spain) and Usinor (France) in 2001. Mittal was created by LNM Holdings and ISPAT International in 2004. Arcelor-Mittal was created in 2006 when Mittal Steel offered the shareholders of Arcelor to the opportunity to create the world's first 100 million tonnes plus steel producer. In 2007, Arcelor-Mittal produced 117.2 million tonnes of steel as the worlds largest steel producer. The second on the list Nippon Steel produced 34.3 million tonnes. U.S. Steel took over VSZ in Slovakia and various European steelmakers are active with mergers, acquisitions or Greenfield investment in countries outside Europe.
Table 2.1. The top 15 steel producers in the world, 2007 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Million metric tonnes 117.2 34.7 32.0 30.1 22.5 21.2 20.3 Company Arcelor-Mittal Nippon Steel JFE POSCO Baosteel U.S. Steel Nucor Tangshan Corus Group Riva Group Severstal ThyssenKrupp Evraz Group Gerdau Anshan

8 19.1 9 18.3 10 18.2 11 17.5 12 16.8 13 16.1 14 15.6 15 15.3 Source: International Iron and Steel Institute

Fairbrother et al. (2004) observed that ISPAT International part of the Mittal Group was truly a transnational company in the sense that it is not tied to any one country. It is likely that with the increase in mergers and acquisitions companies will increasingly approach the transnational company model. However, the world steel industry is still less international and more fragmented than other sectors. The top 10 largest producers turned out 30% of the production (2006) whereas the top 10 household appliances producers turned out 80%, and the top 10 automobile producers turned out 95%. In other words, there is room for further consolidation and internationalisation of the sector. Thus, the current consolidation phase is expected to continue - a factor which is strategically important from a competitive perspective, e.g., to increase negotiating its power with its main suppliers and customers. Moreover, the steel industry appears highly fragmented compared to its upstream

22

suppliers and downstream end-users (i.e., the top three iron ore producers have a market share of approx. 70%, cf. the section on suppliers). Figure 2.6 shows that the degree of consolidation varies between the world regions. The EU15 steel industry is highly consolidated with a market share higher than 60% for the top five regional companies. Consolidation in the steel industry in Latin America is even higher - the market share of the top five producing companies is higher than 80%. The comparative figures for North America and Asia (without China) are approx. 55%. Consolidation is less pronounced in China - here the top five producing companies have a market share equal to approx. 25%. At global level, the top five companies account for a market share of approx. 20% (the top 10 accounts for approx. 30% - cf. above). This relatively low level reflects that there is room for consolidation.
Figure 2.6. Consolidation in the steel industry: market share of top 5 regional companies, 2006

World

China

Asia (not China)

EU15

Latin America

North America

0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

90%

Source: The Boston Consulting Group. Estimate for 2006 based in figures form the Iron and Steel Institute.

2.6

Major changes and consolidation in the European steel industry


Steel production has been a cornerstone of the European industry and many European economies for more than a century, with roots in the development of the manufacturing industry in the late 19th century. When the Treaty of the European Coal and Steel Community was signed in 1951, the foundation for a common market for coal and steel was created, and in 1953 the market was established. The ECSC was perceived as a success as it enabled increases in output, and when overcapacity became a problem from 1959 and onwards, it contributed to handling the consequences of restructuring, e.g., by facilitating labour re-training and transfer on a massive scale following the high level of job losses in the steel industry (Fairbrother et al., 2004). In this regard, it should be stressed that the tubes/pipes industry was never part of the ECSC Treaty, and thus did not correspondingly benefit from the restructuring programmes. 23

Until the 1990s, the European steel industry was either state-owned or highly regulated, due to its position as a strategically important industry. Today, the European industry can be characterised as a regional industry, both in terms of production and trade. The foundation for this was laid in the 1980s and 1990s when the deregulation of the industry began with its privatisation and internationalisation. The European steel industry has undergone large-scale consolidation and important changes since the 1990s, following the massive privatisation of the nationalised steel groups. The consolidation of the industry included increased emphasis on productivity, technological innovation, emphasis on downstream activity and re-composition of the industry through mergers and acquisitions. The changes resulted in three principle outcomes:

1. A radical transformation of the industry due to technical innovations, turning the


industry into a high-tech industry. This means that the industry has become less labour-intensive and more capital intensive. Today, the more efficient production of new, lighter steel requires less raw steel.

2. Deregulation and the change of ownership of the industry from primary state-owned
companies to private companies. This process is virtually complete in western European countries.

3. Concentration into a small number of large multinational companies.


The first privatisations were British Steel in the UK, which merged with Dutch Hoogovens in 1999 to become Corus. Corus was the worlds seventh largest steel producing company in 2003 accounting for 60% of the employment in the sector in the UK and 96% of the sector employment in the Netherlands (Beguin, 2005). In 2007, Tata Steel bought Corus for $11.3b. The example of Corus indicates the process of privatisation and mergers that has happened on the European market. In 1980, Thyssen and Finsider were the dominant steel producers with a market share around 8% and a relatively large number of companies with a market share of 3-5%. The consolidation process of the European steel market can be illustrated by a calculation of the Herfindal index. The Herfindal index illustrates the structure of industry and the size of the firms. A very low index number indicates a very large percentage of very small firms and an index of 10,000 indicates a monopolistic market. It is calculated as the sum of squares of the market share. In a monopolistic environment one company has a market share of 100% and the HHI index will be 100^2 = 10,000. Normally, HHI index values of below 1000 is taken to indicate an un-concentrated market, values of 1000-1800 are taken to indicate moderate concentration, and values above 1800 are taken to indicate high concentration.

24

Figure 2.7. Herfindal-Hirschman index (10000 = monopoly)


1200

1000

800
INDEX

600

400

200

0
19 80 19 85 19 86 19 87 19 88 19 89 19 90 19 91 19 92 19 93 19 94 19 95 19 96 19 97 19 98 19 99 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04
EU15 USA

Source: The index is calculated on the basis of estimates made by Armand Sadler, 2008, former chief economist of Arcelor. Note: The Herfindahl index is a measure of the size of firms in relationship to the industry and an indicator of the amount of competition among them. It is defined as the sum of the squares of the market shares of each individual firm, thus ranging from many very small firms to one single monopolistic producer.

The index illustrates the increasing concentration of market power from 1993 to about 2000 in Europe. The companies that survived this period were well trimmed by tight operations, automation and they were well prepared for the increase in world steel demand from 2000 onwards. Furthermore, it shows that the US consolidation process started later than in the EU15. The figure 2.7 indicates that the consolidation process in the EU 15 levelled off after 2001. It might mean a reversal in the trend and indicate lower pace of consolidation process in the future however consolidations after 2004 are not included in the data series. Following the moves towards mergers and acquisitions, an important characteristic of todays steel industry is the higher degree of concentration a few multinational companies dominate the sector in Europe and account for more than 60% of the output and employment in Europe. The largest are Arcelor (Arcelor-Mittal since 2006), Corus (Tata Steel), ThyssenKrupp Stahl and Riva. However, the world and EU steel industry is still much less concentrated than the major industries of its suppliers or customers. The consolidation process implies that the European industry has gone from being a largely nationally based industry to one consisting of major steel multinationals with a strong regional focus. In 1980, Europe's five largest steel companies accounted for 30% of steel production in the EU. Today, the top five account for more than 60%.

25

Regarding the tubes sub-sector specifically, the market for small welded tubes is very fragmented with a large share of commodity products. However, a consolidation process is in progress, and this has resulted in the creation of groups of large companies besides the large number of small and medium sized companies. Concerning large diameter pipes (> 16") (Line Pipe), most global projects require highend quality products. This limits the number of companies that are able to meet these requirements. New capacities are built worldwide, especially in Russia. The market for seamless pipes and tubes is much more consolidated. A number of large groups of companies, which operate globally, take a bigger market share. Thus, the small welded tubes industry is still mainly oriented towards the local market, whereas the seamless and large welded pipes industry is globally oriented and acts as such. As regards the foundry sector, there is no available data and sources reflecting the issue of consolidation. However, according to the sector (CAEF), there is a trend to merge single foundries into bigger entities in order to enlarge the product range. Moreover, most mergers and acquisitions are taken place in the form of customers buying and integrating a foundry - rather than the mergers of more foundries. Thus, many foundries are part of an OEM, and e.g. Daimler, BMW and VW have their own foundries.

2.7
2.7.1

Production of crude steel and finished steel products


Development in world crude steel production World crude steel production reached a new record level in 2007 equalling to 1.344 million metric tonnes. Figure 2.8 below illustrates the development in world steel production. A growth period from 1950 to 1973 fuelled by the rebuilding of civil and economic infrastructure after World War II was followed by a stagnation period between 1973 and 2001 caused by weak global demand and periodically high energy prices. The total growth in total steel production from 1974 to 2001 was just a modest 0.6%, and steel prices declined steadily by 2 to 3% per year. As a whole, the industry suffered from considerable overcapacity. In 2001, the overcapacity averaged 25% globally (including approx. 25% in Europe (EU15), a little more in Japan and a little less in the USA). Closing down steelmaking production facilities and eliminating inefficient capacities was difficult because of high legacy costs of closing down mills and the national political interests involved (Boston Consulting Group, 2007). Efforts were undertaken to streamline operations, but this only contributed to further overcapacity. From 1990 onwards, state control with the EU steel industry was gradually abolished. Nationalised steel industries were gradually privatised, and EU capacity control was abolished and very restrictive state aid rules and a liberalisation of import policies were introduced. As a consequence, the EU became the most open steel market in the world (Von Hlsen, 2006).

26

Figure 2.8. World crude steel production, 1950-2007 (million metric tonnes)
1.400 1.200 1.000 800 600 400 200 0
50 19 55 19 60 19 65 19 70 19 75 19 80 19 85 19 90 19 95 19 96 19 97 19 98 19 99 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 19

Source: World Steel in figures, http://www.worldsteel.org/index.php?action=storypages&id=193

Total world steel output has increased by 68% within the last ten years (1997-2007), with significant increases starting from 2000 onwards fuelled by economic expansion and rapid demand growth in China. The rate of world growth was approx. 6-8% per year until 2007. Short term forecasts carried out by the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) indicate that 2008 will still be another strong year for the world steel industry. Thus, the institute reports that world crude steel production for the month of April 2008 is 116,4 million tonnes - a 5,6% increase on the amount of crude steel produced in the same month last year. The growth rate is projected to be 3-4% until 2015 by the Boston Consulting Group (2007). Today, the steel market is fully globalised and prices are determined globally. Nevertheless, due to increasing transportation costs and the need for a close technical and service relationship with clients, the regional markets are the core business for steel producers. However, increasing international engagement is seen worldwide (see further chapter 3). The various world regions have experienced rather different growth rates during the period from 1997-2006: Figure 2.9 shows that the growth in global steel production since 2000 has primarily occurred in China. From 2001 to 2004, China almost doubled its total steel output and is set to achieve an annual production above 500 million metric tonnes in 2008. Today, China counts for approx. 35% of total world production - almost four times as much as the second largest producing country (Japan). China alone produces more than any other region in the world. In this regard it should be noted that the Chinese government provides various direct and indirect benefits to the steel industry 6.
6

These benefits include e.g. the following: Steel producers are provided with cash grants to defray costs for raw materials and energy; Steel producers are provided with land at a fraction of its market value; Conversion of debt to equity in steel companies; Debt forgiveness and inaction regarding non-performing loans; preferential loans and direct credit; Tax incentives; Export restrictions on coke and scrap to reduce costs for Chinese producers (Stahl-Zentrum, 2007).

27

Million Metric Tonnes

Total production in the EU grew by 7.4% in 1997-2007, covering both annual increases and decreases which in total represent a relative decrease from 24.3% of world steel output in 1997 to 16% in 2007. During the same period, North America experienced a total increase of 2.6%, also covering alternating increases and decreases from year to year, representing a relative decrease from 16.2% of world steel output in 1997 to approx. 10% in 2007. The C.I.S experienced significant annual total steel production growth rates, equalling a total increase of 53.9% during the 1999-2007 period.
Figure 2.9. Total crude steel production by regions, 1997-2007 (thousand metric tonnes)

600.000

500.000

Thousand metric tonnes

400.000

300.000

200.000

100.000

0 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Year EU27 Africa Other Asia Other Europe North America Oceania The C.I.S South America Middle East China 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Source: Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2007

2.7.2

Distribution and level of world crude steel production today Of the 1.344 million metric tonnes crude steel produced in the world in 2007, more than 66% is based on the oxygen steel route and 31% on the electric steel route. Thus, the share of electric steel is increasing. Following Asia, the EU is the second largest world steel producing region in the world with a total production of 208 million tonnes in 2007, equal to a market share of approx. 16%. 28

With a market share of 56% in 2007, Asia is currently by far the worlds largest producer of crude steel and finished steel products. China alone takes up 36%. As the market supply per head of population in China is only about two-thirds that of the EU or the USA, sustained growth can also be expected to continue in the future. The IISI reports that in the first four months of 2008, China produced 169,8 million tonnes of crude steel, an increase of 9,1% compared to the same period in 2007. North America accounts for approx. 10% share in world crude steel production, closely followed by the C.I.S (approx. 9%).
Figure 2.10. Share of total world crude steel production by regions, 2007
20% 16%

2% 9% 1% 1% 10% 36% 4% 1%
EU27 North America Other Europe South America The C.I.S Oceania Middle East China Africa Other Asia

Source: Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2008

Figure 2.11 displays the production of crude steel by product. Particularly noticeable is the high number of steel ingots produced in the C.I.S., accounting for nearly 50% of total C.I.S. crude steel production.

29

Figure 2.11. Production of crude steel by casting process in world regions, 2005 (thousand metric tonnes)
400.000 350.000 300.000 250.000 200.000 150.000 100.000 50.000 0 EU(27) Other Europe C.I.S North South America America Africa Middle East China Other Asia Oceania

Continuously-cast Steel

Crude Steel Ingots

Source: Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2008

As shown in figure 2.12, most crude steel is produced by oxygen blown converters in the EU as well as in most other regions. However electric furnaces are also extensively used across regions. It is worth noting the use of open heat furnaces in the C.I.S.
Figure 2.12. Production of crude steel by process in world regions, 2005 (thousand metric tonnes)
400.000 350.000 300.000 250.000 200.000 150.000 100.000 50.000 0 EU(27) Other Europe C.I.S North South America America Africa Middle East China Other Asia Oceania

Oxygen Blown Converters

Electric Furnaces

Open Heath Furnaces and other

2.7.3

Development in EU crude steel production The development in total crude steel production in the EU15 and in the New Member States has been rather similar since 1997 in terms of periods of decreases (1997-1999; 2000-2001; 2004-2005) and periods of increases (1999-2000; 2002-2004; 2005-2006). However, during the period from 1997 to 2006, the EU15 experienced an 8.4% absolute 30

increase in total crude steel production, while the level remained almost stable in the New Member States.
Figure 2.13. Development in total crude steel production in the EU, 1997-2007 (million metric tonnes)
225 200 175 150 125 100 75 50 25 0 1997 1998 EU15 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 EU27 2004 2005 2006 2007

New Member States

Source: Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2007

Particularly the large steel producing regions in the New Member States - Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania - have experienced massive restructuring and reorganisation since the collapse of the planned economies. From 1989 to 2000 total steel production decreased by between 30% and 66% in these major steel producing countries. Outdated capacities were dismantled and former volume output has increasingly been shifted towards quality output. From 2002-2007, total steel production in the new EU Member States has stabilised.
Table 2.2. Crude steel production in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania, 19892000 (million metric tonnes) 1989 Poland Czech Republic Romania 15.1 15.4 14.4 2000 10.5 6.2 4.8 Change% - 30.5 - 59.7 - 66.7

31

2.7.4

Level and distribution of EU crude steel production today7 During the last decade, better capacity management across the EU steel industry has resulted in higher levels of total crude steel production. Out of the total EU27 steel output in 2007 the EU15 countries accounted for 84% with 174.2 million metric tonnes in 2007, and the New Member States accounted for approximately 16% of total EU steel production with 34 million metric tonnes in 2007. Today, steel is produced in most EU15 Member States. Among the New Member States eight of them - Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Latvia, and Slovenia - are steel producers, and of these only the first six produce steel in internationally significant quantities. The largest EU steel producing countries (2007 figures) are Germany (23.3%) and Italy (15.4%), followed by France (9.2%), Spain (9.1%), the UK (6.9%), Belgium (5.1%), Poland (5.1%), Austria (3.6%), the Netherlands (3.5%), and the Czech Republic (3.4%). These relative positions have been steady for years. All together, the output levels among New Member States are modest compared to the largest steel producing companies in the EU15 and only two New Member States Poland and in the Czech Republic - are in the top 10 of EU steel producing countries. Poland is the largest steel producing country among the New Member States (10.6 million tonnes in 2007), and the only New Member State that produces more than 10 million tonnes of crude steel. Total steel output in 2007 in the other New Member States was: the Czech Republic 7 million tonnes; Romania - 6.3 million tonnes, the Slovak Republic 5.1 million tonnes, Hungary 2.2 million tonnes, and Bulgaria - approx. 2 million tonnes.

2.7.5

Distribution and level of finished steel products today In terms of finished products output, the EU27 is the second largest world producer with a production in 2006 of 173,1 million metric tonnes of hot rolled steel products, 67,9 million tonnes long products and 99,6 million tonnes flat products. The world's leading producer of finished steel products is Asia with 722.7 million tonnes in 2006 of which China accounted for 65% of the Asian production. The third and fourth most significant players are North America (129.2 million metric tonnes) and C.I.S. (99.5 million metric tonnes). It is also noteworthy that the EU27 is the leading world producer of heavy sections (>=80mm) with 12.2 million metric tonnes produced in 2006 together with China (9.2 million metric tonnes) and other Asia (7.5 million metric tonnes). North America produced 8.6 million metric tonnes in 2006. On the other hand, the EU27 does not produce light sections (<80mm) at a significant international level. Moreover, the EU27 produces a high percentage of world output of railway track material, i.e. 27%, and 12.5% of concrete reinforcing bars as well as other hot-rolled bars. Figure 2.14 below shows the level of EU27 steel production by selected product types.

The statistical description of the development of the EU sector takes the present structure of the EU consisting of 27 as point of departure. Thus, for each year (generally from 1997 to 2006/2007), the figures represent the aggregated numbers for all 27 present EU countries regardless the actual number of Member States at the relevant point in time.

32

Figure 2.14. EU27 level of steel production by product type, 2006 (thousand metric tonnes)
200.000 180.000 160.000 140.000 120.000 100.000 80.000 60.000 40.000 20.000 0
od uc ts ts ts er ia l m ) od uc od uc Ba rs m m 80 m 80 at Ba ot R th er H ol le d rs )

173.146

99.611 67.870

12.187 2.164 520

15.938

13.197

ee l

ng

ck

(> =

at

ns

Se ct io ns

ol le d

ol le d

lw ay

gh tS ec

ol

C on cr et e

ot R

ai

R ei nf o

Fl

Tr a

St

Lo

le d

tio

ot

H ea vy

ot

Source: Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2007 Note: (1) Figures for Hot Rolled Long Products are excl. Seamless Tubes. (2) Comparable EU27 data from EUROFER shows higher production volumes with total hot rolled steel products equal to 187,548 thousand tonnes. The differences are apparently explained by slightly different categorisations. However, the relative level differences between product types are equivalent. Thus, the table reflects the relatively shares of total volume by product type, showing the types of products that are primarily produced in the EU27.

The product profiles of the EU15 and the New Member States differ. The former produce relatively more flat rolled steel, the latter used to produce lower value long products (PWC 2004). However, owing to selective investments in processing equipment and R&D in the new Member States, technology and products are rapidly nearing world-class standards.

2.8
2.8.1

Production of steel tubes


World production of steel tubes Total world production of steel pipes, tubes, and tube fittings was equal to 118 million metric tonnes in 2007. However, as Figure 2.15 shows, steel tubes are not produced in all regions at significant international levels. Only in the EU, Asia, the C.I.S and North America this is the case. The EU27 is the second largest producers of steel tubes. In 2007, total production of steel tubes and steel fittings in the EU27 was equal to 17,737 thousand metric tonnes, representing approx. 16% of world production. Most steel tubes are produced in Asia with a total production of 61,227 thousand metric tonnes of steel tubes and steel fittings in 2007, representing approx. 52% of world production. Most of the Asian - and world - steel tubes output is produced in China which 33

Li

rc in g

Pr

Pr

pr

(<

accounted for 42,240 thousand metric tonnes in 2007 equal to a total market share of 36%. Since 2000, Chinese steel tube production has increased by more than 350%.
Figure 2.15. Share of total world steel tubes production in world regions, 2007
12%

15%

10%

11% 36%

16% EU(27) China Other Asia North Amercia C.I.S Other

Source: The Steel Tube Producers Association, 2008

In North America, absolute growth has decreased slightly since 1997. The growth rate of steel tube production in the C.I.S has also been very high, equalling a total increase by approx. 100% since 1997 and producing 12,080 thousand metric tonnes in 2007, which represents approx. 10% of world total production. Figure 2.16 below displays the production share by product type among the relevant world regions.

34

Figure 2.16. Volume of products produced in world regions, 2007 (thousands metric tonnes).
45.000 40.000 35.000 30.000 25.000 20.000 15.000 10.000 5.000 0 EU(27) China Other Asia North Amercia C.I.S Other

Small welded pipes & tubes

Seamless pipes & tubes

Large welded pipes & tubes

Source: The Steel Tube Producers Association, 2008 Note: small welded tubes <= 16, large welded tubes > 16

In all three product areas, the present EU27 share of total world production equals 1416%, and most significantly the EU27 is the second largest producer of seamless pipes and tubes, followed by the C.I.S. Noticeable in addition is the fact that China alone produces the majority of small welded tubes (34%) and seamless pipes and tubes (51%), but a relatively small percentage of large welded tubes (11%). However, in this product area the most significant regions are Asia (27% excl. China and 38% incl. China) and the C.I.S. (18%). 2.8.2 Development in production of steel tubes in the EU The EU27 market share of steel tubes production, accounting for approx. 15% of world steel tubes production (2007), is equivalent to the EU share of total crude steel production. Total EU27 steel tubes production equals 16.6 million metric tonnes (2006), of which the EU15 accounts for approx. 84% with 13.9 million metric tonnes produced in 2006, and the New Member States account for approx. 16% with 2.6 million metric tonnes produced in 2006. Thus, the relative shares of the EU15 and EU12 equal the relative shares of the total crude steel production. However, steel tubes are produced in fewer EU countries. There is no production of steel tubes in Denmark, Malta, Estonia, and Lithuania, and other countries produce only a few steel tubes. The largest five EU producing countries (2006) are Germany (23.7%) and Italy (22.2%), followed by France (8.9%), Spain (8.2%), and the UK (6.2%). Three new EU Member States are among the top 10 steel producing countries, i.e., the Czech Republic (4.4%), Romania (4.4%) and Poland (4.2%).

35

Figure 2.17 below displays the development in total EU tube production, 1997-2007, as well as the relative differences between the old and the New Member States. Over the years, the development in total steel tube production has been very similar between old and new EU Member States.
Figure 2.17. Development in total steel tube production in the EU, 1997-2006 (thousand metric tonnes)
18.000 16.000 14.000 12.000 10.000 8.000 6.000 4.000 2.000 0 1997 1998 1999 2000 EU15 2001 2002 2003 2004 EU27 2005 2006

New Member States

Source: Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2007

Since 1997, EU steel tube production has experienced periodic absolute increases and decreases, with similar trends in the EU15 and in the New Member States. Since 2003, an upward trend has characterised the EU steel tube production, following a period of stagnation. Total output increased by approx. 15% from 2003-2006, driven by increasing demand for tubes in the mechanical engineering industry, the construction industry and the automotive industry. Thus, being one of the most export-intensive industries in Europe, the steel tubes industry has been able to derive particular benefit from the mainly investment-driven upturn in the international economic situation within recent years. Thus, real increases in tubes production have taken place despite rising costs of pre-material, bolstered by the very high oil and gas prices (se further chapter 3).

2.9
2.9.1

Foundry production
Distribution and level of world foundry production World foundry production has also increased significantly in the last decade, and in 2006 alone total ferrous casting output increased by 6,6%. Today, China is by far the biggest producer of ferrous castings in the world with an output equal to approx 20 million tonnes in 2004, representing an increase of approx. 73% since 1993 (CAEF, web material). Since 2004, Chinese total iron and steel casting output has continued to grow with very high annual increase (between 15-20%), and in

36

2006 China reached the level of 25 million tonnes, produced by approx. 21.700 operating metalcasting plants (Modern casting, 2007). The EU is the second largest producer of castings with 12 million tonnes, followed by the US (approx. 9 million tonnes), India (6 million tonnes), Russia (6 million tonnes), Japan (5 million tonnes), and Brazil (3 million tonnes). Whereas output levels have increased in China, Japan, India and the EU in the recent years, output has decreased in the US (Modern casting, 2007 and CAEF web material. No figures covering the development in Russia are available). Besides China, the metal casting industries in Japan and India are very fast growing. After huge increases in 2003/2004, Brazil ferrous casting growth has steadied to approx. 4% per year. 2.9.2 Foundry production in the EU The total number of foundries (iron, steel and malleable iron castings) in the EU in 2006 was approx. 1,300 (CAEF, 2008). Total EU foundry production (iron, steel and malleable iron castings) was approx. 12.3 million metric tonnes in 2006, representing an increase of approx. 10% since 2002 (CAEF, 2008). The EU output of steel castings was 950 thousand metric tonnes in 2006. Thus, compared to total steel production and steel tube production, the foundry industry is relatively small when measured by total volume produced. However, the steel foundry industry has had a prominent role in advanced industrial and domestic development. Many articles, especially turbine diaphragms and shells, pump casings, valve bodies, and machine parts are made by casting, because they could only be made by other processes or from wrought products with extreme difficulty and at some economic disadvantage. However, while cast structures may have more stability and rigidity than their wrought counterparts, they may also be less flexible. The European foundry sector is also affected by the dynamics in the global economy, as most other manufacturing industries. Within recent years the foundry industry has been particularly affected by economical challenges caused by off-shore sourcing of cast metal components as well as off-shore manufacturing of durable goods that require castings, and influx of low-priced castings from off-shore sources such as China, Brazil and India. Most EU countries have iron and steel foundry production, but the amount produced vary considerably across EU. The top five producing countries in 2006 - Germany (4,515 thousand tonnes), France (2,063 thousand tonnes), Italy (1,563 thousand tonnes), Spain (1,081 thousand tonnes) and the UK (878 thousand tonnes) - produce more than 80 per cent of total EU output. Other EU countries producing more than 200 thousand tonnes are Poland (645 thousand tonnes), the Czech Republic (467 thousand tonnes), Sweden (287 thousand tonnes) and Austria (207 thousand tonnes). The production of steel castings is specifically concentrated in a limited number of EU countries. The largest five EU producing countries in 2006 were Germany, France, the Czech Republic, the UK and Spain, followed by Italy, Poland, Belgium, Sweden and Finland. It is worth noticing that the Czech Republic is the third largest producer of steel foundry in the EU. In other EU countries, iron and steel foundry production is very small or insignificant.

37

EU foundry output has been characterised by moderate increases during the past five years, from approx. 11.2 million metric tonnes in 2002 to approx 12.3 million metric tonnes in 2006 ( ~ 10%). However, the total output per foundry increased at the same time as there has been a decline in the total number of companies from approx. 1,500 in 2002 to 1,300 in 2006. The total value of production increased slightly by 2.6% in total from 2002 to 2006 (CAEF, 2008). Figure 2.18 shows the development in EU steel foundry production specifically, displaying an upward trend from 2004/2005 among both old and new EU Member States. Thus, European foundry production has been relatively stable in recent years, although fluctuations have occurred in individual countries.
Figure 2.18. Development in total steel castings production in the EU, 2002-2006 (thousand tonnes)
1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 2002 2003 EU(15) Old Member States 2004 2005 2006 Total EU

EU(12) New Member States

Source: IISI, Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2007

2.10

Steel capacity and utilization


Figure 2.19 illustrates the development in the world steel industrys capacity utilization from 2001 to 2007. It also depicts the development in the EU15 and the EU12 new Member Sates compared to some key competing steel production locations. The area between capacity and production is equal to overcapacity, and the development in the size of the gap reflects the development in capital utilisation. The global steel industrys capacity, production and utilisation have increased significantly the past decade, especially since 2002. The production capacity surpassed the 1.5 million tonnes in 2007. Capacity utilisation increased from 73% to 85% in 2006 and 2007. While the overall gap between production and capacity has been reduced globally in recent years, significant regional differences remain. A capacity utilisation rate of about 85% is considered close to the maximum possible production rate (= full capital utilization) when taking into account the bottlenecks, the logistics, the normal and exceptional maintenance, strikes and accidents. 38

Figure 2.19 Development in production, capacity and utilization in crude steel production, 1998-2007 EU15
600 100% 95% 500 90% 400 85% 80% 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0
19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

New Member States


600 100% 95% 500 90% 400 85% 80% 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0
19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

World
1600 1400 1200 1000 800 75% 600 400 200 0
19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

100% 95% 90% 85% 80%

70% 65% 60% 55%

55%

55%

Production

Production Capacity Utilization

Production Capacity Utilization

Capacity Utilization

Table continues on next page

39

China
600 500 90% 400 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0
19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

Japan
100% 95% 500 90% 400 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0
19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

USA
100% 95% 500 90% 400 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0
19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

600

600

100% 95%

85% 80%

85% 80%

85% 80%

55%

55%

55%

Production Capacity Utilization

Production Capacity Utilization

Production Capacity Utilization

India
600 100% 95% 500 90% 400 85% 80% 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0 55%

Russia and Ukraine


600 100% 95% 500 90% 400 85% 80% 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0 55%

Brazil
600 100% 95% 500 90% 400 85% 80% 300 75% 200 70% 65% 100 60% 0 55%

19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

Production Capacity Utilization

Production Capacity Utilization

Source: OECD Steel Committee. Data for EU27 are incomplete for 2006 and 2007. Notes: Capacity and production are displayed in million tonnes. Utilisation is calculated as the percentage of production to capacity. Thus the left scale applies to production and capacity, whereas the right scale in percentages applies to utilization.

19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

19 98 20 00 20 02 20 04 20 06

Production Capacity Utilization

40

Most of the capacity and production increase over the past decade have taken place in China. In China alone, the capacity has increased by more than 60 million tonnes a year since 2004. In comparison, this increase is larger than the entire annual production of the largest EU steel producing country, Germany. Capacity utilisation in China was 86 % in 2007 and there seem to be a good match of demand and investment in new capacity in China. For flat products, China in particular, but also South Korea and Japan, have an overcapacity due to over-investments in the past years. Other countries with relatively high capacity levels and with increasing capacity are India, Brazil, and the C.I.S. By comparison, the EU27 crude steel production increased by 15,287 million tonnes from 1998 to 2007. The capacity utilisation of crude steel production in the EU27 is 85% (2007) and the capacity seems well balanced with production. As a result the increasing demand for steel products in the EU has been mainly satisfied by imports in the recent years. The capacity utilization by 85% in the EU27 is noteworthy with a view to the fact that since 1959 overcapacity has been a problem in the European steel industry, and the early 1980s in particular marked a period of low capacity utilisation in a time of decreased demand for steel. However, massive reorganisation and restructuring of the European industry, first in the old EU Member States and more recently in the new EU Member States, meant that excess capacity and capacity utilisation has gradually improved. Until 2003, capacity utilisation was significantly lower in the New Member States. But following the restructuring and modernisation process the New Member States have since then succeeded in reducing excess capacity and in closing inefficient production facilities, just as the old Member States did in the 1980s. And as shown in figure 2.19, utilisation has increased sharply in the new Member States, reaching the level of the old EU Member States. The restructuring process is now only happening in Bulgaria and Romania. Equivalent available data on the development in capacity and capacity utilisation in the tubes sector and the foundry sector has not been found.

2.11
2.11.1

Steel consumption
World steel consumption The increases in crude steel production underestimate increases in consumption of finished products as technical improvements within the industry has led to more saleable products being produced per tonne crude steel - a trend which could already be seen in 1997 (cf. Mytton & Lewis, 1997). Consequently, total consumption has in general grown a little more than total production. Moreover, the geographical patterns of production and consumption, as well as imports and exports, differ.
Figure 2.20 shows current global consumption by region. Asia is the largest steel

consuming region in the world with 53%, of which China alone accounts for 32%. The EU27 is the second largest steel consuming region, followed by North America (USA). Together these three regions account for approx. 84% (2006 figures) of world finished steel consumption (as well as crude steel consumption) and are thus the driving forces in world steel demand with China in the anchor position.

41

Figure 2.20. Share of global apparent consumption of finished steel by regions, 2007
17%

21%

3% 4% 3% 2%

32% 3% 1%

14%

EU(27) North America

Other Europe South America

C.I.S. Oceania

Middle East China

Africa Other Asia

Source: Steel Statistical Yearbook, 2008 Note: The IISI data are based on a broad definition of steel consumption, including steel tubes and castings. IISI uses ASU (apparent steel use) = Total Deliveries + Imports from 3rd countries Exports to 3rd countries - steel industry receipts (to prevent double counting).

Accelerating in 2001, world steel demand has experienced significant annual increases, primarily driven by steel consumption in Asia (China). Following years of significant growth, world steel demand growth decelerated in 2007 in line with declining consumption in North America. Chinese steel consumption reached a level of 384.3 million metric tonnes of crude steel and 357.4 million metric tonnes of finished steel in 2006 - a change of approx. 9% compared to the previous year. World steel demand is expected to continue to grow significantly in the next years, though less dynamically than in the recent years due to the currently projected global economic slowdown (OECD).

42

Figure 2.21. World apparent consumption of finished steel, 1997-2006 (thousand metric tonnes)
1.200.000

1.000.000

800.000

600.000

400.000

200.000

0 1997 1998 1999 EU(27) 2000 2001 2002 2003 Asia 2004 World 2005 2006

North America

Source: International Iron and Steel Institute, 2007. Note: The IISI data are based on a broad definition of steel consumption, including steel tubes and castings. IISI uses ASU (apparent steel use) = Total Deliveries + Imports from 3rd countries Exports to 3rd countries - steel industry receipts (to prevent double counting).

The EU steel market experienced good years in 2006 and 2007 with real increases in apparent steel consumption equal to a 14% increase compared to the previous year. The faster pace of apparent consumption reflects the underlying positive trend in real steel consumption, and the significant increase in imports these years (cf. Chapter 3) and an increased volatility of the steel inventory cycle, which, particularly in 2006, resulted in a significant stock build-up and consequently a strong increase in apparent consumption. Expectations for 2008 are more moderate due to, among other things, a weaker construction activity as well as a lower demand for investment goods (OECD, 2007). Based on an economic outlook assessment for 2008-2009, Eurofers Economic Committee is also expecting that output growth in the main steel using sectors in the EU will slow down to more sustainable rates, following two years of above-trend growth and a reduced influence of the stock cycle on the development of apparent steel consumption (EUROFER, April 2008).

43

Figure 2.22. EU apparent consumption of finished steel, 1997-2006 (thousand metric tonnes)
250.000

200.000

150.000

100.000

50.000

0 1997 1998 1999 2000 EU(15) 2001 2002 2003 2004 EU(27) 2005 2006

EU new member states

Source: International Iron and Steel Institute, 2007 Note: The IISI data are based on a broad definition of steel consumption, including steel tubes and castings. IISI uses ASU (apparent steel use) = Total Deliveries + Imports from 3rd countries Exports to 3rd countries - steel industry receipts (to prevent double counting).

2.12

Development in steel prices


In the early 1980s, falling steel product prices were another severe concern for the European steel industry alongside low capacity utilization. In the 1990s, prices continued to decrease. From 2003 and onwards, as shown in 2.23, steel prices have increased dramatically (for steel and ferro-alloy products as well as steel tubes and iron castings). 8 The recent increases in product prices signify that market conditions for the EU steel industry in this regard have been generally favourable.

Prices index data for steel casting is not available for the entire EU.

44

Figure 2.23. Development in steel prices: total output price index, EU27, 2001-2007
170

150

130

110

90

70 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Steel tubes 2006 2007

Basic iron, steel and f erro-alloys

Casting of iron

Source: EUROSTAT

The table below shows the carbon steel price index for different steel types, displaying the differences in prices levels between different steel types, and the development in prices for different steel types within the short period from November 2006 to January 2008.
Table 2.3. Carbon steel price index, January 1997=100
Month Nov-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Hot Rolled Coil 188.1 182.4 183.9 Hot Rolled Plate 235.5 236.2 242.5 Cold Rolled Coil 162.6 158.2 151.4 HD Galv. Coil 158.6 161.2 134.5 Wire Rod (mesh) 181.0 170.0 178.5 Structural Sections & Beams 213.2 223.2 221.5 Reinforcing Bar 199.6 185.5 192.5

Source: http://www.meps.co.uk

To give an impression of the development in product prices for a long period, data from the UK and Germany are represented in tables 2.24 and 2.25. The figures reflect the fact that annual prices were relatively stable throughout the period from the early 1990s until 2002/2003, particularly for steel tubes and iron and steel castings, whereas particularly the UK prices for basic iron, steel and ferro-alloys have tended to fluctuate. As also shown in figure 2.23 covering EU27, prices began to increase significantly from 2002/2003.

45

Figure 2.24. Development in steel prices: total output price index, Germany, 1995-2007
190

170

150

130

110

90

70 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Basic steel, iron and ferro-alloys

Steel tubes

Iron castings

Steel castings

Source: EUROSTAT http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?_pageid=0,1136195,0_45572097&_dad=portal&_sc hema=PORTAL Figure 2.25. Development in steel prices: total output price index, United Kingdom, 19912007
190

170

150

130

110

90

70 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Basic steel, iron and ferro-alloys Steel tubes Iron castings Steel castings

Source: EUROSTAT http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?_pageid=0,1136195,0_45572097&_dad=portal&_sc hema=PORTAL

The reason why steel prices have increased significantly since 2003 and onwards can be attributed to increasing raw material prices and a tightening supply-demand balance, fuelled by rapid demand growth particularly in China but also elsewhere, with real consumption rising by on average of 4.8% per annum in the 2003-2007 period, and 46

supply bottlenecks in the whole steel supply chain mainly in transport infrastructure for supply of iron ore and coking coal (cf. Chapter 3). However, all other things being equal, increasing prices also indicate favourable conditions for increased earning/products.

2.13
2.13.1

Employment levels
Employment trends in the EU steel industry Complete statistical data on employment development in the EU27 steel industry does not exist. The available data only covers EU15 and the most recent is from 2004. Though incomplete, the data provides some indications of the overall development with regard to employment levels in the steel industry. The data is presented in the following table.
Table 2.4. Employment in the EU15 steel industry, 1974, and 1997 - 2002 (number of people in thousands)
1974 Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Luxembourg Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden UK Total 44 64 2 12 158 232 0 1 96 23 25 4 89 50 194 996 23 13 35 23 13 32 22 29 12 12 12 38 39 39 1997 12 20 8 38 81 1998 12 20 9 38 80 38 77 37 77 2 0 39 4 12 2 22 29 278 1999 20 2000 20 1 2001 12 21 1 9 37 76 2 0 38 4 11 1 22 13 22 269 2002 12 19 1 9 34 74 2 0 37 4 11 1 22 13 21 260 2003 12 19 1 8 34 73 2 0 39 4 11 1 21 13 22 260 2004 12 18 1 8 34 73 2 0 39 4 11 1 22 13 20 258 Change 1974-2000 (percent) -73 -69 -50 -77 - 67 -60 -83 -52 -50 -76 -74 -86 -72

Note: 1974 figures for Germany West Germany only. Source: Numbers for 1974-2000: International Iron and steel Institute, 2002 in Fairbrother et.al; and Eurostat in Fairbrother et al 2004, and numbers for 2001-2004; EUROFER, at www.eurofer.eu

The total number of people employed in the EU15 steel industry in 2004 amounted to 258,000 people. Total employment in the EU steel industry has decreased considerably in all European countries over the last two or three decades, i.e. Europe's steel employment in the EU15 has decreased from nearly 800,000 workers in 1980 to fewer than 250,000 today. In total, EU15 employment in the steel industry dropped by 72% from 1974 to 2000 with big annual decreases in the 1980s. The biggest single drop within the EU happened in 1980 when total employment decreased by 11%, equivalent to 70,000 persons 47

(Fairbrother et. al., 2004). Particularly the UK has seen a large decrease in employment of approx. 85% from 1974 to 2000. Other countries, e.g. France and Germany, have also experienced huge decreases in the absolute number of people employed in the industry. In recent years, overall employment in the steel industry in the EU15 is still falling, but annual decreases are modest. While the old Member States experienced a huge reduction in the total number of employees throughout the 1980s, the most significant job losses in the steel industry have occurred in Central Europe, i.e. the new German federal states, Poland, and to a lesser extent Hungary. In the new German federal states, the drop in employment at the beginning of the 1990s was in the order of 80,000 jobs and occurred in connection with privatisation. In Poland, job losses took place well before the 2003 privatisations. An initial rationalisation plan presented by the government led to 48,000 job losses between 1992 and 1993. Over the following 10 years a further 77,000 jobs were lost. In Hungary, a crisis in 1992 led to the closure of almost all steel companies, except for Dunaferr, which managed to survive the crisis following the political and economic transition9. 2.13.2 Employment trends in the EU steel tubes industry Little data is available concerning employment in the steel tube sub-sector. The table below presents some rough figures that provide some indications of the level and development in steel tube employment.
Table 2.5. Employment in the steel tube industry (estimated figures), 1975-2007 (number of people)
1975 EU15 EU25 EU27 130.000* 1994 60.000 2003 54.000 2004 54.000 66.000 2007 56.000 67.000 71.500

Source: The Steel Tube Producers Association, 2008 Note*: Data for 1975 cover the contemporary 12 EU Member States.

The table clearly indicates that employment in the steel tube industry has decreased significantly since 1975. Moreover, it points to small increases in total employment in recent years. However, these figures should be interpreted with caution. 2.13.3 Employment trends in the EU foundry industry Table 2.7 shows employment in the EU foundry industry (iron, steel and malleable iron castings).10 The table primarily shows that although the foundry industry is relatively small in terms of million tonnes produced compared to total crude steel production, employment in the casting industry is relatively high, reflecting a more employment intensive industry.

It has not been possible to locate reliable employment data in the steel industry for all new Member States, but production data suggest that the employment in the steel industry in Romania and Czech Republic has also decreased significantly. 10 No reliable data available on employment in the EU steel tubes industry.

48

In terms of overall employment development within recent years (2001-2005), total EU employment in the casting industry has decreased by 7%. This covers big differences across countries. Some countries have seen significant employment decreases in both absolute and relative terms (e.g., Italy, France, and Poland) whereas others have experienced significant employment increases (e.g., Spain and the Czech Republic).
Table 2.6. Employment in the foundry industry - iron, steel and malleable iron castings, 2001-2006 (number of people)
2001 Austria Belgium Denmark Finland France Germany Italy Netherlands Portugal Spain Sweden UK EU15 Czech Republic Hungary Lithuania Poland Total EU 3.936 2.133 1.393 2.090 22.817 44.796 21.400 2.148 2.780 11.006 3.800 16.500
a

2002 3.067 2.056 1.290 2.045 22.617 42.748 20.630 1.830 2.710 11.385 3.800 15.900
a

2003 2.836 2.014 1.290 2.031 21.610 42.225 18.760 1.801 2.444 11.474 3.700 17.500 127.685 15.717 2.802 886 20.800 167.890

2004 2.853 2.025 1.219 2.045 21.377 42.303 17.690 1.819 2.255 12.601 3.700 17.000 126.887 13.246 2.800 881 19.250 163.064

2005 2.860 1.676


d

2006 3.027 1.831 1.115 2.420 19.300 44.217 15.150 2.337 13.013 3.800 15.700 121.910 23.000
b

Change 2001-2006 (percent) -23% -14% -20% 16% -15% -1% -29% (-15%) -16% 18% 0% -5% -10% 31% (-5%) -20% (-34%) (-7%)

1.100

2.286 19.915 43.073 15.680 2.260 13.549 3.700 17.000 121.999 23.000
b

134.799 17.536 2.734 992 26.370 182.431

130.078 14.847 844 20.800 166.569

2.600 794 17.500


c

703 -

165.893

Source: CAEF (www.caef.org) 2008. Notes: a. without steel castings, b. ferrous and non-ferrous, c. at the end of 2004, d. only workmen.

2.14

Conclusions
Since the 1980s, the EU steel industry has developed from being a product oriented to becoming a market oriented industry. This evolution has required a restructuring effort, characterised by closure of inefficient and obsolete plants as well as investment in new technologies. During this transformation, the industry has improved the capacity utilization significantly and has become relatively more capital intensive and relatively less labour intensive. Today, the EU steel sector is a modern customer-oriented industry. While the EU steel industry is structured to produce and deliver all types and qualities of steel products, its competitiveness is mainly linked to the markets of high quality and often tailor-made products in demanding end-user segments. Consequently, the EU steel industrys 49

competitive position is strongly connected to product innovation and value creation, supported by advanced technology and technological development. Consolidation and internationalisation characterise the overall development of the world steel industry. In terms of production, the steel industry is highly regionalised. Starting in the 1990s, consolidation is also taking place in the EU and, with a few exceptions, the biggest companies are multinational. Only iron and steel castings continue to be produced by small and medium sized companies. Today, the steel sector in Europe is dominated by a few multinational companies accounting for more than 60% of the output and employment in the sector. The largest are Arcelor-Mittal, Corus (Tata Steel), ThyssenKrupp Stahl, and Riva. Regarding the tubes sector, the market for small welded tubes is very fragmented with a large share of commodity products. However, a consolidation process is in progress, and this has resulted in the creation of groups of large companies besides the large number of small and medium sized companies. The EU foundry industry is very differentiated and diverse, including approx. 1300 smalland medium sized companies. Most foundries are highly specialised niche suppliers to other industries or integrated parts of these industries, and foundries are generally located close to their customers. In the foundry industry, most mergers and acquisitions take place in the form of customers buying and integrating a foundry - rather than mergers between foundries. Thus, often foundries are part of an OEM, and, e.g., Daimler, BMW and VW have their own foundries. While a consolidation process is taking place in all sub-sectors of the EU steel industry, there is still room for further consolidation, notably in terms of matching the iron ore industry and the steel consuming industries where consolidation is higher. Increased consolidation will improve the bargaining power of the industry. Geographically, most production takes place in the EU15, In terms of crude steel, EU15 account for approx. 85% of total EU crude steel production. The EU production of steel tubes is dominated by production located in Germany and Italy, but with significant production also in France, Spain, and the UK. The leading foundry producer in the EU is Germany, but there is also a significant production in France, Italy, Spain, and the UK. The past decade has been characterised by moderate growth in EU steel production, the production were stable particularly in the new Member States where intensive restructuring and closures have taken place. From 1997-2007, total EU27 crude steel production has increased by only 7.4% throughout the whole period. Consequently, the contribution of EU steel industry to the high world output growth has been modest, and its relative share in world crude steel output have decreased from 24.3% in 1997 to 16% in 2007. During the same period, steel tubes production has increased by 13.2%, covering annual absolute increases and decreases. Data equivalent period for foundry production is not available, but more recent data show EU27 total iron and steel foundry production increased by approx. 10% from 2002 to 2006. Nonetheless, the EU steel industry is still the second world leader in terms of steel production, accounting for significant proportion of world steel output, equivalent to 1516% of both crude steel, steel tubes, and iron and steel foundry production. In comparison, other world regions have seen significant production growth rates during the 2000s. China, in particular, has expanded its capacity and production radically while 50

also leading world steel demand along with expanding its international engagement. Consequently, the gravity centre of the steel business is moving to the East with China, Japan, India and South Korea representing more than 50% of world steel output (2007), and when adding Russia and Ukraine these countries represent more than 60% of world steel output. With China entering the world steel scene and with the huge increases in Chinese steel consumption, patterns and conditions for steel production have changed. Among other things, the rapidly increasing Chinese demand for steel implies imbalances in the supply and demand for iron ore. This will be further analysed in chapter 3.

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3 The competitive position of the EU steel industry

Chapter 3 addresses the competitiveness of the EU steel industry by examining the industry's performance, business conditions and the competitive position.

3.1

Analytical framework for analyzing competitiveness


When analyzing the factors underlying the current competitive performance of the European steel industry various elements must be considered. Below, the factors are divided into business conditions; input factors, e.g., the cost of labour and raw materials; process factors, such as choice and utilisation of technologies; output factors such as access to markets and overall performance measured in profitability; and performance in international markets; and last, but not least, demand for steel product, including market prospects. In addition, the individual companies overall strategies towards ensuring their competitive advantages are of course integrated parts of the industrys competitiveness. Framework conditions of different regulatory regimes, environmental regulation, trade barriers, etc., evidently play an important role as well. These issues will be explored in Chapter 4, which covers the framework conditions for competition.
Figure 3.1. Analytical framework for analysing the competitiveness of the steel industry

Business conditions

Demand for steel products

Business conditions refer to factual conditions determining the basic requirements in steel production such as capital requirements and economies of scale. In addition, barriers to entry and exit are determined by the fundamental business conditions and are therefore included in this section.

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Strategies of companies potentially concern all stages of the production and commercial process. In the section dealing with company strategies, key common elements are analysed, to the extent that they are relevant from a sector perspective. Inputs are the production factors that are critical for the sector, including raw materials, labour, capital and intermediate goods & services together with the unit costs of these production factors. Processes cover production processes both in terms of organisation and technologies and intra-industry relations. Some process aspects, such as input-output relations, can be measured and quantified. More often, however, the organisational aspects of an industry are of a much more qualitative nature and are not easily measured. Output is the result of the input and processing of raw materials. It can be measured as output per man-hour. Financial performance is an important element in considering the competitiveness of the steel sector and probably the most important direct single indicator of competitiveness level. Profitability of the industry and performance in competition with other industries (import export) are important indicators of performance within the industry. Another indicator concerns the ability to attract investors: Development in the performance has a strong influence on the placement of business investments, and a business doing well is more likely to attract the attention of investors than a business doing less well. Demand for steel products is a crucial factor influencing the overall health of the steel sector and the future prospects of the sector. Moreover, comparison of prospects in different markets points to the areas where it is strategically advantageous to maintain a competitive lead. An analysis of these competitiveness factors provides insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the steel sector. Taken together, they can be considered the internal sources or internal drivers of competitiveness. The precise relationship and functioning between the different factors are, however, interdependent.

3.2
3.2.1

Business conditions
Fundamental business conditions The following factors constitute fundamental business conditions in the steel industry: Supply of raw materials and strategic localisation decisions For years, there has been no long-term shortage of raw materials, but the huge demand for and production of steel in China has put pressure on the supply of raw materials. Consequently, guaranteeing the supply of raw materials in the long terms has become a major strategic concern for steel companies. In addition, the trade market for iron ore is dominated by just three companies and there have been dramatic changes in the price of iron ore. Raw materials such as iron ore and coal are the most important commodities in the worlds seaborne trade and the integrated steel industry in Europe depends on overseas supplies for a substantial part of its raw materials (e.g. iron and coking coal). Integrated steel production facilities within the EU15 were traditionally located near to the EU iron ore and coal mines, traditional production clusters being the Saar, the Ruhr, Lorraine, the Midlands, Wallonia and Silesia (Commission, 2006: 13). However, since 53

the 1970s, the extraction of cheaper iron ore and coal production in developing countries and low cost overseas transport made it uneconomical to use local primary raw materials and mines in the above clusters have closed down progressively. As a result, new steel plants have been located along the coast near the ports to handle imported primary raw materials and energy. Today, non-coastal steel facilities face additional transport costs and this affects their competitiveness. On the other hand, minimills are located near industrial basins where scrap is generated and the downstream sectors are located. Mini-mills are delivering 35% of EU steel output. To a certain extent, the gradual relocation of manufacturing activities from Western to Eastern Europe has also meant a shift in the demand for steel from west to east as demand for steel tends to follow trends in manufacturing. In connection with this shift, steel producers and manufacturers in the New Member States have several potential advantages. They have access to high-skilled yet relatively low-cost labour, they have access to high-growth markets, and they have the opportunity to serve Western Europe with steel products. Investors and large steel operators have realised this opportunity as well and have moved into the region's steel sector. Mittal Steel has emerged as a dominant steel producer in Central and Eastern Europe, accounting for an estimated 47% of steel making and 35% 40% of rolling capacities. US Steel has purchased a steelmaker in Kosice in the Slovak republic and Sartid in Serbia. Spanish Celsa has bought into Huta Ostrowiec and US CMC has bought into Zawierce in Poland. Moreover, setting up production operations in key developing countries close to the natural resource - raw materials and energy - is increasingly becoming part of companies strategies (cf. the section on input factor below). No data and sources are available on this subject regarding the foundry sector specifically. Transport-intensive industry The steel industry is a transport-intensive industry as the industry produces heavy and often bulky goods, and almost 30% of all finished steel products pass from one country to another worldwide. Thus, transport costs amount to 5% to 15% of the selling price of the products. Freight transport within Europe makes use of three basic modes of transport, i.e. rail, road, and water. The steel industry relies on a mix of the three modes of transport that vary from country to country, cf. the table below. Overall, the steel sector remains the most important user of rail freight in the EU. However, the continuing deterioration of rail services has caused rail freight to lose market share to the benefit of road transportation and, to a lesser extent, to inland waterways and coastal navigation (EUROFER, Steel on the move 2005). The price of transportation from Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) often rules out deliveries to markets outside Europe. The latest available data (2003) shows a 45% share for road transport and 35% for rail and 20% for water transport. Figure 3.2 shows mode of transport for certain countries - no complete total EU27 data on transport infrastructure are available.

54

Figure 3.2. Total steel deliveries by mode of transport, 2003 (metric tonnes)
2500000

2000000

1500000

1000000

500000

0
Ita ly F U r an ni te ce d Ki ng do N et m he rl a nd s Be lg iu m Au st ria Sw ed en Fi nl an d G re ec Lu e xe m bo ur g Sl ov en ia Sl ov ak ia an y G er m Sp ai n

Rail

Road

Water

Source: EUROFER

No data or sources are dealing with this subject regarding the foundry sector specifically. High capital requirements High capital requirements constitute one of the main business conditions in steel production, and steel making is characterised by high levels of fixed costs especially in integrated steel mills. Large facilities are only profitable from 2 million tonnes annual capacity and upwards. Steel mills run for several years and it is difficult to adjust production to demand because of the cost and structural stress associated with heating and cooling of the furnaces. It is expensive to operate plants below their capacity. Introduction of new technologies and especially the EAF technology has lowered capital requirement since electric arc furnaces are more flexible, requiring relatively cheap investment per ton of installed capacity, and can more easily be adjusted to follow demand. High capital requirements are also a fundamental business condition in the seamless and longitudinally welded pipe industry against which the small welded pipe and spiral welded pipe industry requires less capital investments. High energy requirements The steel industry is a heavy energy user and needs coal, natural gas, and electricity in that order. The steel industry consumes close to 1.5 quads/year of energy. ArcelorMittal's European power requirements are equal to the production of three 1000 MW nuclear plants. Thus, access to energy resources is an important element in location decisions. The sector is investing many resources in reducing its energy requirements. In relation to the tube industry, the seamless pipe industry is a particularly heavy energy user, with high energy consumption resulting in high CO 2 emission levels.

55

Economies of scale Economies of scale and scope differ from sector to sector, but tend to increase against the backdrop of globalisation. This is also seen in the steel sector. The minimum economic scale in steel production is high, and achieving economies of scale for new producers requires mass steel production. Along with new technologies and the privatisation of major European steel industries in the 1990s, a wave of takeovers and mergers followed aiming at, among other things, to achieve economies of scale. Today most steel companies, which have a full product range from narrow specialist products to commodities with a broad appeal, are part of regional or global companies. Niche and specialist companies thrive on a much smaller scale because they have developed expert knowledge of specific processes, product areas, and customer needs. Crompton & Lesourd (2004) have investigated economies of scale in the global iron making industry. They found that iron companies are able to reduce production costs through takeovers and mergers. They also concluded that the presence of economies of scale is not the sole determinant of competitiveness in iron making in the global market. Efficiency is also driven by factor prices and, in particular, they found a key factor to be the price of iron ore. The price of coke and electricity plays a less important role than the price of iron ore. Labour costs and capital costs play a role but comparatively less than the price of iron ore. Thus, facilities in countries with low labour costs are not necessarily the most competitive in terms of costs. Economic growth The steel industry is largely driven by customer requirements and therefore close relationships with customers is important for steel operators. The steel industry feeds parts and materials to other industries such as the automotive, construction and consumer appliances sectors and is fundamentally dependent on and very sensitive to developments in the general economy. Thus, the boom years with rising prices and the large production of steel were closely connected with industrial growth in Asia and Eastern Europe. Currency exchange rates The international competitiveness of the EU steel industry is affected by exchange rates. The Euro has appreciated considerably vis--vis the US dollar from 2002 to 2008, particularly during 2006-2007. The high exchange rate helps to erode the competitiveness of the EU steel industry. It is only a partial compensation that raw materials and energy supplies are frequently traded in US dollars. 3.2.2 Barriers to entry and exit As a result of consolidation in the European steel industry relatively few companies account for a large share of the steel production. This indicates the presence of entry barriers to new companies - most likely caused by high capital requirements and economies of scale. Apart from foundries and the casting industry, large, multinational companies dominate the steel industry, albeit to a lesser extent than other sectors. Below we present important barriers of entry and exit. Capital as both an entry and an exit barrier The primary entry barrier to the steel industry is capital. Capital requirements for setting up and maintaining plants are substantial especially for basic oxygen plants. The capital intensity can also be viewed as an exit barrier since closing down an integrated plant is very costly as well. Consequently, the steel industry used to be relatively slow at 56

adjusting to overcapacity and closing down plants even though the operation of some plants depressed the profits of the entire industry. The overall reason for this is that firms may be locked into low-profit activity if significant losses will incur when the plant is closed and capital is transferred to other activities (cf. Deily, 1988). The exit barrier associated with this mechanism concerns the capital intensity in steel production. Thus, the optimal closing-point will not occur until the net revenue (return to continued operation of the capital) equals the return that could be earned on the salvage value. Thus, the speed with which a firm closes a plant depends on how quickly net revenues decline and on the amount of capital that can be salvaged once the plant is shut down. The firm will continue to pay maintenance expenditure as long as the capital generates enough revenue to cover additional expense and other variable costs. The larger the maintenance expenditures, the more they reduce net revenues. Moreover, the salvage value - the net amount of money that the firm will realize when the plant closes - also influences the decision and timing to close. A negative value might imply that the plant will continue to operate even though total variable costs are not covered. The introduction of mini mills and the EAF processes have lowered both the capital entry barrier and the capital-related exit barrier, because of relatively lower fixed costs and the fact that the electrical arc furnaces can be shut down or fired up to follow demand thus giving a much more flexible production. Economies of scale raises barriers to entry The minimum economies of scale in steel production are high, and achieving economies of scale for new producers requires large scale steel production. Thus, substantial economies of scale act as an entry barrier because potential entrants would be obliged to enter at large scale to avoid incurring significant diseconomies. The tendency in the steel industry to create regional or even global enterprises aims, among other things such as balancing the market power of upstream suppliers, to achieve economies of scale. This process further raises the entry barrier for new competitors. Excess capacity in existing plants raises barriers to entry and vice versa The size of steel plants and high capacity levels mean that increasing demand can most likely be satisfied by existing plants unless the market is growing rapidly. In situations with excess-capacity, increasing demand is still relatively easily absorbed. As the EU steel industry has gone through extensive restructuring, excess capacity is no longer characterising the industry. On the other hand, increasing demand in the EU in the most recent years has been satisfied by imports facilitated by increasing capacity elsewhere. Thus, increasing demand in itself does not necessarily make entry into the steel industry easier in financial terms. This reflects that entry barriers are depending on the dynamic relationship between capacity and demand beyond the European scene. In other parts of the world, however, rapid demand growth in the 2000s has paved the way for new players in the industry. This particularly applies to China that has contributed heavily to the high growth levels in world steel output, demand, and consumption. Furthermore, the Chinese degree of consolidation is relatively low. Other current examples could be Ukraine, India or Brazil.

57

Also, looking back, examples of more entries into the steel industry fuelled by increasing demand are easily found. For example, the Japanese steel industry was able to build entirely new large-scale plants following World War II, since their rapidly expanding markets could easily absorb the output of additional capacity. Modern, flexible technologies lower barriers to entry and exit In terms of demand-adjusted production, it should be noted that mini-mills are easier to adjust to demand than integrated steel mills. Mini-mills with EAF processes can be shut down or fired up to follow demand, operating on 24-hour schedules when demand is high and cutting back production when demand is down. In contrast, in an integrated steel plant, blast oxygen furnace (BOF), once started, must run without interruption for several years due to its technological structure and limits in the possibility to heating and cooling the furnaces. Even in periods of low steel demand only few adjustments of the production rate is possible. As mini-mills are more flexible than integrated mills, over-production is less likely to occur, and a higher share of the costs - e.g. energy costs - varies with demand. Thus, when it comes to mini-mills, the relatively lower fixed costs and flexibility in steel production imply that the exit barriers are less pronounced than with integrated steel mills. National politics Only a few decades ago, the steel industry was an integrated part of state budgets and decisions in the steel industry can still have political ramifications in areas where a large proportion of the workforce or even society depends on the steel industry. Decisions to cut back production or even to close plants draw the attention of politicians and unions. This can also be considered a barrier to both entry into steel production and exit from the sector. However, it should be noted that this does not apply to the tubes and foundry industries as these have not been integrated parts if state budgets. Recently a summons from French President Nicolas Sarkozy made Arcelor-Mittal review its plans to close a plant in north-east France. However, part of the recent relative success of the European steel industry can be attributed to first the wave of privatisations and second the wave of consolidations which made it financially viable to invest in new technologies. Thus, the renewal of the European steel industry has taken place on market conditions.

3.3

Overall competitive company strategies


Against the background of the structural business conditions outlined above, companies in the steel industry follow different strategies to achieve competitive advantages. Companies strategies vary for different companies, reflecting different kinds of main challenges. In a study of the steel industry, the Boston Consulting Group (2007) observes the following main challenges for different types of companies (cf. chapter 2): Global players. The challenge for global players is to maintain high standards while at the same time integrating new companies.

58

Regional champions. For the regional companies (type 1) with focus on high-value products and a leadership in technology, the main challenge is to stay ahead of technological developments. For regional champions (type 2), typically based in a lowcost country with focus on mass production, the main challenge concerns relatively low productivity and difficulties in meeting customers demand for quality and delivery. Niche specialists. For the niche specialists, the main challenge is to maintain good relations with their customer base, based on continually high quality and customisation and finding new solutions for new requirements. General strategic means for pursuing competitive advantage According to the classical work by Porter (1980), the following strategic means form the available options for pursuing competitive advantage when companies and industries face rivalry competition: Changing prices to gain a temporary advantage Improving product differentiation, incl. process and product innovation Using vertical integration or new distribution channels Exploiting relationships with suppliers. These strategic means are very much in line with the overall strategies pursued by European steel companies, notably the three last options, as reflected in the following: From cost reduction and standard products to diversification and innovation In a market characterised by price competition, cost reduction and efficiency gains dominated companies strategies back in the 1960s and beyond, implying a very reactive approach towards the customer-market. Knowledge of customers and the downward supply chain were limited and not used as a strategic resource. Consequently, standardised products and little strategic differentiation characterised the industry. However, increased price competition from third country steel producers with access to cheap steelmaking materials and low operating costs made companies realize that other competitive advantages were necessary. In addition, the enormous changes in the global and European steel markets paved the way towards a more customer-based approach. Thus, since the 1990s steel companies increasingly came to redefine their strategic orientation towards value-creation and innovation. In addition, selectivity became a key issue, and steel producers had to make choices about which products to make, what technologies to use, which customers and regions to serve, and which basic business models and value creation strategies to follow. As a whole, this resulted in a stronger differentiated market and technology focus of the industry. Vertical cooperation and partnerships Moreover, the importance of partnership has become a key aspect of competitiveness: Rather than just selling products, the emphasis in the supplier-customer relationship has changed towards providing total satisfaction in a partnership. Thus, vertical cooperation and partnerships with customers/end-users form key aspects of the steel industrys response to past and continuous market changes, including increased concentration in the end-sectors together with stricter product requirements. Many European steel companies have established facilities in other world regions or developed strategic alliances worldwide to extend collaboration and meet the requirements in terms of services, quality, and prices (EU-Commission, ESTP, 2006).

59

Examples of company strategies With reference to Porter (1998: 577ff)11, the competitive advantage in international competition focusing on innovation, value chain integration, and partnership can be specified into the following principles: Competitive advantage grows fundamentally out of improvement, innovation and change Competitive advantage involves the entire value chain Competitive advantage is sustained only through relentless improvement Sustaining competitive advantage demands that its resources are upgraded Sustaining competitive advantage ultimately requires a global approach to strategy These principles are also integrated parts in the current strategies of many European steel companies, cf. the examples below:

Arcelor-Mittal: Innovation is a mindset at Arcelor-Mittal () we offer the broadest range of steel grades, new steel products, steel solutions and cutting-edge technologies. Close cooperation with customers - involving mutual trust, an open-minded approach and permanent exchanges of personnel - helps foster the spirit of innovation, enabling us to develop the products and solutions that will meet their ever-growing demands. Over the longer term, we continue to work at Cutting-edge steel products, solutions and process technologies. R&D is defined the main instrument for delivering Arcelor-Mittal's ambitions in technological innovation and supporting its future growth. The R&D mission is to: Invent the steels and steel solutions of tomorrow - developing products that create value for customers and expand the use of Arcelor-Mittal's steels worldwide; Improve Arcelor-Mittal's competitiveness - by developing new and optimising current industrial processes to reduce cost and improve quality; Contribute to sustainable development - by reducing environmental impact; Continuously upgrade Arcelor-Mittal's scientific knowledge and attract technical talent.

Research dedicated to markets and products are specified with a view to different market segments (automotive, packaging, construction, general industry etc.). Research dedicated to process is seen as indispensable for the implementation of new steel products and solutions but also to meet the objectives of cost reduction through improved productivity and reliability in the production processes as well as improved environmental performance through reduced emissions; increased product and byproduct recycling; energy saving; flexibility in the use of raw materials and energy resources; and the systematic study of the impact of our products and processes on the environment through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). http://www.Arcelor-Mittal.com/

11

The principles are derived from a study of company strategies in well over a hundred industries.

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Corus: Corus is a customer focused, innovative solutions-driven company, which manufactures processes and distributes steel and aluminium products and services to customers worldwide. We are committed to partnership with customers to help streamline business chains and achieve imaginative ways of working. Corus already supplies a variety of innovative solutions to a broad range of markets. [] We work closely with our customers and are committed to investing in long-term business relationships to help develop new products and technologies. At Corus, we combine top class innovation with cutting edge technology to deliver 'metals solutions' in a constantly changing world. Our customers are important to us and we work closely with them to ensure they get all the support they need to enable them to design new products and applications. The Research, Development and Technology (RD&T) business of Corus combines top class innovation with cutting edge technology to deliver metals solutions in a constantly changing world. Our customers are important to us and we work closely with them to ensure they get all the support they need to enable them to design new products and applications. We work in collaboration with universities and research institutes all over the world as well as with key customers in the automotive, transport, packaging and construction areas. http://www.corusgroup.com

3.4 Input to steel production


The competitiveness of the EU steel industry is, among other things, highly dependent on access to and prices of input factors such as energy and raw materials. Moreover, labour related input factors are important in this regard, notably in terms of skills levels and competence development strategies. In the following, some of the main input factors to the steel industry are explored, i.e. iron ore and scrap metal, coking coal, energy, transport and labour - and their prices/costs. Fixed costs relate mainly to the cost of capital and manpower, whereas unit costs depend very much on capital utilization. Energy consumption and maintenance also have a fixed element because it is less efficient to operate a plant below its capacity.

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Table 3.1. Cost models for production of steel


BLAST FURNACE ROUTE STEELMAKING COSTS Conversion costs for BOF steelmaking Item $/unit Iron ore Iron ore transport Coking coal Coking coal transport Steel scrap Scrap delivery Oxygen Ferroalloys Fluxes Refractories Other costs By-product credits Thermal energy, -2.4 net Electricity Labour Depreciation Interest Total Factor Unit 1.765 t 1.765 t 0.697 t 0.697 t 0.136 t 0.136 t 210 0.56 m3 t 0.011 t 0.011 t Unit cost 54 24 93 34 308 8.75 0.09 1662 35 700 Fixed Variable Total 95.31 42.36 64.82 23.70 41.89 1.19 18.90 18.28 19.60 7.77 5.00 15.00 -31.00 GJ 11.40 -27.36 1.35 7.68 3.75 11.25 18.00 16.00 44.10 309.38 95.31 42.36 64.82 23.70 41.89 1.19 18.90 18.28 19.60 7.77 20.00 -31.00 -27.36 9.03 15.00 18.00 16.00 353.49 ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE STEELMAKING COSTS Conversion costs for EAF electric arc steelmaking Item $/unit Steel scrap Scrap delivery Oxygen Ferroalloys Fluxes Electrodes Refractories Thermal energy Electricity Labour Depreciation Interest Total Factor Unit 1.09 1.09 50 0.011 0.06 0.003 0.005 0.43 0.4 0.4 t t m3 t t t t GJ MWhr Man hr Unit cost Fixed Variable Total 308 8.75 0.09 1662 35 6500 700 11.4 70 30 335.72 9.54 4.50 18.28 2.10 19.50 3.50 4.90 23.80 9.00 335.72 9.54 4.50 18.28 2.10 19.50 3.50 4.90 28.00 12.00 5.00 4.00 447.04

4.20 3.00 5.00 4.00 16.20 430.84

0.129 MWh 70 0.5 Man hr 30

Notes: The cost model for steelmaking is made by steelonthenet. It should be noted that the models are to be seen as a general example and can vary significantly with location, age of equipment, price of labour, competences, management and so forth. However, the models give insight to the relative weight of each of the factors in steel production.

The cost model as presented in table 3.1 provides examples for both BOF and EAF steel mills. The cost figures can vary significantly with location, price level of raw materials, age of equipment, skills of the labour force and management and the technologies applied to reduce fixed levels of cost. However, the model gives a basic insight into the cost structure of BOF 12 and EAF13 steel mills and the relative importance of the different input factors. The figure shows that raw materials and transport costs, and to a lesser degree energy costs, represent the most important cost factors - though they may vary according to subsector, production process, and technologies. It is notable that labour costs represent only 4% and 2.6% of total costs in the two examples. Labour costs can therefore only be expected to have a marginal impact on profitability and strategic investment decisions.

12

The blast furnace route steel product for which the cost is shown in the table is a metric tonne of BOF liquid steel. The cost is for a notional producer - a typical size integrated BOF plant, 3m t/yr, at a West European coastal site with its own coke and sinter plant, using imported ore and coal purchased at international prices with third party transport. The blast furnace is assumed to have PCI 8powder coal injection). The steel plant is assumed to make commodity grade carbon steel for flat products with average labour productivity. 13 The electric arc furnace steel product for which the cost is shown in the table is a metric tonne of EAF liquid steel. The cost is for a notional producer - a typical size plant of about 1m t/year capacity, based in Western Europe, using a 100% scrap charge to EAF [no DRI or irons], and producing commodity grade carbon steel for long products with average labour productivity.

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3.4.1

Raw material supply and cost prices As mentioned above, the integrated steel industry in Europe depends on overseas supplies for a substantial part of its raw materials, e.g., iron and coking coal. In this regard it should be noted that foundries are not as directly dependent on imported raw materials as the rest of the steel sectors. The increasing demand for steel implies increasing demand for raw materials. With the current heavy demand for all steel inputs, both raw material and energy prices have increased substantially. In addition, some resources, such as iron ore and scrap metal, have become increasingly scarce. As world reserves of e.g. iron are abundant, the shortages are mainly caused by temporary imbalances between demand and supply. Heavy growth in demand for and production of steel in emerging economies, such as China, India and Brazil, have caused raw material prices, such as iron ore and scrap metal, to increase heavily. This trend has primarily been fuelled by the development in the Chinese economy, and China has been the principal destabilising factor in the input supply-demand balance. The pressure on prices and availability of raw materials is something that all countries and producers face and conditions are unlikely to change substantially in the near future. As prices are set globally, the price increase has been more or less the same for all producers. Thus, increased input prices do not per se create a competitive disadvantage vis--vis other countries/producers outside the EU. However, in countries where state aid and subsidies are still in place (e.g., Russia, Ukraine, and China) such pressures may be partially alleviated through state support. As the EU is heavily dependent on imported raw materials, access to raw materials has become a more pressing issue. Thus, the EU's dependency on ores imports is contributing to a shift in steel production towards third countries offering more attractive production conditions in terms of better raw material supplies and cheaper energy (COM, 2006). Key issues of concern are related to increased recovery of inputs from recyclable materials (increase efficiency), investment restrictions in the minerals sectors in certain countries (e.g., China) that limit the possibilities for individual companies to integrate raw materials supplies into their production process, export taxes on raw materials in certain countries (e.g., India and Russia) and EU importers having to pay increasing prices for these raw materials (COM, 2008). The issue of securing raw materials supply therefore relates strongly to market access issues (trade and investment), state aid and subsidies, and resource efficiency and recycling issues. The high degree of recycling (use of scrap) in the EU steel industry reduces the EUs dependency on imported ore and contributes to energy savings and the sustainable use of resources. Although steel mills try to turn to scrap instead of iron ore, limits on the amount of scrap that can be used in the production process imply structural barriers to replacement, and with indications that scrap prices will continue to rise - and more than iron ore (c.f. the next section) - economic incentives for recycling/replacement might weaken. Moreover, it should be noted that the scrap recycling process is very well organised in some countries, while this is not the case in others, and this leads to price and availability differences. In addition, companies are increasingly engaging in the upstream sectors, focusing on securing raw materials supply in the long term. This means that raw materials are increasingly becoming an important factor in determining future location of investments. Thus, ensuring long-term access to raw materials is increasingly also part of European 63

steel companies strategies, e.g., by setting up production operations in key developing countries close to natural resource supplies (input and energy) and by taking over important iron ore mining capacities outside the EU with the aim of having an in-house supply of iron-ore. An example is Arcelor-Mittal that has an in-house supply of almost half of the iron-ore the company needs and expectations of increasing this through the acquisition of mines around the world. Moreover, investment in raw material and energy use is also an aspect of the company's strategy. Arcelor-Mittal has dedicated research resources to the continuous improvement of the upstream process (from raw material selection to hot rolling operations). This includes optimising the use of raw materials e.g., in terms of achieving savings on the rate at which coal is injected into the blast furnace - and in terms of saving energy through, for instance, controlling the reheating furnaces. Iron ore and scrap metal prices The European steel industry is facing increased pressure in relation to access to raw materials for steel production and other metal productions. Furthermore, prices for all kinds of metals have reached record high levels. Iron ore prices are traditionally set annually when the worlds largest iron ore consumers agree on contract costs with suppliers. Three companies, i.e. Vale (formerly CVRD), Rio Tinto, and BHP Billiton, control 75-80% of the iron ore market (approx. 75% in 2006 which seems to have increased since then). BHP is trying to acquire Rio Tinto and the possibility of this merger raises concerns. Even though a small quantity of iron ore is sold on the spot market, the benchmarked agreements tend to dominate the sector. Once one contract is agreed, it tends to become a benchmark for other agreements. With the high prices, new forms of hybrid contracts are being tried out with a larger part of the quantity in spot market prices (Times online, 2008; Economist 2008). As shown in Figure 3.3, iron ore prices have increased substantially since 2004 due to bottlenecks in supply chain resulting in difficulties to meet high demand. EconStats reports a similar tendency in spot prices. In January 2007, spot prices were $75 US/ton iron ore and prices have increased monthly to the $196 US/ton reported in February 2008.

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Figure 3.3. Iron ore prices - annual contract prices, 1976-2008


140 120 100

US$ pr metric tonnes

80 60 40 20 0
00 02 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 04 06 20 20 20 20 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 08

Fines

Lump ore

Pellets

Notes. 1. FINES: the most heavily-traded category of iron ore. 2. LUMP ORE: Lump ore consists of golf ball sized pieces, and has higher iron content than fines.3. PELLETS: Iron ore in "pellets" are semi-refined iron ore; blast furnace pellets. Sources: EconStats reports from CVRD, Wall Street Journal, US Steel and other steel producers.

Although iron ore prices have increased significantly within recent years, it is more questionable whether this will continue in the near future. As mentioned, iron ore reserves are immense, and exploitation of new iron ore production capacities and elimination of bottlenecks through improved infrastructure might put at damper on the price development. Scrap and coking coal are other important input factors. As regards scrap, price differences and availability occur due to differences in how well the recycling process of scrap is organised. Coal is still subsidised in some countries in the New Member States. The price of coking coal has increased dramatically by almost 500% from 2003 to mid 2008. Notably, the prices of thermal coal started to increase sharply in the third quarter of 2007 pointing to recent price hikes across the coal market. Detailed available data on the coal price development is limited, but as reflected in Figure 3.4, coal prices increased dramatically in the short period from 2006 to 2008.

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Figure 3.4. Development in coal prices, 2006-2008 (dollar/tonnes)


400

$/tonne fob, Australia

375 350 325 300 275 250 225 200 175 150 125 100 75 S O N D 2006 J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M 2008 Australian Spot HCC fob

2007

Australian contract HCC fob

Source : CRU analysis, 2006

As shown in Figure 3.5, scrap prices have also increased significantly in recent years, with a doubling of prices from early 2006 to early 2008. In addition, tendencies indicate that prices will most likely continue to soar because scrap is used in electric arc furnace steel making (EAF), and given the fact that third countries, e.g. in Asia, the C.I.S. and the Middle East, are expanding their production capacities based on EAF-technology, without necessarily processing reserves of scrap. As a consequence, some currently scrapexporting countries may cease to export scrap (.e.g. Russia) and other may have to import scrap from other countries, and this may lead to higher prices.

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Figure 3.5. Scrap prices, 2005-2008 (dollar/tonnes)


450 400 350 300 $/tonnes 250 200 150 100 50 0
5 9 3 9 1 3 7 9 11 11 M M M M M M M M 11 M 20 1 3 7 1 5 7 5 M M M M M M M 05 05 06 06 M 07 07 M 07 07 08 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 M 1

05

06

20 0

20 0

20 0

20 0

20 0

20 0

20 0

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

Year and month Steel Scrap $/tonnes

Source: http://www.steelonthenet.com/commodity_prices.html

3.4.2

Energy supply and energy costs Steel production is an energy intensive industry and coal contributes with the largest share. More than 95% of coal consumption goes to coke ovens and the remaining 5% goes to other uses such as on-site electric power generation. The second largest energy source is natural gas and its use has increased substantially over the last several years. The third important energy source is electricity used primarily in electric arc furnaces. Fuel oil is also used. Thus, next to raw materials costs, energy consumption constitutes a second important cost factor in steel production. As with raw materials, energy prices have increased substantially in recent years and tend to differ rather substantially across countries. The EU also depends on imports for its energy supply. This adds to the vulnerability of the sector in terms of reliability and access. The main problems include the global demand for energy, volatile prices, unstable oil and gas supplies, with reserves concentrated in just a few countries. Energy prices still vary considerably from country to country (even within the EU) and from region to region. In some countries, the energy sector is protected and energy consumption subsidised. Energy prices can differ substantially from country to country because of the organisation of the wholesale market and the fuel used for power plants, e.g., nuclear energy versus gas. Thus, in some countries, the heavy industries may still be able to buy electricity at historical prices or capped prices. These prices are lower than the official wholesale price. In addition, in Eastern Europe there is no market floor, implying all prices are still negotiated.

20

07

67

An internal energy market has been developed at Community level to ensure that consumers can choose a supplier at a fair and competitive price. Nevertheless, there are obstacles that continue to prevent both the economy and European consumers from fully benefiting from the advantages of opening up the gas and electricity markets. Ensuring the effective implementation of the internal energy market thus remains crucial (COM, 2007). According to Chabanier (2005), the main issues for the steel industry that are important in relation to the EU energy policy include: The EU market remains fragmented with different legislation and competitive environments at the national levels; The market model proposed by the Commission with a unique price reference based on spot prices is not considered adequate; The market is not considered visible or transparent, e.g., in some markets contract durations are limited.

Figure 3.6. Energy prices, thermal coal and natural gas, 2005 - 2007 Thermal Coal $/tonnes Natural Gas - $/1000m3

160

400 350 300 250 200 150 100

140

120

100

80

60

40

50
20

0
0

20 05 20 M1 0 20 5 M 05 6 M 20 11 06 20 M4 06 20 M9 07 20 M2 0 20 7 M 07 7 M 12

Year and month

Source: http://www.steelonthenet.com/commodity_prices.html

Energy prises, notably those of thermal coal and natural gas, have been rising for some years and are expected to continue to do so in the near future as well. As for electricity, over the period 1996 to 2000 the average price paid by industry at EU15 level for a kWh of electricity decreased significantly, with a total decrease of 7 percentage points. In this regard, it should be noted that the share of electricity consumption of the iron and steel industry in the total EU25 industrial electricity consumption was 11% in 2004, and this level has been stable for years (12% in 1994). Moreover, the gap between the electricity price without taxes and the price with taxes has widened due to increased taxes on electricity In 2005 and 2006, electricity prices also increased considerably (13%) and reached levels more than 20% higher than a decade earlier (Eurostat, 2006). 68

20 05 20 M 0 1 20 5 M 05 6 20 M1 06 1 20 M 06 4 20 M 07 9 20 M 0 2 20 7 M 07 7 M 12
Year and month

Figure 3.7. Electricity for industry: average price of one kWh (cents), 1996-2006
9 8,5 8 7,5 7 6,5 6 5,5 5 1996 2001 2002 EU(15) 2003 2004 EU(25) 2005 2006

Source: Eurostat, 2006. Note: Based on the standard industrial consumer (2000 MWh/year) on the 1st of January each calendar year. Energy and other taxes are included in the table. Excluding VAT, incl. other taxes and duties.

During the period from 1996-2006, Hungary saw the highest increase (123%) in the average price of one kWh, while France reported a price decrease (-11%). In 2005 and 2006, a price increase of +38.6% was registered in the United Kingdom. Rising energy prices have several implications for the steel industry. Steel products will most likely become more expensive depending on the technology used and the efficiency of the plants. In some end-product areas, such as in the automotive industry, energy prices might reduce demand for steel and in other product areas, such as pipelines for the oil and gas industry, demand might increase due to an increase in global oil search and exploitation activities. However, passing on increasing energy costs to customers is an option which depends on price elasticity, and in general this is to a very limited extent a viable solution as this will most likely imply significant losses in market shares in competition with other regions. For EU steel producers, the relative big share of energy in the cost structure has always been a strong incentive for the industry to reduce energy consumption in the production processes, and efforts within research and innovation have led to improved energy productivity and efficiency. To illustrate this, the EU steel industry cut its energy consumption by 47% per tonne of finished steel between 1975 and 2000 (EU-COM, 2006, according to information provided by the steel industry). Due to increasing import dependency and upward price pressure, security of supply and predictable prices are of general concern to EU energy intensive industries such as the steel industry (High level group of Competitiveness, Energy and Environment, Ad Hoc Group 3, 2006). In this regard, long terms contract with energy suppliers provide steel producers with stability in terms of supply and short term price fluctuations. For such long term contract to offer price risk management, duration and price indexation are important features, connected with an agreed reference that take into account price variations in the market. The longer the contract term, the more critical the indexation 69

will be (ibid.). In the long term, the steel producers are still affected by energy price increases, but long term contracts provide an energy risk management tool. Moreover, long term contract represent a way for steel producers to further integrate input supply. Energy security, efficiency/productivity and reliability in terms of prices must be considered of strategic importance to the EU steel sectors development, and therefore the further development of the EUs energy markets and assurance of energy supply is important for the sectors competitiveness. 3.4.3 Labour related input factors Labour costs Labour costs take up a relatively low share in total costs today, cf. the cost structure presented above. However, among small specialist companies and notably in the foundry sector labour costs are still a relatively important cost factor. In general, the industry has become much more labour efficient improving from over 11 hours per ton of steel produced in the 1970s to three man-hours per ton in 1993, and automation of processes has further reduced the importance of labour however in some European countries the steel industry still employs a significant proportion of the total labour force. The table below shows the level of total labour costs in the steel sector in the EU27 (EU25 before 2004). Moreover, it displays that labour costs have generally increased in all sub-sectors in the EU during the 2000s.
Table 3.2. Total personnel costs in the steel sectors per year, EU25/EU27 (million )
2000 Manufacture of basic iron, steel and ferroalloys, EU27 Manufacture of basic iron, steel and ferroalloys, EU25 Manufacture of steel tubes, EU27 Manufacture of steel tubes, EU25 Casting of iron EU27 Casting of iron EU25 Casting of steel EU27 Casting of steel EU25 1125.5 3114.9 3352.2 3641.4 3169.4 3147.5 1104.8 1104.1 1246.6 3465.5 14552.8 14092.2 14704.8 14978.2 2001 2002 2003 2004 15571.9 2005 16868.2 Change (%) 2003-2004 2004-2005 8.3

15328.0

2.3

4306.7 8.6 9.3 1.0 12.8 - 1.9

Source: Eurostat Note: Personnel costs are made up of wages and salaries and employers' social security costs.

Data on differences in labour costs between the old and the new EU Member States are limited, but attempts on estimating these differences have been made. According to estimates for EUROFER, labour costs in the steel industry in the New Member States are 15-20% lower than those in the old Member States while labour productivity in the New Member States is estimated to be approx. half of the 600 tonnes 70

per employee per year in the old EU Member States. In this regard, it should be noted that these estimates do not fully correspond to the estimates presented in table 3.3 below made the U.S. Department of Labour, Bureau of Labour Statistics. 2005 and Metals Consulting International Limited (MCI), based on recent ILO trends, MCI calculations, steel industry discussions and other public sources. In general, however, estimates show that labour costs in the new EU Member States are lower than those in the old Member States. On the other hand, labour productivity is generally lower in the New Member States. Thus, the competitive advantage achieved due to lower labour costs is to a certain extent offset by lower labour productivity. However, the importance of this difference has diminished since labour costs are only a small part of the cost structure today and thus not a primary factor determining competitive advantage. Moreover, these differences in labour costs and labour productivity are diminishing. On a global scale, the hourly compensation costs also show considerable variation with China, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine only spending approx. $1/hour as estimated whereas e.g. Germany spends around $34/hour.
Table 3.3. Worldwide hourly compensation costs [indicative $/hour] (estimated)
USD/hour 2000
14.4 3.5 16.5 0.6 2.8 15.5 22.7 0.6 13.8 22.0 0.5 8.2 2.2 10.7 20.2 6.2 0.3 16.7

2001
13.3 3.0 16.2 0.7 3.1 15.7 22.5 0.6 13.6 19.4 0.7 7.7 2.5 10.8 18.4 6.1 0.4 16.8

2002
15.4 2.6 16.7 0.8 3.8 17.1 24.2 0.7 14.8 18.7 0.7 8.8 2.6 11.9 20.2 5.6 0.5 18.3

2003
19.8 2.7 19.4 0.9 4.7 21.1 29.6 0.7 18.1 20.3 0.9 10.0 2.5 15.0 25.2 5.7 0.7 21.2

2004
23.1 3.0 21.4 1.0 5.4 23.9 32.5 0.8 20.5 21.9 0.9 11.5 2.5 17.1 28.4 6.0 0.7 24.7

2005
24.6 3.2 23.7 1.1 6.1 25.3 34.1 0.9 21.7 21.4 1.0 14.1 2.5 17.6 29.7 6.4 0.8 26.0

Australia Brazil Canada China Czech Republic France Germany India Italy Japan Kazakhstan Korea Mexico Spain Sweden Taiwan Ukraine United Kingdom

19.7 20.6 21.4 22.3 23.2 23.8 United States Note - Sources (figures up to and including 2004; excluding China, India, Kazakhstan, Ukraine): U.S. Department of Labour, Bureau of Labour Statistics. 2005 and all other estimates provided by Metals Consulting International Limited (MCI), based on recent ILO trends, MCI calculations, steel industry discussions and other public sources. http://www.steelonthenet.com/labour_cost.html

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Skills needs Over the past thirty years, rationalisation and new technologies in the steel industry have changed demand for labour with relatively modest educational skills to demand for labour with higher levels of qualifications and skills. The occupational structure of the steel industrys labour is changing to include a large proportion of multi-skilled workers, technicians, engineers, and managers. Restructuring in the New Member States has spurred cooperation between technically oriented schools and universities and the steel industry. For some time, the industry as a whole has been attempting to attract more people with higher qualifications, however, as many other industries the steel industry is faced with skills shortage (Stroud & Fairbrother, 2006). Moreover, skills and knowledge requirements can be expected to continue to rise and require knowledge of technical processes and the ability to analyse and manage complex and technology intensive production processes as well as working in teams. Accordingly, demand for highly skilled labour can be expected to continue and this might pose a serious obstacle for the steel industry with a decreasing workforce in many European countries. In addition, the average age in the sector is rather high and retirement in the coming years might create difficulties for the industry. Workforce recruitment, training, and development issues will have to be addressed (OECD, 2007). Technological change and need for innovations have increased the need for technical skills and knowledge and subsequently the share of high skilled labour force in the steel industry. Indeed, according to a broad steel industry labour study by Fairbrother et al (2004) organisational restructuring towards a more flat, functionally flexible, team-based work force has coincided with demands for a highly skilled workforce and an organisational culture that promotes and values credentials and qualifications. Among the HRM managers of the European steel companies, the following issues were considered to require attention in the coming years (EUROFER, Management of change and human resources: Final Report, Transfer of learning in the European steel industry): knowledge management (competence planning, career planning, training, competence centres, knowledge banks, skill-based pay); diffusion of organisational innovations; e-commerce and e-commerce skills; self-managing teams; and competing for new workers in a competitive work market.

Similarly, the study of Fairbrother et al. (2004) concludes that the following training needs in European steel industry are vital for the competitiveness: generic skills coaching and mentoring skills health and safety awareness team working skills information technology skills problem solving skills Market and customer orientation.

In general, it can be concluded that the current structure of the steel industry and increasing demands combined with the existing conditions, place importance on a skilled labour force, knowledge management, knowledge base and HRM development 72

(especially training) issues. Apart from the need to upgrade and develop skills, the steel industry is facing the problem of an ageing workforce and the challenge of replacing this workforce in the future. Thus, the need for skills development does not only pertain to the workforce within the sector, but also to attracting new engineers and other trained young people. This applies to all sub-sectors.

3.5 Processes and output factors


The choice of technology in steel production and the management of plants are important elements of competitiveness in the steel industry. 3.5.1 Technological factors Technology has always played an important role in the steel industry, and the EU steel industrys competitive position is very much related to the industrys strong performance in relation to process- and product innovation, supported by advanced technology and technological development. Historically, very important examples include the introduction of continuous casting, which revolutionised the industry, as well as the introduction and refinement of minimills and the EAF technology. The European steel industry had a head start compared to the US steel industry with early privatisations and technology investments in the 1990s. The advanced use of technology in the European steel industry is a crucial factor in maintaining a competitive edge and a technological lead over the competitors, but the industry will have to defend its position by constantly investing in research and development. The large Chinese companies use state-of-the-art technology and produce products that match global standards. Small mills in China that are using outdated technology are generally only active as local suppliers. Thus, the steel industry in Europe is very dependent on its ability to compete with Chinese products and facilitate process and product innovation to meet advanced customer demand and continually reduce production costs. The European steel industry focuses on reducing the number of processes necessary to produce a final product. To produce semi-finished products such as slab, bloom and billet in integrated works six major on-site facilities are necessary, i.e. sintering plant, coke oven batteries, blast furnace, converter, refining station and a continuous casting line. Each of these plants requires a significant capital investment. In steelmaking the direct reduction of iron ore (DRI) process negates the need for sinter and coke facilities. Fusion reduction produces pig iron but again the process negates the sintering and coke oven plants. The DRI process draws interest in areas with cheap gas supplies, and high scrap prices have also fuelled interest on the DRI process. New steel production technologies include the Castrip process allowing direct casting of steel sheet. The Castrip process is different from conventional thin slab casting of steel products as the solidification event is completed faster, the casting is faster, heat fluxes are higher, and the product is thinner. While the Castrip process operates best when making thin products at high casting speeds it also means new opportunities for creating a new sheet steel product category with the potential to develop ultra-thin cast strip (UCS) products to be used in many applications substituting both hot rolled and cold rolled steel sheet. 73

Figure 3.8. The Castrip process

Process description: Starting at the first point of contact between the rolls and the molten steel, solidification begins and continues as the rolls rotate downwards. Two individual steel shells are formed, one on each roll. The shells form one continuous sheet when they are brought together at the roll nip or kissing point. This steel strip is guided through pinch rolls and a hot rolling stand, where it is reduced to the desired dimensions, typically between 0.7 and 2.0 mm. Water-spray cooling reduces the steel from its rolling temperature to a temperature suitable for coiling. Source: www.Castrip.com

New innovative areas such as advanced computer systems, extensive use of sensors, physical models and artificial intelligence have been designed and incorporated at all stages of the manufacturing process (European Steel Technology Platform, 2004). Other areas imply development of processes that are more integrated and flexible than existing ones. Flexibility, compact lines, and short response times are expected to be key words in the future technology development in order to cope with the expanding range of low-cost products. With rising raw material prices, there are clear advantages in increasing the material efficiency of steel production. Thirty years ago, 1,000 tonnes of melted steel were needed to produce 700 tonnes of finished products. Today the same quantity produces 900 tonnes of finished products. Intelligent manufacturing, supply chain management, improved knowledge management, and appropriate organisational models are other fields in which innovation can be applied to transform the European steel industry towards a more knowledge-based and value adding industry. As global competition in the steel industry increased the last few years, the industry has been forced to restructure and innovate to maintain its competitiveness. At the same time, global steel consumers have become more demanding when it comes to quality and 74

environmental legislation has forced steel manufacturers to develop more environmentally friendly production methods and products. All of these factors have increased the importance of technological innovations and development in the steel industry (technological innovations relate to products as well as processes). Indeed, in the European Commission (2004) steel technology platform vision, technological development is considered one of the most important factors for long-term global competitiveness of the sector. This particularly affects the steel first processing industries, where technological innovations can be very important. Research and development in the EU foundry sector also support the foundries in being at the technological forefront. Often, foundries are engaging in research and development focusing on reducing CO2 emissions by developing lightweight and simultaneously rigid components that especially applies to products in the transport sector, such as cars, railways, ships, and air planes and in the energy sector (windmills). Consequently, the efforts of foundry sector are significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. And focus of research and development in the foundry sector is often to create products which reduce CO2 emissions. With support from the EU Commission, the industry is presently engaging in the Steel Technology Platform, ESTEP. It involves the European steel industry as well as suppliers, customers, universities, the R&D network, Member States and trade union representatives. The objective of the platform is to develop a strategic vision at the horizon 2030 on all the possible fields of long term R&D, including emissions and energy reduction, new products for the main steel using sectors like construction and transportation as well as in terms of recycling. By interacting closely with these different actors, the steel industry seeks to develop new steel solutions and optimise recycling and re-use. The initiative illustrates the importance of technological development in retaining global competitiveness. Another program worth mentioning is the ULCOS Ultra Low CO2 steelmaking program headed by Arcelor-Mittal. 3.5.2 Product innovation Product innovation is essential for increasing output, for the creation of new market opportunities, and for meeting the demand and requirements from customers and society more broadly. Product innovation is understood broadly, from improving the properties of steel to developing new service-based solutions. As already mentioned in Chapter 2, steel has various advantages in comparison to other materials, notably strength, versatility, and cost. In this regard, further innovation regarding increased integration of steel with other products holds potential for increasing market shares, e.g. as steel containing composites, new bonding technologies, and surfaces with new technologies (EU-COM, ESTP, 2004). As mentioned, the EU steel industrys competitive position is very much related to the industrys strong performance in relation to product innovation. The main markets of the EU steel industry concern quality and high quality products, often tailor made on customer requirement. To this end it is necessary to develop focused research for new products, with dedicated physical and chemical properties, and for more and more sophisticated applications.

75

Strong customer relationships and collaborations together with R&D are important features of product innovation capacity. This applies to all sub-sectors. Research on new products is developed directly by the steel industry in cooperation with clients, whereas process related research is taking place in cooperation with steel plants producers. The European steel industry has close ties to steel plants producers (the most important plant suppliers are European, reflecting the advantage of proximity), sharing with them the effort of R&D and innovation. However, the industrys strong position in high quality segments is increasingly challenged as competitors are improving their technological capacities and competencies. By way of example, large Chinese companies use state-of-the-art technology and produce products that match global standards. With increased competition in the high-quality segment, the industry is very dependent on its ability to compete with external competitors products and facilitate innovation to meet advanced customer demand and continually reduce production costs. Product innovation in relation to market prospects is analyzed in section 3.7. 3.5.3 Productivity Data on productivity is generally rather limited, both in terms of country coverage and different productivity indicators. Thus, only data related to labour productivity has been found and this only represents a partial and minor aspect of productivity as the industry is no longer a very labour-intensive industry. In the EU15, labour productivity was estimated to be about 600 tonnes per employee per year and about half of that in the New Member States in 2004 (EUROFER, 2004). A related productivity indicator is value added per hour worked, which takes into account not just quantities produced per time unit but also the quality of the quantities produced, as reflected in their monetary value. Data in this regard is only available for the EU14 (the EU15 excluding Luxembourg), thus not taking into account the New Member States, and only for the entire basic metals sector for the period until 2001. Value added per hour worked increased faster in the EU14 than in the US in the period from 1979 to 2001 and in 2001 it was 2001 marginally higher than in the US.

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Figure 3.9. Value added per hour worked, basic metals, EU14 and the US, 1979-2001 (1997 US$)
45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001

US

EU14

Source: ICOP, Manufacturing productivity and Unit Labour Cost Level Database. http://www.ggdc.net/dseries/icop97.shtml Note: EU14 does not include Luxembourg.

Regarding tubes, statistical evidence is lacking, but according to experts in the field, productivity levels are high, also compared to other world regions. Regarding the foundry sector, the only statistical information available is found in the picture below, showing the relationship between average production per employee (xaxis) and the average number of employees per company (y-axis). The picture contains information about this relationship for individual European countries, and no aggregate EU data is available.

77

Productivity in the EU foundry industry, 2005

Source: CAEF

The picture first and foremost shows that labour productivity differs across EU countries. Moreover, it seems that there is a, albeit weak, relationship between average number of employees and labour productivity; the higher the number of employees, the higher total labour productivity. However, the situation in the Czech Republic and Poland contradicts this relationship. Moreover, the countries with highest output levels (marked by the size of the yellow circle) - particularly Germany, France, Spain and Italy, have relative high levels of labour productivity. In general, productivity levels are higher in the old EU Member States than in the new Member States.

3.6 Performance of the EU steel industry


The performance of the European steel industry is a primary indicator of its current competitive position in relation to steel industries in other parts of the world. In addition, it also points to its current strengths and weaknesses and future competitive prospects; investors may for example prefer to place their capital and invest in industries with the highest performance. This section examines the profitability and the investment attractiveness of the EU steel industry and its performance in international markets. 3.6.1 Turnover, profitability and investment attractiveness The European steel industry has grown in recent years as shown in Chapter 2 and as reflected in total turnover development illustrated in Figure 3.10. When considering the 78

entire EU27 basic metals sector (no turnover data is available for the steel sector only and its sub-sectors), turnover has grown rapidly since 2002.
Figure 3.10. Development annual indexed turnover in EU27, basic metals sector (Year 2000 = 100)
180 160 140 120

Index

100 80 60 40 20 0 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Manufacture of basic metals and fabricated metal (Domestic)

Manufacture of basic metals

Source: Eurostat

The profitability of steel production, as measured by USD pr. net ton (EBITDA) shipped from steel mills, has increased in all parts of the world in recent years. However, the profitability of European mills was below the global average in most quarters of the period from 2000 to the third quarter of 2007. The higher cost base and low growth rates in old Member States and the restructuring process in new EU Member States can probably explain this. The most profitable steel mills are found in South America and the not so profitable yet profitable mills have been the major US steel mills.

79

Figure 3.11. Development in profitability in the steel industry, 2000 - 2007 (EBITDA pr. shipped ton)
300

250

200

$ Per Net Ton

150

100

50

0
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 00 00 00 00 01 01 01 01 02 02 02 02 03 03 03 03 04 04 04 04 05 05 05 05 06 06 06 06 07 07 07

-50 Latin American mills Japanese mills European mills Global average Far Eastern mills US Major mills

Source: WSD, 2007. Financial results from 39 global steel mills. EBITDA is Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization

Regarding the foundry sector, data on this subject does not exist. The reason for this seems to be related to data collection difficulties, following from the structure of the industry consisting of SMEs. While the foundry industry is an important part of the EU steel industry, volume and turnover is relatively small. Profitability In the early 1980s, steel prices were falling and capital utilization was low. Following the reorganisation and restructuring of the industry, prices continued to fall in real terms, but from the 1990s companies started to become profitable but still represented a poor return on capital (Mytton & Lewis, 1997:37). Until 2003, prices were relatively stable. From 2003 onwards, steel prices for all product types have increased dramatically, cf. below. Performance figures are publicly available for international and global enterprises but the share of earnings or profits relating to the EU27 are impossible to extract. Over time, many studies have been devoted to the effect of concentration upon industry performance (cf. Harrigan, 1981). Most studies have found that profitability rises with concentration, and the Herfindal Index (cf. Chapter 2) illustrates that a concentration process is ongoing in the industry. The table presents recent figures on turnover and profits of selected steel enterprises.

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Table 3.4. Turnover and pre-tax profits for selected steel producing companies () Turnover 2007
1.160.000.000 40.611.000.000 72.050.969.000 3.090.200.000 13.225.492.000 2.600.000.000 5.773.293.500 577.398.020 204.455.039 6.913.000.000

Company
Acciaieria Arvedi Arcelor Arcelor-Mittal Bhler Uddeholm Corus Dillinger Htte GTS Duferco Evraz Vitkovice Steel Liepjas Metalurgs Otukumpu Riva Group Salzgitter Severstal SIDENOR Group SSAB ThyssenKrupp Voestalpine DB group

Pre-tax profits 2006


133.600.000 5.903.000.000 11.572.327.000 476.600.000 813.297.760 455.000.000 564.772.310 112.391.930 17.316.035 784.000.000 696.400.000

Pre-tax profits 2007


13.284.945.000

558.000.000 798.000.000 1.581.000.000 1.894.755.700 854.925.470 5.254.000.000 1.365.000.000 -

10.192.000.000 10.439.577.000 12.281.210.000 5.053.722.100 51.723.000.000 7.049.800.000 249.923.830

2.102.000.000 1.683.473.500 2.195.550.000 659.823.070 4.700.000.000 1.079.000.000 14.948.894

Source: Annual reports and accounts. Company websites. Pre-tax profits are EBITDA figures.

Table 3.4 illustrates profitability of different steel companies. The highest growth in profitability was achieved by Arcelor-Mittal, although it is not possible to identify the share of the profits originating from production and sales in the EU. For SMEs the availability of profitability data are poor. Depending on the niche and the speciality of the production the profitability can be very high and probably also rather low in areas with more standardised products and a high rate of competition. The attractiveness of European steel industry to investors According to assessments of WSD, the EU15 may not be the best place for new investments due to the distance to growth markets and raw materials, costs of raw materials, labour, and environmental legislation especially as regards green house gasses. The profitability is below world average. The most profitable locations of steel mills and growth markets are outside mature steel markets such as the EU, Japan and the US. Growth areas are China and India, Asia, Latin America, the new EU Member States, and the C.I.S. The new EU Member States may be in a better localisation position with relatively low labour costs and good technical qualifications. However, organisation, equipment, quality, and service can be improved according to this assessment. 81

Table 3.5. Where to build the next steel plant? Country


China Japan Taiwan Venezuela European Union (EU15) USA

WSD Assessment
Not a good place to build new steel plants it may be better to purchase or merge with an existing plant (WSD) Not at good place to build a new steel plant because of reduced exports of high-end products to china and increasing competition for India (WSD) Not at good place to build a new steel plant because of reduced exports of high-end products to china and increasing competition for India (WSD) Not at good place to build a new steel plant because of the political risk (WSD) Not a good place due moderate prospective steel demand growth and as there is competition form lower-cost steelmakers in e.g. the CIS In the viewpoint of WSD USA is one of the five best places in the world to build a new steel plant. WSD points to low-cost US integrated steel plants with own iron ore supply and coke ovens are well positioned. In the viewpoint of WSD Brazil is one of the five best places in the world to build a new steel plant. In the viewpoint of WSD India is one of the five best places in the world to build a new steel plant. In the viewpoint of WSD the Middle East is one of the five best places in the world to build a new steel plant. In the viewpoint of WSD Ukraine is one of the five best places in the world to build a new steel plant. In the viewpoint of WSD C.I.S is one of the five best places in the world to build a new steel plant. New EU Member States are not mentioned specifically on the WSD list but the huge activity in take-overs of steel mills and companies in the New Member States is a sign of an attractive market.

Brazil India The Middle East Ukraine C.I.S New Member States

Source: WSD assessment (2007) on where to build the next plant

Relatively lower investment location attractiveness of the old EU Member States first and foremost reflects structural differences compared to the more attractive locations. E.g. proximity to expanding customer-markets, costs structures and access to raw materials are important structural differences in this regard. These factors of course also affect the competitiveness of the EU steel industry as they constitute significant disadvantages vis-vis competitors in other world regions, and increasingly so with the increasing global scope and reach of the industry. However, access to EU markets, access to state of the art technologies, and close relationships with customers in the EU are factors making the EU an attractive investment location for specific segments or sub-sectors of the industry.14 And such factors may continually be of high priority to certain investors. In terms of R&D facilities, the EU is still an attractive location due to the high levels of expertise, and R&D facilities are widely located and maintained in the EU. In addition, it should be stressed that investment attractiveness is only one aspect of the competitive position of an industry. Other aspects concern the competitiveness of the steel products, i.e. the qualities of the products and the demand for those products. I.e. whereas other countries and regions perform well in low end markets based on their
14

This view is supported by recent large investments made in the EU by e.g. Arcelor Mittal and Tata.

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ability to engage in the strong cost competition, EU steel products perform well in the high end segments. Thus, the EU steel industry has strong home markets and extraregional exports have increased during the recent decade. Below the performance of the EU steel industry in international markets is further analyzed. 3.6.2 Performance in international markets Together with patterns of production and consumption, trade figures point to an increasingly internationalised industry. In the EU27, both imports and exports of steel products have increased during the last 10 years but within the most recent years imports have increased at a higher pace. Whereas Europe has always been a net exporter of steel, 2006 marked the year when Europe became a net importer of steel products for the first time. In 2007, total EU27 extra-regional exports of semi-finished and finished steel products reached a level of 26.3 million metric tonnes, whereas total EU27 extra-regional imports equalled 42.5 million metric tonnes.
Figure 3.12. EU27 extra-regional exports and imports of semi-finished and finished steel products, 1999-2007 (thousand metric tonnes)
50000

40000

30000

20000

10000

0 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

EU(27) extra-regional exports

EU(27) extra-regional imports

Source: COMEXT, 2008.

Net-exports among other countries with trade flows at significant international levels15 are shown in Table 3.6. Japan, Russia, Ukraine, and Brazil are net exporters of steel products, whereas South Korea, the USA, Canada, and Mexico are net importers. In addition, China became a net exporter of steel in 2006, due to both large decreases in imports levels and large increases in exports levels since 2003/2004.

15

Extra-regional trade flows for world regions other than EU has not been available. Therefore only the available trade figures from selected countries with trade flows at significant international levels are shown.

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Table 3.6. Net-exports of semi-finished and finished steel products in EU27 and selected countries with high level of trade flows, 2006 (thousand metric tonnes)
Exports EU (27) China Japan South Korea Russia Ukraine USA Canada Mexico Brazil
26.279 (26.179 in 2007) 51.706 34.557 18.016 31.462 30.600 9.565 6.135 4.990 12.626

Imports
35.085 (42.547 in 2007) 19.105 4.447 22.421 5.824 1.512 42.192 11.028 8.246 1.912

Net-exports
- 8.806 (- 16.368 in 2007) 32.601 30.110 - 4.405 25.638 29.088 -32.627 -4.893 -3.256 10.714

Sources: COMEXT, 2008; and International Iron and Steel Institute, 2007

The European steel industry has traditionally had a strong regional focus - the major destinations of exports from EU countries are other EU countries. However, Europe is increasingly becoming part of a broader set of trade relations. Extra-regional exports account for approx. 20% of total EU27 exports of semi-finished and finished steel products. The EUs biggest export markets outside the EU27 in 2007 were other European countries, exporting 9,514 thousand tonnes of semi-finished and finished products to notably Turkey (4,827 thousand tonnes) and Switzerland (2,046 thousand tonnes); followed by North America with EU27 exports equal to 4.988 thousand tonnes and Asia with EU27 exports equal to 3,970 thousand tonnes (notably India and China). Africa and the Middle East are also important export destinations for EU steel products. No specific markets have seen upward tendencies since 2005. On the other hand, some export markets have seen downward tendencies, especially North America and Asia.

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Figure 3.13. EU27 export markets for semi-finished and finished steel products, 2007 (%)
1% 15% 0%

37% 9%

12%

3% 19% Other Europe Middle East C.I.S. Asia

4%

North America Oceania

South America Non-specified

Af rica

Source: EUROFER, based on data from International Iron and Steel Institute (2008)

It is significant that North Americas import levels (primarily the US) are increasing with import supply dominated by non-EU companies.
Figure 3.14. Imports of semi-finished and finished steel products, selected countries, 1999-2006 (thousand metric tonnes)
50000 45000 40000 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 1999 EU(27) Ukraine 2000 China USA 2001 2002 Japan Canada 2003 2004 South Korea Mexico 2005 2006 Russia Brazil

Sources: COMEXT, 2008; and International Iron and Steel Institute, 2007

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In relative terms, imports within the EU27 account for approx. 75% of total EU imports (2007). Thus, extra-regional imports accounted for 25% of total imports in 2005, and this share has increased slightly in recent years. From outside Europe, the highest amount of steel imported into the EU27 comes from the C.I.S. In 2007, C.I.S. imports of semi-finished and finished steel products into the EU27 equalled 12,540 thousand tonnes, representing 29% of total EU27 extra-regional imports. Total imports from the C.I.S. into the EU have increased by 36% since 2005. China is the second most significant origin of EU27 imports with 9,753 thousand tonnes of semi-finished and finished steel products imported into the EU27 in 2007, representing 23% of total EU27 extra-regional imports. Total imports from China into the EU have increased dramatically in recent years. From 2005 to 2007 total imports from China into the EU27 increased by approx. 550%. Equally, the share of total EU27 extra-regional imports originating from China increased significantly from 6% in 2005 to 23% of total extra-regional imports in 2007. With 5,289 thousand tonnes of semi-finished and finished steel products imported into the EU27 from other Asian countries in 2007, imports coming from other Asian countries also account for a large share of total extra-regional imports (12%). This share has also been on the increase in recent years, i.e., approx. 150% from 2005 to 2007. Imports of semi-finished and finished products from other European countries have remained relatively stable in recent years, i.e., equal to approx. 7,600 thousand tonnes. However, with increasing total imports (from notably China, other Asian countries and the C.I.S.), the share of total EU27 imports coming from other European countries is decreasing.
Figure 3.15. Origin of EU25 imports for semi-finished and finished steel products, 2007 (%)
12% 1% 0% 18%

23%

29% 6% 6%
Other Europe China C.I.S Other Asia

5%
South America Non specified Africa & Middle East

North America Oceania

Source: EUROFER, based on data from International Iron and Steel Institute (2008)

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The development in China is particularly noticeable. Since 2003/2004 China has become more engaged in the international market, and 2006 also marked the year when China became the worlds biggest steel exporting country by almost doubling its exports of semi-finished and finished steel products from 27.4 million metric tonnes in 2005 to 51.7 million metric tonnes in 2006. In total, Chinese exports have increased by more than 500% from 1997-2006, and the increase in exports is expected to continue in coming years. As also shown above, this development has also has been evident in the EU as China flooded the EU market with both flat and long products in 2006-2007, also reflecting Chinese overcapacity for flat products due to over-investments in the past years, and the flat product capacity in China is expected to further increase in 2008. Figure 3.16 displays the current export destinations of Chinese steel, with the EU27 being the largest market outside of Asia.
Figure 3.16. China Exports of Steel by destination (steel mill products), 2006

17%

12%

8%

17%

46%

EU(27)

USA

South Korea

Other Asia

Others

Source: Trade Statistics WV Stahl

The high level of Chinese exports and increasing capacity point to the tendency of increasing imports of steel products into the EU from China. Exports from South Korea and Japan are also increasing and both countries have, like China, a flat products overcapacity. With regard to the origins of EU imports, it is also significant that the C.I.S. - Russia and Ukraine - have increased their exports significantly within the most recent years, as shown in Figure 3.17. In this regard it should be noted, that exports of certain steel products from non-WTO members including Russia and Ukraine to the EU are limited by bilateral agreements (voluntary export restraint/quotas). This is further described in chapter 4.

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Figure 3.17. Exports of semi-finished and finished steel products, selected countries, 1999-2006 (thousand metric tonnes)
40000

35000

30000

25000

20000

15000

10000

5000

0 1999 EU(27) USA 2000 Japan Canada 2001 2002 2003 2004 Russia Brazil 2005 2006 Ukraine

South Korea Mexico

Sources: COMEXT, 2008; and International Iron and Steel Institute, 2007 Note: China is omitted from the picture in order to get a closer look into the export development from other countries.

Table 3.7 shows the development of imports and exports from 1999 - 2006 by the EU and other selected countries in comparison with the development in consumption and production. In the EU, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, USA, and Canada consumption increased more than production in relative terms, and equivalently imports increased more than exports in relative terms. In the other countries - China, Japan, India, and Brazil the production increased more than consumption in relative terms, and exports have increased more than imports. In addition, the high growth rate of EU steel imports by 126.5% from 1999-2006, compared to the growth rates in exports (34.1%), production (13.5%) and consumption (20%) is worth noticing. This indicates changing patterns in the relative levels between exports and imports, consumption and production, towards a situation where the EU domestic market demand is increasingly supplied by extra-EU imports.

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Table 3.7. Development in consumption, production, imports, and exports, 1999-2006 (%) Finished steel consumption
EU (27) EU15 EU (12) NMS China Japan South Korea India Russia Ukraine USA Canada Brazil 20.0 13.3 72.7 191.6 14.7 46.7 83.8 100.2 119.2 5.2 7.0 12.2

Crude steel production


13.5 11.6 24.6 241.0 23.4 18.1 103.5 37.5 49.0 1.2 -4.6 23.6

Imports
126.5 112.5 230.6 12.7 -6.1 152.5 157.3 109.0 278.0 26.8 62.6 201.1

Exports
34.1 36.2 26.4 813.9 32.5 31.6 191.8 14.4 61.5 84.3 29.0 26.6

Source: International Iron and Steel Institute, 2007; COMEXT, 2008 (EU trade figures)

With the increasing international activity and global reach of the EU27 steel sector, international trade regulations are impacting its competitiveness. This aspect will be further analysed in chapter 4.

3.7 Demand forecasts and market prospects


3.7.1 Short term forecast of apparent steel use in world regions According to short term forecasts carried out by the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI), 2008 will still be another strong year for the world steel industry with apparent steel use rising from 1.2 million tonnes in 2007 to 1.28 million tonnes in 2008 - an increase of 6.7%. New projections for 2009 suggest a global growth rate of 6.3%. China, Brazil, Russia, and India are expected to continually lead the growth, with an expected increase of 11.1% for 2008 and 10.3% for 2009. Chinese apparent steel use is expected to grow by 11.5% in 2008 and 10% in 2009. For India, forecasts for apparent steel use point to an increase of 8.9% in 2008 and 12.1% in 2009. Growth in the Russian market is forecasted to remain strong with 10.2% for 2008 and 11.2% for 2009, led mainly by the energy and construction sectors. Apparent steel use in Brazil is expected to increase by 10.3% for 2008 and 8.9% for 2009, reflecting strong growth in the automotive, construction and engineering sectors. In the EU, the growth in steel demand is predicted to continue at a more modest pace, following 2007 adjustments in inventory positions, leading to growth of 1.6% in 2008 and 2.3% in 2009.

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3.7.2

European demand for steel products and market prospects The main steel using sectors in Europe are sensitive to global economic conditions. One factor driving the variability of the steel sector in terms of production and performance concerns global economic conditions with a particular sensitivity to the performance of the automotive, construction, capital goods and other industrial product industries. The future European demand for steel depends on the consumption of steel of the main steel using sectors, being sensitive to global economic conditions. In this regard, the construction sector is by far the most important steel consuming sector accounting for 27% of total steel consumption. In the construction sector demand is a function of a wide range of factors including government finances and policy, the nature and condition of existing domestic and commercial/industrial building stock, housing affordability, and the level and nature of foreign investments (European Strategy Consultants, 2006). Since 2005, when the German construction downturn ended, growth rates have been very high. In the first quarter of 2007, the growth rate was 12.9% - in 2008 the growth rate is expected to end at about 2.3%. In the construction sector, concrete is a serious contender to steel. 16 In the EU27 automotive sector the total motor vehicle production increased from 16.5 to 19.7 million units between 1997 and 2007 (EUROFER, 2007, based on data from ACEA - European Automobile manufacturers Association/OICA - The International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers). The growth has especially occurred in the New Member States with the manufacturers seeing the region as a competitive location to supply Western Europe and a growth market in its own right. A slowdown is expected but not to more than a still respectable 3.3% per annum. High steel prices may lead manufacturers to look harder for lighter materials since steel represents nearly 50% of the weight of a car. The mechanical engineering sector is a key employer among old and new EU Member States representing 11% of total manufacturing employment, and although productivity standards are not on par with Western productivity standards double digit annual growth rates have been registered in almost all Member States except the Baltic Republics. The highest growth 4,3% - in consumption of steel is expected from this sector in 2008. The growth rate in 2007 was 8.8%. The most recent forecast from EUROFERs Economic Committee concerning the development in steel consumption in the Euro-zone for the rest of 2008 and 2009 - based on macro-economic and steel market analysis and expectations - points to an overall positive outlook for 2008-2009, expecting moderate demand growth compared to the recent high-growth period. The key risk to EU competitiveness is assessed to be a further increase in the strength of the Euro to levels that will start to hurt competitiveness and profitability. Real steel consumption is expected to slow down to more sustainable rates in the near future.

16

It should be noted that steel is also used with concrete in the form of reinforcing bars (rebar). Competing building systems are steel constructions using beams and sections against concrete with rebar, but this only concerns certain applications.

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Table 3.8. Forecast of total steel consumption of the main steel using sectors (% change on year)
Steel consumption Construction Structural steelwork Mechanical engineering Automotive Domestic appliances Shipyards Tubes Metalware Miscellaneous TOTAL % weight in total steel con-sumption 27 11 14 16 4 1 12 12 3 100 Q3/07 3.6 6.2 9.5 5.7 5.6 2.6 4.6 5.1 1.0 5.3 Q4/07 1.2 0.1 6.4 6.1 -1.3 3.5 -3.2 4.0 0.4 2.2 2007 5.2 7.5 8.8 5.5 3.4 6.6 2.0 6.3 2.3 5.5 Q1/08 -1.0 1.1 4.1 1.5 -2.7 1.5 -1.9 3.0 1.6 0.8 Q2/08 2.5 2.8 4.5 2.0 1.4 3.9 2.3 4.0 2.5 3.0 Q3/08 2.8 3.7 4.3 2.4 2.2 2.8 3.2 4.4 1.8 3.3 Q4/08 3.0 3.4 4.2 2.8 4.7 2.3 2.8 3.9 1.9 3.2 2008 1.9 2.8 4.3 2.2 1.4 2.6 1.6 3.8 1.9 2.6 2009 1.6 2.3 2.0 1.9 1.8 1.8 1.3 3.2 1.6 1.9

Source: EUROFER, April 2008

As regards consumption from the main steel-using sectors, trends and expectations differ according to sector: Following a slowdown in output growth in the construction industry across Europe in 2007, expectations are positive for the remainder of 2008 and 2009, notably regarding the non-residential and civil engineering sector as well as renovation activity. In terms of mechanical engineering, the current strong tendency (above-trend-growth) is expected to continue, despite the downturn in international demand for investment goods. However, from 2009 projects indicate a lower growth rate. The automotive industry experienced a very strong output growth in 2007, notably in car sales in the New Member States. While not keeping this level, the outlook for 2008-2009 is relatively positive with vehicle demand in Europe expected to increase modestly, higher in 2009 than in 2008. Output growth in the EU15 is seen lagging behind output growth in the New Member States. In terms of domestic appliances, the growth rate slowed down during 2007 and early 2008, but the outlook for 2008 points to a moderate rebound in production growth due to revitalised private consumption, and output growth is expected to continue the moderate upward trend in 2009. In addition, the domestic appliances industry is characterised by different sector dynamics in the EU15 and the New Member States with declining production in EU15 since 2000 and strong growth in the NMS. The strong upward trend in the NMS is explained by local demand and investment in production capacity in recent years. The latest tube production data for the EU27 showed a decrease in total output by 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2007. This decline was stronger than expected, albeit awareness of strong international competition in the commodity type small diameter welded tubes and demand pressure due to stock reductions in the distribution chain. Regarding the near future, supply-demand balances are seen as improving, while import pressure remains 91

high in the low-end market. Large welded tubes and seamless tubes, on the other hand, have seen further output growth and expectations for the remainder of 2008 and 2009 are positive with moderate demand growth from the main steel tubes using sectors. Another forecast from 2005 foresees continued growth as well but also at a lower level than in the period 2003-2007. Table 3.9 indicates that worldwide consumption of finished steel products in million tonnes is expected to increase from 1,108 million tonnes in 2008 to 1,463 million tonnes in 2014. Most countries per capita steel consumption is in the range 200 550 kilo depending on the economic development, industrial structure and the export focus of the domestic industries.
Table 3.9. Forecast of consumption of finished steel products by regions (million tonnes) Steel consumption
New Member States (EU10) EU15 EU25 CIS Asia North America Rest of the world World

2008
29,4 150,7 180,1 37,7 601,7 165,0 123,9 1108,1

2009
30,8 153,6 184,4 39,5 640,1 168,3 127,5 1161,4

2014
39,3 172,1 211,4 49,7 853,2 185,8 151,4 1463,3

Source: History IISI, 2004 and forecast EuroStrategyConsultants, 2005

The forecast of growth per capita consumption depends on country level demand forecasts and estimates of population growth. The growth rate from 2009 to 2014 in the consumption of finished steel products is estimated at 4.7% per annum and somewhat higher in most new EU Member States. In the EU15, the annual growth rate 2009-2014 is estimated at 2.3%. 3.7.3 Product innovation and market prospects The EU steel industry expects increasing demand for high added value steel products in highly developed countries (EU-Commission, ESTP, 2006). Thus, in terms of demand for steel products, the market prospects for the EU industry are expected to be favourable in the higher value segments end stressing the importance of product innovation and collaboration with customers/end-users to meet their product requirements. Customers are increasingly demanding tailored materials and processing technologies, and modern steels must display a combination of high strength, lighter in weight and good formability. The automotive industry continues to aim at producing ever lighter, stronger, safer, and environmentally efficient cars, and growth in demand for tailor-welded blanks is forecast. The European steel producers specialise in meeting these demands by proving complete tailor-welded blank solutions. In this regard, big steel producers have the capacity to meet the requirements at all stages and provide complete tailor-made solutions by having complete control over the entire steel supply chain from material procurement over precision press blanking to the final production of tailor-welded blanks. Moreover, they work closely with engineers and designers from the earliest stages of component and 92

vehicle projects, to prototyping and production. Employees are often seconded to customers to provide support and knowledge transfer where needed. The automotive industry is also the current driving force of foundry engineering, which requires quality castings produced by various technologies and casting materials. Market prospects are equally good in the machinery sector. Over the last few years, this sector has shown a considerable surplus in the trade balance, and the great need for modernisation in the economic and industrial framework of New EU Member States has resulted in new sales opportunities for EU machinery producers. Thanks to its advanced technology and high quality, the EU machinery industry is still highly competitive internationally (EU-COM, 2008 http://ec.europa.eu/trade/) 3.7.4 Long term forecast of EU apparent steel use Whereas the forecasts concerning steel consumption of the main steel using sectors provide detailed, yet near future, information about steel demand, projecting long term demand for steel require calculations based on econometric models. Such long term forecasts concerning apparent steel use (ASU) are presented below. The forecasts are based on two main models; a) the steel intensity curve (SI-curve) and b) the error correction model (ECM).17 In the first model (a), the SI-curve relates the evolution of steel intensity (the ratio of apparent steel consumption to GDP) to the level of economic development of a country as measured by GDP per capita. There are five stages in the development of steel intensity: 1) a very low level before economic take-off, 2) a rapid rise, 3) a levelling off stage, 4) a decline, and 5) stabilization.
Figure 3.18: The steel intensity curve

Source: Armand Sadler, 2007

17

These analyses are based on input from Mr. Armand Sadler, Former Chief Economist of Arcelor.

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The development of steel intensity in the first two stages is taking place due to changes in the economic structure of a country, mainly increases in the shares of investments and manufacturing production. The decline in the development of steel intensity in the fourth stage results from the changes in the relative importance of activity of the steel-using sectors in the total economic activity (defined as SWIP/GDP where SWIP = the steel weighted industrial production index) and a decline of specific steel consumption defined as ASU/SWIP. In mature economies such as the EU, the ASU forecasts crucially depend on the shape of the SI-curve at the end of the fourth stage. If steel intensity is stabilizing (tending asymptotically to a constant), total steel use will increase in the long run because potential real GDP growth is positive. This is indeed the case in the EU, confirmed by econometric estimates. In a business as usual scenario, ASU in the EU is projected to grow over the next 30 years at a compound annual growth rate of about 0.6%. Following technological progress, steel intensity is assumed to decline slightly and continuously over the forecast horizon. This purely econometric forecast is informed by expert knowledge. In the second model (ECM) - the error correction model - the starting point is the demand equation from the traditional standard commodity model. This demand equation is obtained from the first-order conditions of cost minimization by the firm. Industrial production is the steel demand driver. This model exactly confirms the ASU compound annual growth rate of 0.6% obtained from the previous specification. In total, the forecast of an annual growth rate of 0,6% in apparent steel use seems robust given the fact that two different steel demand drivers (real GDP on the one hand and industrial production on the other) lead to the same result.

3.8 Conclusions
The overall conclusion to be drawn from chapter 3 is that the EU steel industry is well competitive and has performed well in recent years. In a historical perspective, this is mainly explained by the fact that the industry has been able to undertake the necessary actions to adjust to new circumstances and change strategic orientation, with quality, innovation and value creation being key aspects of the industrys competitive edge today. Nonetheless, the EU steel industry also faces many competitive challenges, and global competition has increased significantly in the last few years. For notably the foundry sector, however, competition from outside the EU is still limited. The assessment of the overall competitive position of the EU steel industry is based on a synthesis of the elements included in the competitive framework for analysing the competitiveness, presented in section 3.1. Below, key points from the analysis in relation to each dimension are presented, highlighting some of the most important challenges that the EU steel industry faces. Business conditions and business strategies The fundamental business conditions in the EU steel industry include capital requirements, economies of scale, transport intensity, raw material requirements, energy requirements, economic growth, and currency exchange rates. While these factors highly 94

affect the performance of the EU steel industry, and in some cases also leading to the presence of different kinds of exit and entry barriers, they cannot easily be changed and/or do not in themselves affect the competitiveness of the EU steel industry vis--vis external competitors. Entry and exit barriers affect the competitiveness of the EU steel industry to the extent that such barriers are leading to conditions favouring other world regions at the expense of the EU steel industry. Excess capacity raises barriers to entry as increasing demand is relatively easily absorbed by excess capacity in existing plants. As the EU steel industry has gone through extensive restructuring, excess capacity is no longer characterising the industry. In recent years, however, increasing demand in the EU has been satisfied by imports facilitated by increasing capacity elsewhere. This reflects the dynamic relationship between demand and excess capacity across world regions. Currently, excess capacity in other parts of the world implies risks to the EU industry in terms of losing market shares due to increasing export levels in other parts of the world. E.g. lately, capacity increases have fuelled Chinese exports into the EU. In terms of business strategies, the EU steel industry has in general proved strong ability to adjust when necessary. This is reflected in the fact that since the 1990s the EU steel industry has managed to change strategic orientation from focusing on standardised products and efficiency, to becoming less reactive and more customer-oriented, focusing on high quality and product innovation as well as value creation supported by technological development. This proved to be very important for the industrys continual development and competitiveness, and today the EU steel sector is well-performing, modern industry with very strong domestic markets, particularly in high-end segments. In addition, partnerships with customers/end-users form key aspects of the steel industrys response to past and continuous market changes. This applies to all sub-sectors. Input The increasing demand for steel in recent years have led to increasing demand for raw materials, resulting in imbalances in the demand and supply for raw materials. The current raw material supply and demand imbalances are in particular affecting the EU industry which depends heavily on raw material imports. Thus, access to raw materials has become a pressing issue in the EU steel industry. Access to raw materials is also increasingly becoming an important factor in determining future location investments with some third countries offering more attractive production conditions in terms of better raw material supplies and cheaper energy than the European counterparts. With the current heavy demand for all steel inputs, both raw material and energy prices have increased substantially. As prices are set globally, price increases affect all producers. Thus, increased input prices do not per se create a competitive disadvantage vis--vis other countries/producers outside the EU. However, in countries where state aid and subsidies are still in place (e.g., Russia, Ukraine, and China) such pressures may be partially alleviated through state support, implying an indirect disadvantage for the competitiveness of the EU steel sector. Moreover, the EU steel sectors demand for skilled labour is another challenge with importance to the performance and competitiveness of the EU steel industry as skills and knowledge requirements are rising while the labour force is decreasing. Consequently, attracting highly skilled labour is becoming a significant issue of concern. 95

Process and output Technology has always played an important role in the EU steel industry, and the industry has continually been able to provide significant results in terms of technological development, leading to improved process efficiency and production methods. In general, the EU steel industry seems very devoted to technology driven process and product innovation, which is a significant factor behind the EU steel industrys high quality standards and relatively strong position in high-end market segments. However, this position is increasingly challenged as competitors are improving their technological capacities and competencies. Thus, the steel industry in Europe is very dependent on maintaining and improving its ability to compete with products produced in third countries and to facilitate process and product innovation to meet advanced customer demand and continually reduce production costs. Another output indicator is productivity. While data concerning productivity are limited, the available data related to labour productivity show positive tendencies. In this regard, it should be highlighted that the EU steel industry is becoming less and less labour intensive, also reflected in the fact that labour costs is a minor aspect of the total cost structure. Performance The spectacular increase of world steel prices within recent years has played a significant role for the positive performance figures of the EU steel industry. Thus, total EU turnover has increased in recent years, and data concerning productivity and profitability also showed a positive development. Moreover, empirical studies find that profitability increases with concentration, and as such, the increasing concentration of the EU steel industry provides conditions for improved profitability. However, the data collected also point to high profitability differences with some producers being highly profitable and others showing a low profitability compared to international standards. In terms of international performance, the analysis shows increasing EU extra-regional activity along increasing activity from significant competitors. The European steel industry has traditionally had a strong regional focus with a strong position in home markets. At the same time, the EU steel industry is increasingly engaging in external markets, with increasing levels of extra-regional exports during the last decade. However, imports into the EU have also increased significantly during the last ten years, and in 2006 the EU became a net importer of steel products for the first time. This reflects the fact that increasing EU demand is satisfied by increasing imports. Moreover, it reflects the increasing international competition in the global steel industry. Concerning imports, it should be noted that China in particular constitutes a threat to the EU steel industry. China is offering steel products at all levels of quality, at very competitive prices, and Chinese steel capacity is increasing with prospects of excess capacity. And with strong incentives to export excess production, exports from China constitute a significant challenge to the EU steel industry. Already, excess capacity has fuelled Chinese exports into European markets: In 2006-2007, China flooded the EU market with both flat and long products. In addition, the competition from other countries may increase in the future. E.g. steel capacity is increasing in the C.I.S. and, depending on domestic demand, exports may increase. Consequently, the world market will be less and less controlled by the EU steel producers, even for quality products.

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A final performance indicator considered is investment attractiveness. As location investment, the old EU Member States face structural barriers that make them less attractive than the new EU Member States and locations outside the EU as these are being close to expanding markets, while also offering lower costs and better access to raw materials. Thus, it is less attractive to invest in the old EU Member States, whereas new Member States meet increasing interest from investors. Main EU steel producers have strategically prioritised to focus on high quality and high prices rather than quantity, as well as not investing in new capacities in the EU where framework conditions are less attractive than in other world regions with lower production costs and better access to raw materials and energy. Demand The future performance of the EU steel sector depends on the demand for steel. Recent forecasts point to an overall positive outlook for 2008-2009, expecting moderate demand growth compared to the recent high-growth period. Apparent steel consumption is expected to slow down in the near future. According the econometric models the long term increase in apparent steel use is projected to be 0.6% per year. The EU steel industry expects increasing demand for high added value steel products in highly developed countries. Thus, the market prospects for the EU industry are expected to be favourable in the high value end, stressing the importance of product innovation and collaboration with customers/end-users to meet their product requirements. To sum up, it should be highlighted that the EU steel industrys competitive position is very much related on the industrys strong performance in relation to product innovation and value creation supported by advanced technology and technological development. And this also provides the platform for maintaining and developing the industrys competitive position. Innovation is essential for maintaining and creating new market opportunities, meeting the demand and requirements from customers and society more broadly.

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4 Regulatory and Framework Conditions for Competitiveness

This chapter addresses the question of the most important regulatory and other framework conditions affecting the sectors competitiveness. Table 4.1 on the next page presents an overview of all framework conditions. After the first screening of these conditions, we identify a number of (most) relevant conditions, which are then discussed in more detail.

4.1

Main regulatory conditions affecting competitiveness of the EU steel sector


The regulatory environment for the steel industry at the EU level consists of a number of directives, rules and regulations for firms and industries in the area of: environment and sustainable development; energy; competition and external trade; consumer policies; the internal market, including intellectual property rights, procurement and technical harmonization; and training and employment, including education and training, employment rights and work organization, and health, hygiene and safety at work. At the EU level, different Directives set minimum standards, serving as a basis for national legislation which can be more stringent. The main relevant Directives and Regulations include the following: Directive 2003/10/EC: minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (noise, optical radiation, electro-magnetic fields and vibrations); and Council Directive 89/655/EEC concerning the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work. Directive 98/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998: design protection; Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004: enforcement of intellectual property rights; and Council Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003 of 22 July 2003: customs action against goods that (are suspected to) infringe intellectual property rights. Directive 89/106/EEC: the approximation of law, regulations, administrative provisions relating to construction products.

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Framework Directive 89/109/EC and Regulation No 1935/2004/EC on materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. The producer responsibility directives on automobiles, electronic equipment and packaging. o Directive 2000/53/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 September 2000: end-of-life vehicles, minimum technical requirements for treatment, e.g. relevant to mills using scrap metal as input. Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste recycling, reusing, recovering; amended by Directive 2006/340/EC of 19 February 2006 on heavy metals concentration in packaging. Directive 2002/96/EC on Waste electrical and electronic equipment and the daughter Directive 2002/95/EC on Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment.

Directive 2006/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on waste. The Directive aims among other things to encourage the recovery of waste and the use of recovered materials as raw materials in order to conserve natural resources, taking into consideration existing or potential market opportunities for recovered waste. This Directive has been reviewed from 2005 to 2008. Directive 2000/60/EC Water Framework Directive and associated daughter directives on Groundwater (Directive 2006/118/EC) and currently discussed- on Environmental Quality Standards (proposal COM(2006)397). Directive on Air Quality from 2008 (not yet published in the Official Journal) Directive 2001/81/EC on National Emission Ceilings, for which a review will start in 2008. Directive 2003/87/EC: greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme within the EC, which is under review since January 2008. this review is in direct connection also to the Proposal for a Decision of Effort Sharing of Member States (Commission proposal COM(2008)17) Directive 96/61/EC: integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC), for which a recast procedure has begun in 2008. Directive 97/11/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment Regulation 1907/2006 REACH: registration, evaluation, authorisation, and restriction of chemicals and the establishment of a European chemicals agency; aims at improving the protection of human health and the environment, while maintaining the competitiveness and enhancing the innovative capacity of the EU chemicals industry. The classification and labelling system of the Directive 67/548/EEC, which will shortly be substituted by legislation on Globally Harmonised Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).

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Communication from the Commission concerning certain aspects of the treatment of competition cases resulting from the expiry of the ECSC Treaty (2002/C 152/03).

Under preparation are a Directive on Soil and legislative instruments on resource efficiency (due in June 2008).

4.2

Assessment of framework conditions for the EU steel sector


Table below provides an overview of the key framework conditions affecting the competitiveness of the EU steel sector. It includes an assessment of the importance of each condition, a short description and justification for the assessment as well as an indication of the trend (increasing importance, no change or decreasing importance) and coverage in terms of geographical area and sub-sector.

Table 4.10 Regulatory framework conditions for the steel and steel first processing sector
Steel and steel first processing sector Importance 1 10 Justification importance (assessment of potential impact on competitiveness) Trend </=/> Geographical level Specific subsectors affected 1. Labour market regulations and OHS 6 Labour market regulations are still mostly a national issue within the EU. Generally more strict than in most other producing countries, hence adding to cost structures. It is one of the reasons why a number of steel companies are investing in the NMS and in Eastern Europe (regulation + cost of labour) Effects of OHS measures are twofold, adding to production costs on the one hand, yet possibly reducing accidents and illness, hence reducing costs and increasing productivity. 2. Labour market and skills development 7 The industry has problems recruiting sufficient and adequately skilled workers, and therefore retaining of workers is of increasing importance.. The issues pertain > EU-27 All > EU-27 + National All

100

Steel and steel first processing sector

Importance 1 10

Justification importance (assessment of potential impact on competitiveness)

Trend </=/>

Geographical level

Specific subsectors affected

to both high and low skilled workers. 3. Intellectual property right issues
18

IPR issues are not prevalent in the steel industry, as is the case in many commodity-like industries. Some patenting takes place for the collection of licensing revenues. No evidence found that this has major impacts on sector competitiveness.

>

EU-27

All

4.

Protocols on restructuring in accession treaties NMS

These have all been completed and have contributed to the restructuring and ultimate improvement of the competitiveness of NMSs steel industries. Their direct effect on competitiveness is therefore no longer relevant.

<

NMS

5.

Competition policy State-Aid and subsidies

Following the substantial restructuring of the sector since the late 1980s, State Aid has all but been phased out, even in the NMS. In the EU-15 all companies have been privatised, in the NMS only a small number of firms still receive support, as part of a transition agreement.

<

NMS

All, with exception steel pipe industry

All, with > EU-27 exception steel pipe industry

Important in relation to external relations (as part of Market Access Strategy).

6.

Industry-specific standards

Standards contribute to high quality of products and in addition form an important tool for transparency in the area of public procurement and are becoming increasingly important in the EU market access strategy (e.g. as parts of bilateral trade negotiations).

EU-27

All

7.

Consumer standards (health and safety)

As the sub-sectors considered all produce intermediate products as opposed to final project, consumer standards are less relevant. Rather they are captured in industry specific standards and a number of key directives for downstream industries.

EU-27

All

18

IPR for manufacturing relates to "industrial property", encompassing: trademarks, patents, industrial designs, geographical indications, layout-designs of integrated circuits and plant breeders' rights.

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Steel and steel first processing sector

Importance 1 10

Justification importance (assessment of potential impact on competitiveness)

Trend </=/>

Geographical level

Specific subsectors affected

8.

Environmental regulations and issues (IPPC, NAP, ETS, relation with permitting authorities)

Strict and mandatory ETS together with the IPPC standards raise the costs of producers in the EU compared to their global competitors. High increasing importance.

>

EU-27 + National

All, particularly crude steel production.

9.

Market access & openness EU market. 4 Tariffs Of decreasing importance in terms of steel exports and imports, as EU import tariffs are zero for most products and partner countries tariffs relatively low. 8 Non-tariff barriers Of increasing importance both in relation to steel exports and imports, investments and raw materials imports. Antidumping proceedings concerning raw materials are of special importance for the foundry industry. Pending WTO accession the EU has bilateral trade agreements with Russia, and Kazakhstan; EU is trying to include Managing global competition: International treaties and agreements 8 NTB issues in its bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and agreements. In addition it is striving for a new partnership with China. All these strategies have direct relevance for the steel sector. = EU-27 All > EU-27 All = EU-27 All.

4.2.1

Labour market regulations and OHS Most of the labour regulations are still at a national level and differ substantially between the Member States. However, the European Union has set some minimum requirements for the Member States legislation in the field of labour rights, work organisation and health and safety standards. In addition, the EU supports many education and training programs. Among the labour rights and work organisation, the EU has requirements concerning collective redundancies, insolvency and the transfer of undertakings, the consultancy and information of workers, working hours, equal treatment and pay and posted workers. These are supplemented by framework agreements between the European social partners. As a consequence, e.g. right for parental leave and limited use of successive fixed-term contracts has been implemented throughout Europe. In addition there are specific initiatives within the industry to address OHS. For instance the foundry industry signed a multi-sectoral Social Dialogue Agreement for silica dust which is a 102

flagship project for both trade unions and the industry and has led to an awareness campaign concerning health and safety matters. In practice (even with these minimum requirements) regulation in Western Europe is still more stringent than in Eastern Europe. This has been one of the reasons for steel producers in Western Europe to invest in Eastern Europe where both direct and indirect i.e. labour regulation labour costs are still substantially lower. The collection of workers health and safety related regulations set by the EU has been expanding during the last years and includes a relatively large number of regulations, while at national levels there are still substantial differences between Member States. Even though many of these labour market regulations can increase the labour costs, it is not agreed in the economic literature how labour market regulations affect the actual competitiveness of industries. Most regulations are made to protect the employees and have positive externalities of which the monetary values can be difficult to estimate (Beccaria & Galin, 1998). For example, stricter health and safety measures in the steel industry can raise the costs, but when successful, decrease accidents and absence due to illness and hence the costs to hire new personnel. With regards to skilled labour, the loss of personnel can lead also to loss of strategic knowledge and necessitates the training of the new employees. Lately the need for knowledge base protection in terms of the work-force and the use of skilled labour has increased along with the rising use of stateof-the-art and sophisticated technologies in the steel industry. Thus although the EU legislation is more strict on these issues than legislation in many other countries (particularly the emerging economies), considering the increasing use of skilled labour in the steel industry the impact of labour regulations is not expected to affect substantially the competitiveness of the European steel industry. On the contrary, also it may in fact raise labour productivity. The issue of labour market regulations is therefore important, but not decisively negative in terms of its impact on the industry and has therefore been rated 6 out of 10 in terms of importance for competitiveness. 4.2.2 Labour market and skills development As the EU steel industry becomes less labour and more capital intensive and technological development in the industry increasingly important, there is also an increasing demand for higher skilled labour, both in terms of technological and managerial knowledge and skill levels. However, supply of labour in general is decreasing and competition in terms of attracting high-skilled/qualified people is increasing. While the steel industry has improved its image from a traditional dirty industry to a more high-tech industry, the industry still faces recruitment problems in terms of its image, both for low and high skilled employment. This is also reflected in the average age of workers in the industry, in which a large share of workers is presently approaching retirement age.

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Compounding these recruitment issues means the need for continued training and retaining of people already employed in the industry. It must be noted that in terms of training and worker retention there are substantial differences per company, with front runners and companies still lagging in terms of providing ongoing training and training focused on e.g. managerial skills and specific technical knowledge in addition to on-thejob training. Obviously recruitment and skills development are important for retaining and strengthening the industrys competitiveness. However, to the extent that it is related to the reduced number of technically educated people in the labour force, it is a horizontal and not necessarily a sector specific problem. The issue has therefore been rated with a 7 in terms of importance. 4.2.3 Intellectual property right issues IPR issues are not prevalent in the steel industry, as is the case in many commodity industries. Some patenting takes place for the collection of licensing revenues, however, no proof was found that this has major impacts on sector competitiveness. Therefore the issue was rated as 4 out of 10 in terms of importance. 4.2.4 Protocols on restructuring in accession treaties NMS In the accession negotiations of the EU New Member States, most countries were granted a transition period with regards to the state aid regulations in the steel industry in order to enhance the competitiveness of the steel industry in those countries. Article 8(4) of Protocol 2 of the European Agreement stipulated that, during the first five years after entry into force of the Agreement, the candidate countries could exceptionally, as regards to steel products, grant state aid for restructuring purposes, given three conditions. The conditions were: Restructuring leads to the viability of the benefiting firms under normal market conditions at the end of the restructuring period; The amount and intensity of restructuring aid is strictly limited to what is absolutely necessary in order to restore viability and that the aid is progressively reduced; and Restructuring is linked to a global rationalisation and reduction of overall production capacity.

Poland and the Czech Republic were not able to complete the restructuring within the five-years period and received later an extension period till the end of 2006. However, the EU indicated that it will consider the prolongation only under condition that a national restructuring programme was set up. Also Slovakia received an extension from the state aid rules with regards to one company that it could support till 2009 (though this was not even needed at the end). On the other hand, Hungary and Slovenia did not even apply for extension of the transition rules. Romania and Bulgaria were granted similar transition periods in their accession negotiations. But in both of these countries the programmes have ended already (Lienemeyer, 2005). As a result of the restructuring programmes, which can largely be seen as very successful, steel companies in the New Member States have been privatised, inefficient capacities cut 104

and the viability of most companies has increased. Even though according to the EC (2006) monitoring report not all companies in the Czech Republic and Poland have completed the needed changes, on balance the restructuring of the steel industry in these countries has been proceeding rather well. The national restructuring programme has been also rather satisfactory in Romania according to the monitoring report even though Romania has still given some state aid to its steel companies against the agreement (European Commission, 2005). As the transition periods in all New Member States (NMS) countries have already ended, the importance of these programmes has diminished. At the moment all NMS have to follow the strict EU state aid regulations, but thanks to the finished restructuring operations, the productivity of the steel companies in the NMS is rather good and especially Poland and to a lesser extent the Czech Republic are relatively large producers of steel products. As all protocols were completed and the industry in the NMS in fact have strengthened their competitiveness and established themselves as attractive investment locations, this issue is no longer considered a high priority and thus rated 4 out of 10 in terms of importance. 4.2.5 Competition policy - State-Aid and subsidies Following the substantial restructuring of the sector since the late 1980s, State Aid has all but been phased out in the EU, with the exception of a number of firms in some of the NMS that still receive support, as part of a transition agreement. As an integral part of the Internal Market, the Commission aims to create a level playing field for the sector within the EU, as well as vis--vis other countries, through the incorporation of Competition Policy issues in for instance trade agreements several of the EUs trading partners still receive subsidies and State support (e.g. Ukraine, Russia, China and India). The Commission is incorporating competition policy in its trade policies and negotiations, so as to extend the level playing field beyond the EU. In the new deep Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that are currently being negotiated, Competition Policy is one of the crucial issues that the EU wants to see included. Competition policy within the EU has thus become of lesser importance (hence is rated as 4 out of 10), but in its external policies, it has become more important for the EU and is rated as 8 out of 10, as it relates directly to creating a level playing field internationally for the steel industry (and other EU industries for that matter). 4.2.6 Industry-specific standards Industry specific standards are developed and set by the European Committee for Iron and Steel Standardisation (ECISS). There are 39 Technical Committees and subcommittees under the ECISS dealing with specific issues and sub-sector. Many standards are dictated by requirements for important downstream industries such as the automotive, packaging and construction and Directives related to these industries (see the above list). Standards form an important tool for transparency in the area of public procurement and are becoming increasingly important in the EU market access strategy (e.g. as parts of bilateral trade negotiations), explained in more detail below. 105

The EU steel industry has managed to maintain some of the highest quality levels in part due to standardisation. As such the sector has an advantage over lower-cost producers, specifically for European industry (the end-users for steel industry products), that still appear to prefer local made steel due to these higher quality standards. Both in terms of the industrys internal development and its external market access standards thus are of medium importance for retaining competitiveness and correspondingly are rated as 7 out of 10 in terms of importance. 4.2.7 Consumer standards (health and safety) As the sub-sectors considered all produce intermediate goods which are used in sectors producing final goods, consumer standards are less relevant. Rather they are captured in industry specific standards and a number of key directives for downstream industries. They are therefore rated as relatively un-important (5 out 0f 10). The last two framework conditions listed in the table can arguably be seen as the two major challenges the industry is facing. These key issues and their relations to the competitiveness of the EU steel industry are therefore elaborated in more detail below. 4.2.8 Environmental regulations and sustainable development issues Due to the increasingly topical issue of climate change, the European Commission and many other international and national organisations have started new programmes in order to reduce the CO2 emission and promote environmental friendly technologies. In the EU, the most important regulations for the steel industry include the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), REACH and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) framework. The IPPC Directive is affecting the EU steel industry by raising costs compared to other countries, since the permitting requirements of the IPPC directive are not always matched by the equivalent standards in third countries. REACH deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The new law entered into force on 1 June 2007. The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. However, the requirements of REACH are substantial and, it is claimed, add to producers costs. Moreover REACH applies only to imported substances and not to imported substances contained in imported products. REACH therefore exerts a unilateral pressure on EU manufacturing and is seen as impacting EU steel producers competitiveness on global markets both directly and indirectly. Emissions Trading Scheme Probably the most important and hotly debated piece of environmental legislation expected to have a substantial impact on the steel sector is the Emissions Trading Scheme or ETS.

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The ETS was initiated in 2005 and it is currently the largest multi-country, multi-sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trading scheme in the world. Although some other countries/areas have started programmes for emission reductions as well, these are all voluntary programmes for emission reductions.19 The ETS is based on Directive 2003/87/EC, which established a scheme for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowance trading within the Community20. ETS implementation was governed by the National Allocation Plans (NAPs), which determined the total number of allowances to be created and their allocation to companies. In March 2007 the European Council set the EU targets for GHG emissions to 20 percent by 2020 (base year 1990) and 30 percent, provided other developed countries would commit themselves to comparable reduction targets.21 Subsequently, on January 23 2008 the Commission submitted a package of proposals - the Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package22 - to implement the conclusions of the Spring European Council 2007, which included a proposal for amendments to the EU ETS Directive, hereinafter referred to as the Proposal. The Proposal moves more of the responsibility for European Climate policy to the European level: It includes an EU ETS Sector Cap, implying that Member States will no longer have control over the allocation of the emission rights in the ETS sector in other words the NAPs will be abolished. It is worth noting there are also Non-ETS sectors, which have different mechanisms to reach targets. The basic principle for allocation of these allowances will be auctioning. It is proposed that full auctioning will be applied from 2013 to sectors for which it is assumed that they can pass on the increased costs to consumers (e.g. the power sector). According to the Proposal, installations from the manufacturing sector will receive a free allocation in 2013 at 80 percent of their share in the total allowances to be used. Thereafter, the free allocation will decrease annually, resulting in no free allocation in 2020 (Netherlands Environmental Agency, January 2008)23. However, considering that this is still a proposal, which is currently being debated in the European Parliament, the exact contours of the new ETS are not yet definite. The objective is to adopt the Proposal through in the Parliament and Council by early 2009. The steel sector is actively involved in consulting with the Commission on the ETS, which it anticipates will have a major impact on the sector and specifically the most energy intensive sub-sectors within it.24 Possible impacts of the new ETS Since the production of steel uses either plenty of coke and coal (blast furnaces) or large amount of electricity (electric arc furnaces), the steel industry creates relatively high CO2

19

For example, Japan and the US have set up voluntary programmes and the US, Japanese, Australian and Canadian steel industries have engaged in the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which also includes India and China (International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI), 2007). 20 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission/implementation_en.htm 21 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission/ets_post2012_en.htm 22 http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission/ets_post2012_en.htm 23 Netherlands Environmental Agency (January 2008). Consequences of the European Policy Package on Climate and Energy Initial Assessment of the consequences for the Netherlands and other Member States Page 23 24 It has been argued that the uncertainties surrounding the exact outcome and contours of the proposal have an impact on the industry, as it makes for an uncertain investment environment.

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emission either directly or indirectly.25 In addition to the direct extra costs caused by the ETS to the steel industry (investments to new technology or buying of emission rights), the ETS has also caused the price of electricity to rise in most parts of the EU. It has been argued that the basic Iron and Steel sector is one of the sectors which stands out in terms of maximum impact on costs relative to value added26. Two ETS aspects drive competitiveness issues: (1) the level of international competition in a specific sector and, (2) the direct and indirect CO2 emissions associated with the production.27 More specific aspects of the Proposal which are expected to have an impact on industry and steel sector competitiveness include: The Commission proposes to include additional sectors and GHG (i.e. not just CO2) in Annex 1 of the Directive, which will extend the scope of the ETS.28 There is a risk of carbon leakage for sectors that are highly globalised. In its most extreme form carbon leakage occurs when an industry is forced by international competitive pressures to relocate production to countries outside EU that do no impose comparable constraints on emissions. Relocation outside of the EU would result in an increase of global emissions without any environmental benefit. Other less extreme forms of carbon leakage include increased imports of energy-intensive production from outside the EU and/or increased investments (capacity expansion) outside the EU. Under possible international agreements, competitors in other parts of the world may bear a comparable cost, thus making the risk of carbon leakage minimal. Although the Commission has indicated that exceptions will be made for sectors judged to be at risk of carbon leakage (by 2011, the Commission will carry out an in-depth assessment of energy intensive industry and risk of carbon leakage29), it is not clear what will be the exact criteria or legal status of these exceptions, leaving some uncertainty for the sector at this point. Due to its high energy intensity and increased globalisation, the steel sector is seen to be particularly vulnerable to carbon leakage. 30 The reduction in EU allowances will increase the scarcity in the allowance market, and hence prices of allowances will increase. The ETS Review - Report on International Competitiveness, (McKinsey, December 2006) used the methodology of calculating impact on bottom line margins for a given industry by measuring the increases in input factors, then estimating the potential to pass these increases to

25

The industry itself (e.g. through the IISI and Eurofer) has lobbied hard for a global sector approach to CO2 emissions reductions, which takes into account the specific characteristics of the industry, such as for instance the fact that some of the larger producers self produce through recycling power, and have been highly successful in reducing emissions by itself (Chabanier, J. (2005) Energy Challenges for Europe to 2010; How to improve European Competitiveness?) 26 Jean-Charles Hourcade et al (2007) Climate Strategies Report Differentiation and Dyanmics of EU ETS Industrial Competitiveness Impacts. (Climate Strategies 2007) 27 Michael Grubb and Karsten Neuhoff (2006) Climate Policy 6 (2006) 730 28 In addition the new definition of the term "combustion installation" will have a major impact for instance on the foundry industry 29 http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/08/35&format=HTML&aged=0&languag e=EN&guiLanguage=en 30 See also Oberndorfer, Ulrich and Klaus Rennings (2006), The Impacts of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme on Competitiveness in Europe, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 06-051, Mannheim

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customers. The price of electricity, for example is expected to be 10 15 percent higher by 2020, while other factors such as oil and gas prices may increase by an even bigger margin;31 Macro economic impacts of auctioning largely depends on how revenues are recycled back to the economy;32 Marginal additional cost could be very significant: The primary steel production could face an average cost increase on their marginal production in the order of 17 percent, which would act as an incentive to stop or reduce de-bottlenecking in Europe and to shift marginal production into areas without these costs; Competitiveness effects are subject to the pass-through ability of producers33 (the extent to which extra costs can be passed on to consumers), trade sensitivity, allocation methodology and CO2 prices. 34 This implies that the ETS is likely to affect different steel sub-sectors differently, with crude steel production likely to be more affected due to its globally determined prices, leading to limited pass-through ability. Likewise, within the steel sector impacts are expected to be somewhat differentiated. For instance, the integrated productions route, Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) is expected to be more impacted in its competitiveness, leading to possible carbon leakage, while it has been argued that the mini-mill route Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) will be impacted only to a small extent. According to the report on the ETS Review of McKinsey (December 2006) 66 percent of the additional cost can be passed onto the consumers, compared to six percent of the additional cost in the BOF industry. Although it is expected by the industry that the proposed changes to the ETS will lead to reduced investments in the industry in the EU, there are also expectations that the ETS will encourage increased investments in energy saving and cleaner technologies.

The crux of the competitiveness issue that the steel sector faces due to the ETS thus lies in its global nature: While the European steel industry is forced to make additional costs due to the mandatory nature of the ETS, in many other steel producing countries the reductions are mostly voluntary and thus not comparable. This will put EU producers at a cost disadvantage vis--vis their global competitors if these do not commit themselves to comparable measures. Although the EU ETS structural options post 2012 include embedding ETS in a global agreement35 the political, legal and institutionally feasibility for doing this is as yet unknown and uncertain. Due to nature of the environmental regulations and their increasing importance, they can be very influential for the future competitiveness of the European steel industry. Hence the high rating for importance of this issue (9 out of 10).

31 32

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission/pdf/etsreview/061222compreport.pdf EC, SEC(2008) 85/3 (2008) p.12 33 See also Demailly, D. & Quirion, Ph. (2008) European Emissions Trading Scheme and Competitiveness: A Case Study on the Iron and Steel Industry. Energy Economics, Volume: 30 (2008), Issue: 4 (July), pages: 2009-2027. 34 Hourcade, Demailly, Neuhoff & Sato (2008) 35 Karsten Neuhoff (2006) The Future of ETS. Economic and Environmental Effectiveness. Cambridge University. A project of the scientific network Climate Strategies and the Electricity Policy Research Group, Cambridge University http://www.electricitypolicy.org.uk/TSEC/2/neuhoff061011.pdf

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4.2.9

International trade and investment regulations and increased global competition The global scope and reach of the EU steel sector implies that international trade regulations, investment conditions and global competition for markets and resources are crucial aspects of the institutional framework conditions impacting the sectors competitiveness. An important thrust of the EU trade policy strategy relates to Market Access. Since its instigation in 1996, the EU's Market Access Strategy has provided: A framework aimed at removing trade barriers for goods, services, intellectual property and investment on a global scale Information to EU exporters on market access conditions in third country markets An operational tool, the Market Access Database.36

Tariffs In terms of market access and openness of the EU markets, tariff issues are becoming less and less relevant. As a rule, the EU does not impose import restrictions on steel products originating from other WTO member and non-member countries and it has in fact reduced import tariffs to zero for steel products. Most WTO members have reduced tariff rates substantially and also most non-members also have relatively low tariff levels. For a number of large steel producing non-WTO members, such as Kazakhstan, and Russia, the import of certain steel products is limited by virtue of bilateral steel agreements, which include voluntary export restraints (quota). The exporting country takes responsibility for controlling that the quotas are met by means of issuing export licenses.37 These agreements are discussed in more detail below. With tariffs becoming less relevant for the industry in terms of market access, so called non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and have become a more prominent issue on the EU trade agenda. Non-tariff barriers NTBs cover a broad range of issues including for instance rules and regulations, standards, restrictions in government procurement (e.g. local content requirements), subsidies, export and investment restrictions and conditions, trade facilitation issues (e.g. customs procedures), etc. NTBs may be intended to inhibit trade (e.g. a quota) or not specifically (e.g. certain standards related to consumer health and safety are not primarily targeted at inhibiting trade per se), although in the latter case trade disputes often arise over the true intentions of a policy (protecting consumers or the industry?). Although NTBs appear to be particularly relevant to the services sectors, many NTBs may also be relevant for manufacturing industries such as the steel industry. Whatever the nature of an NTB, they tend to increase costs for exporters or importers.

36 37

http://ec.europa.eu/trade/issues/sectoral/mk_access/index_en.htm Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland 2006 (www.formin.finland.fi)

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Currently the EU in its market access strategy is specifically addressing these NTBs: by incorporating them into bilateral trade agreements and FTAs and supporting the incorporation of such issues under the WTO. In addition, in order to create a level playing field and transparent rules and standards, EU Standards are increasingly promoted in the Unions trade agreements with third parties, e.g. by signing Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) and assisting with the harmonisation of standards in developing countries. Trade Defence Instruments (TDI) Trade defense instruments include anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures as well as safeguard mechanisms. TDI were developed as international markets are imperfectly competitive and there is no international competition authority to regulate anticompetitive behavior between countries. Safeguard measures are not directly related to unfair behavior, but can be implemented in case shifts in volume of trade are so swift and on such a scale that producers have too little time to adjust. Safeguard measures are of a temporary nature. Under the WTO rules the use of these instruments is permitted in specific situations and under specific circumstances. Often such measures have been called for by the industry in relation to anti-dumping allegations and concerns over joblosses and industry demise as a consequence of surges in imports. As recently as February of 2008, EUROFER has initiated an anti-dumping procedure concerning imports of stainless steel cold rolled flat products originating from China, Korea and Taiwan. 38 Many of the more recent allegations of unfair competition seem to be aimed at China (see also below). Although an uneven playing field may present the EU steel industry with serious competitive disadvantages, some caution must also be practiced in use of these instruments. Ongoing globalisation has resulted in a changing structure of the EU economy. Many firms are now producing goods outside the EU, or depend on imports of strategic inputs. In other words, they are increasingly operating in international or even global production and value chains. Similarly, there is recognition of the fact that if a TDI case is going to have a seriously negative impact on, for instance, user industries, the EU must also take this into account.39 Moreover, although TDI have to be clearly distinguished from protectionist behavior, they may still have unintended effects.40 Specific issues related to trade for the steel industry include safeguard measures and NTBs related to the imports of raw materials from for instance China, India and Russia, e.g. export taxes and barriers to investments in the steel sector proper or in extracting industries, thus limiting possibilities to secure access to raw materials.
38

Procedures relating to the implementation of the common commercial policy (2008/C 29/09) Notice of initiation of an anti-dumping procedure concerning imports of stainless steel cold rolled flat products originating in the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan. 39 For instance, the European Engineering Industries Association has spoken out against the anti-dumping procedures instigated by the steel sector and EC, claiming that if the investigation turns out to be successful in terms of tariffs, then obviously the overall increased cost has to borne by someone, industry will have to pass this on to the consumers. Ultimately, downstream industries will thus be faced with higher costs for their inputs (ORGALIME press release, Brussels, 17 December 2007 Steel & Anti-dumping the real story.). 40 Messerlin and Wang (2007) argue, for instance, that safeguards against Chinese exports of steel to the EU essentially resulted in the Chinese Government resorting to increases in export taxes in an effort to reduce the risks of EU safeguard measures, while they also argue that fears of such measures have motivated in part Indian steel producers moves to invest in the EU.

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4.2.10

Increased global competition: The rise of China, India and CIS countries as major global competitors The last decade has seen an unprecedented increase in production and trade in steel from a number of emerging economies, including notably China, India, and countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) including notably Ukraine and Russia. China As China has emerged as a major competitor and is seen by some as a serious threat to EU competitiveness, the EUs approach to its relationship with China has taken on a more confrontational stance in recent years.41 This approach is outlined in the strategy document Competition and partnership: A policy for EU-China trade and investment.42 In it the European Commission has identified a number of key issues that constitute barriers to trade and investment with China for EU business in general and the steel sector in particular. These include: A number of remaining tariff peaks; NTBs relating to product certification, labelling standards, import approval and customs clearance delays; Government procurement issues relating to on the one hand requirements of technology transfer as a condition to participate in international bids or requirements of local content; Investment restrictions 43; Government support to the sector (e.g. through subsidies on raw materials, on land costs and through export tax rebates); Subsidising the imports of raw materials and limiting the exports of domestically abundant natural resources such as cokes and coal.

In the context of this new approach, the EU and China established the EU-China Metals Industrial Dialogue in 2004 to take a long-term strategic approach to the steel sector. It argues that Chinese steel production and export to the EU is growing fast as China channels investment into the sector and this creates a risk of overproduction, and subsequent unbalance on the global markets. The EU-China Industrial Dialogue is intended to help recognize and address such problems before they become prominent.44 Trade issues are also tackled through the WTO, of which China became a member in 2001. The most recent Trade Policy Review of China (April 2008) notes that [although] China has, by and large, continued to liberalize gradually its trade and related policies (.) trade and trade- related measures, both at the border and internally are still used as instruments of industrial policy. This creates an uneven playing field. For instance price
41

Messerlin, P. & Wang, J. (2008) Redesigning the European Unions trade policy strategy towards China. Joint ECIPE-GEM Working Paper No. 04/2008 42 http://ec.europa.eu/trade/issues/bilateral/countries/china/global_europe_china_en.htm
43

China prohibits the foreign investments in Chinese steel enterprises exceeding 50% of their capital
44

EU-China Trade Ministerial Meeting Brussels, 12th June 2007. www.delchn.ec.europa.eu/index.php?item=news_view&nid=16

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controls, subsidies and the tax system distort the efficient allocation of resources and trade.45 The barriers identified by the EC are closely related to what has been observed by the United States Representative for Trade, who has argued:

Although many aspects of [the Steel Industry Development Policy of China] have not yet been implemented, it still includes a host of objectives and guidelines that raise serious WTO concerns, such as calling for the use of domestically produced steel-manufacturing equipment and domestic technologies whenever domestic suppliers exist and imposing de facto technology transfer requirements. This policy is also troubling because it attempts to dictate industry outcomes and involves the government in making decisions that should be made by the market. It prescribes the number and size of steel producers in China, where they will be located, the types of products that will and will not be produced, and the technology that will be used. This high degree of government direction and decision-making regarding the allocation of resources into and out of Chinas steel industry raises concerns in light of the commitment that China made in its WTO accession agreement that the government would not influence, directly or indirectly, commercial decisions on the part of state-owned or state-invested enterprises.46

These examples serve to illustrate that there is a real worry fuelled in large part by the EU and US steel industry stakeholders about the competitive threat that China poses and a view that this threat is in part created by an uneven playing field for international trade and investments. Trade policy and regulations are increasingly seen as instrumental in mitigating this threat. However, some precaution as to the use of trade policy instruments is warranted. See for instance Mueller (2006)47 and Messerlin & Wang (2008).48

India Indias emergence as the seventh largest producer of steel in the world has been fuelled by much the same forces as in China: Exponential growth of domestic steel demand for investments in the countrys infrastructure, construction sector and downstream industries, such as the automotive industry. More recently, Indias steel companies have also started investing overseas, including in the EU - see the box below).

45

WTO (2008) Trade Policy Review China, Summary Overview of Report by the Secretariat. WT/TPR/S/199, 16 April 2008. 46 http://www.ustr.gov/Document_Library/Press_Releases/2006/April/Trade_Policy_Review_of_ China,_Statement_by_Ambassador_Peter_Allgeier.html 47 Mueller, H. (2006) Integrating the Chinese Steel Industry and Trade Policy into the 21st Century. TN Consulting, August 3, 2006. Particularly page 4 and footnote 8 (pp.6-9) 48 Messerlin, P. & Wang, J. (2008) Redesigning the European Unions trade policy strategy towards China. Joint ECIPE-GEM Working Paper No. 04/2008.

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TATA Steel On the 31st of January 2007, TATA Steel, the largest steel producer in India acquired Corus for 8.1 billion Euros (608 pence a share). With this takeover, an example of Indias outward foreign investment, TATA Steel has became the fifth largest steel producer in the world and could fulfil its ambition to increase its volume of steel production, and access to new and upgraded technologies and get better access to the European market. For Corus some of the advantages are that it has now better access to the self-owned coal of TATA Steel and is part of an important worldwide steel player.

Although India has been known to be rather protective and has promoted exports through tax incentives, in recent years it has made progress in liberalising some of its markets. Thus in the steel sector, 100 percent foreign ownership is allowed and several EU producers, including notably globally based Arcelor-Mittal have made substantial investments in India. In addition, as part of the fiscal exercise to bring the inflation under control, which touched 7.41 percent, the government has withdrawn incentives for export of cement, primary steel products.49 The current Free Trade Agreement being negotiated between the EU and India will most certainly include provisions pertaining to the steel sector, as it is an important industry for both. Ukraine and Russia In the CIS countries, growth in steelmaking activity has been growing steadily, led by Russia and Ukraine. Production in the region is being supported by capacity expansions in electric-arc furnace steelmaking. Ukraine occupies the third place among steel exporters to the EU, after Russia and China. Although it has one of the lowest unit production costs in the world. It is a technologically old fashioned industry that requires substantial amounts of investments for modernisation and upgrading. It is therefore competing with the EU steel producers only in the lower segments of the market. Ukrainian steel exports to the EU have been subject to quantitative restrictions, agreed upon by the two partners in their bilateral agreement on steel, the last one of which was signed in June 2007. The agreement expired automatically upon Ukraines WTO accession in May 2008. The effects of this can not, as of yet, be assessed, but it is likely to lead to increased production and exports of products previously under quota. The Ukrainian steel industry depends to a large extent on export demand because only one quarter of domestic steel production is needed to satisfy domestic demand. With the overall restructuring of the Ukrainian economy and its gradual opening up, the sector has become a popular target for foreign investors.

49

www.sourcing2india.com/features/foreign-trade-policy-%E2%80%93-sops-for-cement-primary-steelremoved.html

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Ukraine is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU, on top of its WTO commitments and as part of an enhanced agreement in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). As its tariffs are already quite low, Ukraines main trade restrictions lie in NTBs and other restrictions to trade and investments in both steel and raw materials. For instance Ukraine still applies high export taxes on ferrous scrap which are not in line with WTO requirements. In the coming years Ukraine will therefore have to address these issues as part of its WTO commitments. In addition, a distinctive feature of the Ukrainian steel sector is the use of government subsidies. These started after the collapse of the USSR mostly in the form of tax immunity. The effect of this policy on prices led to quota restrictions applied by the EU, as well as other trade defence instruments, such as anti-dumping measures. Until now, the Ukrainian authorities have been subsidising or giving state aid to the metal industry with the help of state regulations on prices and subsidies for coal industry, power utilities and the oil and gas complex FEC. Especially the restructuring of the FEC is currently a matter of attention for the Ukrainian authorities in order to avoid further anti-dumping measures from the EU.50 These and other issues related to steel trade will be addressed in the FTA that is currently being negotiated between the EU and Ukraine. Russia has a similar agreement with the EU as did Ukraine until its WTO accession. Its quantitative restrictions apply to a number of steel sector products. They will be abolished upon Russias accession to the WTO. With ongoing restructuring, growing domestic demand as well as substantial foreign investments, the steel sector in Russia is expected to continue its growth of the past few years.

4.3

Conclusion: Key institutional framework conditions for sector competitiveness


From the analysis made in this chapter, the following framework conditions can be identified as key factors for sectoral competitiveness in the steel industry: Environmental regulations and sustainable development issues (including recycling); Trade and investment policies and regulations, particularly NTBs related to both key inputs and outputs for the industry, and overall increased global competition with specific reference to the rise of China, India and the CIS countries.

These conditions are formulated in slightly different form in the conditions in the overview table at the beginning of this chapter, so as to reflect better their interlinked nature. The findings coincide largely with findings from the Commission in its Mid-term
50

Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment for the FTA between the EU and Ukraine within the Enhanced Agreement Final Report (2007). http://tsia.ecorys.com/ukraine/

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Review of Industrial Policy (2007), which identified the following horizontal policy priorities: Environment and energy: initiatives related to climate change, waste, air and intensive energy use Trade: access to markets. Knowledge: initiatives related to IPR and counterfeiting (of lesser relevance to the steel industry). In addition they relate closely to the challenges identified by the OECD Steel Committee in 2007, which included prominently trade issues and environmental concerns, next to the energy and raw material issues (related to both the environmental and trade issues covered in this study) and the issue of skills. 51

In the following chapter the links between these institutional framework conditions and the strategic outlook for the sector, particularly in relation to threats and opportunities, will be analysed.

51

http://www.oecd.org/documentprint/0,3455,en_2649_34221_38622129_1_1_1_1,00.html

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5 Strategic outlook

This chapter contains a strategic outlook for the EU steel industry. The strategic outlook is based on the analyses in chapters 2-4 of the report, published forecasts52, and discussions with stakeholders and industry experts and focuses on the competitive position of the steel industry vis--vis external competitors. The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part contains a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) concerning the EU steel sector and its competitive position. As the strategic outlook focuses on the competitiveness of the EU steel industry vis--vis external competitors, the relative importance of the relevant issues from a competitive perspective is the primary criteria for including the issues listed in the SWOT-analysis. After a presentation of the SWOT-analysis, we provide more detailed descriptions of each issue. Some issues may be more relevant in some sub-sectors than in others and/or for different type of companies to the extent possible and relevant this is specified. Based on the SWOT-analysis, in the second part we present a set of strategic responses for the industry and policy makers in the Member States and at EU level, as a foundation for adjustments, investment strategies and industrial policies to maximise the future competitiveness of the EU steel sector. To the extent possible, relevant differences between sectors and geographical locations within the EU will be indicated and specified.

5.1 SWOT analysis


An overview of the four dimensions of the SWOT analysis is presented in the table below, and each topic is further commented in the following, serving as framework for conducting an analysis of possible strategic options to be prioritised to meet the identified challenges.

52

Steel Thermometer # 35 World Steel Dynamics, November 200; European Steel Technology Platform the European Commission, July 2005 - A vision for the future of the steel sector. And the Group of Personalities, march 2004. Global Steel Industry Outlook to 2014 - Eurostrategy Consultants, 2005; Energy challenges for Europe to 2010 How to improve European Competitiveness - Jacques Chabanier, Arcelor, 2005; Forging the future The impact of EU Enlargement on the Steel Industry - PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2004; Beyond the Boom The outlook for global steel - Boston Consulting Group, 2007. In addition, Media Releases from IISI and Metal Bulletin.

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STRENGTHS Strong regional industry with strong competitive position in high- end domestic markets and equivalent potentials abroad. The EU steel industry is a true regional industry, operating across national borders. The industry has a strong position in high end domestic markets with strong and close relations to customers in all subsectors. Product development leadership and high quality output with focus on value creation. The EU steel industry is a modern and technologically advanced industry, leading in product development, focusing on value creation and capable of delivering complex, high-quality products, and solutions. Value creation drives the competition in EU markets and export markets and in this area the EU takes a strong position. High R&D capabilities characterise the EU industry and the sub-sectors. This is an important prerequisite for the industrys current and future competitive strengths. Moreover, it makes European R&D facilities attractive from an investment and cooperation perspective. R&D facilities are kept and established in the EU due to the high level of expertise. This applies to all subsectors. High degree of specialisation. Notably the foundry sector, is highly specialised, with a high capacity to meet the special requirements of customers. High degree of recycling. EU steel production is characterised by a high degree of recycling, leading to a relative lower use of iron ore which leas to lower costs. However, the degree of recycling might have reached its limits.

WEAKNESSES Dependency on imported raw materials. The EU steel industry largely depends on imported raw materials such as coal and iron ore as well as energy. While being a weakness of the EU steel industry, dependency on imported raw materials also applies to some competitors. Energy intensity of the industry makes the industry vulnerable to energy shocks and increasing energy prices as well as to policies aimed at reducing emissions. However, compared to other regions, e.g. China, the EU industry is more energy efficient. Relatively low attractiveness as an investment location for steel intensive industries. Comparatively lower profitrates, among other things, make locations outside the old EU Member States more attractive for investors. However, this may be outweighed by the EUs attractiveness as investment location in terms of access to EU markets, access to state of the art technologies, strong relationships with customers etc. In terms of R&D facilities, the EU is still an attractive location. Recruitment of skilled labour. Eventually, the EU steel industry will find it increasingly difficult to recruit enough skilled workers. Relatively limited benefits from extra-regional trade. Despite the fact that the EU steel industry has experienced growth and has performed well domestically, expansion of export markets has been relatively limited, while import penetration has increased with the EU becoming a net importer of steel. Structural barriers contribute to the unbalanced trade flow together with increasing capacity and oversupply, notably in China, being exported to the European markets. However, from a company perspective the picture is much more diverse as some European companies have also benefited from the high activity in the international arena.

Specific for enterprises in new MS: NMS attractive to investors. NMS have emerged as attractive locations for investments due to high growth rates resulting from domestic demand, relatively low costs, highly skilled workers and improved knowledge of the technology, together with an increasingly strong presence of manufacturing industries.

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OPPORTUNITIES New market opportunities and improved bargaining power through acquisitions and mergers. Increasing consolidation in the industry will improve the bargaining power of the industry vis--vis supply and end-user industries that have a much higher consolidation ratio. Acquisitions of companies outside Europe and mergers between EU companies and non-European companies can potentially give the EU industry access to new markets, and multinational companies have better management capacity over the business cycle. Increased upstream participation and integration. Vertical integration of mining of iron ore sources and energy production is an opportunity for regional and/or global players in particular. Upstream process and raw material efficiency can increase efficiency of raw material utilisation reducing raw material sensitivity Cleaner and safer technologies. Technologies that are more efficient are important to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions, which constitute an opportunity to pro-actively pursuing new business opportunities. More efficient technologies and processes and intelligent manufacturing is important with a view to enhancing efficiency and flexibility in the downstream process. Engaging in knowledge sharing in strategic networks is an important opportunity to pursue new breakthrough technologies. Partnerships as platform for innovation and new market opportunities. Partnerships, e.g. with a view to product development and high performance materials, at various levels horizontal, vertical and multi-sectoral - provide a strong platform for pursuing new market opportunities and further strengthening existing markets through innovation and knowledge sharing. Cooperation with scrap suppliers to improve the organisation of recycling is an opportunity for achieving maximum scrap availability. High-end products and value creation. To further prioritise and develop the EU steel industrys capabilities and strength within high-quality and high value added products, solutions and services constitute an opportunity. Continual and stronger focus on value creation.

THREATS Competition from China. Increasing international engagement and exports into the EU from China is a threat. This is supported by increasing capacity in China together with state aid to Chinese enterprises. Direct and indirect state aid implies uneven conditions for competition to the disadvantage for European producers. The pipe industry faces significant Chinese price competition. The Competition from other countries such as the C.I.S, Brazil and India is increasing. Easy access to raw material supplies makes these countries competitive. Decreasing EU share in world production. The EU steel industry as whole has not fully benefited from the world wide growth in the demand for steel and this has resulted in a gradually decreasing share of the world production. This trend is likely to continue. Decision power moves out of Europe. Strong, global players are emerging outside the EU. This poses a threat to the EU in terms of losing control and decision-making power over investments with a European perspective. Moreover, strong global players may gain increased access to European markets through cooperation with European partners. Imbalances in demand and supply for raw materials. Iron ore reserves are immense. However, supply-demand imbalances have occurred and will most likely continue in the foreseeable future due to the high demand for steel led by China and remaining bottlenecks in supply infrastructure. Increasing freight rates, malfunctioning transport markets and logistics infrastructures. Malfunctioning transport markets create barriers for EU steel producers. Moreover, increasing freight rates and malfunctioning logistics infrastructures increase the relative costs for EU steel producers, and makes it more difficult for them to compete on the export markets. Access to energy and malfunctioning energy markets. Global competition for the main resources used as inputs for the steel industry, i.e. energy and raw materials, has intensified. Securing access to energy has become a major issue. Environmental legislation. Environmental legislation and specifically the new ETS (for the period post 2012) might lead to loss of competitiveness vis--vis competitors who are not faced by as restrictive emissions schemes. In addition, it might drive down the interest of investors. Uneven global playing field. Although tariff barriers are becoming less important for steel exporters, a number of non-tariff barriers still remain impeding a fair and even playing field for EU steel producers globally. Some non-EU countries benefit from domestic subsidies that protect their home markets and improving their cost-competitiveness. Demographic changes in the long run. The declining European workforce and difficulties in attracting young people to technical educations may lead to a limited supply of qualified labour. Competition for qualified labour will increase internally between industries and externally between companies in different countries/regions.

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5.1.1

Strengths of the EU Steel sector and its sub-sectors


Casting of iron and steel products
l l l l l l

Strengths

Strong regional industry with advantageous competitive position in high-end markets Product development leadership and high quality output with focus on value creation High R&D capabilities High degree of specialisation High degree of recycling NMS attractive to investors

l l l (l) l l

Strong regional industry with advantageous competitive position in high-end domestic markets and equivalent potentials abroad The EU steel industry has become a true regional industry operating across national borders, and the industry has a strong and advantageous position in domestic markets, particularly in high-end segments. Thus, EU steel producers are well established in their primary EU home markets, and all sub-sectors have strong relations with their customers. This is an obvious strength, which also creates the foundation for seeking new opportunities in high-end export markets. However, strong competition from other parts of the world means that this position must be defended through continuous improvement of products and services while keeping costs low. This is a minor challenge for foundry industry, as it does not face strong competition from outside the EU. Moreover, it applies to the pipe industry, as e.g. the EU domestic markets for large welded pipes are very limited and most of the production is exported. Thus, the EU's large welded pipe industry is not a strong regional industry but rather an important exporting industry. Product development leadership and high quality output with focus on value creation The EU steel industry is the world's second largest steel production industry. It is a modern and technologically advanced industry in terms of manufacturing excellence, equipment performance, product quality, and innovative capacity. The EU steel industry is capable of delivering complex, high-quality products and solutions to demanding customers, and it has a strong focus on value creation. Thus, the industrys high-quality output and customer orientation, supported by advanced technology and high standards within service and just-in-time delivery, are some of the strengths that explain the EU steel industrys position as the world's second largest steel production industry. Until now, the industry's ability to adjust and maintain a high level of technological innovation has given it a competitive edge in terms of productivity, quality, and service in delivery.
High R&D capabilities characterise the EU industry and its sub-sectors. This is an

important prerequisite for its leading position in product and high quality output and for the industrys current and future competitive position. The high level of research and 120

Production of steel tubes


(l) l l (l) l l

Production of iron and steel

development keeps the foundries at the technological forefront and gives the manufacturers an important competitive advantage. All sub sectors engage in research and development in close cooperation with their customers/OEM manufacturers. Moreover, it makes European R&D facilities attractive from an investment and cooperation perspective. R&D facilities are maintained and established in the EU due to high levels of expertise.
High degree of specialisation

The EU steel industry has a high capacity to meet its customers' special requirements supported by close business relationships. Particularly the foundry sub-sector tends to be highly specialised with small manufacturers delivering highly specialised products and with very close business relationships with their customers. Most foundries operate as custom-made suppliers to the industries they serve, often as a single - or one among few supplier. In practice, this means limited competition. This also means that many foundries perceive themselves as belonging to the industry they serve. The conditions are relatively favourable for foundries and small companies to focus their strategy based on unique competencies.
High degree of recycling

The high degree of recycling in the EU steel industry with high scrap usage is a strength in all the sub-sectors. However, further replacement of iron ore by scrap is generally limited by structural barriers and the potential of further increasing recycling levels may have reached its limited. Still, the expertise and high degree of recycling is a current strength of the EU industry, notably vis--vis competitors in e.g. Asia and the Middle East that are expanding their production capacities based on EAF-technology without processing reserves of scrap thus becoming increasingly dependent on scrap imports from, e.g. Europe. New Member States attractive to investors In recent years, the new EU Member States have emerged as attractive locations for investments. High growth rates and domestic demand for steel are seen in the new Member States, and there is an increasingly strong presence of manufacturing industries (e.g., most global producers in the automotive industry are represented and operate full manufacturing facilities in the new Member States). Moreover, productivity and technological capacity and expertise are improving, skills levels are high, and labour costs are relatively low. This makes the new Member States an attractive location for investments - also for the old Member States who have a strong incentive to relocate production/acquire production facilities in the new Member States. In the pipe industry there are no current tendencies of relocation, but local mills are attractive investment objects. In the long term, however, wage levels are expected to rise, and recruitment of skilled labour might become increasingly difficult in most new Member States. This might change the attractiveness of the NMS as investment locations. Moreover, particularly in the foundry industry, it is expected that quality improvements and stable production will be needed.

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5.1.2

Weaknesses of the EU Steel sector and its sub-sectors


Casting of iron and steel products
(l) l l (l)

Weaknesses

Dependency of imported raw materials Energy intensity of the industry EU relatively low attractiveness as investment location Recruitment of skilled labour Relatively limited benefits from extra-regional trade

l l l l l

Dependency on imported raw materials

The EU steel industry is highly dependent on imported raw materials and overseas supplies form a substantial part of its raw material input. This is a weakness in terms of secure raw material supply and in terms of costs due to sensitivity to fluctuations in raw material and transportation prices. The foundry industry is not as directly dependent on imported raw materials as the rest of the steel sector.
Energy intensity of the industry

The energy intensity of the steel industry makes it more vulnerable to energy shocks and increasing energy prices as well as to policies aimed at reducing emissions. However, compared to other regions, the energy intensity is higher in some other places, e.g. in China, and in general the energy efficiency in the EU industry is relatively high. Thus, the energy intensity of the EU steel industry makes the industry vulnerable, but it is not a clear-cut competitive disadvantage vis--vis other regions.
EU relatively low attractiveness as investment location

Locations outside the EU, notably outside the EU15, appear more attractive from an investment perspective due to the moderate growth in the demand for steel in EU15, increasing competition from low-cost countries and lower profit rates in the EU. Moreover, locations outside the EU benefit from their proximity to raw materials and expanding markets. However, the picture that emerges is rather mixed, as the EU is still an attractive location for R&D facilities due to the high levels of expertise, and thus R&D facilities are widely located and maintained in the EU. Access to the EU market, state of the art technology and close relations with customers also continue to make the EU and attractive investment location for specific segments or sub-sectors of the industry. The situation in the foundry sub-sector is different as foundries are increasingly becoming integrated into the sectors of the customers. Thus, the customers largely invest in the foundries to ensure reliable supplies. In addition, EU foundries are attractive to investors because of the availability of skilled workers, know-how and stable production processes.
Recruitment of skilled labour

Demand for highly skilled labour can be expected to continue to rise along with increasing skills and knowledge requirements. At the same time, the supply of labour is decreasing and the competition for high-skilled/qualified people is increasing. While the 122

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steel industry has improved its image from a traditional dirty industry to a high-tech industry, recruitment problems still constitute a weakness in the industry. Moreover, continued training and retaining of people already employed in the industry is another important strategic challenge to the industrys competitive position.
Relatively limited benefits from extra-regional trade

Despite the fact that the EU steel industry has experienced growth and has performed well domestically, the benefits from increased extra-regional trade have been relatively moderate - this is reflected in the fact that the EU has become a net importer of steel. Thus, the expansion of export markets has been moderate, while import penetration has increased. Thus, the EU increasingly experiences an unbalanced trade flow. Among factors that can explain this trade imbalance, are structural problems related to raw material access and different cost structures. Moreover, increasing capacity and oversupply notably in China result in an increased flow of Chinese steel products to the open EU markets. Thus, other regions have been in a better position to capitalise on and profit from increased internationalisation. However, from a company perspective the picture is much more diverse as some European companies have benefited from high activity in the international arena such as Arcelor-Mittal. Moreover, some companies in the pipe industry have exported up to 80% of total output out of the EU. While most foundries are based nationally and operate in domestic markets, some foundries have benefited from the increased globalisation where products such as cars, windmills, and ships are traded on the world market. In general, the EU steel industry faces pressure from rising imports, but the increased globalisation also provides new opportunities in the export markers, particularly in highend segments and/or niche areas. 5.1.3 Threats for the EU Steel sector and its sub-sectors
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Threats

Competition from China Competition from other countries such as Brazil, India and C.I.S. Decreasing EU share in world production Decision power moves out of Europe Imbalances in demand and supply for raw materials Increasing freight rates and malfunctioning transport markets and logistic infrastructure Access to energy and malfunctioning energy markets Environmental regulations Uneven global playing field Demographic changes in the long run

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Competition from China

As shown in Chapter 2, since 2000 China has increased its steel output level radically along with its capacity fuelled by high economic growth and demand from, e.g., the construction sector. This trend is expected to continue in the near future, however, at a more moderate pace (BCG, 2007; IISI). In addition, China has increased its international engagement significantly and has become the worlds largest exporter of semi-finished and finished steel products. As shown in Chapter 3, Chinas largest export destination outside Asia is the EU27, and China flooded the EU with both flat and long products in 2006-2007. The pipe industry is also facing significant price competition from China. With room for increased consolidation and with a tendency to a continuous increase in output, capacity, and exports - with the EU as one of its main export destinations - China constitutes a significant threat to the EU27 steel industry. Especially the Chinese overcapacity constitutes a specific and severe threat to the EU industry in this respect. Moreover, Chinese steel industry benefits from various direct and indirect state support, implying significant cost advantages. For example state aid, such as cash grants to defray costs of raw materials and energy, provides Chinese enterprises with significant cost advantage. Thus, Chinese steel producers benefit from domestic subsidies in terms of home market protection and improved cost-competitiveness, implying uneven conditions for competition to the disadvantage for European based producers of steel (see further in the below on uneven playing field). It is also important to mention that China produces products that generally match global standards using state-of-the-art technology. Chinese steel quality might not entirely match the EU level, but technology investments in this area are predicted. However, it is very likely that Chinese exports will continue to be commodity-grade long and semi-finished products while imports will continue to be high-quality flat products. In addition, it should be noted that China is also exploring upstream possibilities outside Asia, e.g. Sino Steel is looking to invest in Brazils iron ore mining industry (Metal Bulletin, 2008). It should also be noted that the foundry sector is not facing strong competition from abroad. This is mainly explained by the fact that international activity in the foundry sector is limited. The key competitive advantage for the EU foundry sector is know-how, and in the coming years it will be increasingly important to maintain and develop this lead position ahead of China and India. High-quality foundries also exist in Japan and the US, but they currently serve different segment of customers.
Competition from other countries

Competition and exports to the EU from other growth-leading countries such as Brazil, India, Russia, and Ukraine constitute a threat to the EU steel industry. India is currently among the top 10 world producing countries and the Indian steel industry will most likely continue to expand and flourish. Indian steel producers are very cost-competitive and have sufficient reserves of iron ore and coking coal, and they are working intensively at reaching world standards for quality, productivity, and efficiency. Brazils wellconsolidated steel industry has the lowest costs in the world due to domestic iron ore reserves, low energy and labour costs, and Brazil's steel production, capacity and exports are expected to continue to increase. It should be noted, that much of the expected increase will take place within cooperative agreements with established partners in Europe, among others, and it will therefore not lead to an uncontrolled flood of cheap semi-finished steel products into the EU as has been the case with China lately. In Ukraine and Russia, vertical integration with their own coal and ore mines and power plants ensure low costs. Moreover, Ukraine and Russia are benefiting from a boom of their economies, proximity to customers, good infrastructure, availability of skilled 124

labour, and increasing capital investments. Altogether, this makes these countries increasingly competitive, albeit there is still room for further modernizing to catch up with EU technology standards.
Decreasing EU share in world steel production

The EU steel industry as whole has not fully benefited from the world wide growth in the demand for steel the past decade and this has resulted in a gradually decreasing share of the world production. The total production of crude steel from EU in 1997 represented 24,3% of world crude steel production. In 2007 the share had decreased to 16% and this trend is likely to continue.
Decision power moves out of Europe

A consequence of globalisation (increased internationalisation and consolidation) is that companies outside Europe are becoming global players by investing in and buying up companies in other regions. Moreover, strong global players may gain increased access to European markets through cooperation with European partners. In should be noted that the scope and strength of this potential threat remain very unclear and it largely depends on the companies created. In the pipe and foundry industries, there are currently no indications of companies and/or decision power moving out of Europe.
Imbalances in demand and supply for raw materials

The increasing demand for steel, led by notably China, has resulted in current imbalances in supply and demand for raw materials which most likely will continue in the short to medium term (iron ore reserves are immense and the supply shall increase with exploitation of new capacities and elimination of bottlenecks in supply infrastructure). While this affects all countries, the EU27 is particularly sensitive to such imbalances due its dependency on imported raw materials. This contributes to a shift in steel production towards third countries offering more attractive production conditions in terms of better raw material supply and cheaper energy, and this constitutes a threat to the EU27 as a location for steel production and employment. Moreover, imbalances and the fact that the iron ore market is dominated by just three players constitute a competitive disadvantage for the EU vis--vis countries with own iron ore resources from a cost perspective.
Increasing freight rates and malfunctioning transport markets and logistic infrastructure

Almost 30% of all finished steel products pass from one country to another and transport costs amount to 5% to 15% of selling prices. Increasing freight rates increase the relative costs for EU steel producers and make it more difficult to compete in export markets. If we look at the current trend, oil prices will continue to increase in the foreseeable future leading to increasing freight rates. From this perspective, increasing freight rates constitute a threat to the EU steel industry by making exports more expensive. On the other hand, increasing freight rates also shield domestic markets by dampening global trade in general. However, this also implies a very conservative or protective situation that is not a comparative advantage as such. Moreover, transport within the EU is more expensive than in competing areas such as the US due to imperfections in cross-border railway transport of goods and national differences in road regulation. In addition, malfunctioning logistics infrastructures in the transport sector implies waiting periods in, e.g. ports. Thus, apart from increasing freight rates, malfunctioning transport markets and logistics infrastructures constitute a threat to the competitiveness of the European steel industry.
Access to energy and malfunctioning energy markets

Global competition for the main resources used as inputs for the steel industry energy and raw materials has intensified with the rise of producers such as China, Brazil, and 125

the CIS. Securing access has become a major issue. The European Union is consuming more and more energy and imports of energy cover more than 50% of total energy use. Moreover, the import share of the energy use is expected to increase in the foreseeable future. This of course affects the steel industry as a heavy user of energy, and the competitiveness of the sector is hampered due to malfunctions in the energy market resulting from weak connections between energy systems, national taxations and differences in the pricing structure and regulation of the energy markets. Thus, the industry calls for a more transparent and competitive energy market within the EU.
Environmental legislation

Environmental legislation and specifically the ETS Emission Trading Scheme - review as it is currently proposed, might lead to loss of competitiveness vis--vis other steel producers that are not faced with as restrictive emission legislation. In addition, it might diminish the interest of investors. The steel sector faces environmental regulations concerning its energy use, CO2 emission, pollution prevention, and waste. Energy efficiency has improved over the last decade and, at least in the short term, it is difficult for steel producers to comply with the IPPC directive. The steel industry notes that after 30 years of continuously reduction of energy use in the production, the limits of technical improvement have been reached. There is no doubt that the ETS is very important to the EU steel producers due the energy intensity of the production.
Uneven global playing field

Although tariff barriers are becoming less important for steel exporters, a number of nontariff barriers still remain and impede a fair and even playing field for EU steel producers globally. A number of global key competitors still provide (indirect) support to domestic industries and/or restrictions on foreign investors, raw materials exports, scrap iron exports, etc. These issues are being addressed within the WTO and through FTAs and in bilateral agreements. The EU has also employed trade defence instruments to counter the negative impact of this uneven playing field. Caution should be exercised when using such instruments, however, as the interests of other stakeholders and the ultimate effectiveness of these instruments should be weighed carefully. Some non-EU countries benefit from domestic subsidies by protecting their home markets and improving their cost-competitiveness. Closely related to this is the issue of access to raw materials and energy sources. Being a net importer of these inputs, the industry is susceptible to global supply and demand fluctuations. Although the price of these inputs are set globally and the steel industry has a weak negotiating position vis--vis the much larger input suppliers (i.e. steel companies worldwide face the same price increases), the EU has a competitive disadvantage in comparison with countries with direct access to raw materials and in some cases with additional subsidies or export restrictions in place. Access to raw material and energy inputs therefore remains a key issue and a possible threat to the EU industry, and this also affects its attractiveness as an investment location.
Demographic changes in the long run

Demographic changes imply a declining European workforce and consequently it is increasingly difficult for European industries to ensure and attract sufficient and qualified employees. Moreover, the number of young people applying for technical programmes in vocational schools, colleges, and universities is decreasing. This constitutes a threat to the steel industry, as it does to other European industries in terms of ensuring sufficient, qualified people, and it creates a structural barrier to the health and competitive edge of the industry vis--vis countries without such difficulties. Thus, the trend in this area is 126

that competition for qualified labour increases internally between industries and externally between companies in different countries/regions. 5.1.4 Opportunities for the EU Steel sector and its sub-sectors
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Opportunities

New market opportunities and improved bargaining power through acquisitions and mergers Increased upstream participation and integration Upstream process and raw material efficiency Cleaner and safer technologies More efficient technologies and processes and intelligent manufacturing Partnerships as platform for innovation and new market opportunities Cooperation with scrap suppliers to Improve the organisation of recycling High-end products and value creation

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New market opportunities and improved bargaining power through acquisitions and mergers

Even though the European steel industry has consolidated significantly within recent years, there is still room for further consolidation in the steel industry and its sub-sectors through mergers and acquisitions, notably to match players at the supply and the demand sides and improve the steel industrys bargaining power. Increased consolidation regionally or even globally - improves the foundation for shaping a business strategy designed to access the best capabilities, knowledge, and assets from wherever they reside and apply them wherever required thus improving management capacity over the business cycle. Already, some steel companies have become large regional or global players with production facilities across the globe. Their global presence increases their capacity to meet the demands of global customers with considerable bargaining power and with specific product standards and requirements. Acquisitions of companies outside Europe and mergers between EU companies and nonEuropean companies also hold the potential of giving the EU industry access to new markets. Moreover, mergers do not in themselves result in better conditions and new business opportunities. This very much depends on the ensuing integration process and the strategy development, implementation, and management. The above does not fully apply to the foundry sub-sector. The clear tendency is that foundries are becoming integrated parts of customers, while mergers of more foundries are relatively rare. However, investments in EU based foundries by actors outside the EU are taking place, and some foundries cooperate in holdings to work more efficiently.
Increased upstream participation and integration

Upstream participation and integration form valuable strategic possibilities for the European steel industry with a view to ensuring sustainable access to raw materials and 127

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energy, e.g., setting up production operations in countries close to natural resources and by acquiring iron ore mining capacities to obtain a in-house supply of iron-ore. Setting up own power plants is an option currently explored by Arcelor-Mittal. In 2005, the company already produced 1/3 of its own power needs.
Upstream process and raw material efficiency

Upstream processing and optimisation of raw material utilisation is another way to strengthen the steel industry's raw material efficiency, thus dampening the consequences of supply-side sensitivity. Moreover, such improvements may lead to lower energy consumption and CO2 emission (see further below).
Cleaner and safer technologies

More efficient technologies constitute an important opportunity in terms of increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions. Thus, technological innovation with a view to cleaner and safer technologies are important, partly required by legislation, but also having the potential of reducing costs and meeting the increasing demand for cleaner and safer technologies (also part of Corporate Social Responsibility/CSR). Most importantly, cleaner and safer technologies provide an important strategic opportunity in terms of proactively pursuing new business opportunities. Thus, opportunities in this area relate to exploring the market for products with high environmental standards. In this regard, a green label for steel products might support such efforts. The EU steel industry is already a comparatively energy efficient industry. Thus, breakthrough technologies will be necessary for taking current capabilities to the next level. This requires continuous investments and priority as well as engagement in strategic networks and knowledge sharing.
More efficient and flexible processes and intelligent manufacturing

Customers are expecting high-quality products, low costs, just in time delivery and custom-made products. The number of applications for steel is growing, covering widely different areas from car manufacturing to cans and containers. The EU steel sector has a solid platform with well-established customer relationships and new technologies to exploit the opportunities on the market. In order to pursue the market opportunities and to maintain and develop its competitive strength, the industry must keep investing in the development of technology and production process improvements. This calls for higher efficiency and more flexibility in the downstream process. Intelligent manufacturing processes such as better organisation and management, i.e. Lean, knowledge management, and new IT technologies are roads open for steel manufactures in the years ahead.
Partnerships as platform for innovation and new market opportunities

The EU steel industry must continue to be a responsive industry. Customers, notably global customers, have increasingly stricter and complex product requirements and they expect more sophisticated high-performance materials. More demanding customers constitute an opportunity to flourish and differentiate and the EU steel industry has a strong platform in this regard. Focus on high-quality tailor-made steel products in close cooperation with customers is an opportunity to differentiate and to compete with other means than price competition. In addition, deep collaborative relationships allow companies to surprise their customers positively to the value and success of both parties. Such partnerships are generally important for continued strong business relationships with current and new customers. More broadly, the ideal vision is one in which the industry does not merely respond to trends, changes and requirements - it shapes and leads them. This requires knowledge at various levels, including needs and requirements from customers customers. In this 128

regard various partnerships and strategic networks at both the horizontal, vertical and multi-sectoral levels with a view to knowledge-sharing and innovation are highly relevant as they provide a strong platform for pursuing new market opportunities and strengthening existing markets and maintaining a lead position within in product development and value creation. An example of the potential benefits of a strategic network/partnership is provided by the ULSAB consortium (UltraLight Steel Auto Body). 53 35 steel companies representing 18 countries around the world participate and cooperate with OEMs, suppliers, the automotive industry and technology institutes. The goal of the consortium is to meet the challenges posed by their automotive industry customers, i.e. reducing the weight of steel auto body structures at no additional cost, while maintaining or improving performance.
Cooperation with scrap suppliers to improve the organisation of recycling

Recycling is an important aspect of EU steel production. Given the structural barriers to further replacement of iron ore by scrap and the increasing export of scrap to non-EU countries, it is strategically important to ensure a well-organised recycling process, i.e., to achieve optimum scrap availability. In this regard, there is room for further improvements in certain countries that can benefit from expertise and knowledge in other EU countries in this regard. However, the steel industry only controls a minor part of the scrap chain and improving the organisation of recycling is mainly up to the scrap suppliers. However, exploring the possibilities of improved organisation of the recycling process in cooperation with the scrap suppliers may provide a possibility with a view to optimising the availability of scrap.
Focus on high-end products and value creation

To further prioritise and develop the EU steel industrys capabilities and strengths within high-quality and high value added products, solutions and services constitute an opportunity. The EU steel industry has a competitive edge in this regard and most forecasts predict that demand in the high-end area will continue to increase. Thus, focusing on high-quality and high value added and advanced solutions in direct cooperation with customers as well as end users constitute an important road for the big steel producers as well as for the smaller companies. Continuous and strong focus on value creation is an important strategic opportunity. Competing on quality rather than price and/or volume is especially important for the foundry sub-sector whose key competitive advantage is know-how.

5.2

Possible strategic options


Based on the SWOT analysis we have looked into the relationship between strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities with focus on:

how to further enhance existing strengths how to pursue opportunities - based on existing strengths and unexploited potentials how to reduce effects of or eliminate weaknesses by improving performance - based on existing strengths and unexploited potentials, and how to face/counteract threats - based on existing strengths and unexploited potentials, and by pursuing opportunities.
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The SWOT analysis illustrates that the steel sector is facing a large number of challenges in the coming years, and many of these challenges are rooted in increased globalisation and the climate agenda/challenge. The challenges from globalisation are illustrated by the emergence of new competitors, imbalances in raw material supplies followed by increasing raw material and energy prices as well as market imperfections related to tariff and non-tariff barriers. Moreover, competitors are improving their capacities for producing high-quality products. For the EU steel sector, a level global playing field is highly important. Climate changes have a high priority on the political agenda with environmental legislation at both EU level and in the Member States underway. This may lead to serious challenges to the EU steel sector as the sectors production process is at a mature stage with limited ability to improve energy efficiency in the short term. The challenges posed by globalisation and climate change are closely interlinked i.e. increasing energy prices are rooted in increased demand for fossil fuels which is also one of the main causes of the climate challenge. As globalisation and the climate agenda frame the agenda for businesses and policy makers now and in the years to come, both issues must be addressed in a balanced way by policy-makers, Member States and in the business strategies of individual steel companies. The strengths of the EU steel sector constitute a strong position for meeting these challenges of globalisation based on technology leadership, high-quality products, and a strong tradition for innovation and know-how. To maintain and develop the sector's competitive position, it will be important to continue the development of its current strengths while exploring new market opportunities. The steel industry will have to give high priority to investments in new technologies and to continuous value creation based on strategic networks and partnership to maintain its competitive advantages. Constant improvement in technologies to increase flexibility and efficiency must be encouraged. The challenges related to the climate agenda must be met with continuous development of cleaner technologies in production processes, management systems, products and transport and services. Policy makers are in a position to improve framework conditions such as a working for the creation of an even playing field in the global arena, taking initiatives to improve in the skills of the workforce, and prioritising R&D resources in cleaner technologies. Based on the SWOT analysis we have identified the following six fields of actions: 1. Engaging in the climate change challenge 2. Upstream engagement and investments 3. High technology leadership and operational excellence 4. Improving knowledge sharing and engagement in strategic networks to maintain competitive position and improving capacity for strategic outlook to meet future risks and challenges 5. Creating a even playing field and improving the functioning of energy and transport markets 6. Improving the skills base and strategies for lifelong learning

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To each field of action, a set of strategic actions are proposed. The strategic options address the industry, the Member States and/or the EU. As with the challenges, the strategic options are interlinked. Thus, one option might be a (partial) answer to more challenges. Some of the strategic options are already being practised - in such cases the strategic options should be seen as recommendations for continually priority with support from Member States and the EU-Commission. Below, they are presented separately under the headline of one of the identified fields of actions. 5.2.1 Engaging in the climate change challenge Efficient technologies through continuous investments constitute an important opportunity in terms of increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions and thereby reducing costs. Investments in technological innovation with a view to cleaner and safer technologies are required by legislation, but more importantly they also constitute a potential for meeting the increasing demand for cleaner and safer technologies (also part of CSR). Thus, innovation and investments in technology and production process improvements are strategic options for companies who wish to position themselves to customers who are increasingly prosperous, informed, environmentally conscious and socially aware. The EU steel industry is in a strong position to benefit from the climate challenge by applying a pro-active strategy: Rather than merely responding to the threats posed by legislation, the EU steel industry faces the strategic option of engaging in the climate challenge as a means of pursuing new business opportunities for products with high environmental standards. In this regard, a green label for steel products, or other kinds of reliable information on environmental performance of steel products, could support such efforts. One example of a cleaner technology is the reuse of steel manufacturing gases, which at the same time reduces the impact on the environment and energy consumption. In SMEs, application of systematic energy management and environmental management systems in combination with investments in BAT technologies may reduce energy consumption and the environmental footprint from the production even further. Initiatives for a more sustainable production could be made part of company profiles. Another example is the Ultra Low CO2 Steelmaking research programme (ULCOS II). The aim of ULCOS is to develop new technologies that can drastically reduce the steel industrys carbon dioxide emissions. The initiative brings together around 50 partners, including steel makers, research laboratories, universities and other players in the steel supply chain.54 The first phase of the programme identified cleaner technologies such as the top-gas recycling blast furnace incorporating carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies; smelting reduction of iron ore with CCS; natural gas pre-reduction with CCS and direct electrolysis of iron ore. Energy efficiency in the EU steel industry has improved over the years, and in the short term, it is difficult for steel producers to comply with the IPPC directive. The steel industry notes that after 30 years of continuous reduction in energy consumption in the production, energy efficiency improvement has currently reached the limits for further short-term improvements. Thus, breakthrough technologies will be important for taking current capabilities to the next level and require continuous investment and priority as well as engagement in strategic networks and knowledge sharing.

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The EU is already supporting R&D and innovation in the EU steel sector through the ESTEP-programme (the European Steel Technology Platform). ESTEP has initiated activities and research into materials and processes, within the auspices of a Strategic Research Agenda targeting four areas (1) safe, clean, and cost-effective technologies; (2) rational use of energy, resources, and residues management; (3) appealing steel solutions for end users; (4) and attracting and securing qualified people to help meeting steel sector ambitions. Based on the above, the following strategic options are suggested:
Level of response Industry Increased investment in RTD-programmes such as ESTEP Development of business strategies that proactively respond to the climate challenge. Investing in cleaner and safer technologies Commitment to continual priority and investment in R&D with the aim of improving energy efficiency through the discovering of break through technologies. Engaging in strategic networks and knowledge sharing within R&D in energy improving technologies. Development of green label for steel products. l l l l l l Member state l EU l

5.2.2

Upstream engagement and investments Dependency on raw materials is a significant weakness of the EU steel industry, and it becomes a threat in periods with supply and demand imbalance. With the increasing demand for steel led by China in particular, which most likely will continue in the short to medium term (cf. iron ore reserves are immense so in the longer run prices will probably fall), dependency on raw materials will remain an important concern. This is also a threat to the EU steel industry from an investment location perspective as some other competing countries offer more attractive production conditions with better raw material supplies and access to cheaper energy. Moreover, competitors outside the EU are moving to ensure access to raw materials through vertical integration. While this challenge is not new, it is highly important. Therefore, it is strategically important that the EU steel sector increase upstream participation and optimization to ensure future access to raw materials. Companies that are willing to invest in this area will win the game. Some companies already have experiences in this area, and many foundries are working downstream in close cooperation or by integration with their customers. One strategic option concerns investment and development in upstream processing and optimisation of raw material utilisation and efficiency, dampening the consequences of supply-side sensitivity. Moreover, such improvements hold the perspective to lower energy consumption and CO2 emission. Another strategic option concerns increasing upstream participation and vertical integration through acquisitions, mergers, and joint ventures/partnerships. 132

Based on the above, the following strategic options are suggested:


Level of response Industry Increase upstream participation and integration Investing in energy and materials efficiency in production l l Member state EU

5.2.3

High technology leadership and operational excellence Competitors are exploring, investing and improving in the areas which currently constitute the competitive advantages of the EU steel industry within technology and innovative capacity, know-how, equipment performance, product quality, etc. At the same time, customer expectations are increasing in relation to time and service in delivery as well as product quality, sophistication and customisation. Consequently, it is important that efficient and flexible processes and high-quality innovative products are continually encouraged, given priority, and developed. E.g., increased efficiency holds the potential of keeping down costs and energy use, and of delivering fast, flexible and cost-effective processes. Management and distribution systems are also important to meet customer requirements, i.e., to deliver high-quality products to many different customers in different places on a just-in-time basis (e.g. automotive industry). The EU steel sector already has a strong position in using advanced technologies, but there will continue to be unexploited potentials in various areas. Thus, in order to maintain and develop its competitive strength, continuous investments in R&D and new technologies are important i.e.:

Investment in R&D and new technologies with a view to developing high-quality products building on the latest technology; and with a view to maintaining leadership in relation to sustainability, functionality, and product performance. Investment in R&D and new technologies focusing on efficient production and logistics. Investment in R&D and new technologies ensuring higher efficiency and more flexibility in the downstream process. E.g. intelligent manufacturing and supply chain management processes including the development of better organisational and management system i.e. Lean, knowledge management and the introduction of new ICTs can contribute to developing more competitive European steel manufacturers in the years ahead.

It seems likely that technological innovation will be very important for the future competitiveness of the EU steel sector. Against this background, the EU and the Member States could consider to increasing investments in and improving the dissemination and exploitation of research and development programmes such as ESTEP.

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Based on the above, the following strategic options are suggested:


Level of response Industry Increased investment in RTD-programmes such as ESTEP Investing in improved product performance Investing in more efficient and flexible production and distribution processes l l l Member state l EU l

5.2.4

Improving knowledge sharing and engaging in strategic networks to maintain and develop the strong position in high-quality areas with a strong focus on value creation While the EU steel industry is a large, strong, modern, and technological advanced industry, it faces increasing international competition in the EU and on the export markets from non-EU producers. Rather than engage in price competition with competitors from non-EU countries, it seems more strategically viable to meet these challenges by focusing on the industrys current strengths and maintaining and developing its strengths in terms of ability to deliver high-quality and high value added products, solutions and services based on a strong focus on value creation. For the new EU Member States it will also be increasingly important to focus in high quality and value creation. Customers (notably global customers) have increasingly stricter and complex product requirements and expect more sophisticated high-performance materials. Focusing on innovation and development of high quality steel products in close cooperation with customers is an opportunity to differentiate and to compete with other means than price competition. Identification and knowledge of customers needs are important to be able to keep responding to their needs and requirements. Thus, initiatives aimed at systematically identifying customers needs are required, i.e., knowledge of customers as well the customers customers. Related to this is the importance of pursuing and exploring strong and deep collaborative relationships with customers as a means of pursuing new market opportunities and further strengthening existing markets, notably in high-value segments. This process is already taking place in some parts of the industry. One example is ThyssenKrupp: More than 3,300 scientists, engineers and other specialists in our development centres are currently working on over 2,000 research and development projects, all of them geared to strengthening our core capabilities in products and processes. To stay close to customers, the projects are carried out directly by our operating companies which collaborate in networks on joint projects55. Thus, such collaborations are important in terms of ensuring customer loyalty and stability by being acknowledged as an important strategic partner, and in terms of maintaining, strengthening, and improving the industrys competitive position within higher value added areas and increased market shares. Moreover, collaboration with
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http://www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/konzern/kompetenz.html

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immediate customers, and possibly end-users, within product innovation, is important if the vision is to not only to respond to customers needs, requirements, trends and changes, but also to influence, shape and lead them. Thus, focusing on high-quality and high value added and advanced solutions in direct cooperation with customers as well end users constitute an important strategic direction for both the large steel producers and also the smaller companies. In general, a strong focus on information and knowledge sharing is important. In addition to customer partnerships, various other partnerships and strategic networks at both the horizontal, vertical and multi-sectoral levels with a view to knowledge sharing and innovation are highly relevant in terms of pursuing new market opportunities and further strengthening existing markets and for maintaining a lead position within in product development and value creation. Knowledge sharing at various levels could also be supported by the establishment of a European steel knowledge centre that could provide a place for exchanging ideas within technologies and markets in dedication to innovation driven value creation. Finally, identification of new niche markets where specialised knowledge and expertise is required is an option to explore with the potential of becoming an exclusive supplier to the relevant market/specific customers. A high degree of specialisation already constitutes one of the strengths of many foundries. This option might not be equally relevant to all companies as many companies are currently focusing on core business instead of downstream diversification, but for other companies this may constitute an option for gaining access to new markets, particularly small and medium sized companies that cannot compete with the same means as large companies. An example of an emerging market in the foundry sub-sector is the windmill industry, which is a very dynamic industry. Specialist foundries delivering to the windmill industry benefit directly from their know-how and stable production processes. The casting of hubs for windmills only happens in Europe, and Asian competitors do not have enough know-how or the required production stability to supply this market. In general, maintaining and developing the competitive position of the EU steel sector depend on the strategic capacity to meet future challenges and risks. And as a minimum, capacity to meet future challenges and risks require access to relevant information about the strategic landscape. Instruments to improve the access to such information comprise investment in sector research programmes and institutions, including activities to gather and process data on the sectors development and its challenges, and elaboration and dissemination of sector forecasts and scenarios. Both the EU and the EU steel industry would have an interest in supporting a strengthening of such initiatives at the European level. For sector research to support the sector in adapting to change, evidence suggests that a successful take-up into corporate strategic processes hinges on active support and ownership from social partners in the sector.

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Based on the above, the following strategic options are suggested:


Level of response Industry Work systematically with identification and knowledge of customer needs Ensure strong collaborative and strategic relationships with customers and partners Engage in strategic networks and collaborations at horizontal, vertical and inter-sectoral levels. Establishment of a European steel knowledge centre focusing on e.g. technologies and new markets. Identification and development of niche markets where specialisation is required (certain companies) Initiatives to improve access to relevant strategic information l l Member state EU

l l l l l l l

5.2.5

Creating a even playing field and improve the functioning of energy and transport markets State aid, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers create problems for the steel industry if fair trade is not applied and respected. These issues should be addressed as much as possible through the multilateral trading system FTAs and bilateral agreements as the second best option. Trade Defence Instruments (TDI) should be implemented with caution considering the possible negative effects of these instruments on other EU stakeholders. With the increasing globalisation and intra-industry trade of EU business, the implications of TDI have become much more complex.56 There is a need to improve the competitive environment on exports markets so EU companies and non-EU companies have equal opportunities to compete. Currently, the playing field is uneven with non-EU competitors often producing their products applying OHS (occupational, health and safety) and environmental standards well below EU standards. If the playing field were more even, the EU steel sector would stand a better chance of competing with non-EU competitors. Perhaps more importantly an even playing field would open up for opportunities in new and growing export markets. Moreover, environmental legislation, notably regional CO2 emission legislation and the EUs Emission Trading Scheme, is of considerable significance for the competitiveness of the EU steel sector due to the energy intensity of steel production. If a decline in the EU steel sectors competitiveness is to be avoided, it will be highly significant to ensure international coordination, going beyond the EU, of regulations of CO2 emissions. Unilateral action at the EU level is already putting the competitiveness of the EU steel sector under pressure. The EU and the Member States should increase their efforts to establish a global CO2 emission trading scheme, and if this is not possible they should consider ways to offset the competitive disadvantage of the EU steel industry. One

56

Recently the EU launched an evaluation of TDI in order to assess the need for a new approach to TDI in light of the increasing interdependence and internationalisation of economic activities.

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possible instrument in this connection is trade policy, where possibilities to act within the framework of the WTO agreements should be explored. Energy is a very important input factor in the steel production process. According to the sector, energy security and reliability in terms of prices is of strategic importance to the industry, and further development in the EU energy markets is therefore considered of high importance to the sectors competitiveness. Against this background, the EU and the Member states should increase efforts to improve the functioning of its energy markets with a view to lowering prices and increasing stability and security. Transport costs are also a highly significant input factor in the production and delivery of steel products. With a view to reducing overall transportation costs for steel producers in the EU, the EU and the Member States should enhance its efforts to improve the functioning of EU transportation markets. Increased competition in the EU transport market will place downward pressure on prices to the benefit of EU-based steel production. Creating an even playing field with non-EU competitors would strengthen the competitive position of the steel sector within the EU and on export markets. New business opportunities to be exploited could be in the global market with a growing appetite for quality, willingness to pay for high quality delivery and a need for products answering to specific standards delivered to global consumers. Even if many SMEs are currently national companies they could be integrated even more into global structures tomorrow. Based on the above, the following strategic options are suggested:
Level of response Industry International coordination of CO2 emission regulation Improving the functioning of the EU energy market Improving the functioning of EU transport market Member state l l l EU l l l

5.2.6

Improving the skills base and strategies for lifelong learning Access to skilled labour is extremely important to maintain and develop the EU steel industrys competitive performance, particularly in terms of maintaining a lead in relation to technology, product quality, and high value solutions, and for pursuing new business opportunities. Access to skilled labour is already a significant challenge/threat to the EU steel industry and is likely to become even more important in the future with a decreasing European workforce and competition for the most skilled persons. Both the EU, the Member States, and the industry could enhance their efforts to maintain and develop a base of highly skilled employees, for instance via targeted training programmes for low-skilled workers, via investment in new education and training programmes, and via efforts to improve the image of the industry among younger generations, and finally via systems to ensure sharing and transfer of knowledge and experience.

137

In terms of human resource management, the development focus areas include recruitment strategies, selection, and integration. Besides attracting more highly skilled people into the sector, it is important to develop solid approaches to developing and integrating these talents. Based on the above, the following strategic options are suggested:
Level of response Industry Initiatives and commitment to improve the skills base of the EU steel sector Initiatives to improve the image and the attractiveness of the steel industry. Initiatives focusing on retaining and development of talents Development and implementation of lifelong learning strategies for employees in the steel sector l l l l Member state l l EU l l

5.3

Epilogue
With the analysis and strategic options presented above, we have presented a strategic outlook for the EU industry. However, more long-term strategic options require other methods, i.e. the scenario method. Thus, radical new long-term potential challenges might not be reflected in the above. Concerning the future competitiveness of the EU steel industry in a long-term perspective, the following questions might serve as a foundation for reflection:

When will the steel production in Africa take off and what products will be produced? When will Africa become a player in international markets, and what will the consequences be for the EU steel industry? Who will be driving and leading the second round of international/multinational mergers? What will the consequences be for the EU steel industry? When will consolidation in China take off, and what will the consequences be for the EU steel industry? What are the prospects of increased internationalisation and consolidation of the foundry sector? How likely are cross-regional mergers, and what will the consequences be for the EU foundry sector? What breakthrough technologies can be envisioned, and who will be the main beneficiaries? What will the dissemination require, and what will be the consequences and the potential benefits for the EU steel industry? What would the potential and consequences for the EU steel industry be, if the industry stopped producing semi-finished products, and EU steel production was limited to mini-mills and rolling only? This could be an answer to the challenges posed by imported raw materials dependency and transportation issues, as it would reduce the need for converts, coking and blast furnaces. On the one hand, such a strategy would reduce the energy demand from the EU steel sector. On the other 138

hand, such a strategy also entails problems as end user manufacturers have different specifications to the heat treatment and chemical composition of the steel they need.

139

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