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ArcelorMIttal blames Europe for 4Q loss

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steelmaker, posted a larger loss for the fourth quarter due to write-downs and charges related to its European business, which it said was the one gloomy spot in an otherwise positive outlook for 2013.

Net loss widened to $3.99 billion (€2.94 billion) from a loss of $1.00 billion in the same period a year ago, the Luxembourg-based company said Wednesday. Sales fell 14 percent to $19.3 billion, as both prices and volumes declined year on year.

The loss included $4.8 billion in charges and write-downs related to its European business, notably the idling of plants in Madrid, and Florange, France, and the decision to close a plant in Liege, Belgium. The company has clashed with governments and labor unions over the facilities.