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Edited Transcript of MT.AS earnings conference call or presentation 1-Aug-19 1:30pm GMT

Q2 2019 ArcelorMittal SA Earnings Call

LUXEMBOURG Aug 8, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of ArcelorMittal SA earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, August 1, 2019 at 1:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Aditya Mittal

ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO

* Daniel Fairclough

ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance

* Lakshmi Nivas Mittal

ArcelorMittal - Chairman & CEO

* Simon C. Wandke

ArcelorMittal - EVP

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alain Gabriel

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Bastian Synagowitz

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Cedar Ekblom

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Analyst

* Ioannis Masvoulas

Macquarie Research - Analyst

* Luke Nelson

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Myles Allsop

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director,Co-Head of EMEA Mining Equity Research & Equity Analyst, European Mining Research

* Philip Ross Gibbs

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - VP and Equity Research Analyst

* Rochus Brauneiser

Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Steel Research

* Sergey Donskoy

Societe Generale Cross Asset Research - Equity Analyst

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Presentation

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [1]

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Good afternoon and good morning, everybody. Welcome to ArcelorMittal's Half Year 2019 Investor and Analyst Call. This is Daniel Fairclough from ArcelorMittal Investor Relations. I'd like to remind everybody, first of all, that as usual this call is being recorded. Hopefully, everybody has had a chance to review our earnings statement, Q&A document and the presentation with detailed speaker notes, which were all published on our website this morning.

So the idea then of this call is not to present those slides, but rather move directly to your questions. That way, the whole call should last about 45 minutes. (Operator Instructions) So with that brief opening, I will hand over to Mr. Mittal.

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Lakshmi Nivas Mittal, ArcelorMittal - Chairman & CEO [2]

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Thank you. Good day, everyone, and can I add my welcome to this call? I'm joined today by Adit Mittal, President and CFO; Simon Wandke, CEO of Mining; Genuíno, Head of Finance; and Daniel, Head of IR. Before we move to Q&A, I would like to make some brief introductory remarks. As always, I will start by commenting on our health and safety performance. Excluding ArcelorMittal Italia, our lost time injury frequency rate for the first half of the year was 0.66x (sic) [0.68x], a small improvement on the rate achieved in 2018, which was a record-low.

Including ArcelorMittal Italia, the rate was 1.19x. This highlights one of the challenges we have in Italy. Although I would note that its rate has improved from over 20x when we assumed control to 12.35x in the first half of the year. We are focused on further improving its health and safety performance as quickly as possible and bringing it closer in line with our European average.

Before I move to our financial performance, I would like to set some context in terms of the current market environment. The steel industry is inherently cyclical. Market conditions were buoyant for the majority of 2018. However, since October last year, we have seen a severe market downturn. The speed and extent of which has been surprising and the usual correlation between Chinese and international steel spreads has broken down.

While Chinese spreads remain their usual historical range, the spreads in our core markets today have fallen to very low levels and are well below historical norms. As a result, our first half EBITDA of $3.2 billion is lower than the corresponding period last year. I would note, however, the performance of our mining business, which has contributed almost $1 billion of EBITDA highlighting the benefits of diversification.

As you will recall, just over 3 years ago, we launched our Action 2020 strategic plan, the purpose of which was to ensure we delivered positive free cash flow in any market environment. It is therefore encouraging that despite the highly challenging market and the drag on our business from ArcelorMittal Italia, we still generated free cash flow of $900 million in the second quarter. This has enabled us to achieve further deleveraging progress and taken net debt down to our lowest ever level.

Our focus on further debt reduction continues and our full year free cash flow performance will be supported by a material working capital release in the second half of the year.

However, given the extent of the market weakness, we have had to make adjustment to our business. In response to our European supply/demand imbalance resulting from softening demand and record import levels, we have announced annualized flat steel capacity reduction of 4.2 million tonnes. And more broadly, given the need to optimize our cash flow performance, we are managing our capital expenditures really carefully while we continue to progress our high-growth potential expansion projects in Mexico and Brazil.

Looking through the second half of the year, there have been tentative signs of pricing improvements in the United States recently, which is encouraging, but conditions in Europe remain very challenging. Ensuring that there is a level playing field for [loop] and steel producers has an important role to play in restoring market equilibrium. I therefore hope we will soon see the European Commission strengthen the EU safeguard measures so that they achieve their purpose for which they were intended. And I'm encouraged by the increasing support we are seeing for a green border adjustment, which is necessary to ensure all steel consumed in Europe is subject to the same governed levees.

Our focus on delivery against our Action 2020 initiative continues as do our first to integrate recently acquired assets so they fulfill their full potential. We also continue to prioritize deleveraging and expect the business to achieve healthy free cash flow this year.

Thank you. Now we are happy to take questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [1]

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Thanks, Mr. Mittal. So we'll take the first question please from Alain at Morgan Stanley.

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Alain Gabriel, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Equity Analyst [2]

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Two questions from my side, the first one is on the bridges between H1 and H2, you've highlighted on Slide 8 the presentation that you have incurred losses at EBITDA level at both Ilva and the remedy assets. Do you mind quantifying or giving a range of the losses of the remedy assets as a stand-alone during the first half? And you've also incurred some maintenance stoppages in Q2 in Ukraine, South Africa and Brazil, although it's supposed to be like one-off or a temporary factor that could reverse in the second half. That's the first part.

The second part of the question is on the asset optimization that you've announced, potentially we could interpret that the sale of around $2 billion of underperforming assets. Can you give us a bit more color on that at this stage as much as you can say?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [3]

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So let me start by answering your questions. So in terms of the remedy assets and Ilva profitability, we had not really broken it down. But I think it's fair to assume that the lion's share of the losses that we had in the first half of this year was related to Ilva. So clearly, Ilva, as you know, was a lossmaking entity when we acquired it. Since then, the spreads in Europe have compressed by EUR 100 a tonne. And so clearly, the losses in Ilva have amplified.

Having said that, we continue to make good progress in reducing its cost base. We have further accelerated our action plan. Today, we have 6 teams, which have been formed with the experts from ArcelorMittal European sites assisting the existing management team, and they have identified 52 projects, which they are working on to dramatically improve the performance of Ilva in the second half and on a going-forward basis.

Clearly, the improvement in Ilva, the idea of the action plan is to achieve breakeven EBITDA albeit existing market conditions, but as you may know, license to operate issues.

In terms of Ukraine, South Africa and Brazil, I think in Brazil, the impact in the second quarter was muted, was much lower. In the third quarter, it will be greater because we have taken down the blast furnace and it will be down the whole of third quarter. These are primarily marginal flat tonnes, so the impact is not so significant from a profitability perspective, actually should help the business because otherwise we'd be having negative contribution and higher fixed cost. So it's a bit like the 4.2 million tonne program that we have running in Europe.

In terms of Ukraine and South Africa, these were scheduled maintenance events and I think in the second half, the production levels and shipment levels should be better.

In terms of the $2 billion plan, these are not assets which are underperforming, so to say. I think they don't create value in that environment. These are assets which we think are attractive. By optimizing our portfolio and locking $2 billion of value, that's basically net debt reduction.

I'm not suggesting that we'll be selling core assets, but predominantly, we'll be maintaining our strategy and looking as to how we can monetize some of our noncore assets or sell some equity stakes in some of our core assets. So it's a combination of opportunities that we have. It's not that there's a $2 billion target and now we are trying to identify the assets, we have identified the assets. There's no immediate announcement either but this is also not back-end loaded, so I'd expect us to receive the proceeds of the $2 billion asset optimization plan over the next 2 years.

So other than that, I can't really provide you with more specific color on second half versus first half. I mean we can talk about overall shipments of the group and mining performance, if you're interested, but these are just some high-level comments.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [4]

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So we'll move to the next question please from Ioannis at Macquarie.

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Ioannis Masvoulas, Macquarie Research - Analyst [5]

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Two questions from my side: the first, just a follow-up on potential asset sales. So does today's announcement reflect your expectation on somewhat lower organic free cash flow beyond the short-term squeeze, i.e., for the years to come? And does it also set a softer line including your $7 billion target by mid-2021?

And the second question, just some visibility on Q3 volumes, especially in Europe would be helpful. Should we assume that the Ilva volumes offset the lost output from the divested assets and then we need to account for the production cuts you've announced? Or are there more elements taken into account?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [6]

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Okay. So in terms of the $2 billion value plan -- not value plan, value release from our portfolio, it's no different from what we have done in the past, right? We've had portfolio optimization plans and we have raised cash as we have divested certain assets. And over the years, we have collected more than $5 billion in assets. And so it's very similar to that plan. What does it achieve? Clearly, it accelerates our deleveraging, and that's a good thing. We have not provided a timescale on when we would achieve the $7 billion target, and that remains the case today.

In terms of European volumes. So Ilva was there the whole first half of this year and so were the remedies, right? So the biggest impact when you look at our European shipments into the second half will be the remedies. And the remedies are about 2 million tonnes. So you will see that change in our shipment number for Europe in the second half. The rest of the impact will be the seasonal slowdown in consumption in Europe. So you can model as to what your forecast is, what is the seasonal slowdown in the second half versus the first half. Some of the production cuts will have some impact on that, but please recognize that the production cut is relative to our plan, and a larger impact of the production cut is also going to be in our inventory as we destock into the second half of this year.

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Ioannis Masvoulas, Macquarie Research - Analyst [7]

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That's clear and helpful. And maybe just a quick follow-up on your comment around working capital. So you've guided to $1.2 billion working capital release in the second half. Part of it, I guess, is the seasonal unwind. Could you perhaps quantify how much is left from the $1 billion structured release of the unplanned investment you did last year?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [8]

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So in the first half of this year, we had invested about $200 million in working capital. So that will unwind in the second half. And on top of it, we have a structural release of $1 billion of working capital. So the combined cash generation in the second half on working capital should be $1.2 billion assuming existing market conditions and prices. We looked at the working capital efficiency based on this forecast of $1.2 billion, and we believe that on a days basis, it's a good number relative to what -- where we have been on historical average. To the extent that there's any change in the raw material complex, then clearly, that number can increase, but to the extent that there is no change, the $1.2 billion is a good number for the second half.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [9]

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So we'll move to the next question please from Cedar at Merrill Lynch.

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Cedar Ekblom, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Analyst [10]

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I've got 2 questions. Can you just talk us through the process behind the write-down in the U.S. business? $600 million seems quite a large write-down to simply reflect a squeeze in spreads that's happened over the last 12 months in that business. So maybe you could just talk us through how we get to $600 million.

And then the other question relates to your shipment trends in Europe in the first half. So far there doesn't seem to be any evidence of your production cuts that you've announced in those numbers. When do we start to really see the potential benefits to the market of tonnes being removed and, hopefully, prices rising?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [11]

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Okay. So let's talk about the U.S. impairment. So as you know, the U.S. impairment follows our regular annual impairment exercise. And what we do is we compare the asset value to the present value of expected future cash flow. So we checked this on a quarterly basis for potential figures for revision. In the U.S., given the weaker-than-anticipated operating environment and this is lower than expected steel prices, lower apparent steel consumption as well as higher raw material costs, the cash flow performance in the first half and our forecast for second half 2019 was below our original expectations.

So primarily, this impairment deals with that deterioration in cash flow forecast as such a 600 -- as you know, $600 million impairment on our AM U.S. fixed assets has been taken.

Steel prices -- when we run our impairment models, we use the realistic expectations on all factors. But unfortunately, the impact on our cash flows relate to previous assumptions and that was quite apparent in the second quarter, hence, we took the impairment. The recent price changes, recent price announcements in terms of steel pricing in the U.S. is not baked into our second half 2019 free cash flow forecast.

Moving to Europe, the 4.2 million tonne production cut. So it's designed to be in the second half and as I said earlier, it's relative to our plan. A significant portion of that is the production cuts, so it's impacting the levels of inventory so it's destocked, and there is some impact in the supply of tonnes into the second half of the market. But overall, I would expect our steel shipments to mirror the apparent steel consumption decline in the second half versus the first half.

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Cedar Ekblom, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Analyst [12]

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Okay. And just a quick follow-up question on the U.S., have you made any adjustments to steel price assumptions beyond 2019? Or is the impairment simply related to lower profitability this year?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [13]

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So we have also made changes to first half 2020.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [14]

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So we'll move to the next question from Luke at JPMorgan.

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Luke Nelson, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Research Analyst [15]

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My first question is just on met coal. Can you remind us what your internal efficiency is and the split of the cost-plus tonnes for each of the divisions? And as a follow-up, just given the recent price declines assuming that do stick, how long the inventory cycle is for that to be reflected in your P&L.

And then secondly just on the $500 million reduction in CapEx this year, how much of that is growth versus sustaining and whether any of this is just a shift into 2020? And also just your thoughts on where you think your ongoing level of sustaining CapEx is over the midterm.

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Simon C. Wandke, ArcelorMittal - EVP [16]

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Just firstly, Luke, on the coal, I mean we're talking met coal, coking coal. If you look at Q2 for example, 1.4 million tonnes of production, of that, about 50-odd percent is cost-plus which goes into the group and in terms of that total consumption, about 80% of that coal production is actually consumed in the group. So quite near as most of the year through each quarter.

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [17]

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Right. Thank you. In terms of CapEx, sustaining CapEx was about [$3.1 billion], [$3.2 billion] including Ilva. In terms of what we have cut primarily, these are growth projects across the board. This is not just a deferral, and I think we do not want to create a balloon in 2020 in terms of the CapEx amount. So what we have done is we have reviewed it and maintained what we think are the most important strategic growth projects. So we're still going ahead with our Mexican hot strip mill project. We're still going ahead with what we plan to do in Brazil in terms of the Vega expansion, et cetera, et cetera.

In terms of going forward, we have not provided specific guidance. But I would expect that our CapEx number would be around this level, i.e., there's no dramatic increase that we are forecasting in 2020, and we are preparing our 5-year capital plans so that there is a combination of growth CapEx and build but not exceeding approximately the levels that we are guiding to you in 2019.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [18]

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So we're going to take the next question please from Rochus at Kepler.

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Rochus Brauneiser, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Head of Steel Research [19]

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First is on Europe. We have seen you making these production cuts announcements in May, but we haven't really seen that the market has got back to a balance. How do you look at the second half? Now do you think it is the seasonality who will bring the market in a better shape? And what do you expect to happen in the import side ahead of any safeguard adjustment, which might not become effective before the 1st of October. And related to that, can you give us a bit of an update what is going to happen with your production cuts in Poland where obviously, you have delayed the decision. And also in Italy, obviously people have not been put on temporary leave after strikes.

And the second question is on your European spreads, how do you look at the spot spreads? How that might develop in the second half? And what would be your key arguments why those spreads are going to get better in the second half?

And the last question is on China. We have seen China steel spreads going up from late last year, but this trend has broken since the second quarter. How do you look at the demand and supply and discipline in China? Record production levels there are suggesting that the capacity hasn't gone down that much as we saw it last year or maybe has gone back up due to this replacement schemes. So any color on that would be very helpful.

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [20]

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So indirect -- a lot of questions. I'm going to try and go through them in a logical order. So let's just start with China and the global demand/supply balance. We saw this high production number in China, the 10% growth. We think this is still some unofficial capacity becoming formalized. We don't see that much of growth domestically. We have updated our number for China, but fundamentally, we are seeing apparent steel consumption growth of 0.5% to 1.5%, and we're not forecasting. And so therefore, we are not forecasting a dramatic increase in exports so this is really anomaly in the numbers.

In terms of the demand situation in China, demand situation in China is still okay. Clearly, the construction sector or segment is much stronger than what we see in the automotive space. But fundamentally, China is in positive territory both on a real basis and on an apparent basis.

In terms of Chinese pricing, you're absolutely right. Chinese price has moved up, moved down. But the issue for us is not the base pricing in China. I think the issue that the steel industry in Europe and in North America is facing is that prices in Europe, for example, are lower than Chinese domestic pricing.

Prices in the U.S. are lower than import parity pricing. So there is a market price, which is built up on China and what we see in these core markets is that prices are lower than that. And that, I think, is the #1 issue right now.

Yes. In terms of the U.S., there have been recent price increase announcements, and we are -- there is good evidence on them sticking.

In terms of Europe, I think there are 2 or 3 factors to think about: number one is what you talked about is an improvement in the safeguard measures, which is a September event; number two, I think at these price levels, it's very difficult at least you can see it in our numbers for anyone to have a decent return. And therefore, automatically, I would expect supply to reduce.

And clearly, that implies an improvement in the demand/supply balance. We have seen that in the past when European prices have achieved this level. I think there's a slide in our presentation on Page 6. It doesn't last for long, it's short-lived. So that gives us confidence that there has to be normalization to what the global price of steel is both in Europe and in North America.

In terms of our capacity, our production cuts are 4.2 million tonnes and your question on Poland, I think the key takeaway is that, look, we are focused on reducing our productive capacity by 4.2 million tonnes and there could be small changes here and there, but that's fundamentally the plan.

And in terms of economic unemployment in Italy, our program is still continuing. We call it [Chigo]. And that program has not been postponed.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [21]

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So we'll move now to Myles at UBS.

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Myles Allsop, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director,Co-Head of EMEA Mining Equity Research & Equity Analyst, European Mining Research [22]

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A couple of questions. First on Ilva, could you just give us a quick update how the discussions with the government are progressing and if you lose this protection from the 7th of September, is it likely you'll have to sort of curtail stock production there? So a quick update on that situation.

And then maybe on carbon -- so for -- the price of carbon in Europe has obviously gone to the moon. There are changes in the European ETS system. Do you think this is going to be a big driver for the steel industry in Europe and force further restructuring over the next 5 years? And can you just remind us all the measures that you had taken, if you're bit ahead of the pack in terms of addressing this issue.

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [23]

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Okay. Great. So let's talk about Ilva. So, fundamentally, or maybe I'm giving a little bit of background, but I think it's important to put the situation in context. The plant has not been in environmental compliance, and that's why the facility was nationalized and then reprivatized. To bring it into environmental compliance is not just about improving operational parameters but it is also about spending CapEx, i.e., you cannot fix it in the short-term. It requires 3 to 5 years. An environmental plan has been created to address exactly that.

Under the share purchase agreement, we were offered certain protections, environmental immunity and due to certain law changes in Italy, that was revoked. Technically, the immunity expires on September 6 midnight or September 7. We have been in discussions with the Italian government, which -- who are working on providing us with legal safeguards so that we are protected in this period. This is not just an ArcelorMittal issue. Any operator on that facility would face the same issue because it's very difficult to operate a facility which is noncompliant if you do not have certain legal protection or legal safeguards. And I think that issue will -- and based on our discussions, we believe that issue will get resolved, but obviously, no assurances can be given at this point in time.

In terms of the price of carbon, you're right, the price of carbon has continued to increase. We have certain slides in our investor presentation towards end of the pack, which walks you through some of the ideas that we are thinking of. But fundamentally, we have 3 pathways to reduce our carbon footprint: one is hydrogen, the other is to use Carbalyst, the other is to use Torero, et cetera, et cetera. And we believe that all of these technologies lead the industry and the solutions that we have developed are unique and ahead of the curve.

However, to properly deploy all of these technologies and to spend the CapEx and to commit resources, you need a level playing field. And I think in that regard, there's some good news because the new president of the European Union has announced a green border adjustment, which implies that any steel that is imported into the EU would have the same carbon costs. Is the level playing field that's created, I think ArcelorMittal is well positioned because, as you know, we have a large R&D budget. We have a lot of talent in our organization, for example, when you look at the automotive business, we do inherently well. We're #1 in terms of technology globally, and here we have an opportunity to also outperform and find solutions so that we can have the lowest carbon footprint.

So that's just high-level on the CO2 environment. If you have further questions, happy to answer them.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [24]

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In that case, might as well move to the next question from Phil at KeyBanc.

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Philip Ross Gibbs, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - VP and Equity Research Analyst [25]

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Questions just on NAFTA. I know you had some operational issues in the first quarter and some are U.S. operations and some downtime in Mexico, and I think with the volume pickup that you saw, we would have expected better cost performance and just better results. I know price was an impact. But anything going on there that's lingering in NAFTA in terms of operational issues? And then also please discuss the tariff situation with Dofasco.

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [26]

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So the operational disruption that we had with Q1 was basically Mexico. There were some also in Burns Harbor. All of those were not there in the second quarter. So to the extent that you think the results are not as strong, from our standpoint, it is primarily market. We also do have this iron ore, which is linked to IODEX, and so when you look at the iron ore complex, it is much more expensive than perhaps some of the other players in the U.S. So that's how we look at the results in our NAFTA business in the second quarter. No real operational disruption in 2Q. Your question on Canadian tariffs or Dofasco tariffs, what exactly do you want us to discuss?

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Philip Ross Gibbs, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - VP and Equity Research Analyst [27]

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I know you had talked about $100 million a quarter of headwinds from that and I think in mid-May, they had dropped the tariffs between the U.S. and Canada and just wondering if you saw any relief in the quarter or expect that more going forward?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [28]

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Yes. We did see some release in the quarter approximately $30 million, and the remaining relief we'll expect to see in the third quarter. The $100 million number was good for Q1. Clearly, the price level is lower, so 25% on lower prices is not the same amount. So to that degree, the 30 plus 50 is a good number going into Q3 relative to Q1.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [29]

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So we'll take the next question please from Sergey at SocGen.

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Sergey Donskoy, Societe Generale Cross Asset Research - Equity Analyst [30]

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Yes. I have a very small question on Section 232 tariffs. Their elimination should presumably provide a boost to your profits in North America. Is it possible to estimate what would be the impact on EBITDA level, let's say, second quarter prices? And when do you think the full amount, the full benefit of this would be felt in Q3 or in Q4?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [31]

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So the impact of 232 is not there, right, in the second quarter because prices in the U.S. are below import parity. And when we look at import parity, we are classifying import parity post 232. So you'd start seeing the benefits of 232 when prices in the U.S. were to move back to import parity.

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Sergey Donskoy, Societe Generale Cross Asset Research - Equity Analyst [32]

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Sorry. What I meant is that you incurred costs due to shipping steel from Canada and Mexico into the U.S.

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [33]

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Yes. So the tariff question, which we just went through, in the second quarter, we had a $30 million pickup relative to Q1. And then we'll have a $50 million pickup in Q3. That's the tariff that we are saving. So actually, it's a wash, but that's a different discussion.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [34]

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So I think we will now move to our last question which is from Bastian at Deutsche Bank.

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Bastian Synagowitz, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [35]

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I've got a couple of more questions on Ilva and maybe you can walk us through each of the challenges you are facing. Firstly, on the constraints at your port logistics, when do you expect them to be lifted and if they were not to be lifted, what would be the annual volume run rate you would be kept at given the lower raw material feed? That is my first question.

Then secondly on the operating license and as a follow-up to what Myles was asking earlier. You said that you can't run the plan without legal immunity and there were some statements today that you may not actually receive the legal immunity by the Italian government. Do we expect -- or when do you expect clarity on the situation? Will that be before the 6th of November date? And is that your base assumption that the situation will be resolved? And then, secondly, if you don't receive a positive response which were -- what would be the next steps? And if there are scenario where you would simply walk away from the lease and buy agreement given that Ilva is a liability and probably a $1 billion direct to your cash flow at this point of the cycle?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [36]

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So let me just provide a high-level update and then go into more detail on the license to operate issues. So as I mentioned earlier, the immunity that we had has been lifted. The effective date on the lifting of that immunity is September 6, right? So at that point in time, it is very difficult for us to operate the facility further. And for that matter, I believe it would be very difficult for any other operator to operate that facility.

We are working with the Italian government to institute legal safeguard measures and our expectation is that those measures would be in place before the 6th of September because the deadline is the 6th of September. And I think you would have -- in all probability, you would have a resolution by then.

In terms of the other issues that we're facing, you have talked about pier 4. So there is a seizure on pier 4. However, we are developing other alternatives while that pier remains under seizure, such as pier 2. If we were to operate through pier 2, we are losing about 10,000 tonnes of raw materials a day, which ballpark implies a 1/3 production cut to Ilva's productive capacity. So if you're looking at 4.5 million tonnes, 5 million tonnes number, you're looking more at 3 million, 3.5 million on a going-forward basis. We expect to resolve these issues. We don't expect the seizure to last indefinitely and we're working with the authorities to find solutions.

To the extent that we don't find solutions, clearly, certain customer deliveries have been affected and that's where we issued our force majeure, but we hope that these issues are resolved in the near term as well. Does that provide you with enough color on your Ilva questions?

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Bastian Synagowitz, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [37]

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Yes. I would like to follow-up again on sort of like plan B, what if when it comes to the operating license at Ilva and the 6th of September deadline. So if you were not to get the positive response, what would be sort of your options? I mean could you basically just walk away from this? You're dragging $1 billion in cash probably here at the current run rate. I mean half the EBITDA loss, you're probably spending $400 million, $500 million in CapEx. You have the $200 million rent setting that up. It's a large number. Could you basically just walk away? And if so, what would be the cost of walking away? Do you have to pay such -- the full amount and the full rent over the next 6 to 10 years upfront? So what would be sort of the various scenarios in such a case?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [38]

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Okay. So look, the plan is what we're working on. I think we have good assurances from our discussions with the government that they recognize that there is a serious issue here and they're working to resolve it. And in terms of plan A, I mean I walked all of you guys through it that we have 6 teams, 52 projects and we're working to minimize the cash losses of Ilva. To the extent that immunity is not granted, we have certain protections under the contract but I think at this point in time, it's not appropriate to get into that because all of us at ArcelorMittal are focused on plan A.

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Daniel Fairclough, ArcelorMittal - Head of IR & VP of Corporate Finance [39]

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And we do actually have one follow-up question from Phil at KeyBanc.

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Philip Ross Gibbs, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - VP and Equity Research Analyst [40]

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Just looking at NAFTA with the weakness we've seen in auto, particularly light passenger side and then some weakness that we've seen more recently in the PMI data. I think Chicago PMI yesterday was below 50 solidly. Do you feel good that you have the right footprint right now or any thoughts that you may have to take down some capacity similar to what U.S. Steel has done in the United States?

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Aditya Mittal, ArcelorMittal - President & Group CFO [41]

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Yes. We have not brought on capacity in the U.S. and we have no plans to take down capacity in the U.S.

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Lakshmi Nivas Mittal, ArcelorMittal - Chairman & CEO [42]

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So there being no other questions, thank you for all your questions and your interest. I think it is clear that we are making strategic progress. And the efforts that we have made to reduce cost and strengthen the business in recent periods were reflected in the results over the first half, in particular, our healthy free cash flow performance, which I expect to continue. On the final note, I will bring this call to a close and wish everyone a safe and happy summer. Thank you very much.