This Morning in Metals: Liberty Steel to acquire French steel assets

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merger and acquisition

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This morning in metals news: Liberty Steel Group announced it plans to acquire several French steel assets; the nationwide aluminum can shortage is impacting brewers; and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) last week announced changes to its $7.5 billion tariff package on European goods.

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Liberty Steel to acquire French steel assets

Liberty Steel Group, part of the GFG Alliance, announced Friday it will acquire the steel assets of France’s rail industry business, Hayange.

In addition, Liberty will acquire the Ascoval steelworks.

Hayange produces steel rails for French infrastructure clients, including national rail operator SNCF and metro system operator RATP. The Hayange site employs around 430 people and produces over 300,000 tonnes of rail per year.

Meanwhile, Ascoval employs around 270 people and produces 600,000 tonnes of steel blooms, billets and other forged products using recycled steel.

“Today is a landmark moment for the workers of Hayange and Ascoval, for the French steel industry, and for LIBERTY Steel Group’s GREENSTEEL ambitions in France,” said Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of GFG Alliance. “We have been interested in both of these sites for many years and have always believed that their futures were interlinked. We will revive both businesses, in a partnership supported by the extended GFG Alliance family, which I believe will be able to connect them to bigger opportunities in the market, host downstream developments, and provide additional demand for Ascoval’s steel.”

Aluminum can shortage impacts breweries

While the aluminum can may be something many take for granted, that sentiment is fading amid current market conditions.

A nationwide aluminum can shortage has impacted beverage makers, forcing some companies to focus on their more popular brands (to the chagrin of fans of some niche brands).

As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, the aluminum can shortage has impacted the local brewing scene.

Tom Berg, who opened the Falling Knife Brewing Co. in Minneapolis last year with two friends, lamented the state of aluminum can supply.

“The bigger breweries have a tendency to hoard stuff; they’re probably sitting on pallets and pallets of cans,” Berg told the Star Tribune. “We kind of buy to order, because we don’t have the warehouse space. If we can’t find any cans, we’re totally up the river.”

USTR modifies $7.5B tariff package awarded by WTO

As part of the ongoing saga over subsidies by the U.S. and Europe for their respective airplane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, the World Trade Organization (WTO) last year ruled in the U.S.’s favor.

As a result, the trade body gave the U.S. the green light to impose up to $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on E.U. goods.

Last week, however, the United States Trade Representative announced tweaks to the makeup of the $7.5 billion tariff package.

The USTR said it is removing some products from Greece and the United Kingdom from the tariff list. In turn, it is adding an “equivalent amount of trade from France and Germany.”

The changes will take effect Sept. 1, 2020.

“The EU and member states have not taken the actions necessary to come into compliance with WTO decisions,” USTR Robert Lighthizer said. “The United States, however, is committed to obtaining a long-term resolution to this dispute.”

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