Wim De Klerk, ArcelorMittal’s new chief executive, knows he won’t have any honeymoon in his new position, as he has a lot of challenges to tackle, not least dealing with the impact of cheap imports and rising costs.
De Klerk replaces Paul O’Flaherty who resigned to pursue other interests in December. He was the financial director at South Africa’s second largest coal producer Exxaro Resources and was previously a manager at Kumba Resources, which was later split into Exxaro and Kumba Iron Ore. He also worked at former state-owned Iscor which was later bought by ArcelorMittal.
According to end of year results released in February 2016, ArcelorMittal SA posted a full-year loss that was 23 times wider than its previous years, a situation blamed on an influx of cheap steel imports mainly from China.
Low prices have drastically affected the operations of steel producers worldwide. The plight of South African producers has been exarcebated by cheap imports from China which has reduced margins.