CAIRO: Egyptian group Ezz Steel reopened this month its Ezz Flat Steel (EFS) plant, which has an annual capacity of 1.3 million tons, the firm’s investor relations manager said on Sunday.
Ezz Steel, Egypt’s largest steel producer, had halted production at the facility in November 2008 due to the global financial crisis, but resumed operations this month as it anticipated a pickup in demand and improvement in global prices.
“Iron ore prices are soaring,” Kamel Galal told Reuters. “It is expected that because of the raw material increases, selling prices in general will be increased for steel globally.”
“We’re very comfortable with the market in Egypt. It seems that it’s going in its normal growth direction … We are confident in the Egyptian market outlook for the coming year,” Galal said.
Ezz Flat Steel was modified during the stoppage to produce both flat and long steel products, and is expected to utilize around 80 percent of its capacity in the next nine months, Galal said.
“During the stoppage what we did there was install extra flexibility … Now the plant has the ability to produce flat steel or long products,” Kamal Galal said.
The plant, inaugurated in 2004, accounts for around 18 percent of Ezz Steel’s total production, Galal said.
Ezz Steel net profit for 2009 fell 92.85 percent to LE 88 million ($16 million).