ArcelorMittal's economic contribution to Spain in 2017 was over 4.8 billion euros
The steel giant ArcelorMittal has 11 production centers and three R+D centers in Spain where it develops solutions that are then applied in the company's production units around the world. Its research lines include particularly those that address areas such as the environment, business models, improvements in productive processes, energy, 3D printing, nanotechnologies and digitization.
What infrastructure does ArcelorMittal have in España?
ArcelorMittal has 11 industrial plants in Spain linked to the business lines of flat products, long products and downstream solutions. In addition to this presence, it has a network of 17 distribution centers distributed around the whole of the Spanish territory, and a workforce of 8,605 employees in Spain. ArcelorMittal's financial contribution in Spain was estimated at over 4.8 billion euros in 2017, up 19% over the previous year.
How much have they invested in Spain in recent years and with what objective?
ArcelorMittal invested over 135 million euros in its facilities in Spain in 2017, exceeding the figures for 2016 and 2015, which were 133 and 109 million respectively. Our investments are focused on the one hand on enhancing our processes so as to supply innovative steel solutions that improve the living conditions of the end consumers, and on the other to ensure the sustainability of our activity in the environment where it takes place.
What is the importance of your Spanish plants in ArcelorMittal's worldwide structure and strategy?
In 2017, ArcelorMittal generated a turnover of 68.7 billion dollars, with a production of 93.1 million metric tons of crude steel and 57.4 million metric tons of iron mineral. Production in Spain was 5.9 million tonnes of steel, accounting for 41.1% of national production (14.5 million). 78% of our production was obtained through an integrated steel manufacturing process and the rest (22%) in electrical steel plants.
You also have three research centers in Spain. How much does this investment in R&D represent?
ArcelorMittal invested a total of 278 million dollars in its global R+D structure in 2017. This investment is not determined at the center or country level, but by technical competences. In the Spanish centers these competences are closely linked to improvements in the productive processes and to breakthrough projects. Two of these centers are located in Asturias and another in the Basque Country, largely thanks to the ecosystems generated around them.
The worldwide head of R&D centers comes from one of these centers. What's so special about the research done in Asturias?
In the last decade, the R&D centers in Asturias have to a certain extent succeeded in formulating new approaches to research in the company by fulfilling certain values and generating a working environment that has been able to first attract and then motivate an increasingly important group of researchers who have created significant added value for the organization. The result of this whole process is not only the fact that the head of the group's R&D centers comes from here, but that another six members from the same centers now have responsibilities at the global level in areas ranging from digitization and additive technology through to the environment, and including energy, sub-products and rails.
Can its contributions have a global scope?
As I said before, the R&D structure in the group is global; that is, each completed project potentially has an application at the worldwide level. Today R&D solutions developed entirely in Spain can be found in 104 of the company’s production units or commercial agencies in 24 different countries.
How does a company of your size rate the support it receives from the different governments?
The sustainability we apply to all our business activities leads to value creation in the short and medium term, which benefits all the different stakeholders, including the various governments at the local, regional, national and European level. The presence of ArcelorMittal in the communities where it operates is consolidated through a relationship based on continuous dialog with the representatives and support for social initiatives offering opportunities for improvement. As a result of this dialog, our aims is to respond to their concerns transparently, and by the same token we hope to obtain their collaboration so we can tackle the challenges in our industry.
What are the upcoming challenges facing ArcelorMittal in Spain?
The situation of the market remains favorable, but this positive trend must be considered within a context in which the demand for steel in Europe is still approximately 25% lower than pre-crisis levels. For this reason, the iron and steel industry must continue its actions to respond to all future challenges, and which are themselves interrelated: overcapacity, unfair competition, CO2 emission rights, and very specifically in the Spanish case, the high energy costs, and finally digitization and the necessary transition toward the evolved industry 4.0.