HBIS Group Serbia Iron & Steel plans to launch blast furnace # 1 in Smederevo on August 16, the company reports.
This blast furnace was shut down in July 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the market situation that prevailed at the time.
“During the last 11 months, only blast furnace # 2 was in operation, which turned out to be a good strategic decision at the time,” notes HBIS Serbia. “The current market situation has created favorable conditions for the restart of blast furnace # 1, the production capacity of which will depend on market requirements.”
However, the restart of the blast furnace is significant given the shortage of steel currently observed in Europe, especially flat products. Due to the fact that the ArcelorMittal joint venture in Italy produces products with limited capacity utilization, as well as questions regarding the future of Liberty Steel’s plants in Europe, additional deliveries of flat products will be welcomed by steel buyers. However, since Serbia is outside the EU, protective measures are applied to its steel.
In 2020, the plant worked in accordance with the business plan. “In the fourth quarter of last year, one blast furnace produced steel at the same level as in the second quarter with two blast furnaces,” says the company’s executive director for production Vladan Mikhailovich.
HBIS intends to continue working in Serbia, which is best reflected in ongoing investments that will significantly improve the environment in Smederevo, he adds. These investments amount to $ 140 million.
Before the pandemic, the group’s production capacity was about 2.2 million tons per year. The range of products includes hot and cold rolled coils, pickled coils and electrolytic sheets.