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Metal products maker Argent Industrial has criticised the government for granting ArcelorMittal SA import tariff protection, saying SA’s largest steel producer is "hell-bent" on creating an inefficient primary steel supply monopoly, while killing off downstream steel processing through higher input costs. It said in its results statement for the year to March released on Thursday that General Motors’ departure from SA meant that Argent would close its automotive plant before the end of September. "The current steel-trading environment is very difficult, with the government hell-bent on creating an inefficient singular carbon steel supply monopoly," CEO Treve Hendry said in the results statement. "The recent price increases did manage to turn this sector around. However, the sudden announcement from General Motors that they are disinvesting from SA will result in our automotive plant being closed." In this regard, the group had provided an additional R2m in the form of stock provisio...

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