Rust belt yet to share in Amsa’s turnaround
East Africa gives steelmaker the growth that SA cannot
Scrap-metal yards, young men waiting at intersections to pilfer from steel transport trucks, a failing sewer system and youth unemployment are the order of the day as one drives along the potholed roads of Vanderbijlpark home to ArcelorMittal SA (Amsa), the country's largest steelworks — in Gauteng's rust belt. Amsa is profitable for the first time in nearly a decade, which may be due to a boom in East Africa. At home, however, it faces problems, and the local communities who rely on it are still feeling the effects of the past decade. Africa's largest steelmaker this month reported its first full-year profit since 2010, owing to good steel prices, increased exports and increased overall sales. The company has seen its fortunes improve dramatically to report headline profits of R968m, up from a loss of R2.5bn a year ago. But CEO Kobus Verster admitted that the communities in which Amsa operates — Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging in Gauteng, Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal and Saldanha in t...
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