"ArcelorMittal has refused to rule out further site closures in Europe as the global steel industry enters what some observers fear could be a five-year spell of overcapacity linked to signs of a severe slowdown in demand and consumption in China," the Financial Times has reported.
Quoting a company spokesperson, the British daily said, "No further plans have been announced".
The spokesperson was responding to a query on whether he steel maker was considering any further closures in Europe to add to the permanent shutdowns of two plant furnaces in Liege, Belgium.
"The unwillingness of the world's biggest steelmaker to reaffirm previous pledges that it would keep its main European factories open has sparked speculation that it might be preparing to announce permanent shutdowns of some of its smaller production units on the continent," the daily said.
Talking to the Financial Times, ArcelorMittal chairman and chief executive Lakshmi Mittal said that "sustained collapse in European (steel) demand has created a severe imbalance with potential supply (of the metal).
"The most likely candidates for plant closure would include several fairly small units in France, Germany and Spain... However, they could also include facilities in Romania and Poland that Mr Mittal has owned since before the Arcelor acquisition," the report noted.
According to the daily, ff ArcelorMittal were to cut its European plant network in any sizeable way, it would signify a partial unravelling of the logic behind the bitterly fought acquisition by Mr Mittal in 2006 of Luxembourg-based Arcelor.