ArcelorMittal reinstated its dividend and named Aditya Mittal as its new chief executive officer as a rebounding steel market helped it shrug off the impact of the pandemic.
Steel demand -- a key barometer for global economic growth -- will increase by 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent this year, the company said Thursday in its full-year earnings statement. Steelmakers from India to Japan have flagged a recovery in demand and prices after enduring a difficult year in 2020 as Covid-19 crushed consumption.
It will pay a dividend of 30 cents a share, the company said. The steelmaking giant halted payouts following a collapse in demand last year. It also announced a new share buyback program.
“Although we must continue to navigate the Covid-19 challenge, I expect 2021 to be another year of progress for the company, and look forward to working closely with Aditya our new CEO,” said Lakshmi Mittal, who takes on the role of executive chairman.
Reinstating the dividend will be a boost for Mittal, the billionaire steel magnate who owns 36 per cent of the company. ArcelorMittal achieved its debt target as the company generated cash flow with the recovery in the global economy from the initial effects of Covid-19.
The steelmaker has also focused on consolidation, selling its North American operations to Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and shuttering an unprofitable furnace in Poland. It also sold most of its stake in the beleaguered Ilva mill to the Italian government.
ArcelorMittal reported fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $1.73 billion.