SA to put pressure on Arcelor, Sasol to cut prices

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Rob Davies Pic Independent Newspapers Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Cape Town - South Africa will put pressure on steel producer ArcelorMittal SA and petrochemicals firm Sasol to reduce prices and help cut input costs in the steel, platinum and polymer industries by up to 15 percent, a government minister said.

The government in Africa's second largest economy is pushing to revitalise industrial capacity by encouraging companies to add value to minerals; a process referred to as “beneficiation” locally; before exporting them.

“We've got to ensure that the mineral inputs are available at a competitive price, a lower price in South Africa than it is available outside of this country,” Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said in parliament this week.

“If ArcelorMittal were able to reduce current prices by 10 percent then I think that would amount to a very significant injection into industries using steel product,” he said.

A similar 10 to 15 percent discount for polymers at Sasol would also benefit downstream manufacturers, he added.

Competition authorities fined the petrochemicals group 543 million rand in June for excessively pricing its propylene and polypropylene products.

Both are key ingredients in the making plastic buckets and motor car parts.

Sasol is appealing the fine. - Reuters

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