Ongoing consolidation defines todays steel industry, and following a wave of mergers and acquisitions a few multinational steel manufacturers now serve the majority of the marketplace. In 2009, the worlds five largest steel producers accounted for approximately one-third of global steel output, according to the World Steel Association.
As a result of this consolidation, and in an effort to manage global capacity, some acquired steel mills may be idled or even shut down – leaving existing mills to meet market demand by improving efficiency and increasing productivity. The Wall Street Journal, for example, on June 1 reported, ArcelorMittal is weeding out its less-efficient operations. The company is shutting down two blast furnaces in Indiana and restarting a larger one in that state in an effort to centralize production and lower costs.