June 1, 2009 / 3:47 PM / 10 years ago

Libya's Iron and Steel to raise production capacity

CAIRO (Reuters) - State-owned Libyan Iron and Steel Company (Lisco) plans to increase its production capacity by 200,000 tonnes to 2 million tonnes a year by 2012 as part of an expansion plan, a company official said on Monday.

A file photo shows a man working at a furnace at Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine in Linz. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

The company’s plans to list on the Libyan stock exchange were also still on the table, Mohamed Elfighi, Lisco’s technical director, said.

“The first phase of our expansion plan to reach 2 million is planned for 2012,” Elfighi told reporters on the sidelines of a North African steel conference in Cairo, adding that current production capacity was 1.79 million tonnes annually.

He did not give an investment figure for the increase.

“The investment figure is difficult to estimate because there were some estimations and then because of the recession things have changed,” he said.

Lisco had planned to increase its capacity to 4.16 million tonnes but with the financial crisis hitting the demand for flat steel, expansion plans have been limited to long steel products, Elfighi said.

Demand for long steel products continues to rise with Libya’s housing and infrastructure projects booming.

“We have a lot of projects in housing and infrastructure and these of course will seek a lot of rebars,” Elfighi said.

The firm is building a new greenfield plant for rebars and is also extending capacity at an existing wire mill as part of its expansion plan.

“We have already started with a new bar mill of 0.8 million tonnes and we have another wire mill already existing and undergoing augmentation to increase capacity,” Elfighi said.

Lisco still plans to list part of its shares on the Libyan Stock Exchange, but Elfighi did not spell out a definite date for an initial public offering.

“It is still on the table but not for all of the shares, just for some part of the shares,” he said.

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