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Arrium chief not giving up

Arrium CEO Andrew Roberts was solemn but determined in meeting the challenges faced by the Whyalla Steelworks head on.Arrium’s chief executive officer iscarrying the burden of a city on his shoulders.
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Andrew Roberts visited Whyalla to meet with local employees, stakeholders, and the Whyalla City Council to discuss the future of the steelworks.

“It certainly is a consideration to me that Arrium is a key part of the community, our employees are here, their families are here, we’re very conscious of the role we play,” he said.

“That’s why we have to do everything in our controlto find a way in which we can bridge the cost gap and position the business to be successful.”

“But at the moment the business is not economic on the financial point, so that’s our focus.”

Mr Roberts said it was important employees be realistic about the situation Arrium is in, but that the company was not giving up.

“We’ve got clear plans and have identified opportunities to reduce our cost base, and we needto be very deliberate in making sure we actually achieve that.”

“By doing that we will put ourselves in a position of having every opportunity to have the steelworks continue operation.”

Mr Roberts said the discussions with employees, stakeholders, andcouncil had been helpful in finding cost-saving measures for the company.

“We discussed the challenges that the steelworks and the mining businesses are facing, but also the opportunities with that,” he said.

“The business and the employees have done a lot of work to identify cost savings already, but we’ve still got more to do and we have to continue to focus on actually getting that outcome.”

“We’ll be working more broadly with our contractors and the state and federal governments to find a way in which we can deliver the cost savings that will allow us to have a cash breakeven basis.”

Mr Roberts stressed that working towards Arrium’s survival had to be a team effort.

“We’re making very good progress, we still have that $60 million gap so everyone has to work together.”

“I don’t want to be in a position down the track where we can’t get the business to be economic and say that we could have done more as an individual, a company, a community, and as a state.”

Mr Roberts meeting with the council included the Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Development body.

“We discussed where we’re at, we discussed what we’re working on, I stated that we were doing everything we can to achieve a sucessful outcome but also made sure they were clear about the challenges we are facing.”

Mr Roberts said Arrium’s $1.3 billion agreement with GSO Capital Partnerswas a step in the right direction but did not assure the steelworks future.

“The recapitalisation announcement on Monday was positive for the ongoing financial viability of the company as a whole. However, it does not change the situation in Whyalla where we still need to address the cash losses in our Steel and Mining businesses.”

“We need to change the way we do business to enable the Steelworks and Mining business to be viable, and we need all our employees, contractors, external partners and Government to pull together and deliver this change.”

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