* SSAB sees 700 million SEK op loss in Q3
* Says to accelerate Europe cost cutting programme
* Says Europe, Asia and U.S. businesses affected by slowdown
STOCKHOLM, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Swedish specialty steel firm SSAB said it would make an operating loss of around 700 million crowns in the third quarter as demand weakened, and said it would cut 10 percent of white-collar staff in Europe.
Overcapacity, the euro zone crisis and a slowdown in China have hit steel makers hard and there is little sign of improvement.
“Customers have been extremely hesitant in both northern and southern Europe,” SSAB said in a statement. “The economic slowdown in China has had a negative impact on operations within SSAB APAC.”
The company had said in the second quarter it expected that its North American operations would see a weakening in demand in the following three month period and said now that this had happened.
SSAB said it expected to report an operating loss of around 700 million Swedish crowns ($107.00 million) for the third quarter and as a result would speed up its cost saving programme in Europe.
The programme, which aims at generating 800 million crowns of annual savings, is expected to be completed in early 2013 and will see white-collar staff in Europe cut by around 10 percent. ($1 = 6.5419 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Simon Johnson)