March 25, 2020 / 5:35 PM / 5 days ago

Russian steelmaker NLMK suspends Italian plant due to coronavirus

MOSCOW, March 25 (Reuters) - Russian steelmaker NLMK said on Wednesday it had suspended production at its plant in Italy for at least two weeks as a result of the spread of the coronavirus, while its other European plants are still operating.

The plant, in Verona in northern Italy, which has been heavily affected by the virus, employs 260 people and has the capacity to produce 450,000 tonnes of steel per year.

“We are stopping today temporarily the bulk of our Verona operations for at least two weeks,” a spokeswoman for NLMK said in a statement.

The company is looking for solutions for its customers who are in critically important sectors, such as food and medicine producers, the spokeswoman said.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte issued a decree at the weekend shutting all companies not deemed strictly necessary to the country’s supply chain, in an effort to prevent coronavirus infections which have caused some 6,820 fatalities in the country so far.

NLMK, which also has plants in Belgium, France and Denmark, said its other European operations remained open and measures were being implemented to prevent the spread of the virus. (Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Jane Merriman)

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