Risk factors

Understanding our risks and managing them effectively is essential for our sustainability and long-term success.

Good risk management is about having the right measures and systems in place to recognise, manage and mitigate our risks, in light of our responsibilities to all of our stakeholders. Here we list the key risks and uncertainties to our business, our financial condition, the results of operations, our reputation or prospects. For full details, download the risk section from our 20-F.

Global economy and the mining and steel industry

  • Excess capacity, oversupply and destocking cycles in the steel industry and in the iron ore mining industry have in the past, are currently and may continue in the future to weigh on the profitability of steel producers, including ArcelorMittal.
  • Protracted low steel and iron ore prices, and further decreases in steel and iron ore prices, would have an adverse effect on ArcelorMittal’s results of operations.
  • Volatility in the supply and prices of raw materials, energy and transportation, and volatility in steel prices or mismatches between steel prices and raw material prices could adversely affect ArcelorMittal’s results of operations.
  • ArcelorMittal’s business and results are substantially affected by regional and global macroeconomic conditions. Recessions or prolonged periods of weak growth in the global economy or the economies of ArcelorMittal’s key selling markets have in the past had and in the future would be likely to have a material adverse effect on the mining and steel industries and on ArcelorMittal’s business, results of operations and financial condition.

Competition

  • Developments in the competitive environment in the steel industry could have an adverse effect on ArcelorMittal’s competitive position and hence its business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.
  • Unfair trade practices in ArcelorMittal’s home markets could negatively affect steel prices and reduce ArcelorMittal’s profitability, while trade restrictions could limit ArcelorMittal’s access to key export markets.
  • Competition from other materials could reduce market prices and demand for steel products and thereby reduce ArcelorMittal’s cash flows and profitability.

Regulation

  • ArcelorMittal is subject to regulatory and compliance risks, which may expose it to investigations by governmental authorities, litigation and fines, in relation, among other things, to its pricing and marketing practices or other antitrust matters. The resolution of such matters could negatively affect the Company’s profitability and cash flows in a particular period or harm its reputation.
  • ArcelorMittal’s business is subject to an extensive, complex and evolving regulatory framework and its governance and compliance processes may fail to prevent regulatory penalties and reputational harm, whether at operating subsidiaries, joint ventures or associates.
  • ArcelorMittal is subject to strict environmental laws and regulations that could give rise to a significant increase in costs and liabilities.
  • Laws and regulations restricting emissions of greenhouse gases could force ArcelorMittal to incur increased capital and operating costs and could have a material adverse effect on ArcelorMittal’s results of operations and financial condition.
  • ArcelorMittal is subject to stringent health and safety laws and regulations that give rise to significant costs and could give rise to significant liabilities.

Finance

  • ArcelorMittal has a substantial amount of indebtedness, which could make it more difficult or expensive to refinance its maturing debt, incur new debt and/or flexibly manage its business.
  • ArcelorMittal’s level of profitability and cash flow currently is and, depending on market and operating conditions, may in the future be, substantially affected by its ability to reduce costs and improve operating efficiency.
  • ArcelorMittal is a holding company that depends on the earnings and cash flows of its operating subsidiaries, which may not be sufficient to meet future operational needs or for shareholder distributions and lossmaking subsidiaries may drain cash flow necessary for such needs or distributions.
  • Changes in assumptions underlying the carrying value of certain assets, including as a result of adverse market conditions, could result in the impairment of such assets, including intangible assets such as goodwill.
  • The Company’s investment projects may add to its financing requirements and adversely affect its cash flows and results of operations.
  • ArcelorMittal’s results of operations could be affected by fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, particularly the euro to U.S. dollar exchange rate, as well as by exchange controls imposed by governmental authorities in the countries where it operates.

Taxation

  • ArcelorMittal’s ability to fully utilise its recognised deferred tax assets depends on its profitability and future cash flows.
  • The income tax liability of ArcelorMittal may substantially increase if the tax laws and regulations in countries in which it operates change or become subject to adverse interpretations or inconsistent enforcement.

Mining

  • ArcelorMittal’s mining operations are subject to risks associated with mining activities.
  • ArcelorMittal’s reserve estimates may materially differ from mineral quantities that it may be able to actually recover; ArcelorMittal’s estimates of mine life may prove inaccurate; and market price fluctuations and changes in operating and capital costs may render certain ore reserves uneconomical to mine.
  • Drilling and production risks could adversely affect the mining process.
  • ArcelorMittal faces rising extraction costs over time as reserves deplete.
  • ArcelorMittal has incurred and may incur in the future operating costs when production capacity is idled or increased costs to resume production at idled facilities.
  • ArcelorMittal’s greenfield and brownfield investment projects are inherently subject to financing, execution and completion risks.

Joint ventures

  • ArcelorMittal faces risks associated with its investments in joint ventures and associates.

Personnel

  • A Mittal family trust has the ability to exercise significant influence over the outcome of shareholder votes.
  • The loss or diminution of the services of the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of ArcelorMittal could have an adverse effect on its business and prospects.

Pensions

  • Underfunding of pension and other post-retirement benefit plans at some of ArcelorMittal’s operating subsidiaries could require the Company to make substantial cash contributions to pension plans or to pay for employee healthcare, which may reduce the cash available for ArcelorMittal’s business.

Employment

  • ArcelorMittal could experience labour disputes that may disrupt its operations and its relationships with its customers and its ability to rationalise operations and reduce labour costs in certain markets may be limited in practice or encounter implementation difficulties.

Emerging markets

  • ArcelorMittal is subject to economic policy, political, social and legal risks and uncertainties in the emerging markets in which it operates or proposes to operate, and these uncertainties may have a material adverse effect on ArcelorMittal’s business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.

Operational disruption

  • Disruptions to ArcelorMittal’s manufacturing processes could adversely affect its operations, customer service levels and financial results.
  • Natural disasters or severe weather conditions could damage ArcelorMittal’s production facilities or adversely affect its operations.

Insurance

  • ArcelorMittal’s insurance policies provide limited coverage, potentially leaving it uninsured against some business risks.
  • Product liability claims could have a significant adverse financial impact on ArcelorMittal.

Litigation

  • ArcelorMittal is currently and in the future may be subject to legal proceedings, the resolution of which could negatively affect the Company’s profitability and cash flows in a particular period.
  • U.S. investors may have difficulty enforcing civil liabilities against ArcelorMittal and its directors and senior management.

Cyber security

  • ArcelorMittal’s reputation and business could be materially harmed as a result of data breaches, data theft, unauthorised access or successful hacking.