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On Friday, world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT ) announced that in accordance with the results of its annual "goodwill impairment test," it expects to take a $4.3 billion goodwill writedown on its European businesses in Q4.
The impairment, a non-cash charge to earnings, is almost certain to result in a quarterly loss for the steelmaker, which has only once in its history (in Q2 of 2008) earned more than $4.3 billion in a single quarter. Arcelor explained the charge by pointing to an 8% decline in "apparent steel demand" in Europe this year, a decline that it says has run to approximately 29% in comparison with 2007 demand.
On a brighter note, Arcelor said that its U.S. operations are performing better, with an aggregate 10% fall in demand since 2007, but an 8% increase in steel demand so far this year.
Shares of ArcelorMittal are down 3.6% on the news at $16.89.