Luxembourg - Industry

Massive restructuring of the steel industry and continuing diversification of the industrial base characterized the 1980s. Under the ongoing industrial diversification program, more than 80 new firms were launched between 1960 and 1985, providing jobs for 10,332 people. Chemicals, rubber, metal processing, glass, and aluminum became increasingly important, while some other industries, including construction, remained depressed; traditional light industries such as tanneries, glove-making plants, and textile mills were forced either to close down or to greatly reduce their scale of operations.

In 1997, steel was responsible for 29% of all exports. Production of steel was 2,613,000 tons in 1995 (5,462,000 tons in 1970); rolled steel products, 3,709,000 tons (4,252,000 tons in 1970). Luxembourg's blast furnaces and steel mills are located in the Bassin Minier of the southwest. Mergers have given ARBED, a private multinational firm with significant government shareholding, virtually complete control of the steel industry. A merger with France's USINOR and Spain's ACERALIA in 2001 made ARBED the world's largest steel producer; it was renamed "NEWCO" temporarily, and was searching for niche markets for highly specialized steel products.

In recent years, Luxembourg has diversified its industrial production away from steel, producing chemicals, medical products, rubber, tires, glass, and aluminum. The financial sector has compensated for the decline in steel production, and other service-sector growth areas in 2002 were cargo shipping, satellite transmission, and television and radio broadcasting.

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