Swedish steelmaker SSAB is to invest SEK300 million (US$33 million) on improving the efficiency of its tube production.

The two-year project will aim to centralise the company's tube business with a view to securing long-term competitiveness by increasing sales volumes of premium products, which are more profitable than standard products.

SSAB has tube production facilities in Hämeenlinna, Lappohja and Pulkkila and spirally welded tube fabrication in Oulainen. Section production takes place in Toijala.

According to SSAB, worker consultations have already taken place at the Lappohja Tube Mill in Finland. The plan is to close the mill by the end of 2020. No workforce changes are planned at the mill this year, but the aim is to reduce the workforce gradually during the 2019-2020 financial year with everybody being employed elsewhere within SSAB in Finland.

The main thrust of the investment will focus on modernising production lines at the company's Hämeenlinna tube mill. Development programmes will be established for the other mills and dealt with separately at a later date, claims SSAB.