ArcelorMittal, the world`s largest steelmaker, unveiled a plan on Wednesday to cut $4 billion in costs in five years and said it was preparing to reduce production by up to 15 percent to support prices.

The company said in a statement that its bid to ensure cost leadership in the sector would focus on employee productivity, reducing energy consumption and decreasing input costs.

More immediately, production had already been reduced in Ukraine and Kazakhstan by 15-20 percent and further output cuts would focus on long steel products, where prices have plummeted, and on Europe and the United States.

"The construction industry has slowed down due to the credit crisis and there`s also an impact on some retail customers and housing market," Chairman and Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal told a news briefing on Wednesday.

ArcelorMittal shares initially rose, but were down 4.0 percent at 41.35 euros at 1430 GMT, while the DJ Stoxx European basic resource index of which it is a part, was off 1.9 percent.

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