UPDATE 1-Argentine truckers’ blockade disrupting steel plants

* Week-old blockade stops supplies entering factories

* Business groups condemn protest, shares suffer

(Adds quote from Ternium director general, updates shares)

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 23 (BestGrowthStock) – A protest by Argentine
truckers is disrupting operations at steel plants owned by Ternium
Siderar (SID.BA: ), the company’s director general said in a radio
interview on Monday.

Members of the country’s powerful truckers union started
blockading access roads around Siderar plants last Wednesday to
press their demands for higher pay and the direct hiring of
drivers who work for a subcontractor. [ID:nN18192733]

Ternium Siderar, part of the Ternium group (TX.N: ), has nine
plants in the South American nation. It mainly supplies local
industry such as the fast-growing automobile sector and
construction companies, which have helped drive the country’s
swift economic rebound.

“The supply of semifinished steel to all plants in the south
has been halted, and our service centers for the auto industry in
Florencio Varela are completely paralyzed,” said Martin Berardi,
Ternium Siderar’s director general.

“We are making a huge effort to keep the steel works and blast
furnaces going, which are much more sensitive processes to stop.
Until now we have achieved this,” he told Radio El Mundo.

Siderar said in a statement on Friday that several production
lines would likely be halted in the coming days if the truckers’
protest continued to stop goods from entering and leaving its
factories.

Union leader Pablo Moyano, whose father Hugo Moyano is one of
the government’s closest trade union allies, met Siderar
executives last week in an effort to end the dispute, but the
talks ended without a deal.

The Argentine Industrial Union (UIA), which groups big
companies, rejected “the illegitimate protest measures that are
impeding Siderar’s activities.”

Siderar shares fell 4.4 percent to close at 25.90 pesos in
Buenos Aires.

(Reporting by Magdalena Morales and Helen Popper, additional
reporting by Kristina Cooke; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)
([email protected]; + 54 11 4318 0655; Reuters
Messaging: [email protected]))

UPDATE 1-Argentine truckers’ blockade disrupting steel plants