UPDATE 2-Voestalpine expects EU action to ease plight of steelmakers
* CEO sees EU duties taking effect towards the summer
* Voestalpine to expand cost cuts by 100 mln euros
* Confirms forecast for lower year profit (Recasts, adds CEO comments, background)
By Kirsti Knolle
VIENNA, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Austria's Voestalpine expects duties on cheap imports to take the pressure off Europe's steel industry this year following its worst downturn in about a decade.
European steel companies are struggling to cope with sharp price falls and growing overcapacity as China and Russia are accused of exporting massive quantities at artificially low prices, a practice referred to as dumping.
The European Union intends to impose duties on imports of cold-rolled flat steel from both countries.
"Structural problems in Europe have to be overcome soon to protect the steel industry," Voestalpine Chief Executive Wolfgang Eder said on Wednesday, adding that he expected European anti-dumping measures to take effect in the course of the first half of 2016, "particularly towards the summer".
In response to a difficult market, Voestalpine plans to expand its cost-cutting programme for 2016/2017 by 100 million, to 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion). Continuación...