For those of you who know me, you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for the steel industry. Maybe it’s because that was my first real job, working for a steel company. So I have been following with a heavy heart, the demise of RG Steel. I won’t go into the business angles and the overcapacity of the steel industry. That’s for the analysts.
Today, the remnants of 2 proud and world class mills were sold to liquidators. The Warren mill, formerly known as WCI Steel, formerly known as Republic Steel etc etc. went for $17 million. Wow. That’s barely pennies on the dollar. Sparrow’s Point, MD (formerly Bethlehem Steel, among others) built the girders for the Golden Gate bridge 75 years ago and is one of the largest steel mills in the world. Sparrow’s was sold to another liquidator, Hilco for around $72 million. This, coupled with the sale of the former Wheeling-Pitt mill in Mingo Junction, OH last week to a Buffalo industrial gutting operation for $20 million is a sign that the US steel industry just got a bad sucker punch.
My bet is that Sparrows Point and Mingo are going to get broken up and the machines and furnaces hauled off to 3rd world countries (anyone want to guess where?) Mingo was clearly targeted for it’s brand new electric furnace worth over $100 million. Warren may still survive, having been in a niche market for years. But that fact that it’s now owned by a liquidator is very, very ominous. We’ll see.
Please take a minute and say a prayer for the jobs of those American Steel Workers and their families that hang in the balance right now.