Saturday, March 22, 2008

Russian Steelmaker Buys Old Bethlehem Steel Site

Severstal, Russia's largest steelmaker, run by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, is purchasing the Sparrows Point steel mill southeast of Baltimore for $810 million, fulfilling an antitrust mandate that Arcelor Mittal divest itself of the Mittal Steel plant. The purchase places Severstal among the five largest U.S. steel producers.

Sparrows Point is the only integrated flat-rolled steel plant on the East Coast and is the only such plant with its own deepwater port. Sparrows Point has a capacity of 3.6 million metric tons of crude steel and shipped 2.3 million metric tons of finished steel products in 2007. Mittal Steel, owned by Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, merged with Luxembourg-based Arcelor in 2006 to form Arcelor Mittal, the world's biggest steel company. It agreed to relinquish the Baltimore plant to resolve Justice Department antitrust concerns.

Bethlehem Steel owned Sparrows Point from the early 1900s until the company declared bankruptcy. In 2003 the plant was purchased by International Steel Group (ISG), which merged with LTV Steel to create the largest U.S. steel producer. Mittal bought ISG for about $4.5 billion in 2004, merging it with his Ispat International and LNM Holdings. Then in 2006, Mittal merged with Arcelor, prompting the divestment. (The Washington Post)

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