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WARREN Sale at CSC brings $8M



Published: Thu, November 1, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The idle steel bar mill is to be stripped bare by mid-December.

By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

WARREN -- The sale of CSC Ltd.'s assets raised about $8 million.

That represents a tiny fraction of what the massive Warren steel bar mill was worth before it hit hard times 10 months ago and was forced to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

A two-day piecemeal auction Tuesday and Wednesday brought in just over $2 million.

CSC spent $100 million on equipment modernization the past five years, and two of the newest and largest pieces of equipment installed in that project were sold before the auction for $6 million.

Louis Goldberg, a spokesman for auctioneer Michael Fox International, said sale planners were generally pleased with the results, however, in light of the nation's sluggish economy and the troubled state of the steel industry.

What happened: Fox International, based in Baltimore, conducted the court-ordered auction Tuesday and Wednesday at a Cleveland hotel to raise money for CSC to pay its debts. The steel bar maker owes $109 million to bank lenders.

Goldberg said he could not speak for CSC, and Jeff Baddeley, a CSC attorney, would not discuss the results of the sale.

"Obviously it's a disappointment that it came to this juncture," he said. "It was a real sad day for all the participants. I suspect that there are those who will do some finger pointing, but I don't see how that will go any good at this point."

Buyers can begin picking up small items today, under the auction rules. Those who bought large pieces of equipment have until mid-December and must make appointments for pickup. All but about 100 of the more than 1,400 items included in the auction have been sold.

Goldberg said the 12-inch rolling mill was the only operation to sell as a package to a single bidder Wednesday. That offer is subject to the confirmation of the lenders.

Don Caiazza, a CSC executive and former company president, said the rolling mill bidder plans to dismantle and remove it from the site, if the bid is approved.

How auction went: There was some hope for an intact sale of the steel bar mill when the auction began Tuesday morning, but no bidder offered to buy CSC in its entirety.

Offers for the real estate the mill occupies on Mahoning Avenue N.W. and for all the equipment and machinery in the plant were also met with silence in the first day of bidding.

Even then, there was a shred of hope that some sections of the plant might be bought and operated on site in Warren by new owners. That didn't happen.

"It's over. Everything went piecemeal," said Caiazza, who spent 22 years at the Warren mill.

"It's time for us to close the book and move on. That's all there is to it. We must find a way to put this behind us."

He said he'll comfort himself with knowing that he and other CSC workers took a mill that was losing $30 million a year in 1991 and turned it around.

"We breathed enough life into it to survive 10 more years," he said. "That's what I'm going to remember."

Goldberg said Fox International will continue working with CSC for the next several months, trying to sell the 400 acres of real estate.

"We've had expressions of interest, both for the whole thing and for parts," he said. "We'll continue to work to get that property sold."




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