LTV Group to keep plant up, pending bid outcome

LTV will meet with bidders Wednesday to discuss their attempts to buy LTV plants.
WARREN -- The group keeping the LTV coke plant warm expects to know soon if the company it is working with has a good chance of buying at least some of LTV Steel, the group's lawyer said.
As long as the company remains in the running, the group of area business owners has said it intends to pay for the hot idling of the coke plant.
Neither the business owners nor the company they are working with has been identified.
Submitted a bid: The company has submitted a bid for LTV operations before Wednesday's deadline, and the local business owners are optimistic the bid will be successful, said Matthew Blair, the business owners' attorney.
He said the local business owners hope to hear soon if LTV officials think it is likely that the company's bid might win.
At least three offers were made by Wednesday for all or part of LTV Steel, which include three steel mills and two coke plants. A spokesman for U.S. Steel Corp. said that company was submitting a proposal.
A group including steel industry executives and managers is also in the bidding mix, according to Michael E. Gibbons, whose Cleveland-based investment banking firm represents the group. That group is headed up by Thomas Tyrell, former chief executive of Republic Technologies International, an Ohio bar producer.
The city of Lorain is bidding on LTV Steel's pellet terminal at the mouth of the Black River in its downtown, Mayor Craig Foltin said.
Mark Tomasch, an LTV spokesman, said he couldn't comment on how many bids were received.
LTV officials will meet with bidders Wednesday and tell them which bid or bids it thinks are the best. The bidders can then raise their offers.
Hearing set: A hearing is planned for the next day in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown when LTV is to ask Judge William Bodoh to approve its choice.
Mike Rubicz, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 1375, said the bid process is private but he expects to hear about the status of the coke plant through the grapevine. Coke plant workers, union officials and community leaders are hoping the coke plant will keep idling until the bankruptcy court hearing. If the coke plant can idle that long, they hope that a buyer of an LTV steel mill in Cleveland will commit to buying its coke.
LTV was set to shut the coke plant down earlier this month when the business group stepped in. Once the furnaces cool, the bricks lining the ovens collapse, which makes it unlikely the plant would be reopened.
LTV is trying to sell its LTV Steel operations, which were idled in November, and its LTV Copperweld unit, which continues to operate.

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