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YOUNGSTOWN LTV likely to extend Copperweld bidding



Published: Wed, July 31, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



LTV has said it will sell itsprofit-making Copperweld division as an ongoing business.

By CYNTHIA VINARSKY

VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- LTV Corp.'s plan to announce a buyer recommendation today for its Copperweld division, including a pipe mill and administrative offices in Youngstown, apparently has been put on hold.

"The bidding process is still going on. They're in the midst of confidential negotiations," said Frank Filipovitz, LTV's vice president of human resources and its spokesman for the Copperweld sale. "In all likelihood, the date will be extended past the 31st."

Bids were due July 10 and court papers listed July 31 as the date the successful buyer would be selected for the Copperweld division.

Filipovitz noted, however, that the motion contains a clause allowing for an extension if necessary.

LTV's massive LTV Steel division was losing money when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2000, but its Copperweld division was still profitable.

The company sold its steel mills in March to International Steel Group, a newly formed company, paid $127 million for the plants and inventory, and assumed about $200 million in environmental liabilities.

It announced plans to sell Copperweld as an operating company, and its plants have continued to operate throughout the sale process. Officials have said in court that the Copperweld division is profitable and they plan to sell it as an operating company, using the proceeds to help pay off millions of dollars it owes to creditors.

Other details

Copperweld, which makes wire and steel tube, has annual sales of about $1 billion. The company has 22 plants in North America and Europe and about 3,000 employees.

Locally, LTV/Copperweld Tubular Products on Poland Avenue has about 50 hourly and 30 salaried workers, and Copperweld's Albert Street administrative office, which employs 40, is the headquarters for its pipe and conduit division.

Youngstown officials have said that the Copperweld tube mill has one of the city's top 20 payrolls.

Filipovitz said the company won't reveal anything about the bidding until a choice is made, not even the number of bids received. Once a decision is reached, he said, the company will file a motion in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Youngstown.

Judge William Bodoh, who is handling LTV's case, must approve the sale. Court employees said they received many calls Tuesday inquiring about the Copperweld sale, but no motions were filed in the case.

Filipovitz said LTV's lenders and creditors are among those working with the company to select a buyer for the Copperweld division.

vinarsky@vindy.com




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