OHIO High demand prompts ISG to expand Cleveland mill
The growth is significant, the chief executive said.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- International Steel Group Inc. said Thursday it was expanding its Cleveland Works mill to accommodate high demand from automotive customers and would recall 50 workers.
The expansion comes at a time when others in the U.S. steel industry are holding steady or shrinking their work forces. Just last month, ISG restarted a second blast furnace at its newly acquired plant in West Virginia, recalling 50 steel workers to raise employment at the former bankrupt Weirton Steel Corp. to 1,900. And in May, ISG reopened some of its west side Cleveland Works mill, bringing back 140 people.
ISG said Thursday that it plans to spend $40 million to add a hot-dip galvanizing line at the portion of Cleveland Works located in the suburb of Cuyahoga Heights. The line will be used to make high-quality steel for auto manufacturers.
Rodney Mott, ISG's chief executive, said the growth is a significant step for the Cleveland area company that is just 3 years old.
"It also shows that we have the right people, facilities and products to do the job," Mott said.
Cleveland Works general manager Bill Brake said among those happy with the news was the Cuyahoga Heights school system, which will reap the benefits of a new industrial taxpayer as several other area schools are struggling with budget deficits.
ISG's biggest domestic competitor, Pittsburgh's U.S. Steel Corp., is not hiring or recalling workers, said spokesman John Armstrong.
Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland College Park and steel industry consultant, said ISG's latest growth makes sense because it's in a specialized, high-priced segment of the industry. The wide-band, hot-dipped steel is a U.S. specialty used by U.S. automakers and abroad for the under base of cars and trucks.
"That stuff's not easily imported," Morici said.