Report: Ex-owner of mill makes bid

Staff report


A former owner of the Severstal steel mill here has resurfaced as a potential bidder for a group of North American steel mills that the Russian steelmaker has reportedly put on the market.

American Metals Market, a Pittsburgh-based industry publication, reported last week that Ira Rennert, owner of The Renco Group, had submitted a bid for Severstal’s holdings in Warren, as well as those in Sparrows Point, Md., and Wheeling, W.Va.

The bid, which would be backed by Los Angeles-based Aurora Capital Group, could be announced as early as this week, American Metals Market reported.

Neither the Renco Group nor Aurora Capital Group returned calls to comment Monday. A spokeswoman for Severstal Warren said it was “the company’s policy not to comment on market rumors.”

The Renco Group is a past owner of the former WCI Steel mill in Warren.

The company, based in New York, bought the mill from LTV Steel in 1988 and maintained ownership until 2006, when it was turned over to creditors in bankruptcy.

Severstal bought the mill in 2008, as part of a large acquisition of North American holdings.

As part of the purchase deal, Severstal pledged to reline the blast furnace at the Warren mill in 2011.

But since 2008, the global recession and the rising cost of iron ore have made the plant less profitable.

The Russian steelmaker reported a $1 billion loss last year.

Severstal Warren, along with the company’s facilities in Sparrows Point and Wheeling, have been idled off and on since the purchase.

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