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Warren steel plant regarded as ‘a gem’

Published: Sun, June 17, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

Warren facility regarded as ‘a gem’

By Burton Speakman



The uniqueness of the RG Steel plant in Warren is expect- ed to make it attractive to potential buyers.

The Warren plant is different from most steel plants in that it has developed a customer base within 100 to 150 miles of the facility, said Chris Davis of Steel Business Briefing, a trade publication about the industry.

“They also make a lot of custom parts,” he said. “They have developed a loyal client base, and they have done it through several owners.”

The Warren facility is considered by those in the market a “gem of a facility” compared to others owned by RG Steel, Davis said. RG Steel has made it known within the steel industry that it is looking to sell any of its properties.

“Conversely, I haven’t heard any whispers in the industry about someone looking to buy the facility,” he said.

There have been rumors about potential buyers for other RG Steel sites, Davis said.

The talk within the industry is the plant is in good condition and that the shape of the facility would not hinder any type of potential sale, he said.

RG Steel filed for bankruptcy May 31. At that point, RG Steel began a process to finish existing orders and stated in its bankruptcy filing that it hoped to have most of, if not all, its assets sold within 60 days.

The United Steelworkers Union continues to work with the company, but the union would not comment about any possible sales opportunities.

“The USW continues to meet internally and with RG management to discuss the company’s business plans and opportunities to move forward. Our members, families and communities have survived tough times in the past, and as always, their skills, experience, leadership and solidarity will be essential for a successful future at these facilities,” said USW District 1 Director Dave McCall, who chairs negotiations for the United Steelworkers Union with RG Steel.

Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel said he has been told by employees that one or two companies have come to look at the Warren facility.

“I’ve heard they’re going to sell it unbundled [from the other RG sites], which is a lot better for RG Warren because it’s a superior facility,” he said.

The expectation is the facility will find a buyer, said Frank Fuda, Trumbull County commissioner.

“It’s supposed to be the most valuable of the RG facilities,” he said.

If the plant stays closed, the impact of losing 1,000 jobs would be enormous, Heltzel said.

The impact would include an increase in the number of people filing for unemployment and possibly using other services such as food stamps in Warren and surrounding communities, said Ben Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Hopefully these people would be able to work with the local Trumbull County One Stop Workforce Center to find new employment opportunities, he said.

“There could be additional challenges for people who have not looked for jobs in the last 15 or 20 or even 10 years,” Johnson said. “They’ve probably never filled out an online job application and wouldn’t know where to find job listings online.”

The One Stop office could help them find places to search for jobs, teach them how to apply online and create a resume that looks good online, he said.

Youngstown has had new steel business, particularly in steel tube, move into the area, Davis said. Hopefully those places can help reduce the potential impact if RG Steel remains closed.

The next hearing in the bankruptcy case is scheduled for Thursday.

RG Steel representatives were not available to comment.


1southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Pie in the sky dreams... laughable!

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2chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

RG is a gem. Facility in good condition. Strong customer base withn 100-150 miles.

Something doesn't pass the smell test. Are the labor costs including benefits too high to make the product competitive, thereby diswaying potential buyers.

No mention in the article about this which leads me to believe it is a huge factor. Union will have to make concessions to make a sale work and keep their jobs.

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3Attis(1134 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

1000 steelworkers thrown out of work in the Valley by Wall Street tycoons and not even a peep of protest or vision of change. The system is bankrupt folks. Throw out the 1%, not a thousand workers and their families. Happy Father's Day.

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4georgejeanie(1526 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Attis you come down on Wall Street, I bet these steelworkers would be glad for Bain Capital to come in with an offer to buy this outdated under performing plant. Of course if Bain had to lay off 50% of the workers to make a profit so the other workers could still have a job, then you bleeding heart liberals would be bad mouthing Bain for laying off half the work force.

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5sammebean(4 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

The stench you smell is the greed of big money and upper management. They spent millions at Sparrows Point(now part of RG Steel) which is in the tin business and has not made a profit since the 1970's.Warren on the other hand is very competitive and has a world class product specializing in high carbon alloy steel.they made money by making one and two piece SPECIAL orders and also experienced less down time than any steel mill in the country
David McCall V.P. of Ohio's AFL/CIO forced Ira Rennert (who once owned WCI Warren but lost it to the bond holders and they in turn sold it to Severstal) to purchase Sparrows Point in Baltimore and the Wheeling plant in order to buy back Warren RG.The Warren plant could not make enough profit to cover the losses of the other two plants.

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