After a year of haggling, Stelco's Courtney Pratt pauses to take stock

Dec 23, 2005 | 05:22 AM | Scott Robertson

Courtney Pratt hasn't been spending a lot of time in bed these days, but he readily admits he is getting more sleep.

Pratt, president and chief executive officer of Stelco Inc., Hamilton, Ontario, has been trying to re-vitalize the wounded company through a series of meetings with attorneys, judges, creditors, employees and community leaders. And while the long night of bankruptcy and restructuring is not over, the horizon has gotten considerably brighter recently.

"It's been a difficult process for everyone. But I am spending a little more time sleeping these days," Pratt said with a laugh.

Sleep has come easier thanks to Stelco's ability to hammer out a restructuring plan that was approved by its creditors in mid-December. A hearing to confirm the plan is scheduled to take place in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Jan. 17.

While there are still legal wranglings to be completed before the plan will be approved--a group of shareholders is still challenging the validity of an economic report upon which the restructuring plan is based--Pratt said he is hopeful Stelco will be able to emerge from creditor protection by March 1.

When it does emerge, the once-hulking company will have been reduced to two integrated steel plants, one each in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ontario. Its former mini-mill, plate mill and pipe-manufacturing assets, among others, will be gone as Stelco attempts to rebuild its business around its core assets in integrated steel production.....

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