Guilherme Gerdau Johannpeter: The man with the plan

Jun 30, 2012 | 07:00 PM | Jo Isenberg-O’Loughlin

Tags  Guilherme Gerdau Johannpeter, Gerdau Long Steel North America, Jo Isenberg-O'Loughlin

You don’t have to be born Brazilian or a member of the Gerdau steelmaking dynasty to know your way around a long products mill. But it can’t hurt. 

Almost any way you slice it, it’s tough denying the leg up that comes from sharing a gene pool shaped by more than a century of producing, fabricating and distributing steel and a bloodline marked by a strong sense of direction and a hearty appetite for growth. Over the years, those two traits have combined to transform Gerdau SA, which began life as a small nail factory in southern Brazil in 1901, into a global steel powerhouse with more than 45,000 employees worldwide.

At last count, Gerdau’s North American business operation, now known as Gerdau Long Steel North America (GLSNA), accounted for just shy of 40 percent of its parent company’s 25.3 million tonnes of annual crude steel production capacity and 43 percent of its 21.3 million tonnes of annual rolled product capacity. Behind those percentages is an acquisition drive that dates back to 1989 but accelerated significantly over the past decade, when Porto Alegre-based Gerdau almost single-handedly consolidated the North American steel long products sector.

“Gerdau has invested almost $7 billion in North America in the past five years alone,” Guilherme Gerdau Johannpeter, who was named president of GLSNA in June 2011, told AMM in an exclusive interview at the company’s Tampa, Fla., headquarters. “There is no other market outside Brazil where we have been so active or made such a large investment. We have taken a leadership position in consolidating long products in North America.”....





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