Parting Shots: Steel’s prospects, problems bring different perspectives

Aug 28, 2012 | 07:00 PM | Thomas C. Graham

Tags  Parting Shots, Steel Success Strategies, John Surma, U.S. Steel Corp., Nucor Corp., Daniel DiMicco, World Steel Dynamics, ArcelorMittal SA Lakshmi Mittal

The Steel Success Strategies XXVII conference in New York in June featured three keynote speakers who each offered a somewhat different perspective on the industry and its prospects and problems.

ArcelorMittal SA chairman and chief executive officer Lakshmi Mittal’s message, in short form, was that a protracted period of low operating rates is coming in the European Union so steelmakers should batten down the hatches to survive the impending storm. Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal will concentrate on vertical integration and research and development, and has no interest at this time in acquisitions that would increase its steelmaking capacity.

John Surma, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh, saw shale gas and increased drilling in the Gulf of Mexico as a great opportunity for the company’s tubular business, although he was concerned about the growing level of tubular imports.

Nucor Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Daniel DiMicco was in fine form as he excoriated foreign suppliers who abuse the U.S. market. However, he reserved most of his scorn for Washington policymakers who cannot see the opportunity to lift the economy out of recession with infrastructure spending and an all-out assault on the negative trade balance.....

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