In a January, 2017 move that surprised many, Gerdau became the first of the top three U.S. rebar mills to join purchasing co-operative the Independent Steel Alliance (ISA).
The ISA, which is based in Atlanta, had sought the partnership of one of the so-called Big Three since its founding in 2012. The announcement was generally viewed in industry circles as a coup for the ISA.
For Gerdau, the partnership made sense, Peter Campo, executive vice president, Gerdau SA and president of Gerdau Long Steel North America, explained because the ISA had matured and now enjoys a real market presence. Gerdau has partnered with other steel co-ops in the past, with mutually beneficial results, he noted.
As a general matter, Id rather not place too many entities between me and my customers, Campo said, sharing his view on the pros and cons of participating in a purchasing co-operative. But to the extent that this gives us a viable channel to market, to reach customers we would not otherwise reach, were open to giving it a try.
Our perspective is: its just business, he summarized. To the extent that we can help them, and they can help us, it made sense for us to change our position, and so we did. I dont know that its much more dramatic than that. The key is to help bring Gerdau extra business, while the steelmaker will look to add value for its customers and ISA members, Campo concluded.