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Ohio Cold Rolling to be up by spring: Esmark

Keywords: Tags  RG Steel, Esmark, Esmark Steel Group, Tom Modrowski, Yorkville plant, Ohio Cold Rolling, cold-rolling mill, Ohio Coatings United Steelworkers union

NEW YORK — Esmark Steel Group LLC expects to have its newly acquired Ohio Cold Rolling Co. up and running by March or April, chief executive officer Tom Modrowski said.

The subsidiary of Sewickley, Pa.-based Esmark Inc. had initially planned to ramp up Ohio Cold Rolling—the former RG Steel LLC Yorkville facility—in January, in order to provide cold-rolled substrate to its Ohio Coatings Co. joint venture. The company has since pushed back that target, Modrowski told AMM Monday.

"We’re excited. It’s been a long haul from when we started this back in June," he said.

"Ohio Coatings Co. is running today, so the tin-coating facility is operating. To reach maximum capacity, it’s very difficult to attain that without Yorkville," Modrowski said, noting that Ohio Coatings could likely achieve 55 to 60 percent of its nameplate capacity without substrate from the Yorkville plant.

Ohio Coatings is a venture between Esmark Steel Group and Seoul, South Korea-based TCC Steel Co. It is capable of producing 300,000 tons of tinplate annually. Esmark purchased both the 50-percent stake in Ohio Coatings and the Yorkville cold-rolling mill from bankrupt RG Steel.

Modrowski noted that Esmark’s plans for the site were delayed due to concerns over environmental liabilities. Those liabilities became the subject of a dispute between RG Steel and Esmark, with the latter saying that RG Steel had failed to disclose relevant environmental violations during the due diligence period of the sale (, Sept. 7).

RG Steel subsequently agreed to pay $190,000 to the state of Ohio from the proceeds of the Yorkville sale, according to a Nov. 21 consent order agreement between the steelmaker and the state. The funds would be used to close a hazardous waste unit at the site, according to a motion filed Nov. 30 in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

The proposed consent order between RG Steel and Ohio is pending approval from the federal bankruptcy court. Neither counsel for RG Steel nor the Ohio Attorney General responded to a request for comment.

The resolution helps pave the way for getting the cold mill at Yorkville back online, Modrowski said. Meanwhile, Esmark said Friday that it had reached a tentative, four-year labor agreement with the United Steelworkers union at the Yorkville facility. Workers are set to vote on the agreement Thursday (, Nov. 30).

Some workers will likely be needed over the next few weeks to winterize the Yorkville facility, according to Modrowski. The next hurdle will be bringing online a new "informational technology" platform at Yorkville, which could take 10 to 12 weeks, he said.

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