NEW YORK Global
steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA and its domestic counterpart,
ArcelorMittal USA Inc., will restructure their sales frameworks
in the United States to allow the same sales representatives to
sell both domestic and imported flat-rolled steel to U.S.
customers, sources familiar with the situation confirmed.
In recent years, U.S. buyers
received offers from two different ArcelorMittal sales
representativesone offering flat products from the
companys U.S. mills and one offering material from its
In recent weeks, however, the
company has been discussing plans to implement a new sales
structure in the United States in which each customer interacts
with just one company representative who will offer material
from both U.S. and foreign ArcelorMittal mills.
"Theyre going to have
their own (domestic) salespeople handling the imported steel,
we were told," one customer said.
Chicago-based ArcelorMittal USA
declined to comment, while a spokesman for Luxembourg-based
ArcelorMittal SA could not be reached for comment.
According to sources, the move
is intended to help the company expand sales opportunities in
the United States and consolidate efforts, particularly when it
comes to overlapping issues like credit and logistics.
"There wasnt enough
coordination between the two," one trader said. "The (foreign)
guys were only doing import business ... and werent
involved at all in selling domestic product. When you look at
it, why dont you leverage one with the other? If someone
prefers one product, you cant look at it without the
other. The last thing you want to do is compete with
Sales staff will be trained on
how to sell new product from different mills, AMM
understands, while discussions over combining credit and
logistics departments are still ongoing. The new structure will
undergo a one-year trial, sources familiar with the plan
Some sources said the move will
help the company stay competitive in an oversupplied domestic
steel market, since sales representatives will be able to offer
and leverage material from more sources.
Others said the plan could help
smooth over issues that sometimes arose when two
co-workersone representing U.S. mills and one
representing foreign millsfound themselves competing for
the same customer.
"For years, the sales guys were
at odds with one another," a second trader said. "Every time
the foreign guys wanted to sell something, the domestic guys
had to approve it first."
Foreign material from any
company is often priced slightly lower than domestic material,
but in recent months import and domestic prices have nearly
converged, sources said, making the products more
Chris Prentice, New York,
contributed to this story.