CHICAGO U.S. Steel Corp.s chairman and chief executive
officer John P. Surma confirmed that other companies are
interested in its U.S. Steel Koice SRO operations in
had some expressions of interest in the (USSK) facility to see
if it might be worth more to somebody else than it would be to
us, Surma said during a Jan. 29 conference call with
No decision has been made on a
possible sale of USSK, he said, but it was "not surprising that
others might be interested in it," given that USSK is an
"excellent facility" boasting low costs and a strong record of
productivity and profitability.
"Weve been doing business
in Slovakia for more than 10 years and ... made great money
there over most of that time," Surma said.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel has
invested heavily in the facility since acquiring it in 2000,
giving it a strong position in several markets, including
automotive steel. The steelmaker also has enjoyed a good
relationship with the Slovakian government, he said, and has
benefited from the manufacturing-friendly policies of the Czech
Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia that have attracted
automakers to the region.
"We can do really well there for
the long term. Whether somebody else thinks they could do
better is a different question," Surma said.
USSK has acknowledged receiving
a number of expressions of interest in acquiring the mill (
amm.com, Nov. 14). Ukrainian steelmaking group
Metinvest is said to be among those interested in acquiring the
Slovak flat products producer (
amm.com, Jan. 16).
U.S. Steel Europe recorded
operating earnings of $34 million last year, in contrast to a
$162-million loss in 2011, despite a 22.6-percent decline in
shipments to 3.82 million tons from 4.93 million tons.
U.S. Steel Europe is expected to
see stronger shipments and better results in the first quarter
despite continuing challenging economic conditions in Europe,
the company said, largely because of additional contract volume
and spot market business increasing as service centers and