NEW YORK Gerdau Long Steel North
America intends to lay off 30 to 35 employees at its St. Paul,
Minn., hybrid mill, even as it invests $50 million at the
facility to upgrade a continuous caster and ramp up its special
bar quality (SBQ) production, it said.
The layoffs are due to lower-than-anticipated demand for the
mills products, a company spokesman told
Production schedules will return to normal when market demand
recovers, Gerdau said.
The Tampa, Fla.-based company continues work on its
$50-million caster at the same mill, which remains on target
for completion in early 2014. The upgrade will increase the
mill's SBQ production capacity by 100,000 tons to approximately
550,000 tons per year
amm.com, May 7
), the spokesman said.
"We definitely think the caster
will make St. Paul a more competitive mill," the spokesman
said. The loss of workers "really underscores why we need to
make this investment in St. Paul, so that itll make the
St. Paul mill more competitive in the future."
The caster is partially funded by $500,000 from the Port
Authority of St. Paul, which stipulates that the loan
wouldnt have to be repaid if the mill retained a certain
number of workers. The layoffs dont affect the status of
the loan, the spokesman for Gerdau Long Steel NA, a subsidiary
of Porto Alegre, Brazil-based Gerdau SA, said.
The St. Paul mill currently produces a wide array of products,
including SBQ, rebar and structural steel. The caster is
expected to result in a shift in the mills product mix,
as it increases SBQ production.
Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 31, 2013, to
clarify that production schedules will return to normal when
market demand recovers and to correct the production capacity
increase expected from the upgrade of the continuous