NEW YORK The top
executive of AK Steel Corp. has described Outokumpu Oyjs
push into the North American stainless market as "illogical,"
claiming that the market is already at overcapacity and adding
more "doesnt make sense."
Competition in the stainless
market "remains brutal," AK Steel chairman, president and chief
executive officer James L. Wainscott said during a Jan. 29
Wainscott said that the
commodity stainless market has "way too much capacity both
domestically and globally," and his company is "somewhat
amazed, if not stunned, when we hear comments that (Outokumpu)
will be coming into the market to add perhaps as much as 1
million tons of capacity in a market thats really
Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC told
AMM last week that it is seeking to gain 25 percent of
the North American stainless market by 2014 by being
"competitive on pricing" as it ramps up production at the
Calvert, Ala., facility it acquired in 2012 (
amm.com, Jan. 25).
"We think, candidly, that the
whole approach is illogical and perhaps borders on insanity. To
bring 1 million tons to a market that already has 1 million
more than it needs and to say that youll be competitive
on pricingat least, thats their intentionI
just dont see how that happens," Wainscott said.
AK Steel would be "keeping a
close eye" on the Calvert ramp-up, he said, as well as on
Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Technologies Inc.s
construction of a hot-rolling and processing plant in
Brackenridge, Pa., which is expected to be commissioned in 2014
amm.com, Jan. 24).
Wainscott said that West
Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel had recently noticed a "little bit
of improvement" in the domestic stainless market, although "not
as much as wed like."
"The good news for us where the
market is strengthening is really the ... 400-series portion of
that market, as a function of the growth in automotive
generally," he said. "Were looking for a pickup in orders
from appliance, automotive and passenger rail car customers,
especially for bright trim applications."