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Nafta's appetite for electrical steel on the rise: AK Steel

Keywords: Tags  AK Steel, electrical steel market, James Wainscott, Nafta, North America, electrical steel demand, trends, U.S. housing starts Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — The North American market is consuming an increasing share of AK Steel Corp.’s electrical steel products, and that trend is likely to continue if domestic housing starts exceed 1 million units this year as forecast, the company said.

The West Chester, Ohio-based company has seen electrical steel demand undergo a "significant shift," moving from a 50/50 split between the Nafta region and the rest of the world to a 60/40 split, according to president, chairman and chief executive officer James L. Wainscott.

"From what we’re seeing internationally, that will remain the case for some time," Wainscott said in an April 22 conference call. "We continue to see this slow recovery in Europe, and I suspect you could see us get to 70 to 75 percent (demand from the Nafta region)." And if domestic housing starts climb above the 1-million-unit mark this year as forecast, the electrical steel market would benefit, he said.

"The estimates for 2014 are for 1.25 million units, which is beautiful music to our ears," he said. "We’d love to get back to 1.5 and 2 million, but we’re way back off the bottom."

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