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Nucor moving up value chain: Ferriola

Keywords: Tags  Nucor, John Ferriola, high-value steel, American Iron and Steel Institute, AISI, Metals Service Center Institute, Corinna Petry

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Steelmaker Nucor Corp. is coming ever closer to achieving its goal of moving up the value chain and creating higher-quality products for more rigorous applications, its top executive told AMM.

“It’s an area of growth for us and a strong focus for us,” president and chief executive officer John Ferriola said May 16 on the sidelines of the American Iron and Steel Institute’s 121st general meeting, co-hosted by the Metals Service Center Institute.

“We have installed equipment to achieve this, like the vacuum degassers (which purify chemistry), at several of our mills,” he said. “We are expanding our SBQ (special bar quality) presence significantly at several of our plants. Some of that is up and running, and the rest of it will be up and running by the end of the year.”

The company is targeting sales growth with both automotive and nonautomotive applications such as energy and heavy equipment, Ferriola said. “So, yes, we are executing on the strategy we laid out two years ago,” he said. “We should be bringing most of those (upgrades) to a conclusion by his year or by the middle of next year.”

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company has not laid out specifics such as what percentage of sheet mill and SBQ products it makes should be sold into automotive.

However, “we look at the market and adjust our goals according to what the market is allowing us to participate in profitably,” Ferriola said.

“Automotive is doing well, so it provides great opportunities for us. Some other areas are not doing as well. For example, appliance (manufacturing) is a little weaker with nonresidential construction being down. So that’s an area we are not expanding into,” Ferriola explained.

“We do have targets out there to aim at, but it’s hard to see out to 2015 because the economy will be different and markets will be performing differently,” he added. “We adjust as we go to optimize the potential for profitability for our company.”

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