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Atlas to stay the course on HSS hike: Zekelman

Keywords: Tags  HSS, hollow structural sections, price hike, Barry Zekelman, JMC Steel Group, Atlas Tube, Hanna Steel, Southland Tube Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — JMC Steel Group Inc. has criticized hollow structural sections (HSS) mills that raised their prices by only $30 per ton, undercutting a leading $50-per-ton increase by JMC subsidiary Atlas Tube Inc.

"There is no benefit to the destructive behavior of some HSS mills," JMC executive chairman and chief executive officer Barry Zekelman wrote in a June 6 letter to customers. "We will not respond to these mills. Our price increase announcement remains unchanged at $50 per ton."

The company is maintaining its price hike as demand for HSS products has been robust this year, Zekelman wrote. "We believe that the HSS increase is necessary based on strong demand for HSS products. Total HSS products shipments in 2012 were one of the highest levels in the last 10 years, and 2013 shipments are running ahead of 2012."

Chicago-based JMC also believes that the coil market will strengthen, lending support to the price increase.

"We believe that the hot-rolled coil market will continue to strengthen as buyers replenish their inventories in a market that has less capacity available. The increases for hot-rolled coil are important to the long-term health of all members of the supply chain from the primary mills through service centers," Zekelman wrote.

Hot-rolled sheet prices rose to $590 per ton ($29.50 per cwt) from $560 per ton ($28 per cwt) in late May as a result of extended lead times on certain products, labor issues and mills’ unified front on a recent price hike (, June 6).

Atlas launched its $50-per-ton hike June 3 and at least six other mills followed June 4 before Hoover, Ala.-based Hanna Steel Corp. and Birmingham, Ala.-based Southland Tube Inc. raised prices by just $30 per ton June 5 (, June 5).

Southland Tube said at the time that its increase was "based upon a thorough evaluation of the strengthening hot-rolled coil market," but also noted that customers "will be advised accordingly" in the event that "additional increases become necessary."

Southland and Hanna could not be reached for further comment.

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