Klaus J. Abstoss, a veteran of nearly 50 years in steel trading
with the former Thyssen AG and later with his own company, has
died in a drowning accident.
Services were held
this past weekend for Abstoss, 68, president of Abstoss
International Steel Holding Inc., Greenwich, Conn., widow
Renate Abstoss told AMM this week.
Abstoss was found Aug.
21 in the family swimming pool in Greenwich, a Greenwich Police
Department spokesman said. The state office of the chief
medical examiner has made a preliminary determination of
Abstoss joined Thyssen
(now ThyssenKrupp AG) in the former West Germany in 1964,
moving to the United States in 1968 and arriving in Los Angeles
in 1972 at the dawn of what some people now describe as the
heyday of European steel trading activity in the United States.
He headed the Los Angeles office until 1983, when he was named
to direct Thyssens Habag GmbH trading unit. He left that
subsidiary in 1989, eventually forming his own company.
Angeles office at one point employed up to 15 people, among
them some of the highest-profile traders in the western United
States, doing as much as 250,000 tons or more in business
annually, according to one estimate. This didnt include a
separate Thyssen Metal Service distribution operation, which
was later sold off.
While at Thyssen,
Abstoss was one of a group of independent-minded traders
instrumental in putting together deals between steelmakers and
consumers in such developing markets as Brazil and South Korea,
not necessarily involving Thyssen products, some of
Abstoss former colleagues noted. These "third-party"
trades were seen as innovative within traditional
mill-connected trading companies, whose employees had ambitions
far larger than the amount of tons their own European plants
could provide in a global commodity steel market increasingly
driven by new, low-cost steelmakers in emerging economies and growing supply from eastern
recent proposed venture also involved the West Coast, where he
operated his own pickling operation, California Coil Processors
Inc., Torrance, Calif. He began to plan a $150-million
conversion facility in late 2004 and early 2005 in the same
location, which he said would eventually produce 800,000 to 1
million tons of hot-rolled coil per year from imported
outside skepticism from the outset about the viability of the
slab project, for which the estimated cost eventually grew to a
range of $225 million to $250 million, Abstoss persisted in his
effort for four years. However, he admitted defeat in early
2009 after being unable to land financing, and shut down the
pickling operation shortly thereafter.
In 2010, Abstoss said
Abstoss International was in a "holding pattern" as he pondered
his next move in a difficult global environment for independent
steel traders (
amm.com, Aug. 30).