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Severstal weighing options for N. America unit

Keywords: Tags  OAO Severstal, Severstal North America, Dearborn plant, Columbus plant, steel, flat-rolled steel, Michael Cowden

CHICAGO — OAO Severstal has confirmed that it is considering a sale of its North American operations.

The Russian steelmaker is mulling "a range of strategic options" for Dearborn, Mich.-based Severstal North America Inc. as it looks to boost shareholder value, the company said.

But the Cherepovets-based company, which was responding "to media speculation," also hedged its bets as to what the outcome of that review process might be. "No decision has yet been taken as to which, if any, such option might be pursued," Severstal said on its website May 14.

Bids have been taken for Severstal North America, with steelmakers in North America, Brazil and Japan, as well as at least one private equity firm, involved—or are expected to become involved—in the bidding process, sources familiar with the matter have told AMM. Severstal had previously declined to comment on the speculation (, May 12).

A sale would represent a shift in the North American steel industry’s landscape, as well as a new course for OAO Severstal, which has invested billions in the United States.

Severstal North America operates an integrated steel mill in Dearborn and an electric-arc furnace operation in Columbus, Miss.

Market sources have speculated that the company might have an easier time selling the new Columbus facility, which was completed in 2007, than the older—albeit updated—Dearborn plant (, May 12).

OAO Severstal entered the U.S. market in 2004 with the acquisition of the former Rouge Steel Co. mill in Dearborn. One of the largest steelmakers in the United States, Severstal North America makes hot-rolled, cold-rolled and galvanized product.

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