Thursday, September 28, 2006

Steel union supports sale of Weirton plant


MORGANTOWN -- Workers at Mittal Steel Co.'s West Virginia plant were anxious but hopeful Wednesday after the company said it would sell the long-struggling mill in Weirton if forced to dispose of one of its U.S. operations. "We actually welcome the announcement," said Mark Glyptis, president of the 1,200-member Independent Steelworkers Union. "We have not benefited from the synergies usually associated with being part of a large company." In a slide show targeting investors on its corporate Web site, Mittal said it would sell the Weirton plant to one of 10 potential buyers if it cannot solve antitrust problems with its merger with Arcelor SA. Mittal said its first choice is to sell Canada's Dofasco Inc., owned by Arcelor, to Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG. However, the U.S. Department of Justice has also approved the possible "alternative disposal of Weirton," the company said. Mittal, the world's largest steelmaker by volume, had been weighing the sale of Weirton or the mill at Sparrow's Point, Md., one of its largest U.S. facilities, to gain regulatory approval for the deal. It is legally bound to shed Dofasco by Nov. 28, although that deadline can be extended by another 60 days. The former Weirton Steel Corp., which once employed 13,000 workers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2003 and was sold twice in 18 months -- first to Ohio-based International Steel Group Inc., then to Mittal.

Source: Charleston Daily Mail

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