This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel to acquire remaining equity of Big River Steel for $774 million

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merger and acquisition

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This morning in metals news: U.S. Steel today announced it will acquire the remaining equity of Big River Steel for $774 million; meanwhile, the U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate for the week ended Dec. 5 reached 71.4%; and, finally, the Aluminum Association recently penned a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross criticizing the Section 232 aluminum exclusion process.

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U.S. Steel to acquire remaining equity of Big River Steel

U.S. Steel announced today it will acquire the remaining equity in Big River Steel for $774 million.

“For months, I’ve said that we can’t get to the future fast enough. Today, I can say the future is now. We are acquiring Big River Steel, the cornerstone of our ‘Best of Both’ strategy,” U.S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt said in a release. “With Big River Steel, we can offer customers the high performance, innovative steel products they expect from U. S. Steel’s scientists and application engineers made through a state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable and efficient mini mill process.”

Steel capacity utilization reaches 71.4%

Meanwhile, the U.S. steel sector posted a capacity utilization rate of 71.4% during the week ended Dec. 5, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

Production during the week totaled 1.58 million net tons, up 1.2% from the previous week. However, production during the week fell 13.2% year over year.

In addition, production for the year to date reached 73.8 million net tons, down 18.3% year over year.

Aluminum Association expresses concerns over Section 232 exclusion process

Lastly, in a recent letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the Aluminum Association laid out its concerns regarding the existing Section 232 aluminum exclusion process.

“On behalf of the members of the Aluminum Association, I urge you to take swift action before year-end to finalize urgently needed changes to the Section 232 exclusion process for aluminum products,” the letter reads. “As the Association and industry leaders highlighted in a meeting with you in December 2019, and as addressed in the Association’s written comments on the Department’s Notice of Inquiry earlier this year, the current exclusion process is causing undue harm to U.S. aluminum companies and their employees by creating a magnet for imports of aluminum products and by undermining efforts of the domestic aluminum industry to defend its competitiveness.”

Furthermore, the Aluminum Association pointed out that the Department of Commerce continues to grant exclusions from the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum flat-rolled products.

“These concerns have taken on a heightened urgency as we have seen new exclusions granted in recent weeks for massive volumes of aluminum products, like aluminum sheet used to manufacture beverage cans,” the letter continued.

In addition to can sheet, the Aluminum Association referenced exclusions for aluminum foil, sheet and plate.

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