Mittal Steel news from Jan - Jun 2005
Jun 30:  PRODUCTION CUT
Mittal Steel will make less steel in the third quarter, but without shutdowns

No more shutdowns in U.S., Mittal Steel says

CLEVELAND -- "Mittal Steel Co. said Wednesday that it will produce about a million fewer tons worldwide in the third quarter. However, that will be accomplished without further shutdowns of U.S. operations, a company spokesman said... 'We have a number of blast furnaces down around the company and have said from the beginning that they will come back as the market tells us to bring them back,' said Dave Allen, spokesman for Mittal Steel USA in Chicago. Prices are dropping as U.S. demand for imports slows and world output surges. Shipments by U.S. Steel Corp. and Nucor Corp. also have declined because of lower demand, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported this month," Roger Mezger, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Jun 29:  Technology helps steelmakers stay competitive globally

MONROEVILLE, PA -- "Integrated producers worldwide these days are dealing with a shortage of raw materials, mainly iron ore and coal. The shortage, combined with a worldwide spike in demand for finished steel, has meant a huge increase in production costs. Those costs have been passed along to steel users such as automakers and construction companies, which pass them on to consumers. Ross, the financier known for buying bankrupt steel mills and merging them into Netherlands-based Mittal Steel, said technology may help reverse that trend. For example, he noted Mittal, the world's largest steel company, is involved in developing a substitute for scrap steel. The next big thing in technology may be figuring out a better way to finish a steel sheet's surface by coating it to protect it from corrosion, a process known as galvanizing. There's a battle going on within the industry, including at the U.S. Steel lab, to be the first company to do that," M.R. Kropko, Detroit Free Press.
Jun 27:  Mittal Steel: Are you listening?
17,000 people have something to say to you



The Northeast Ohio Citizen Action staff has collected over 17,000 letters from Ohio Citizen Action members: Bottom row -- Erik Shilling, Nate Taxel, Meg Alley, Amy Bailey, Erin McGreal, Mathew Kilivris. Middle row -- Josh Durocher-Jones, Evan Linger, Todd Pincombe, Keith Binekey, Joey Leyva, Brian Dunn, Brandon Milne, Jessica Kramer, Misty Golinar, James Hollis, Vanessa Stewart, Brian Witoszynski, Kevin Jaworski, Rachel Gelbman, Tony Cross. Top row: Stephen Gabor, Sara Dalton, Katarina Popovic, Christa Ebert, Janine Slotwinski, Chris Young, Sabina Hossain, Natalie Greene, Chrissie Remeln, Kelly Sabin, Sara Woodson.
Jun 23:  World's top steel exporting countries, first quarter 2005

Steel exports table

Yesterday, Mittal Steel owner Lakshmi Mittal told the Steel Success Strategies conference in New York, "My initial concerns that China would become a net exporter, given the rapid expansion they were building in their own capacity, are now abating somewhat, having witnessed the Chinese government's stringent control regarding capacity increase." Table from Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau, London, England.
Jun 20:  Mittal Steel's pollution controls outdated

CLEVELAND -- "This chart shows the 15 major sources of air pollution from the Mittal Cleveland Works plant, as reported to the Ohio EPA in the plant’s 2004 Title V emissions fee report. The chart lists the eight main air pollutants that are required to be reported from these sources, including particulate matter, invisible particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, organic chemicals, volatile organic chemicals, and lead. If the particulate emissions units at the plant have a control method installed to reduce pollution, the process, device installed, and year of installation are listed. Of the pollution control devices that are installed at the facility, the oldest device that is still used today was installed in 1943. The newest device that is used today was installed in 1990. Most of the devices were installed in the 1970s and 1980s," Dana Paris, Ohio Citizen Action.
Jun 14:  Valley of death

VANDERBIJLPARK, SOUTH AFRICA -- "The Steel Valley residents claim water, land and air pollution caused by Mittal Steel, formerly Iscor, is giving them cancers, skin infections and kidney diseases. They also tell numerous horror stories of deformities among animals. The steel factory has slimes dams covering about 140 hectares that are not lined, and polluted water is seeping into aquifers, the research report states. The dust from slag heaps at the perimeter of the property blows off and settles kilometres away. Low-grade coal used for power generation and the smelting of iron ore release sulphurous compounds into the air. Nearly 40% of 100 residents who underwent medical tests had traces of cadmium in their blood, according to the Friends of Steel Valley. Some children have learning problems, are chronically fatigued and suffer from memory loss and lung ailments," Fiona Macleod and Yolandi Groenewald, South Africa Mail & Guardian Online.

VANDERBIJLPARK, SOUTH AFRICA -- Mittal Steel and Lanxess given 'Corpse Award', press release, groundWork.org.
Jun 12:  Biggest and for sale? Ask Mittal; Baron checks out Oracle chief's yacht, makes a splash

Ellison's yacht

LONDON, ENGLAND -- "Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has been shown around a mega-yacht on three occasions, thereby encouraging speculation that he may wish to buy it. Reports say he has visited the Rising Sun, which is described as the biggest private yacht in the world and is owned by Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison. . . The problem is that Mittal already has a yacht, which is sometimes used by his risen son, Aditya Mittal (who threw a party with his father in Cannes last month). It was also once moored outside Goa. . .He has the most expensive private residence in the world, in Kensington Palace Gardens, but has so far not moved in. The latest estimates suggest it was acquired for £60 million, though the renovations, currently under way, will cost extra. 'It's 138 metres (452 ft) long and, while there are bigger models currently in design, Rising Sun is the biggest private yacht in the world. Ellison hasn't directly put it up for sale, but he's made it known that he's open to offers, somewhere just over the $200-million mark. It's safe to say only serious players need apply.'. . . Ellison apparently ordered his yacht stretched by 65 ft during construction specifically to outdo a 414-ft vessel being built by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen," Amit Roy, Calcutta Telegraph.
Jun 7:  Student hand-delivers 458 straws from steel plant neighbors to Lakshmi Mittal's London headquarters



LONDON, ENGLAND-- "University of Akron student Claire Ryder delivered 458 individual messages with a drinking straw attached to each from Mittal Cleveland Works neighbors to Mittal Steel's headquarters yesterday. The message read, 'Dear Mr. Mittal, Please breathe through this straw for 60 seconds to see what it is like to have asthma. Pollutants from the Mittal Cleveland Works aggravate asthma for the 390,000 residents who live within five miles of the plant. Did you know that this plant's emissions of sulfur dioxide and small particulates, which can trigger asthma, increased by 38% from 2003 to 2004? It's time for you to invest in modernizing the Cleveland Works Plant to prevent pollution.' The package also included a letter from Tremont community leaders inviting Lakshi Mittal to meet with them," Ohio Citizen Action.

May 30:  Clearing the Air: How epidemiology, engineering, and experiment fingered fine particles as airborne killers

Tennis court

The lungs of an adult human evenly distribute 50 to 60 pounds of inhaled air a day to 300,000,000 thin-walled alveoli with a surface area the size of a tennis court.

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- "In the early 1990s, epidemiological research at the [Harvard School of Public Health] began to suggest that fine particles from combustion sources such as power plants and vehicles (known as PM2.5, or particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter) are more dangerous to human health than large particles or typical outdoor levels of pollutant gases such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. Researchers comparing air quality in six cities across the United States were stunned when their data showed that people living in cities with the dirtiest air died on average two years earlier than residents of cities with the cleanest air. The difference in death rates was linked to elevated levels of fine-particle pollution. In public-health terms, a two-year shift in life expectancy is enormous -- comparable to the protective effects of proper diet and exercise," Jonathan Shaw, Harvard Magazine, May-June 2005, 977 KB pdf.

May 29:  Latest steel slump doesn't stir panic

Steel prices

PITTSBURGH, PA -- "[Last year] pent-up demand in China caused a sharp run-up in prices for iron ore, scrap and other raw materials used to make steel. It also raised fears of steel shortages, a dilemma that was inconceivable just a few years earlier. The combination of those two forces led steel users to order much more steel than they needed. 'Last year's excesses became this year's excess inventories,' says Bradford Research's Charles Bradford. 'Prices are weakening and they're weakening each week some more,'" Len Boselovic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

May 28:  Mittal says steel price slump won’t wipe out profit

Mittal stock price

"MT" is the stock symbol for Mittal Steel. Stock prices are in U.S. dollars. Volume is in millions of shares traded/day.

NEW YORK, NY -- "Other investors worry that Mr Mittal, 54, is expanding in the U.S. market at just the wrong time. Shares of Mittal Steel closed at $24.80 on Friday—a 36% decline since the start of the year that’s cut more than $8 billion from Mr Mittal’s net worth. Benchmark steel prices in Europe have fallen 10% to $535 a ton from their peak of $592 on October 13. Iron ore costs are soaring, and China has started to export steel. . . Mittal Steel announced it would cut production by an undisclosed amount in the second quarter because of falling steel prices, adding that higher energy and iron ore costs would shave $25 to $30 from its profit for every ton of steel produced. In 2004, Mittal’s plants in North and Central America earned $87 of operating profit per ton, while his mills in Africa and Kazakhstan averaged $202 a ton," Simon Clark, Matthew Craze, Bloomberg News Service.

May 25:  Mittal Steel neighbor's scathing log

Mittal Steel

CLEVELAND -- A three-page log arrived in Ohio Citizen Action's Cleveland office on Monday, May 23. It was unattributed, but the content makes it clear that the author lives in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood next to Mittal Steel. ". . .5:30 AM. Had to put earplugs in to go to sleep last night. Woke up at 5 am, took them out, and surprise, surprise, the noise is at its worst. It seems like the pattern is that once the noise starts at night, it will go through the night and on through rush hour the next day. . . . Why would someone want to live in Cleveland and smell and listen to Mittal? New folks in Tremont pay big money for this new housing, only to be disillusioned by the noise and air quality. These are the people who might actually have money to donate to a campaign. But they live here a year or so and them move out because of the awful noise and smell and the failure of the city to address this quality of life issue. What does it matter if you have charming bistros/galleries within walking distance if the air is too putrid to walk there, and you have to shout to the person you're talking to because it sounds like an airplane is overhead?"

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA -- Steel stocks trashed. "Steel stocks fell across the world on Wednesday, as fears over softening demand eroded investor confidence yet again. Mittal Steel South Africa closed down 5% on Wednesday, at R49.05 [$7.56] a share, off 29% from its 12-month high. In mid-day trading on Wall Street, parent company Mittal Steel, the world’s No 1 steelmaker by volume, was 4.7% off at $23.50 a share, 46% off its 12-month highs," Barry Sergeant, Mineweb.

May 11:  State-of-the-art air monitor finds dangerous levels of 1,3-butadiene near Mittal Steel

Jack Marschall, Hilton Kelley

Hilton Kelley, right, shows News Channel 5 reporter Jack Marschall the emission readings on a laptop computer connected to a real-time air emissions monitor.

CLEVELAND -- Community leader Hilton Kelley from Port Arthur, Texas, brought a state-of-the-art air pollution monitor to Cleveland and quickly found dangerous levels of cancer-causing 1,3-butadiene a few hundred feet up Dille Road from Mittal Steel. The monitor also detected ground-level ozone and nitrogen oxide. The EPA-certified real-time monitor, called the CEREX UV Hound, was designed at MIT and manufactured by Cerex Environmental Services in Atlanta. Neither Mittal Steel, Cleveland Division of Air Pollution Control or the Ohio EPA have anything comparable. Why is that?
May 7:  Mittal Steel idling blast furnaces

C6 blast furnace

Mittal Steel's C-6 furnace, on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland.

CLEVELAND -- "Mittal Steel USA is taking further steps to match its output with inventory adjustments occurring in the markets that it serves. To accomplish this the company is taking its C-6 furnace at its Cleveland plant offline in preparation for gunning of refractory material to shore up its lining. The work is routine maintenance that had been scheduled for June. Normally, the furnace produces about 1,500 tons of iron daily. In addition, the company is idling H-3 blast furnace on the west side of the Indiana Harbor plant in East Chicago, Ind. The furnace will return to production when business conditions demand its 2,000-ton-a-day output. No. 6 blast furnace on that plant's east side has been idle since March," Recycling Today, May 6, 2005.
May 6:  Images of workers at Mittal Steel Cleveland Works

ISG Steel

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland's Steve Cagan, one of the best photographers anywhere, has posted a new series of images of workers at Mittal Steel Cleveland Works. The site also includes new images from his recent trip to Chocó, Colombia, as well as from his 'Working Ohio' project, and many other topics. Cagan writes: "One of the functions of this site is to show images to organizations, magazines, and others who might want to use them, or people who might want copies. If you know of people or groups who might be able to use such pictures, please let them know about the galleries. If you have a use for these pictures I’ll be very pleased, but please don’t simply download these images; get in touch with me so I can get you a higher-quality file."

May 2:  ISG Cleveland gives back to the community

New data show 2004 asthma- and cancer-linked emissions up sharply from 2003

Mott and Voinovich
Rodney Mott and U.S. Senator George Voinovich (Ohio)
CLEVELAND -- "When he took the reins at ISG Steel in 2002, Rodney Mott said, 'I've built some of the finest facilities anywhere in the world. That's what we're going to do at LTV.' Three years later, Mittal Steel has bought ISG, and Mott is retiring at 53 years old, walking away with $100 million. His boss, ISG owner Wilbur Ross, is walking away with $1 billion. What are they leaving behind in Cleveland? Not 'some of the finest facilities in the world.' Mott and Ross are leaving behind the worst polluter in Cuyahoga County. New figures show that asthma- and cancer-linked pollution from the Cleveland Works steel complex jumped sharply in 2004. Air pollution from the mill, especially the soot and sulfur dioxide, is particularly dangerous to children and anyone with asthma. The Cleveland mill has more neighbors than any steel mill in the country: 390,000 residents and half of Cleveland's public schools are within five miles of the facility," Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
May 1:  Please mark your calendar for May 26
Community meeting on air pollution and asthma

DatebookCLEVELAND -- "Come to a public meeting to learn about how air pollution in Cleveland contributes to asthma problems in children and adults, and to get involved in a 'good neighbor' campaign to urge Mittal Steel (formerly ISG and LTV) to reduce air pollution that can trigger asthma. The featured speakers will be Dr. Kathleen Fagan, environmental and occupational health physician, and Stuart Greenberg, executive director, Environmental Health Watch. The meeting will be on Thursday, May 26, 2005, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, at the Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall, 2592 W. 14th Street, Cleveland. For more information, contact Sandy Buchanan, (216) 861-5200," Ohio Citizen Action.
Apr 27:  Mittal and U.S. Steel profits soar

Chinese steel imports and exports

Mittal may want to keep an eye on China, which just became a net exporter of steel.
Source: Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau in London, England.

CLEVELAND -- "Higher prices and demand helped steel makers Mittal Steel Co. and U.S. Steel post hefty profits in the first quarter, but a potential crunch for raw materials could dampen earnings going ahead, the companies said. Mittal -- which became the world's largest steel maker with a series of acquisitions over the last year, including International Steel Group Inc. -- said its first- quarter profit nearly doubled, in line with analysts' expectations. Mittal, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, earned a profit of $1.1 billion, or $1.78 per share, on sales of $6.4 billion in the first quarter. Last year, it earned $539 million, or 83 cents per share," Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Apr 26:  Mittal Steel USA looking for a home
Headquarters could be coming to E.C., Chicago

EAST CHICAGO, IN -- "Northwest Indiana? Chicago? The suburbs? Mittal Steel USA isn't giving any hints or doesn't yet know where it's planning to locate its new headquarters. After the recent merger of Mittal Steel N.V.'s U.S. subsidiary, Ispat Inland Inc., and International Steel Group Inc., which created Mittal Steel USA, the company announced it would be led by Lou Schorsch and have its headquarters in the region. The office building used as headquarters for ISG in Richfield, Ohio, will house Mittal Steel USA's Eastern division offices. Before the merger, there were 65 people based in the office; that number is expected to be cut by about 50 percent through relocations to the Chicago/Northwest Indiana region and terminations, according to published reports," Andrea Holecek, Northwest Indiana Times.
Apr 16:  Steel won't have it easy in 2005

CLEVELAND -- "After the price of hot-rolled sheet peaked last year around $780 a ton, it is already down to $550 to $575, Olin said. The price per ton may well drop to $450 per ton by 2006, Olin said. That's still well above the Depression-level prices that led much of the industry into bankruptcy a few years ago," Peter Krouse, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Mott and Granakis
Outgoing ISG CEO Rodney Mott and Steelworkers Local President Mark Granakis
CLEVELAND -- Mott walks away from stress of Mittal job. "The news of Mott's departure concerned Mark Granakis, president of Local 979 of the United Steelworkers of America in Cleveland, who was at a union convention in Las Vegas when he learned Mott was leaving. Granakis not only respected Mott as a leader but also considered him a friend. He could drive to the corporate office and talk to him anytime. Now Granakis is worried about labor-management relations. Will there be the same respect for the union? He gets along well with the Terry Fedor, the new plant manager at the Cleveland Works, and Bill Brake, who will run Mittal Steel USA's eastern region operations. But what if the corporate office takes a more adversarial stance with the unions? . . . As for Mott's departure, 'It's not a good omen,' [Mike Locker, a consultant with Locker Associates in New York] said. Mott has the ability to cut through bureaucracy and deal effectively with unions, he said, but Schorsch, who comes from a consulting background, has not demonstrated the same level of skill," Peter Krouse, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Apr 15:  Mittal Steel Company N.V. announces management organization at Mittal Steel USA

Lou Schorsch
Lou Schorsch
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS -- "Lou Schorsch, currently President & CEO of Ispat Inland, will become CEO of Mittal Steel USA, effective upon completion of the proposed merger with ISG. . . . Rodney Mott, currently CEO of ISG, has decided to leave the organization for personal reasons, effective upon completion of the proposed merger with ISG. . . . Mittal Steel USA will be headquartered in the Chicago-land area. Mittal Steel's US operations will be divided into two regions. The eastern regional office will be located in Richfield, Ohio, and the western regional office will be located in Burns Harbor, Indiana," release, Mittal Steel.

CLEVELAND -- ISG chief executive officer quits; Mott was to lead U.S. unit after upcoming merger with Mittal, Peter Krouse, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- Rodney B. Mott, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Mar 30:  Ohio keeps toxins flowing

State likely to retain top rank in chemical releases into air despite economy's struggles

ISG Cleveland
ISG Cleveland Works
AKRON -- "Ohio Citizen Action is using U.S. EPA Toxic Release Inventory numbers and other pollution data to try to persuade International Steel Group to be a good neighbor, to modernize its Cleveland mill, and to cut pollution, said spokeswoman Sandy Buchanan. The ISG plant was closed in 2002 and reopened in mid-2003, and the pollution totals probably will climb when the 2004 data is released, she said. Such data is 'certainly useful... and we use TRI all the time to alert people in Ohio to the most dangerous places,' she said. 'Such numbers provide a sense of magnitude for the size of an operation,'" Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal.

TOLEDO -- Toxic chemical output has dip; Emissions down for 6th straight year, Tom Henry, Toledo Blade.
Mar 21:  Mittal's M&A machine all set to steel the show

DELHI, INDIA -- " At 28, he’s already 11 mergers old. First, he cut his teeth on an IPO on Wall Street. Next he charged into Kazakhstan, Romania, Algeria and South Africa before invading the US. Meet the M&A maestro of Band Mittallica. Presenting Aditya, CFO and president of the world’s biggest house of steel. Also son of the world’s third-richest individual, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal. Excerpts from the interview: 'As the world’s most global steel company, we are focused on all areas of the world, with particular attention to certain jurisdictions. In Europe, we have recently been awarded exclusivity for Huta Czestochowa in Poland and we are very interested in the privatisation of Erdemir in Turkey. In terms of North America, as you know, we will shortly be completing our acquisition of International Steel Group and the immediate priority for this market will be on integrating ISG with our existing US operations,'" Ishani Duttagupta, Economic Times, India.
Mar 20:  Lakshmi Mittal: Lionised but ignored

Chinese steel plant
Hengyang Steel Tube Ltd, Hengyang, China
DELHI, INDIA -- "Steel is a commodity business in which prices first soar and then plummet, going from euphoria to despair. Canny investors like Mittal take over or install new capacity at the bottom of the steel cycle, when equipment and raw material prices are lowest. . . .Steel is dazzlingly profitable today: the price of hot rolled coils has risen from $250/tonne during the global recession to $700/tonne. This means record profits even through raw material prices are sky-high too. So strong is world steel demand that Nissan and Toyota have had to shut down production in Japan following steel shortages. But every boom is followed by a bust. The current boom has been driven mainly by China's runaway increase in steel demand, along with the fastest growth of world GDP for decades (5.3% in 2004). . . .Last year China made 275 million tonnes of steel, a quarter of world output. It expects to make an additional 45 million tones this year. Already several Chinese firms have turned from importers to exporters. So, steel prices may be close to their peak, and surpluses may soon send prices on a cyclical downturn. Indian investors hope to bring new capacity on stream between 2007 and 2009. Lakshmi Mittal can see clearly that this new capacity may arrive just as global surpluses send prices crashing. . . the risk is palpable, and Lakshmi Mittal is not inclined to take it. He would rather wait for the next crash, and then buy up sick plants for a song," Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, Times of India.
Mar 16:  Steel executives cash in on industry boom

PITTSBURGH, PA -- "A banner year for the domestic steel industry has turned into banner payouts for some steel executives. The chief executives at Pittsburgh-based United States Steel Corp. and Richfield, Ohio-based International Steel Group Inc. cashed out shares worth $34.8 million and $40.1 million, respectively. That's on top of a salary. In SEC documents filed Thursday, ISG reported that its president and chief executive, Rodney Mott, exercised options worth more than $40 million on top of his salary of $650,000, and a bonus of nearly $2 million. The five executives under Mott collectively made $18.4 million exercising shares. For his part in orchestrating a $4.5 billion in cash and stock deal to be acquired by Steel tycoon Lakshmi N. Mittal, ISG's Mott took home another $60.1 million," Charles Sheehan, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Mar 16:  Mittal unlikely to loosen steely grip

Entrepreneur looks set to hold on to his stake in world's biggest steelmaker despite analysts' misgivings.

Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal
LONDON, ENGLAND -- "One of the world’s richest men, Mittal holds an 88 per cent share in Mittal Steel, the world’s biggest steelmaker. . . Mitch Hecht, head of Hampshire Steel Investments, a New York steel fund, says Mittal’s dominant shareholding is likely to depress the share price in the immediate future by about 30 per cent because many institutions will shun the stock. He says the shares — now trading at just under $40 — could rise to $60 if Mittal’s control was reduced," Peter Marsh, Business Standard.

NEW DELHI, INDIA -- Mittal loves India for its hustle-bustle. "Mittal said, 'Simultaneous with the restructuring, we announced the ISG merger in the US to form the world’s largest steel producer. Upon completion, around the beginning of April, there will be a significant integration operation to exploit all synergy opportunities between our existing operations in the US and ISG’s operations,' " Ishani Duttagupta, Times News Network.
  • "Synergy" is a business fad-word, referring to cooperative interaction among the newly-merged parts of a corporation. In practice, "synergy" has often meant layoffs, so workers interpret the use of the word as a warning.
Mar 13:  Mittal deal spawns questions

Not everyone on board with ISG buyout

Peter Morici
Dr. Peter Morici
MUNSTER, IN -- "In the next few weeks, Mittal is set to buy ISG for $4.5 billion, more than double the cost ISG paid for the assets of LTV Corp., Bethlehem Steel Corp., Acme Steel Co. and Weirton Steel Corp. combined. Mittal paid $1.4 billion for Ispat Inland Inc. in 1998. The merger puts the fate of 17,000 steelworkers who produce a large percentage of U.S. flat-rolled steel in the hands of the Lakshmi Mittal family, which will own 88 percent of the company's stock. ISG shareholders will own 9 percent of the merged entity, and Ispat shareholders will own 3 percent. Mittal, a native of India, will receive $2 billion in cash when the transaction is completed. One of Great Britain's richest residents, Mittal lives in a $129 million London home. University of Maryland business school professor Peter Morici said in his view the only downside to the deal is the $2 billion payment, which could create a cash flow crisis for the company if there is an industry downturn. 'They'd have to go to the bank or put in cash themselves,' he said. 'And if they borrow money, there's interest to pay, and that could have an effect on the ongoing vitality of the company,'" Andrea Holecek, Northwest Indiana Times.
Mar 8:  ISG shakes up management
Company philosophy shifts from local to regional

RICHFIELD -- "Three years after its founding, International Steel Group Inc. is moving managers and changing both its former management structure and its 'local decision making' philosophy to a 'regional approach.' ISG is in the process of "consolidating operations and centralizing key functions on a corporate and regional level," according to a recent internal memo from Rodney Mott, ISG president and chief executive officer. ISG, which was formed in early 2002 to but the steelmaking assets of bankrupt LTV Corp., originally put decision making and performance results at the plant level. 'ISG will establish a decentralized, entrepreneurial culture in which each plant would focus full attention on making quality steel in the most cost-effective and profitable manner possible,' the company said in February 2002. At the time, Mott said each of the plants would have full responsibility for its performance and results, accompanied by local management of core functions including accounting, purchasing, engineering, customer service, and human resources," Andrea Holecek, Northwest Indiana News.
Mar 6:  Waiting to inhale

As asthma cases soar, doctors are finally beginning to understand how this chronic disease works. New treatments are on the horizon.

NEW YORK, NY -- "Recent studies have confirmed what scientists have suspected for years: that asthma is an immune-system reaction to dust, pollution and other allergens in the environment, which trigger spasms and tightening of the airways in some people who also have a genetic predisposition. Now they're zeroing in on that genetic vulnerability. The new thinking is that asthma isn't simply a matter of having the wrong genes. Instead, at some point in early childhood, or possibly in the womb, an event takes place that turns a person into a lifetime asthmatic. Scientists think the fetus or infant is somehow exposed to a critical dose of pollutants that causes the immune system to overreact, permanently narrowing the airways and making them more sensitive to irritants," Tara Pepper, Newsweek, issued dated Mar 14, 2005.

ISG Cleveland asthma-trigger pollution, 2003
Large particles
696,000 pounds
Small particles
964,000 pounds
Sulfur dioxide
1,068,000 pounds
Nitrogen oxide
4,384,000 pounds
Carbon monoxide
69,494,000 pounds
Organic chemicals
172,000 pounds
Volatile organic compounds
172,000 pounds
These numbers do not reflect pollution from the West Side Works, which did not reopen until May 2004. Accordingly, these numbers can be expected to be significantly larger in the 2004 reports, available after Apr 15, 2005. Source: ISG 2003 Title V emissions fee report to Ohio EPA

MORE ON ISG CLEVELAND
Mar 3:  Officials: No Mesabi Range layoffs seen now

EAST CHICAGO, IL -- "ISG President Rodney Mott, who will head U.S. operations for Mittal Steel, pledged no North American cutbacks or shutdowns, the [Feb 24] Forbes.com article said," Charles Ramsay, Mesabi Daily News.
Mar 1:  Can't you smell that smell?

CLEVELAND -- "Commuters from southern suburbs have long noticed a foul stench near International Steel. But about two months ago, the funkometer went off the charts. Now drivers on I-77 swerve along the highway, trying to put their shirts over their noses to keep from gagging. A recent stop at a city air-monitoring station confirmed our suspicion: Something new is in the air. A worker gathering air-quality data said a new pollutant began to register a few months back. 'It's coming from Research Oil,' he says. 'There's another monitoring site down there. I was there yesterday, and the smell was so bad, I couldn't eat my lunch.' Research Oil no longer exists. Its facilities are now run by General Environmental Management, which refines usable oil in hazardous waste for use at the steel mills," Cleveland Scene.
Feb 24:  Mittal Steel may cut 8,000 jobs a year for five years

Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal
LONDON, ENGLAND -- "Mittal Steel Co. NV, set to become the world's largest steelmaker next month, may shed as many as 8,000 jobs a year through 2010 to cut costs after the purchase of International Steel Group Inc., the company's owner said. 'We want to focus on cost,' Lakshmi Mittal, the company's billionaire owner, said today at a meeting with analysts and investors in Chicago that was broadcast on the company's Web site. The workforce may shrink to '110,000 employees after five years' from about 150,000 after the International Steel Group purchase, he said. Between 7,000 and 8,000 jobs may be cut annually over five years to improve profit margins, Mittal said. The Rotterdam-based company expects to complete the purchase of Richfield, Ohio-based International Steel from financier Wilbur Ross by the end of March. . . In North America, 'the exact number of employees will have to be decided when we complete the transaction,' said International Steel Group Chief Executive Rodney Mott said today in a telephone interview," Matthew Craze, Bloomberg News, Feb 23, 2005.
Feb 17:  ISG agrees to keep trucks off Forest City streets

Bill Brake
ISG's Bill Brake
CLEVELAND -- "In response to recent complaints by residents of the Forest City neighborhood of southeast Cleveland to Ohio Citizen Action, a representative of nearby ISG (International Steel Group) complex told the Forest City Civic Association at their Tuesday, Feb. 8, meeting that they have reached an agreement with Autumn Trucking to use nonresidential routes to carry metallurgical coke to the steel complex. . . The decision came shortly after Rocco Cardinal of Independence Road logged 11 pages of dangerous truck traffic in one weekend. In addition, Ohio Citizen Action sent hundreds of signed letters from throughout the Greater Cleveland community to plant manager Bill Brake. Debris falling from Autumn's uncovered and overloaded trucks had posed safety hazard for neighbors living in the area," Neighborhood News, Feb 16, 2005.
Feb 11:  ISG earnings top $600 million

Tax benefit, sales growth lift steelmaker's 4Q profit

RICHFIELD -- "International Steel Group Inc., soon to become part of Mittal Steel Co. NV, swung to a solid fourth- quarter profit of more than $600 million, helped by a tax benefit and improving steel sales. For the three months that ended Dec. 31, ISG earned $606 million, or $5.87 per share, compared with a loss of $48.7 million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier, the steelmaker said late Wednesday. Quarterly sales were $2.55 billion, up from $1.42 billion a year earlier. The most recent fourth-quarter results include a tax benefit of about $390 million, or $3.78 per share, reflecting ISG's Bethlehem Steel Corp. acquisition and a valuation allowance. Excluding that tax benefit, ISG earned $216.1 million, or $2.10 per share. Growth from acquisitions and a strong global steel market also helped the company in the quarter, ISG said," Baltimore Sun.
Feb 9:  ISG Cleveland agrees to keep coke trucks off Independence Road

ISG ClevelandCLEVELAND -- "A representative of ISG Cleveland told the Forest City Civics Club last night that they have reached an agreement with Autumn Trucking to use non-residential routes to carry coke to the steel complex. Autumn Trucking has been using Independence Road to get to the plant, but will now use Rockefeller Avenue or Dille Hill. The agreement is effective immediately. ISG said that Autumn is the only trucking company they work with which had been using Independence Road," Meg Alley, Ohio Citizen Action.

CLEVELAND -- ISG truck traffic riling residents on Independence Road, Neighborhood News.
Feb 6:  Steel mill soot galvanizes Dearborn's south end

Neighbors in the south unite to sue the plant and demand an end to pollution

Yasser Maisari has led the fight to improve air quality in south Dearborn.
DEARBORN -- "Yasser Maisari says that for residents of his old, industrial neighborhood in south Dearborn, push has finally come to shove. Maisari and other residents busied themselves for months organizing to fight the air pollution that sometimes coats their cars and homes with dust. They worry that some of the health problems, like lung and heart ailments, occurring in the largely blue-collar neighborhood are caused or aggravated by the sooty pollution. 'All of our concerns and complaints, even though they are valid and justified -- and we have evidence -- it is all falling on deaf ears, whether it is with local or even national officials,' Maisari said. 'We have the physical data. We have proof,' he said. 'Come to our neighborhood. It is on our cars and in our homes. This is the stuff we are breathing,'" Gregg Krupa, Detroit News.
Jan 28:  Neighbor logs dangerous truck traffic on Independence Road next to ISG Cleveland

Drawing

CLEVELAND -- "Rocco Cardinal, who lives on Independence Road near ISG Cleveland, detailed many truck problems the weekend before last: Of 22 trucks logged, 15 were loaded above the sideboards; none of these heavily-loaded trucks were covered. Ten trucks appeared to be speeding, six were crossing lane lines, and one was using engine breaks. Last weekend, Mr. Cardinal, who has 40 years of experience as a trucker himself, logged 11 pages worth of dangerous truck traffic on the residential street. The best way to to understand what is happening on Independence Road is to read Mr. Cardinal's handwritten logs," Meg Alley, Ohio Citizen Action. Drawing by Aaron Koonce.

Rocco Cardinal truck logs:
Jan 20:  Memo to ISG Cleveland:

We have something that belongs to you.
And you can find plenty more in the yards of your neighbors.


coke fragment

"One of your neighbors on Independence Road found this in his front yard. He has found many of them, and is making a collection. It looks like a meteorite, but it is not. It is a lump of metallurgical coke you use in steelmaking. It flew off the back of an 18-wheeler barrelling down this residential street next to your Cleveland complex. This happens regularly, and it is just a matter of luck whether the hot coke hits a child in a stroller or a senior citizen in a lawn chair before it lands. Please keep your trucks off residential streets so that no one gets hurt," Ohio Citizen Action.
Jan 12:  Steelworkers, PACE announce merger

Deal creates nation's largest industrial labor union; officials say bigger force to have more political clout

Leo Gerard
Canadian Leo Gerard will lead the merged union
PITTSBURGH, PA -- "The name of the new union, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, would have a membership as wide-ranging as its name. 'Our union will have the largest membership in its sector in paper, metals, in glass, forestry products, tire, rubber, chemical, energy and a number of important parts of energy and nuclear,' said Leo Gerard, president of the Pittsburgh-based USWA [United Steelworkers of America], who will head the new union if members approve the merger. . . While the most recent filings with the U.S. Department of Labor show the combined union would have about 776,000 members, union officials say those 2003 labor figures are outdated and put the actual figure closer to 850,000," Charles Sheehan, Associated Press.

PITTSBURGH, PA -- Steelworkers, PACE vote to merge, release, United Steelworkers of America.
Jan 7:  Steel industry recovery could end duties

Protection from imports imperiled as profits rise

CLEVELAND -- "U.S. producers of hot-rolled sheet -- the most common type of steel made in this country -- have been protected from low-priced imports from Japan, Russia and Brazil since 1999. Lewis Leibowitz, counsel for the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, argues that the two major factors that have suppressed imports are the anti-dumping orders and the weak dollar. International Steel Group Inc. in Richfield supports keeping the duties in place. 'There's certainly a place for imports,' said Chuck Glazer, an ISG spokesman, as long as they are fairly traded and not priced artificially low or sold with the aid of government subsidies or manipulated currencies. But in the next few months ISG is to be sold to Mittal Steel Co. N.V., a Dutch company with mills around the world. 'It will be interesting to see once the merger closes how our philosophy might adjust to being a larger global player,' Glazer said," Peter Krouse, Cleveland Plain Dealer.


Mittal Steel news from Jan-Jun 2006, Jul-Dec 2005, 2004