April 21, 2017 - Liberty House, London, has agreed to buy ArcelorMittal’s Georgetown Steelworks in South Carolina, with a 600,000-tons-per-year electric-arc furnace and 750,000-ton wire rod mill.
The acquisition, if completed as planned, will give Liberty an opportunity to reopen and revitalize this business, which was an important part of the state’s industrial infrastructure for 47 years before it shuttered in August 2015.
It would also mark the first significant step in Liberty’s plan to make major investments in the U.S. steel industry.
ArcelorMittal is pleased to have found a buyer “with extensive steel experience and a commitment to returning this site to its steelmaking capability,” stated John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA.
“This is a landmark day for families with a previous stake in the steel industry who will now get a chance to rediscover what was lost. Our agreement opens the door to the eventual restoration of several hundred jobs, and gives this region’s economy a new industrial focus,” Liberty House Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta stated.
He said his company wants to apply its vision of producing steel with a low-carbon footprint in the U.S., as it is doing in the United Kingdom.
“We’re confident that, with the right support from the community and authorities, we can make Georgetown and other U.S. steel plants competitive profitable and sustainable.”
Liberty House has been in talks with the United Steelworkers union, said Gupta, which he hopes will work with new ownership in the process of recruiting a workforce to reopen the plant and rebuild the business.
On March 28, four U.S. steel producers–Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., Nucor Corp., Keystone Consolidated Industries Inc., and Charter Steel–filed petitions charging that unfairly-traded imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from Belarus, Italy, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom are causing material injury to the domestic industry.
The petitions allege that producers in each of the 10 countries are dumping wire rod in the U.S. market at sizable margins.
The 600,000-square-foot Georgetown plant sits on a 60-acre site next to a deep-water port along the Sampit River. When operating at full capacity, the steelworks employed more than 320 workers. Its wire rod was sold into the the construction, automotive and industrial markets.