May 10, 2014 11:02:03 PM
Severstal's steel plant in Lowndes County is for sale.
The Russia-based company has reportedly put its two U.S. operations on the auction block, according to The Wall Street Journal. The steelmaker's other North American plant is in Michigan.
Severstal is the U.S.'s fourth-biggest producer of alloy.
The Columbus site, which makes steel out of scrap metal, is located on 1,400 acres near Airport Road. The plant employs roughly 650 people, according to a presentation Madhu Ranade, the plant's vice president and general manager, gave to the Columbus Rotary Club late last year.
When contacted Saturday, Joe Max Higgins, the CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK, said he has been aware of the Severstal situation for a few months. Asked if he was worried about the plant potentially closing, Higgins responded, "No. Not at all."
He said that even in the event of a sale, the facility is "too new, too efficient" to be shutdown.
Three years ago, Severstal more than doubled the size of the Columbus mill, adding a second electric arc furnace, caster and tunnel furnace, and a second galvanizing line, according to Steel Market Update, which published a piece about the potential sale Saturday.
The Georgia-based website, which focuses on the steel industry, reported that rumors of the possible sale began circulating around the steel industry several months ago. The website stated that the "target" price for the Lowndes County and Michigan operations combined is $2.7 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that the two locations could fetch $1.5 billion or more.
Industry experts believe the Columbus site is the more valuable asset of the two, according to Higgins.
A business based in Brazil called Companhia Siderurgica Nacional has shown interest in buying both of the operations, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In 2011, Severstal sold three U.S. plants to family-owned Renco Group Inc., according to The Wall Street Journal.
Looking at where the steel made in Columbus goes, Ranade, in his presentation to the Rotary Club last year, said 31 percent goes to pipe and tube manufacturers; 15 percent goes to appliances makers; 14 percent goes to automotive companies; 12 percent goes to construction; and 8 percent goes to heating and air conditioning companies.
1. Ex-office manager arrested for embezzlement COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY