February 21, 2013 9:49:17 AM
Sarah Fowler - [email protected]
Despite a report that Severstal will scale back its investments, officials within the steel mill giant say the Columbus facility will not be affected.
Reuters News Service reported this week that Severstal plans to cut its investments by 24 percent, which amounts to $1.3 billion.
While the company plans to spend most of its investments on its Russian operations, the company said $107 million will be invested in the United States, with $43 million allocated to the plant in Columbus.
"In 2013, Severstal will continue to invest in its long term development, with a primary focus on our Russian steel-making and mining assets,'' Severstal CEO Alexey Kulichenko said in a statement. "We adopt a prudent approach to our capital expenditure, adjusting investment to market conditions and not raising new debt funds."
Reuters said that Severstal reported a one-percent drop in overall production in 2012. However, Severstal officials said that the Columbus facility increased production 26 percent last year.
"Last year, we completed the $550-million Phase II expansion program at Severstal Columbus and doubled the plant's steel-making capacity," said Katya Pruett, Severstal director of public relations. "With the implementation of Phase II, we have significantly improved our product quality and capabilities, and our sales volumes for the automotive industry and other key markets are expected to grow because of the investments in Columbus.
"Last year, we concluded our major modernization and expansion projects in the United States, however we will continue funding and facilitating projects on an as-needed basis. We will also continue to refine our operating practices on the new equipment, developing new product lines and qualifying for the new markets. So, this will definitely be a busy year for Severstal Columbus," she said.
Pruett said that Severstal Columbus is also planning an increase in production for 2013.
"Columbus increased its production from 2011 to 2012 by 26 percent and is planning to increase production this year by an additional 11 percent," she said.
Severstal Columbus is capable of melting 3.4 million net tons of steel a year.
Globally, Severstal employs more than 70,000 employees, including 650 at the Columbus facility.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.