Ill. Company Buys RG Steel

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An Illinois company has purchased the steel making assets at the former RG Steel mill in Warren.

Hilco Trading, LLC., of Northbrook, Ill., said in a news release they purchased the steel mill on North Park Avenue and will try and find a buyer who will restart operations at the facility, where 1,000 employees were laid off in May 2012 after RG Steel declared bankruptcy.

“Our goal is to do everything possible to find a purchaser for the facility that can operate the hot mill facility as a going concern,” said Hilco Chief Marketing Officer Gary Epstein in a statement.

C.J. Betters Inc., owned by Monaca businessman Charles Betters, bought the 111-year-old mill in August for $16 million through bankruptcy court in Delaware. Betters bought the 1,200-acre mill site with a clause in the agreement that he would refrain from scrapping the mill for nine months, which ran out last month.

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said Betters retained at least some ownership in RG Steel, but he was unsure how much.

Epstein said in a statement he is planning “an aggressive push” to seek potential buyers of both the entire facility or will sell it off in parts, according to the release.

“Hilco will run a sale process that will include continuing to market the steel making complex, vetting and evaluating all offers in a private treaty sale,” he said.

The statement also said there “may be some demolition work” at the cold mill site.

“There will probably be some selective demolition, some of the non-essential parts of the mill so they have in tact those real essential parts that makes it a viable sale in the future,” said Franklin.

Betters purchased the plant in August and winterized the plant using $1 million of his business partner’s money in an attempt to keep the cold weather from causing irreparable damage while trying to find buyers who would operate the mill.

Machinery and other components were auctioned off in March.

The plant opened in 1902 as Republic Steel Corp., which became LTV Steel. During the late 1980s the company reorganized as WCI Steel, which filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

The mill was sold in 2008 to Severstal, who sold to RG Steel in 2010.

“We know the plan had fallen a little short of seeking a qualified buyer the first round, so I think this gives an additional option in terms of having someone come in and do another marketing plan for that part of the facility,” Franklin said.

Officials are confident the plant will re-open one day because the property is has valuable miles of rail lines for redevelopment.

“Hopefully, there is someone out there that may come in and purchase part of the facility,” said Darryl Parker, president of United Steel Workers Local 1375. “I would rather see part of it running than none at all.”

This is not the first former RG mill that Hilco has purchased. The company’s website shows they are in the process auctioning off pieces of the Sparrows Point, Md. plant that RG once ran.

The auction for the Sparrows Point facility is scheduled for later this month.

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