Steel Products

Esmark Delaying Restart of Yorkville Plant

Written by Sandy Williams

Written by: Sandy Williams

Start up of the Esmark Yorkville cold-rolling plant is on hold waiting for “a less volatile steelmarket” according to Esmark.

Esmark acquired the renamed Ohio Cold Rolling Company from defunct RG Steel along with a 50 percent interest in the nearby tin plate production plant Ohio Coatings Co. in October 2012. Esmark said OCRC would begin operations in early 2013 but weak steel demand, pricing pressures in the cold-rolled steel market, low priced imports, high inventories and economic uncertainty has set back the much anticipated re-opening. In addition, Ohio Coatings’ late entry into the annual tinplate contract negotiations resulted in a commitment by OCC to annual black plate sourcing outside of Yorkville, resulting in the loss of OCRC’s largest customer.

Last week Columbia Gas of Ohio shut off service to the mill after Esmark decided to delay the opening.

“As part of this decision we have been working with the local natural gas and electric utility companies and agreed to temporarily suspend natural gas service to the plant until we’re prepared to begin restart operations. We continue to maintain electric service,” said Esmark.

United Steel Workers Local 1223 President Jerry Conners told the Herald Star that he is losing confidence in the new owners.

“I have a hard time believing the plant is on track for a reopening. I do think either Esmark, or the Esmark Steel Group, is experiencing a cash flow problem,” Conners said. “Gas for heat has never been turned off in the past.”

Esmark remains committed to restarting the Yorkville facility later this year. In the meantime, a small workforce will be on hand for fire watch and maintenance.

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