Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by Brett Linton

I have been in New York City since Sunday. I am participating in a panel on Wednesday at the Cowen & Company conference. Steel people don’t get to attend most of the financial related conferences. The attendees tend to be hedge fund managers and investors. Their perspectives of the steel industry can be quite different than what I see on a daily basis while speaking to active buyers and sellers of steel. So, it has been interesting to listen to a few of the presentations from steel people to the investment community.

Perhaps the most telling was the presentation by Lourenco Goncalves, former CEO of Metals USA who is the new CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources. He spent quite a bit of time educating the group in his own special style as he explained the difference between fines, lump and pellets (iron ore) as well as metallurgical coal. As he went through the process I learned something as well. Something that those within the industry should be aware of if you are not already. The Australian iron ore companies send fines to China. Iron ore fines have to be further processed before they can be fed into a steel mill. The process is called sinter and the plant produces pollution. So, Goncalves pointed out that the Australians are exporting pollution to China… An interesting perspective.

Here in the United States and Canada Cliffs ships iron ore pellets to the steel mills. They do not ship any fines.

Steel Market Update teaches the differences in the products and the steel making process in our Steel 101 workshops. Our next workshop will be held in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and will include a tour of the Nucor Berkeley EAF steel mill. This should be an excellent program and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the industry. You can learn more about our program, instructors and how to register on our website.

I caught a photo that I think is interesting. The photo is of Mario Longhi giving his keynote speech about the changes and challenges at U.S. Steel. He talked about the need to change the way employees think and interact with their jobs. My photo catches Longhi speaking with John Surma listening to his speech in the foreground.

As I explained to one of the attendees at the conference this afternoon, SMU does not have a sales team. Our product essentially is sold by word of mouth – recommendations from our customers. We rarely make cold calls due to how busy all of our schedules are as we attempt to make each issue of Steel Market Update worth reading. We recently started a reward program for our members who are out there recommending SMU to their industry friends, suppliers and customers. If your recommendation results in a sale of a new subscription your company gets both a thank you and a $100 credit which can be used on any workshop, conference, expansion of existing membership or renewal within 12 months of issue. Thank you to those of you who are helping us grow.

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, Publisher

Brett Linton

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