Steel News

Cleveland-Cliffs Expects March Close for AK Steel Acquisition

2/21/2020 - Cleveland-Cliffs’ planned acquisition of AK Steel Corp. has received approval from North American regulators and is expected to close in March, the company has announced. 

The company said it locked up approvals after learning on Friday that Mexican competition authorities have signed off on the deal.

Cliffs already had approval from antitrust regulators in the U.S. and Canada, chief executive Lourenco Goncalves disclosed Thursday during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. 

Goncalves said a shareholder meeting has been set for 10 March and expects the deal to be concluded on 13 March. He also said he is all the more confident that the merger will be successful. 

“Our dealings with AK Steel over the last several weeks gave us the conviction that Cleveland-Cliffs and AK Steel have a lot in common, and are both very different from the other companies and the vast majority of companies out there. Similarly to Cliffs, AK Steel has not saved money by skipping necessary maintenance that would, over time, make equipment and products a lot worse. Not the case with Cliffs, not the case with AK Steel,” he said.  

“Also, both AK and Cliffs rely on the North America market and should thrive with a strong economy we currently have and we will continue to have here in the United States.”

Also during the call, Goncalves promised a June start-up of its hot-briquetted iron (HBI) plant in Toledo, Ohio, USA, and said the plant is expected to reach its nameplate capacity of 1.9 million tons by the end of 2021.

He also revealed that some of the plant’s offtake has now been spoken for by mills in southern states such as Mississippi and Arkansas. 

“We are very excited that we are just a few months away from starting replacing Russian and Ukrainian pig iron with our made-in-USA HBI, to the benefit of our new EAF clients, our employees, our shareholders, and the economy of Toledo in northwest Ohio,” he said.