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Charter Manufacturing Purchases Birmingham Steel's American Steel & Wire Cleveland Facility

March 1, 2002

Purchase expands Charter Steel's SBQ capabilities

MEQUON, Wisconsin – Officials from the Charter Manufacturing Company today announced that the company has purchased the assets of the American Steel and Wire division of Birmingham Steel located in Cleveland, Ohio.  The assets will be combined with the company's Charter Steel Division, which has steel-making and coil processing facilities in Saukville, Wisconsin, and Rising Sun, Ohio.

"We view this purchase as a wonderful opportunity to expand our product and service offering to both our current customers and, we hope, to some new customers in the special bar quality (SBQ) marketplace," said John Mellowes, Chairman and CEO of Charter Manufacturing Company.  "The new bar mill at Cleveland is an exceptional asset that both complements and supports our ongoing investment and growth initiatives that are focused on serving the growing needs of our cold heading, cold forming, cold finishing, bearing, tool steel, stainless, and specialty spring customers." 

The new rolling assets at Cleveland raise Charter Steel's annual coil-making capacity to approximately 1.2 million tons, ranging in sizes from 7/32 inches to 1-5/8 inches in diameter.  The company intends to roll billets produced at Saukville and to purchase billets from steel makers around the world to supply the Cleveland operation.  The current steel-making capacity at Saukville is estimated at 550,000 annual tons utilizing electric arc melting, vacuum arc degassing and direct billet casting technologies. 

"We serve customers today that have critical applications that require or may benefit from a billet produced from a semi-finished bloom and/or a basic oxygen furnace steel-making practice," said Tom Glaister, President and COO of Charter Manufacturing Company.  "Our customers' ultimate satisfaction rests in our ability to understand their specific part requirements and to then apply the best and lowest cost steel-making practice available to make the part consistently and to deliver it when and where they need it," Glaister added.  "The new bar mill and billet purchasing strategy supports and complements our current ability to do just that.  And until we expand the scope and scale of our own steel melting and casting capabilities, we intend to make billet purchasing a core competency. This acquisition is one more example of how we'll be better able to serve our customers throughout the country, each with very different and specific needs."

Charter Manufacturing has supported numerous capital expenditures totaling more than $241 million in the last seven years, including:

  • The September, 1997 completion of a new Rod Mill at Saukville and the March 2002 completion of a major expansion of that Mill to roll bar sizes to 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • The January 2000 completion of the Company's third coil processing facility at Saukville, which included a new chemical cleaning line and 2 Salem-Daido Continuous Annealing Furnaces and the replacement and upgrading of the company's entire wire making capability.
  • The November, 2000 addition of a carbon and alloy Coil Processing and Distribution Facility in Rising Sun, Ohio, which included a new chemical cleaning line, mechanical de-scaling, Salem-Daido short time cycle annealing furnaces, and wire drawing equipment.
  • The June 2001 completion of a Stainless Steel Coil Processing and Distribution Facility in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, which included 4 new annealing furnaces and a new cleaning and coating line.
  • The ongoing productivity, capability, and capacity enhancements of the steel melting and casting operations at Saukville.