06:18 19-12-2014
MAIN Russian
About us On-line subscription
KazakhstanTajikistanUzbekistanKyrgyzstanTurkmenistanWorld
POLITICSBUSINESSINCIDENTSSOCIETYCULTURESPORTANALYSISSCIENCE
Russian steelmaker Severstal sells Michigan plants to U.S. buyers for $2.3bln

Bishkek (AKIpress) - Russia's Severstal said on Monday it had agreed to sell its two U.S. steel plants for $2.3 billion, withdrawing from the U.S. market at a time of rising tension between Russia and the West and turning its focus to its domestic business, The Moscow Times reports. 

The company said it would sell subsidiaries Severstal Columbus in Mississippi to Steel Dynamics and Severstal Dearborn in Michigan to AK Steel Corporation, sales that could allow the steelmaker to pay an extra dividend and reduce debt.

Severstal, Russia's second-biggest steel producer, said in May that it was considering a range of strategic options for its plants in Mississippi and Michigan, which produce steel products mainly for the automotive sector, having earlier divested steel plants in Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.

The sale comes as tensions between Russia and the West grow over Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine crisis, which has already resulted in a series of sanctions against Russian companies and individuals and may lead to further sanctions.

Severstal, controlled by Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov, said that politics did not influence its decision to sell its U.S. businesses but some analysts think the situation may have weighed on the final decision and the timing of the sale.

"The political sentiment could have pushed them to do it because it is safer for them to stay away from the U.S. market," said a London-based analyst, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject.

Severstal North America made up about 30 percent of the group's revenue.

The Russian steelmaker embarked on a series of international acquisitions in the early 2000s, near the peak of the cycle for steel and commodities. In the last couple of years, however, its focus has switched from international growth to its higher margin domestic Russian steel market.

Large steelmakers, including ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp, have been cutting production, jobs and idling or selling plants in the last few years in response to oversupply, weaker steel prices and sluggish demand.

"The Russian domestic business is more profitable than other parts of the business and that's why other parts, such as the U.S. branch, have lost some their appeal," said Credit Suisse analyst Semyon Mironov. "On top of that the U.S. part of the business has always traded at higher valuations that the Russian part so, from the shareholders perspective, if you can get a better price because of the geography, why not sell it."

Some analysts, however, say selling assets in the United States, a market that they see recovering in the next few years, is a questionable strategy.

"The sale has been talked about for quite a while but these assets are in pretty good shape, they are free-cash-flow positive so there was no rush for a sale," said VTB Capital analyst Vadim Astapovich.

"The sale will improve their total margin because the U.S. assets are lower margin than the Russian ones but every penny counts and these assets are still money making."


Twitterfacebookprint
17:29 21.07.2014
LATEST NEWS
18:22 Parliament approves nominee for Minister of Education and Science18:09 Kyrgyzstan particularly interested in European investors – Vice PM Dil to Tractebel Engineering17:54 Drug Control Agency, Supreme Prosecutors' Office of South Korea agree to develop bilateral relations in fight against drug trafficking17:47 No exchange offices to remain in Kyrgyzstan if speculations continue – National Bank Chairman17:36 Kyrgyzstan interested in comprehensive cooperation with Latvia – Foreign Minister17:23 Global Environment Facility decides to protect snow leopards, habitat of Fritillaria Eduardii flowers16:53 Putin says ruble to rise again in two years16:42 Kazakh tenge kept stable by central bank despite Russia's weakening ruble - Finance Minister16:39 Switzerland now representing Czech Republic in visa matters in Kyrgyzstan15:32 Swiss National Bank cuts interest rate to minus 0.25%15:20 Rassia delays launch of Strela carrier rocket from Baikonur due to technical problems15:08 Nazarbayev tasks Foreign Minister to analyze situation around relations between Russia and West14:47 Kazakhstan has no plans to revisit its budget amid ruble crisis - Minister14:12 Brent steady above $61 as companies cut upstream investments14:06 Kazakh Air Force receives new C-295 plane13:48 Kuwait hosts diplomatic reception dedicated to anniversary of Kyrgyz independence13:34 Dormitory students to arrange Save the Light flash mob13:22 41 people killed in road accidents in Batken region12:59 Bishkek to host a workshop on making mochi Japanese rice cakes12:45 U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years
Astana
-8° C
Ashgabat
+11° C
Bishkek
+4° C
Dushanbe
+4° C
Tashkent
+6° C
exchange rates
 
71.82
57.60
9.31
0.85
226.11
181.70
29.35
3.11
6.49
5.24
0.85
0.08
2984.62
2409.67
388.81
45.20
3.51
2.85
0.46
0.05

© AKIpress News Agency - 2001-2014
Use of the AKIpress.com materials must be accompanied by a hyperlink to www.akipress.com
Our address:
Moskovskaya str. 189, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic
e-mail: english@akipress.org, akipressenglish@gmail.com;
Tel/Fax: +996(312)90-07-75