MARTINS FERRY - Tuesday's auction of bankrupt RG Steel Wheeling's assets has an increasing number of local people emerging as part of the sale process.
Among the successful bidders were Ohio Valley native and industrialist W. Quay Mull II and attorney Joseph Gompers.
Mull personally confirmed the purchase of RG Steel LLC, Martins Ferry, which is located just north of a steel company he has owned and operated for some years.
Court documents confirmed the purchase price as $2 million.
"We will have people in there," Mull said, noting his plans are operationally focused.
The Yorkville mill has been sold and is expected to return to some level of staffing.
Partnering to purchase RG Steel's Yorkville mill were the Korean based TCC Steel Co., and a previous owner of the entire company, The Esmark Steel Group LLC.
Another of the auctioned asset sales resulted in a new partnership being forged between Esmark, former owners of what was recently known as RG Wheeling and Esmark Steel Group LLC, former owners of virtually all the local mills; and Seoul, Korea-based TCC Steel Co. which already held a 50 percent ownership of the nearby Ohio Coatings Co.
There is no confirmation on the court docket yet regarding the sale to Esmark of RG Steel Yorkville, and it is not likely the deal involving OCC will be included in the documents found there as it was never entered into the bankruptcy process.
It is known that the head of the Korean steel company was in the OCC mill as recently as a few days ago for a meeting of the full board.
Additionally, Esmark chairman and chief executive officer James P. Bouchard said in a statement, "We believe Yorkville and Ohio Coatings Co. are very complementary to our existing steel processing and distribution footprint in the Northeast and Midwest, and we intend to continue to operate these facilities along with our partner TCC Steel that will contribute to our growth plans moving forward."
According to a United Steelworkers Local 1223 official, the union has had preliminary contract talks with Esmark.
"The union is cautiously optimistic out the possibility of reaching an agreement to continue production," said Jerry Conners, president of the USW local in Yorkville.
Conners said Esmark officials had committed to hiring 230 people, a number representing much of the workforce at the Yorkville mill.
"We ... intend to work with the United Steelworkers of America to bring back as many jobs as possible at Yorkville," Bouchard said in the statement.
Some assets of Wheeling Corrugating were purchased by Nucor for $7 million, according to court documents.
Frontier Industrial bought the Mingo works for a total of $20 million. In addition to demolition, it specializes in Brownfield remediation and Brownfield redevelopment, according to reports citing company vice president Craig Slater as the source. "It's exceptionally unlikely that we'll find a user that's going to take over the entire facility, but there's still a lot of valuable assets at that facility, as well as a really great labor pool in the Mingo Junction area."
None of the purchases are considered finalized until approved by the court.
A hearing on these matters is scheduled for Aug. 8.
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