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ABB announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its Huntersville, North Carolina, cable factory to Southwire Company, LLC, for an undisclosed price.

A press release said that the sale of the plant is in line with ABB’s Next Level strategy to continuously optimize its business portfolio. The 240,000-sq-ft plant produces high-voltage and extra-high-voltage underground transmission cables, ranging from 230kV to 400kV. ABB noted that it will continue to produce high-voltage land and subsea cables from its manufacturing facility in Karlskrona, Sweden. ABB and Southwire will also pursue a business partnership to leverage the facility for the land cable portion of certain HVDC projects.

“We remain fully committed to the North American market and to the high-voltage cables business. The decision to divest this factory is in line with our Next Level strategy and focus on optimizing our operations, exploring new business models and building partnerships,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Systems division. “We are pleased that the Huntersville facility will be in the hands of Southwire, a well-established, innovation-focused company and look forward to building on our new business relationship.”

Per a past ABB release, the company opened the $90 million plant, designed to have some 130 employees, in 2012. The high-voltage cable production was to target markets that include wind and solar installations. “The plant has a distinctive 131 meter extrusion tower, built to allow the insulation material to cool symmetrically around the metal cable conductor. It is ABB’s first high-voltage cable plant outside Europe, and will manufacture high-voltage transmission cables for both AC and DC applications.”

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, results in Southwire adding extra high-voltage cable products to its portfolio and expands its capacity to produce high-voltage cable, a market in which the company notes it is already a leading manufacturer.“We are committed to growing in the global wire and cable market. Today, we take another step toward that goal as we further expand our manufacturing capacity and expand our lineup of products that are made in America for new and existing customers, both here and around the world,” Southwire President and CEO Stu Thorn said. “In addition, today’s agreement paves the way for us to develop a strategic relationship with a global company like ABB, a recognized leader in power and automation technologies.”

Located on a 20-acre site in Commerce Station Business Park, the Huntersville plant fits nicely with Southwire’s family of manufacturing facilities and customer service centers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Honduras and China, the Southwire release said. “Southwire is a U.S.-based manufacturer expanding on U.S. soil,” Thorn said. “We are building a business that will be sustainable into future generations by continually evolving to meet the changing needs of our industry.”
Last modified on January 11, 2018
ACINOX, a Cuban company that manufactures stainless steel, has signed a contract valued at US$30 million with a Russian company to modernize its production of wire rod.

A report at spanacom.com said that ACINOX signed an agreed with Russia’s YUMZ signed the contract to modernize a wire rod manufacturing plant at the 35th International Fair of Havana, (FIHAV 2017). The deal calls for the supply of a complete wire rolling line, including the furnace, as well as machinery to produce the wire rod at a plant in the eastern Cuban province of Las Tunas.

The story cited ACINOX Director Enrique Pazos as telling the state Cuban News Agency that the investment will allow up to 177,000 tons annual production once the project starts operating at the beginning of 2020. YUMZ will subcontract a "highly qualified and experienced Italian entity," which will supply 60% of the equipment required for the investment, he said. The Russian company will also participate in the process of commissioning the updated line and will be responsible for the training of Cuban personnel will work in the production.

The story said that Russia was one of the 63 countries that attended FIHAV. Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Georgy Kalamanov, who heads the delegation of his country to the Cuban Fair, said that there are other projects are also planned to expand collaboration in the chemical industry, to modernize the light steel industry, and areas of maritime transport and agriculture. Russia was described as the fourth most active partner of Cuba, behind China, Venezuela and Spain. Of note, it said that, "In addition to strengthening cooperation economic-three years ago, Russia canceled 90% of the debt incurred by the island...as both countries support each other in the political arena."
Last modified on January 11, 2018
The organizers of Fastener Fair Mexico announced that the event, held three times in Mexico City, will move this year to Guadalajara "to better serve the Mexican marketplace in need of industrial fastener and fixing solutions."

A press release from Mack Brooks Exhibitions, Inc., said that the 2018 event will be hosted June 20-21 at the Expo Guadalajara. "We produce Fastener Fair in seven countries and this will be the first time we bring this event to Guadalajara, a city full of opportunities," said Mack Brooks Executive Vice President Melissa Magestro. "We are expecting to attract over 2000 industrial fastener buyers, engineers and distributors. It is a great opportunity to connect with fastener buyers and distributors at Latin America’s only dedicated industrial fastener exhibition."

The event also includes an educational component. Fastener Fair Mexico 2017 hosted a technology conference that was well received, the release said. The rooms had good attendance for education and training for the fastener supply chain that addressed end users, distributors and wholesalers.

Per the release, Expo Guadalajara is the largest exhibition venue in all of Mexico. Guadalajara is the capital and most populous city of the State of Jalisco; it is the second largest urban area in Mexico and the 10th largest in Latin America with more than five million inhabitants. Classed as a gamma city since 2010, it is one of the 120 most competitive cities in the world.

The release said that Fastener Fair Mexico 2017 was attended by over 2,225 attendees from Mexican manufacturing industries that included automotive, aerospace, construction, mechanical and consumer electronics along with fastener distributors and wholesalers.

The second Fastener Fair Italy will be held in Milan on Sept. 26-27; the third Fastener Fair Turkey will take place in 2018; Fastener Fair will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, in the U.S. for the first time on April 11-12, 2018; and in Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 7-9.

For more information, go to www.fastenerfair.com.
Last modified on January 11, 2018
ArcelorMittal has finalized the sale of Georgetown Steel to U.K.-based Liberty House, which announced plans to reopen the mill and resume production this spring.

A press release said that Liberty House—which is part of the GFG Alliance, a global metals, industrials and energy group owned by the British Gupta family—plans to re-hire 125 former employees and gradually increase the workforce to 250. The group is targeting a major share of the U.S. market for home-produced wire rod, demand for which is projected to grow substantially during 2018.

Of note, the release said that the purchase was "the first in a series of strategic North American acquisitions and new projects targeted by the group founded and run by British industrialist, Sanjeev Gupta." The company is already in discussions regarding the acquisition of other major U.S. steel assets and new greenfield projects, which it expects to announce this year.

Georgetown Steel, based in Georgetown, South Carolina. has a storied history. Founded in 1969 by German industrialist Willy Korf, it one time had as many as 1,500 employees. It had multiple owners, including the government of Kuwait in 1984 and the International Steel Group in 2004. It was bought in 2005 by Lakshmi Mittal. The mill closed in 2009, and following the Mittal merger with Arcelor, it was reopened by Arcelor Mittal in 2011, only to be closed in May 2015.

The 600,000-sq-ft plant, which has wire rod capacity of 680,000 metric tons, will resume serving the construction and automotive markets. The release said that the plan is to re-start melting and rolling this spring "as the first step in GFG’s ambitious investment plans for the American steel industry."

"Securing the Georgetown furnace and mill is a major milestone for us, marking our first major step in the USA," said Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance. "The melting and rolling facilities here give us a formidable entry to the American market and provide a strong platform for expansion. We see major prospects for the metals industry here." He added that the company plans to employ its GREENSTEEL sustainable strategy that it already uses in the U.K. and Australia.

Gupta said that customers have been in contact, and that "we’re keen to get back up and running as quickly as possible." He added that support from the town council, the state government and the union was important in making the deal work. "We look forward to rebuilding the business and bringing quality industrial employment back to the site and to the local and regional supply chain."

John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA, said that the goal throughout the process has been to maintain the Georgetown steelmaking operation. "While bittersweet for ArcelorMittal, we are hopeful that today’s announcement is a celebration for Liberty Steel and GFG Alliance, the United Steelworkers and the Georgetown community. We appreciate the patience of all of our stakeholders while we finalized this important transaction."

In a report in the SouthStrandNews, Gupta compared the Georgetown mill to Liberty House’s first steel plant in Newport, South Wales. "The first mill in the U.K. will always be important to us. ... That is where our British journey started," he said. "It was a shutdown plant as well," he added. "And we restarted it, and it’s a great success now. And that led to everything else we’ve done in the U.K. So Georgetown is the foundation of what we will do in the U.S."

At its website, Liberty Steel notes that has seven specialist businesses manufacturing steel products such as ingots, billets, blooms, slabs, bars and narrow strip, as well as hot rolled coil, pipes and tubes, structural hollow sections, plates, de-bar, wire, rod and more.
Last modified on January 11, 2018
Fort Wayne Metals (FWM) has acquired G&S Titanium (G&S), a company in Wooster, Ohio, that specializes in titanium and specialty alloy wire and bar drawing.

A press release said that G&S, founded in 1979, produces titanium medical bar and wire from 0.031 in. to 0.669 in., titanium beta alloy spring wire, strain hardened bar up to 2.5 in. and shaped and clad bars in a range of titanium and specialty alloys. The company will remain in its current facilities and operate under the name G&S Bar and Wire, LLC.

The acquisition, the release said, will allow Fort Wayne Metals to better support critical applications in the medical device industry by adding new products and capabilities to their portfolio. "Over the years, we have continually expanded our range of products and services in the realm of titanium and specialty alloys," said FWM Chairman and CEO Scott Glaze. "G&S is helping us increase our footprint even further, which will allow us to serve our customers better – for example by providing them with larger diameter materials. We’re well familiar with the quality G&S provides and the deep technical knowledge of their people, and look forward to learning from each other as we grow together."

An ISO 9001, ISO 13485 and AS 9100 registered company, FWM notes that it has more than 1,000 full-and part-time employees at its corporate headquarters in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and operations in Columbia City, Indiana, and Castlebar, Ireland.
Last modified on January 11, 2018
The Belau Submarine Cable Corporation (BSCC) and NEC Corporation (NEC) announced the completion of a new submarine cable that will connect the Republic of Palau to Guam and onward connectivity to Asia, North America and the rest of the world. A press release said that the Palau Spur will interconnect with the existing SEA-US submarine cable—which connects the Philippines and Indonesia to the west coast of the U.S. via Guam and Hawaii—from a branching unit located between the Philippines and Guam. The Palau Spur has an initial design capacity of 500 Gbps. NEC is supplying some 200 km of cable for the project, including a pre-lay shore end of about 7 km. "Yesterday, this island nation was still dependent on satellite communications, but from today, this new cable will bring information at the speed of light, improving the quality of life for those living in and traveling to Palau," said Toru Kawauchi, general manager of NEC’s Submarine Network Division." Palau, an archipelago of over 500 islands that is part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean, has a population of about 21,700 people.
Last modified on January 9, 2018
LS HongQi Cable & System, the local manufacturing unit of LS C&S in China, announced that it has won a Kuwait cable deal worth approximately $53 million. Per reports in The Pulse and The Korea Herald, the deal signed with the Ministry of Electricity and Water in Kuwait calls for LS HongQi to provide extra-high voltage underground cables. They noted that this represents the first such order that the company has secured from the Middle East. LS C&S acquired a 91.5% stake in LS HongQi in 2009. The new contract for LS HongQi amounts to more than half of all the company’s last annual revenues. The company, at that point, had mainly covered local cable demand. "LS HongQi C&S has strived to clinch deals in the overseas markets," said Myung Roh-hyun, CEO of LS C&S Asia. "The company expects to log additional deals in the overseas markets." In other news, LS C&S reported that it has won an order for aerial cables worth $60 million from Bangladesh. A press release said that the cables are to be provided on a turnkey basis in which it will be is responsible from cable production to pylon construction. The project is to start this year and be completed by June 2020. "The new project would serve as an opportunity for us to aggressively participate in aerial cable projects overseas," said Myung Roh-hyun, chief executive of LS C&S. The company has so far clinched orders worth more than $100 million, including a $46 million contract in Bangladesh it signed last September to add more underground cables in urban areas.
Last modified on January 9, 2018
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and state-owned China Telecom are among those taking part in discussions about building a 10,500 km fiber-optic link across the Arctic Circle that would cost an estimated 700 million euros. A report in the South China Morning Post said that China is in discussions with Finland, Japan, Russia and Norway "to create the fastest data connection between Europe and China as soon as 2020." The story said that the faster connectivity with help European financial centers and data hubs, and fits into China’s long-term "Belt and Road" trade-and-infrastructure initiative. The project, made logistically feasible by melting in the Arctic region, furthers China’s growing ties with Finland, the story said. It noted that Xi Jinping is the first Chinese president to visit the country since 1995. A freight railway between the Finnish city of Kouvola and China’s Xian recently opened and Finnair is seeking to become a regional hub for flights between the two continents. Cinia Group, a Finnish government-owned information and communications technology company, has a prominent role in the so-called "Northeast Passage" cable project and is looking for partners. "It has been widely expressed that this cable route would provide a game changer in the industry," said Jukka-Pekka Joensuu, an executive adviser to Cinia. Estimates suggest that the new cable could cut the time delay from Asia to Europe in half.
Last modified on January 9, 2018
ACINOX, a Cuban company that manufactures stainless steel, has signed a contract valued at US$30 million with a Russian company to modernize its production of wire rod.

A report at spanacom.com said that ACINOX signed an agreed with Russia’s YUMZ signed the contract to modernize a wire rod manufacturing plant at the 35th International Fair of Havana, (FIHAV 2017). The deal calls for the supply of a complete wire rolling line, including the furnace, as well as machinery to produce the wire rod at a plant in the eastern Cuban province of Las Tunas.

The story cited ACINOX Director Enrique Pazos as telling the state Cuban News Agency that the investment will allow up to 177,000 tons annual production once the project starts operating at the beginning of 2020. YUMZ will subcontract a "highly qualified and experienced Italian entity," which will supply 60% of the equipment required for the investment, he said. The Russian company will also participate in the process of commissioning the updated line and will be responsible for the training of Cuban personnel will work in the production.

The story said that Russia was one of the 63 countries that attended FIHAV. Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Georgy Kalamanov, who heads the delegation of his country to the Cuban Fair, said that there are other projects are also planned to expand collaboration in the chemical industry, to modernize the light steel industry, and areas of maritime transport and agriculture. Russia was described as the fourth most active partner of Cuba, behind China, Venezuela and Spain. Of note, it said that, "In addition to strengthening cooperation economic-three years ago, Russia canceled 90% of the debt incurred by the island...as both countries support each other in the political arena."

Last modified on January 9, 2018
Southwire has begun construction of a 400,000-sq-ft facility in Georgia, a $20 million project that will be in the Douglas County part of Villa Rica, in the same business park as Southwire’s current West Georgia and Retail East Customer Service Centers (CSC).

Southwire reported that the project, scheduled for completion by the end of 2018, will result in approximately 60 new jobs. Kurt Hennelly, Southwire’s executive vice president of sourcing, distribution and manufacturing strategy, said that the new property is adjacent to the CSC, essentially creating an expansion of the existing Southeast distribution complex. The addition will enable the company “to optimize inbound and outbound freight costs while continuing to improve upon the excellent service levels our customers have come to expect from Southwire,” Hennelly said. More details regarding the facility and the expansion will be released as the development progresses.

Ron Wilson, chairman of the Douglas County Economic Development Authority board of directors, said the agency is “delighted to have a company like Southwire expand their operations within our county.”
Last modified on January 9, 2018
The U.S. Department of Commerce has made affirmative final antidumping (AD) determinations against imports of carbon and alloy steel wire rod from Belarus, Russian and the UAE, a decision that follows a previous one made for seven other countries.

The final AD margins for Belarus was 280.02% as a Belarus-wide entity, the agency reported. For Russia, the margins were 756.93% for Abinsk Electric Steel Works Ltd. and JSC NLMK-Ural, and 436.8% for all others. For the UAE, the margin was 84.1%.

The matter was pressed by four U.S. steel makers—Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., Nucor Corp., Keystone Consolidated Industries and Charter Steel—what had petitioned the International Trade Commission. Other countries part of the trade case include the Ukraine, South Africa, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Turkey and the U.K. Commerce decided to extend its consideration of steel wire rod imports from South Africa and Ukraine. Determinations on the remaining five countries was scheduled for March 15.

One opponent to the AD duties was the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, which argued at a hearing that Grade 1080 and higher steel wire rod should be excluded from any duties. Domestic steel wire rod suppliers simply cannot meet the volume and quality needs of the U.S. tire manufacturing industry, said Tracey Norberg, USTMA senior vice president and general counsel.

Commerce has instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to start collecting AD duties from these producers. Because the agency found critical circumstances in the case of Russia, it has told CBP to collect duties from Russian steel wire rod producers effective 90 days from the publication of preliminary determinations in the Federal Register.

Last modified on November 18, 2020
South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has fined seven local cable manufacturers a total of $14.7 million for bid rigging.

Per reports in The Pulse, The Korea Herald and the FTC, the companies—LS Cable & System Ltd., Taihan Electric Wire Co., Gaon Cable Co., Nexans Korea Ltd., Daewon Cable Co., Seoul Electric Wire Co. and Iljin Electric Co.—are accused of rigging bids for 37 tenders that were part of three separate contracts from Nov. 2011 to Oct. 2013. The bid winner would distribute the orders equally to the rest.

The FTC said in a statement that each company will be subjected to a fine of about US$2.5 million. It added that the case will be referred for prosecution. Korean courts have sentenced executives and employees that participated in the bid-rigging to imprisonment. In a 2014 case involving bid-rigging of cables used for nuclear power plants, three executives were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. That action was noteworthy as it was the first time such a sentence had been imposed.

In the latest case, the reports cited a Fair Trade Commission’s statement as saying that collusive tendering is rampant in the local electrical cable market because only a few selective bidders are allowed to take part and order volume and timing is often flexible. The manufacturers worked together more than 30 times to set bidding prices for three separate cable supply contracts and shared the work among themselves over a two-year period between 2011 and 2013. Each company will be subjected to a fine of about 2.5 billion won, the statement added.

While admitting to the wrongdoing, the cable companies said that they had taken such measures in the past to relieve oversupply issues that stemmed from overcapacity in the production bases here. The companies have imposed penalties on the individuals involved in collusion and no longer engage in such practices, industry sources added..
Last modified on January 9, 2018