AK Steel CEO says fixes still needed to ensure steelmaker’s future

AP Wire 09/18/2004 : “AK Steel chief executive James Wainscott is warning that if additional steps are not taken, the worst may not be over for the 100-year-old steelmaker.

Wainscott, 47, who succeeded Dick Wardrop as CEO of the Middletown-based company, told retirees in a speech this month that the strong steel prices that have helped the company will not last. The price surge buoyed the company after concerns that it would have to file for bankruptcy protection.

‘Ours is a cyclical business. I don’t know when the markets will turn down but, as sure as day turns to night, the downturn will come,’ he said.

Industry analysts agree.

‘The big, overriding issue is they have to be competitive,’ said independent steel analyst Chuck Bradford. ‘The other producers, the major ones anyway, have different labor contracts that make them lower-cost competitors.’

The maker of carbon, stainless and electrical steel, which lost $1 billion over the last three years, made $92.7 million in the second quarter, including one-time gains. Sales rose 34 percent to $1.3 billion.

After falling below $2 a share, the stock closed Friday at $7.02.”

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