AK Steel could be target

Contract settlement might allow company to be more competitive but increase chance of takeover

The end of a lockout that lasted nearly 13 months at its Middletown Works plant gave AK Steel Holding Corp. a labor contract it hopes will make the company more competitive in the global steel industry, but it remains unclear whether the company can sustain its goal of avoiding a takeover.

AK capped its pension and health-care costs and won the right to completely restructure its work force, eliminating a minimum limit on the number of employees and reducing about 1,000 job classifications to seven.

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