As the Stelco Turns

Known around the world as the steel opera that never ends, the Stelco saga continues to amaze and amuse (but only those far enough away from it to be uninvolved).

Stelco owners show Pratt the door:
After two tumultuous years running Stelco Inc., Courtney Pratt will soon step down as chief executive officer at the request of the company’s new controlling shareholders.
‘I’ve learned a whole lot,’ Mr. Pratt said yesterday with a chuckle. ‘Because this has, in many ways, been an absolutely unique situation.’
Few would argue with that. Mr. Pratt became Stelco’s CEO on Jan. 1, 2004, with no experience in the steel industry beyond sitting on the company’s board. Three weeks later, Mr. Pratt put Stelco, Canada’s largest steel maker, into bankruptcy protection, citing a $1.25-billion pension shortfall and competitive pressures.

A guy named Bill Cara has written a number of blog articles about the Stelco situation. He claims the whole bankruptcy thing is a fraud to steal from the shareholders … I don’t know enough to evaluate his arguments.
January 05, 2005 Canadian Equities: Stelco at the Eleventh Hour
March 03, 2005 A great day for Stelco
March 31, 2005 Stelco Court Decision
April 11, 2005 Stelco report
May 11, 2005 Stelco joke continues
September 02, 2005 Where are the securities regulators in the Stelco fiasco?
October 25, 2005 A call for integrity and fairness
November 23, 2005 Stelco crooks can now be rounded up

It appears that the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada agrees with him (and even supplied some of the information for his arguments). Take that for what it’s worth. It all makes great reading.

Meanwhile, the Hamilton Spectator has been reporting that restructuring approval is expected by the end of this week.

Lawyers for the company and its new lenders reached agreement late last night to put new loans ahead of pension obligations in the event of a new restructuring. That cleared the way to finalize the agreements that will let the struggling steelmaker out of bankruptcy protection.

Justice James Farley is now expected to approve the restructuring plan by the end of the week.

Lenders, led by Tricap Management Limited, had been demanding extra security for their loans in the event Stelco buckles again in the steel industry’s next down cycle.

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