It doesn’t directly bear on steel or stamping, but I found this an interesting take on business in the new century … Yahoo! News – Sun Microsystems CIO H. William Howard: Driving Out Complexity: “Howard: In the current economic environment, doing more with less is top of mind. Not only am I expected to take out costs, but I’m expected to stay on the leading edge of technology at the same time. To do that, I use our products to drive out cost and complexity.

Everything now needs an ROI, ROA and TCO. In the high-growth years, there was less focus on that. Now you really have to pass some pretty tough hurdles to get the money to keep the technology refreshed. “

Yahoo! News – No guarantee of a provincial bailout for faltering steelmaker Stelco: “The Ontario government is closely monitoring the situation […] but Premier Dalton McGuinty is making no promises to bail out the Hamilton company.

The company blamed its financial troubles on its high cost structure, a deteriorating cash position and its inability to compete with other steel companies that have already restructured.

Stelco, whose 9,500 active workers are outnumbered by its 12,200 retirees, has said that so-called legacy costs, such as pensions, are a major factor in its inability to compete. “

Ok. I’m confused. These two reports, filled one minute apart by 2 different news agencies, cast 2 different lights on (presumably) the same report. Did Daimler do well or poorly?

DaimlerChrysler Beats 2003 Profit Target: “FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s DaimlerChrysler posted a 2003 operating profit excluding one-off items of 5.1 billion euros ($6.4 billion), topping its full year target of about five billion euros.”

DaimlerChrysler reports fall in net profit for 2003 from year before: “FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Automaker DaimlerChrysler said Wednesday that net profit for 2003 fell to euro448 million (US$564 million) from euro4.7 billion the year before, with the turnaround at its troubled U.S. Chrysler division and a one-time financial adjustment weighing on the bottom line.”

Yahoo! News – Steelmakers Irked by Lack of Data on China Market: “China’s ascendancy as the world’s most-important steel market has outpaced the country’s ability to definitively track consumption or production

The stampede to China to manufacture goods and build its infrastructure has created a huge demand for steel, which in turn has boosted demand for the iron ore and coal used to make the steel. “

Yahoo! News – Fording coal trust looking at raising production after $31M profit in Q4: “The global glut of coking coal has been burned off, the Fording Canadian Coal Trust said Tuesday, disclosing that it is considering raising production after a $243-million profit last year. ”

A Global Glut of Coking Coal … where were these guys when I needed an example of alliteration in high school english class? Saving Steel: “There is little chance that the U.S. government, or any other, would allow companies to fold on the scale required to make the steel industry more efficient. […] Steel companies around the world still have the capacity to produce, each year, at least 200 million more tons of coil, plate, wire, rods and other products than customers want, with disastrous effects on prices. “

BBC NEWS | Business | Material costs ‘hit steel firms’: “Steel production could be cut across the world following a rise in the cost of raw materials,

[…] firms might be forced to concentrate production on the most profitable products if they cannot pass cost rises on to customers.

An increase in the demand for steel in China had forced the cost of raw materials up by 22% last year, it said.

there [is] a ‘real risk of steel shortages developing’. “