Steel mill aims to turn profit in 3 years

March 17, 1995|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Sun Staff Writer

The new Swedish owners of Eastern Stainless Corp. hope to && be able to turn around the money-losing Baltimore County plant within three years with the help of a $50 million infusion and a new management philosophy.

"I think we have the potential of being profitable faster than that," said Mike R. Rinker, president of Avesta Sheffield's U.S. marketing and sales arm.

"The market is poised for us," he said.

With visions of economic development dancing in their heads, local and state officials warmly welcomed Avesta yesterday in a ceremony held in the plant's cavernous melt shop.

"We are here today to celebrate the rebirth of Eastern Stainless Corp.," said Gov. Parris N. Glendening. "A steel manufacturer whose roots at this location go as far back as 1919 when it was built as Eastern Rolling Mill."

To help bring about this transformation, the state and county have given Avesta a $1.8 million package of grants and loans for training, environmental cleanup and new equipment, Mr. Glendening said.

Baltimore County Executive C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger III also said the revival of the stainless steel plant could also help boost businesses that supply the plant in Essex.

Eastern Stainless, now called Avesta Sheffield East, was bought from Armco in deal valued at $55.6 million that was completed Tuesday.

The plant, which has consistently lost money since the mid-1980s, has seen its work force shrink from 1,500 in the early 1980s to only a few hundred now. The Stockholm-based Avesta plans to raise that level from an initial 140 to 350 during the first year.

Mr. Rinker said many of Eastern's problems stem from having several owners since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1986.

"We're basically the fourth owner in a 10-year period and whenever you don't have a consistency of ownership, there is not a consistency of direction and purpose," he said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.