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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Future of Buckeye Steel still in flux


On Oct. 15, Buckeye Steel Castings Co. shut down operations and laid off nearly 700 workers because the company’s credit revolver had expired. The 121-year-old steelmaker also couldn't find new creditors, investors or a buyer.

At the time, Buckeye Steel officials were seriously considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. More than two months later, they're still thinking about it.

"We're in a state of suspension — we're not making anything," says Craig Holman, Buckeye Steel’s director of strategic development. "We'll only ship product if the buyer and bank agree on a cash deal."

The only thing that's certain for now is that the company's fate will be sealed — and soon.

"The bank won't sit on this forever," says Holman. "They'll either liquidate us or find a buyer who'll reopen us under a different name."

In early November, metal processor Worthington Industries Inc. tapped Buckeye Steel President Joe Harden as its new president. Worthington owned Buckeye Steel for 20 years before selling it to a management group in 1999.

But Harden, who's been with Buckeye Steel since 1973, "wants to see this to a finish before going to Worthington," says Holman.

Buckeye Steel produces cast-iron undercarriages and couplings for trains, and steel parts for heavy-construction equipment.

Jeff Stagl

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/20/2002