Allegheny Technologies to Idle Midland Finishing Plant

PITTSBURGH – Allegheny Technologies Inc. says its will indefinitely idle two plants operating in Western Pennsylvania: the standard stainless melt shop and sheet finishing operations at its Beaver County plant in Midland, and the grain-oriented electrical steel plant in Bagdad, Westmoreland County.

The idling of the Midland plant is expected to be completed in January, the company announced Thursday; the Bagdad plant in April.

“The actions announced today are the result of an extensive strategic review and analysis of the current and expected medium-term marketing conditions affecting our U.S. flat rolled products operations,” the company said. “The future restart of the operations will depend on future business conditions and ATI’s ability to earn an acceptable return on invested capital on products produced at these operations.”

Allegheny Technologies is embroiled in a lockout of some 2,200 members of the United Steel Workers, including employees of the plants it intends to idle. The labor dispute began in August after the company demanded higher health-care co-pays, the end to employer-paid pensions and work-rule changes that would expand the use of outside contractors.

In his statement accompanying the announcement, Rich Harshman, ATI chairman, president and CEO, said transaction prices for standard stainless sheet products “have declined to levels not seen since 2003.”

Harshman said market conditions “have been challenging for an extended period and have continued to deteriorate throughout 2015, with further deterioration during the fourth quarter. These conditions are the result of global excess capacity, which has led to unfairly traded imports in the U.S. market, including the first half 2015 record surge of low-priced imports, primarily from China.”

Allegheny Technologies also announced Thursday that it is lowering its quarter dividend by 55.6%, down to eight cents a share. The company’s shares, traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ATI, fell 14% in November, according to published reports.

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