Author: Gordon Platt

COMPANY TO WATCH: GERDAU/BRAZIL

As the global steel industry consolidates, Brazil’s Gerdau is on the prowl. The company already is the largest producer of long steel in the Americas, where it has operations in a dozen countries. It also owns 40% of Sidenor, based in Spain, and has a joint venture in India.

The world’s 14th largest steelmaker, Gerdau has an installed capacity of more than 26 million metric tons of steel a year.

Gerdau recycles more than 18 million metric tons of scrap steel every year. It operates 19 mini-mills in the United States, where it recently purchased MacSteel, a maker of specialty steels, from Quanex for $1.7 billion. Last year it bought Texas-based Chaparral Steel for $4.2 billion.

By 2010 Gerdau will produce 80% of the iron ore used by its Brazilian plants. It also is investing in hydroelectric plants in Brazil to protect itself from fluctuations in power supply prices. In September Gerdau announced the investment of $1.4 billion to expand its Peruvian steel mill into one of the largest in South America. It also announced the investment of $524 million to build a new steel mill in Argentina.

Gordon Platt