ASHLAND — AK Steel’s plan to close its largely idled Ashland Works facility by the end of the year is closer to reality after the final operating portion of the plant produced its final coil.
“Well, this is it, last coil off the line,” one AK Steel worker at the Ashland facility posted on his Facebook page. “Going to Georgetown Toyota. They are going to miss the best coils they ever got.”
Other posts on social media about the former Armco Steel, known as “The Mill,” reflected on the loss to those in the local community.
“Many, many families have been supported by this little stretch of land along the Ohio river,” one Facebook post said. “Since 2015, we have watched this facility slowly fading away. It’s like watching your best friend die slowly and nothing you can do to stop it.”
More than three years ago, AK Steel idled most of the Ashland Works operations, including the blast furnace, but continued to operate a single hot dip galvanizing coating line with 260 employees. This is the final week for 184 of those employees and the final 76 employees’ last day will be Dec. 31, according to the company.
The initial idling was a decision company officials made due to the impact of the dramatic increase in imported carbon steel and the associated declines in AK Steel’s order intake rates and selling prices, communications officials at the steel company previously told The Herald-Dispatch.
When about 600 workers were laid off in 2015, some of them found work at other AK Steel plants, including the one in Middletown, Ohio. The fact that the plant was idled instead of being shut down at the time gave hope the plant could reopen if conditions got better, local officials had said, but that did not happen.
The company said it will offer employees at the Ashland Works site open jobs at its other facilities.
During the company’s third quarter financial release call on Oct. 31, Roger Newport, AK Steel Chief Executive Officer said, “I would like to thank our Ashland Works team for their tremendous dedication to our company, and for all that they have done to make this transition a smooth one. Many of our Ashland employees have already accepted positions at other AK Steel locations, and I am hopeful that even more will do so going forward.”
AK Steel reported net income of $2.8 million, or $0.01 per diluted share of common stock, for the third quarter of 2019.
“Our third quarter results were essentially in line with our expectations despite a challenging environment. We continued to make solid progress in our strategy to focus on higher-value business during the quarter,” Newport said. “As we look to 2020, we are excited about our prospects, particularly in automotive where we expect meaningful market share growth.”
AK Steel, headquartered in West Chester, Ohio, produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, primarily for the automotive, infrastructure and manufacturing, including electrical power and distributors and converters markets.
Additional information about AK Steel is available at www.aksteel.com.
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