Big Woes For Nucor In Trinidad
NUCOR'S $75 MILLION IRON carbide plant in Trinidad, its attempt to reduce reliance on skyrocketing scrap steel, is stumbling out of the block. The plant, which cooks raw iron in a bath of methane, has successfully produced small batches of iron carbide. But a number of its big machines are undersized, and one has been badly damaged. "It's one step forward, two steps back," says Nucor's Jay Bowcutt, manager of the company's Plymouth (Utah) plant. The setback comes as record scrap steel prices have punished minimill profits. Nucor shares, which reached 70 in August, fell to 53 in early December as reports of the Trinidad breakdowns filtered north. Company officials maintain that the problems with the Trinidad plant are the normal hiccups for a brand-new industrial process.
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