Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance has taken a substantial step towards its ambition to become a major US steel producer by completing its purchase of Keystone Consolidated Industries (KCI), for USD 320 million, from Contran Corporation.
The London-headquartered Alliance said the addition of KCI to Liberty Steel USA creates one of the country’s largest producers of wire rod and provides a platform for GFG to grow its US GREENSTEEL capacity to 5m tons per annum by 2020.
The completion of the deal, which was supported by large North American banks including Wells Fargo NA and BMO Harris Bank (BMO Harris), along with funds managed by BlackRock Financial Management Inc., a subsidiary of BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, helps pave the way towards a proposed US IPO of Liberty Steel USA, which will be led by Credit Suisse. The transaction follows closely on the completion of Liberty Aluminium’s USD 500 million purchase of Dunkirk, Europe’s largest aluminium smelter, which was arranged by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a syndicate of top tier international banks.
The acquisition of KCI reinforces GFG’s credentials as a significant foreign direct investor in North America. The business is moving into a new regional head office on Madison Avenue in New York and is targeting several other major investment opportunities in the North American industrial, energy and financial sectors.
KCI’s family of companies include Keystone Steel & Wire, Engineered Wire Products, Strand Tech Manufacturing and Keystone Bar Products. The KCI range of products is made of 100% American produced steel and consists of a diverse line of high-quality value-added steel products, including steel billet, wire rod, reinforcement mesh, welded wire, agricultural wire fence, prestressed concrete strand, bar and coiled rebar used in the construction, agricultural, automotive industries. KCI has been consistently profitable and has substantially improved its financial performance over the last 5 years as it expanded significantly into value-added products to augment its original position as a pre-eminent supplier of low carbon wire rod.
The acquisition strengthens Liberty’s position in the US market with the addition of a top-producing wire rod facility with a 1.1m-ton capacity electric arc furnace (EAF), the market leading agricultural fence products of RedBrand®, industrial wire, an MBQ/SBQ bar mill, three welded wire reinforcement mesh facilities and a PC strand facility.
KCI will be combined with Liberty Steel Georgetown to give Liberty Steel USA a total of up to 1.8m tons per annum of EAF melting capacity, 2m tons per annum of wire rod rolling capacity, significant value-added downstream businesses and over 1,300 employees. The combined company will have operations in Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas and Georgia.
Liberty was advised by Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Wyelands Capital Ltd. Norton Rose Fulbright US and Alvarez & Marsal. The total $320m consideration includes the acquisition by Liberty of certain liabilities.
GFG Executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said: “Today is an exciting milestone in our ambitious journey in the United States. I warmly welcome all Keystone employees to the global GFG family. The long history, strong management, excellent work force and industry position of KCI will pair well with our existing Georgetown plant and will serve as a strong base for our continued expansion to 5mmtpa of steel capacity in the region.
“We are very pleased to be working with Wells Fargo, BMO Harris and BlackRock to help build this business. Their support will help us grow our platform in the North American steel value chain and other businesses. 2019 will be an exciting year as we plan to continue to grow our presence in North America and access the public markets.”