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The WAI Operations Summit & Wire Expo 2018 event website is now live! Please visit wireexpo18.com for details about convention activities, the event schedule, speakers, workshops, sessions, exhibit descriptions, registration, and lodging information. At this event you will meet influential peers, thought leaders, and wire and cable industry colleagues who are ready to share practical insight about manufacturing.
ABB announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its Huntersville, North Carolina, cable factory to Southwire Company, LLC, for an undisclosed price.

A press release said that the sale of the plant is in line with ABB’s Next Level strategy to continuously optimize its business portfolio. The 240,000-sq-ft plant produces high-voltage and extra-high-voltage underground transmission cables, ranging from 230kV to 400kV. ABB noted that it will continue to produce high-voltage land and subsea cables from its manufacturing facility in Karlskrona, Sweden. ABB and Southwire will also pursue a business partnership to leverage the facility for the land cable portion of certain HVDC projects.

“We remain fully committed to the North American market and to the high-voltage cables business. The decision to divest this factory is in line with our Next Level strategy and focus on optimizing our operations, exploring new business models and building partnerships,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Systems division. “We are pleased that the Huntersville facility will be in the hands of Southwire, a well-established, innovation-focused company and look forward to building on our new business relationship.”

Per a past ABB release, the company opened the $90 million plant, designed to have some 130 employees, in 2012. The high-voltage cable production was to target markets that include wind and solar installations. “The plant has a distinctive 131 meter extrusion tower, built to allow the insulation material to cool symmetrically around the metal cable conductor. It is ABB’s first high-voltage cable plant outside Europe, and will manufacture high-voltage transmission cables for both AC and DC applications.”

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, results in Southwire adding extra high-voltage cable products to its portfolio and expands its capacity to produce high-voltage cable, a market in which the company notes it is already a leading manufacturer.“We are committed to growing in the global wire and cable market. Today, we take another step toward that goal as we further expand our manufacturing capacity and expand our lineup of products that are made in America for new and existing customers, both here and around the world,” Southwire President and CEO Stu Thorn said. “In addition, today’s agreement paves the way for us to develop a strategic relationship with a global company like ABB, a recognized leader in power and automation technologies.”

Located on a 20-acre site in Commerce Station Business Park, the Huntersville plant fits nicely with Southwire’s family of manufacturing facilities and customer service centers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Honduras and China, the Southwire release said. “Southwire is a U.S.-based manufacturer expanding on U.S. soil,” Thorn said. “We are building a business that will be sustainable into future generations by continually evolving to meet the changing needs of our industry.”
ACINOX, a Cuban company that manufactures stainless steel, has signed a contract valued at US$30 million with a Russian company to modernize its production of wire rod.

A report at spanacom.com said that ACINOX signed an agreed with Russia’s YUMZ signed the contract to modernize a wire rod manufacturing plant at the 35th International Fair of Havana, (FIHAV 2017). The deal calls for the supply of a complete wire rolling line, including the furnace, as well as machinery to produce the wire rod at a plant in the eastern Cuban province of Las Tunas.

The story cited ACINOX Director Enrique Pazos as telling the state Cuban News Agency that the investment will allow up to 177,000 tons annual production once the project starts operating at the beginning of 2020. YUMZ will subcontract a "highly qualified and experienced Italian entity," which will supply 60% of the equipment required for the investment, he said. The Russian company will also participate in the process of commissioning the updated line and will be responsible for the training of Cuban personnel will work in the production.

The story said that Russia was one of the 63 countries that attended FIHAV. Russian Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Georgy Kalamanov, who heads the delegation of his country to the Cuban Fair, said that there are other projects are also planned to expand collaboration in the chemical industry, to modernize the light steel industry, and areas of maritime transport and agriculture. Russia was described as the fourth most active partner of Cuba, behind China, Venezuela and Spain. Of note, it said that, "In addition to strengthening cooperation economic-three years ago, Russia canceled 90% of the debt incurred by the island...as both countries support each other in the political arena."
The organizers of Fastener Fair Mexico announced that the event, held three times in Mexico City, will move this year to Guadalajara "to better serve the Mexican marketplace in need of industrial fastener and fixing solutions."

A press release from Mack Brooks Exhibitions, Inc., said that the 2018 event will be hosted June 20-21 at the Expo Guadalajara. "We produce Fastener Fair in seven countries and this will be the first time we bring this event to Guadalajara, a city full of opportunities," said Mack Brooks Executive Vice President Melissa Magestro. "We are expecting to attract over 2000 industrial fastener buyers, engineers and distributors. It is a great opportunity to connect with fastener buyers and distributors at Latin America’s only dedicated industrial fastener exhibition."

The event also includes an educational component. Fastener Fair Mexico 2017 hosted a technology conference that was well received, the release said. The rooms had good attendance for education and training for the fastener supply chain that addressed end users, distributors and wholesalers.

Per the release, Expo Guadalajara is the largest exhibition venue in all of Mexico. Guadalajara is the capital and most populous city of the State of Jalisco; it is the second largest urban area in Mexico and the 10th largest in Latin America with more than five million inhabitants. Classed as a gamma city since 2010, it is one of the 120 most competitive cities in the world.

The release said that Fastener Fair Mexico 2017 was attended by over 2,225 attendees from Mexican manufacturing industries that included automotive, aerospace, construction, mechanical and consumer electronics along with fastener distributors and wholesalers.

The second Fastener Fair Italy will be held in Milan on Sept. 26-27; the third Fastener Fair Turkey will take place in 2018; Fastener Fair will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, in the U.S. for the first time on April 11-12, 2018; and in Jakarta, Indonesia, on March 7-9.

For more information, go to www.fastenerfair.com.
ArcelorMittal has finalized the sale of Georgetown Steel to U.K.-based Liberty House, which announced plans to reopen the mill and resume production this spring.

A press release said that Liberty House—which is part of the GFG Alliance, a global metals, industrials and energy group owned by the British Gupta family—plans to re-hire 125 former employees and gradually increase the workforce to 250. The group is targeting a major share of the U.S. market for home-produced wire rod, demand for which is projected to grow substantially during 2018.

Of note, the release said that the purchase was "the first in a series of strategic North American acquisitions and new projects targeted by the group founded and run by British industrialist, Sanjeev Gupta." The company is already in discussions regarding the acquisition of other major U.S. steel assets and new greenfield projects, which it expects to announce this year.

Georgetown Steel, based in Georgetown, South Carolina. has a storied history. Founded in 1969 by German industrialist Willy Korf, it one time had as many as 1,500 employees. It had multiple owners, including the government of Kuwait in 1984 and the International Steel Group in 2004. It was bought in 2005 by Lakshmi Mittal. The mill closed in 2009, and following the Mittal merger with Arcelor, it was reopened by Arcelor Mittal in 2011, only to be closed in May 2015.

The 600,000-sq-ft plant, which has wire rod capacity of 680,000 metric tons, will resume serving the construction and automotive markets. The release said that the plan is to re-start melting and rolling this spring "as the first step in GFG’s ambitious investment plans for the American steel industry."

"Securing the Georgetown furnace and mill is a major milestone for us, marking our first major step in the USA," said Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance. "The melting and rolling facilities here give us a formidable entry to the American market and provide a strong platform for expansion. We see major prospects for the metals industry here." He added that the company plans to employ its GREENSTEEL sustainable strategy that it already uses in the U.K. and Australia.

Gupta said that customers have been in contact, and that "we’re keen to get back up and running as quickly as possible." He added that support from the town council, the state government and the union was important in making the deal work. "We look forward to rebuilding the business and bringing quality industrial employment back to the site and to the local and regional supply chain."

John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA, said that the goal throughout the process has been to maintain the Georgetown steelmaking operation. "While bittersweet for ArcelorMittal, we are hopeful that today’s announcement is a celebration for Liberty Steel and GFG Alliance, the United Steelworkers and the Georgetown community. We appreciate the patience of all of our stakeholders while we finalized this important transaction."

In a report in the SouthStrandNews, Gupta compared the Georgetown mill to Liberty House’s first steel plant in Newport, South Wales. "The first mill in the U.K. will always be important to us. ... That is where our British journey started," he said. "It was a shutdown plant as well," he added. "And we restarted it, and it’s a great success now. And that led to everything else we’ve done in the U.K. So Georgetown is the foundation of what we will do in the U.S."

At its website, Liberty Steel notes that has seven specialist businesses manufacturing steel products such as ingots, billets, blooms, slabs, bars and narrow strip, as well as hot rolled coil, pipes and tubes, structural hollow sections, plates, de-bar, wire, rod and more.
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