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Steel Dynamics Can Buy Mill

August 20, 2002

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DANVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ A judge ruled Tuesday that a Fort Wayne steel company can go forward with its purchase of the bankrupt Qualitech steel mill even though a competitor also had reached an agreement to buy the plant.

Hendricks Superior Court Judge Robert Freese removed the temporary restraining order he had issued Aug. 6 that blocked Steel Dynamics from closing on its $45 million purchase of Qualitech.

Nucor Corp., which is based in Charlotte, N.C., claimed it was a victim of fraud and breach of contract because it had signed a deal in January to buy the mill in Pittsboro, about 15 miles west of Indianapolis.

An offer from Nucor to buy the mill for $37 million was accepted by Qualitech Jan. 29, but after several time extensions the deal was never closed.

Steel Dynamics said an exclusive agreement that Nucor had with Qualitech had expired, which left an opening for it to start negotiations.

Nucor president and chief executive Dan DiMicco said that the company would appeal the decision.

``Our plans are to continue to contest this,″ he said. ``We strongly disagree with the judge’s decision.″

Steel Dynamics spokesman Fred Warner said the company planned to complete the purchase quickly.

``I don’t have a time frame,″ he said. ``We’ll move as quickly as possible.″

In his ruling Tuesday, the judge also denied Nucor’s request for an injunction to stop Steel Dynamics until a trial on their dispute could be scheduled. Freese wrote that he believed that Nucor had little chance of prevailing at a trial.

The Qualitech steel mill was built in the late 1990s for about $300 million.

More than 300 jobs were lost when Qualitech mothballed the mill in 2000. In February 2001, Qualitech announced the mill would remain closed until a buyer could be found.

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