AK Steel and National Steel Extend Labor Agreement Deadline


Middletown, OH, March 07, 2003—AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) said today that it has agreed with National Steel Corporation to extend the timeframe to March 26 for AK Steel to reach a new labor agreement with the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) in its bid to acquire substantially all of the assets of National Steel Corporation.  AK Steel and National Steel agreed to the extension after AK Steel presented a contract proposal to the union earlier this week.  The previous deadline had been March 17.

“We are negotiating within an extremely truncated schedule and dealing with complex issues, especially those related to pensions and health care benefits for future retirees,” said Richard M. Wardrop, Jr., chairman and CEO of AK Steel. “The extension will give both parties additional time to evaluate, in detail, these critical elements of any new labor agreement,” Mr. Wardrop said.

AK Steel and National Steel have signed an Asset Purchase Agreement for AK Steel to acquire substantially all of the steelmaking and finishing assets of National for $1.125 billion.  The agreement is subject to various contingencies, including the approval of the bankruptcy court, following a formal auction scheduled for early April.  AK Steel’s current bid topped a January 29 bid from U.S. Steel of $1.050 billion, according to AK Steel. 

AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets, as well as tubular steel products.  The company has more than 10,000 employees in plants and offices in Middletown, Coshocton, Mansfield, Walbridge and Zanesville, Ohio; Ashland, Kentucky; Rockport, Indiana; and Butler, Pennsylvania.  In addition, the company produces snow and ice control products and operates an industrial park on the Houston, Texas ship channel.