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AK Steel to Idle Ashland Blast Furnace

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Oct. 28, 2015 AK Steel to Idle Ashland Blast Furnace Due to the challenging market conditions resulting from the surge of low-priced imports, AK Steel plans to temporarily idle its Ashland, Ky., blast furnace and related steelmaking operations. The company says it has appropriate steelmaking capacity at its other plants to meet customer requirements and does not expect any interruptions in shipments. It does not intend to idle the hot-dip galvanizing line at Ashland Works, which primarily services automotive customers. “We are taking this necessary step due to the onslaught of what we believe are unfairly traded imports of carbon steel that have been flooding our shores. These imports have substantially reduced order intake rates, production rates, shipment volumes and selling prices,” says James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and CEO of AK Steel. “We will continue to closely monitor market conditions and run our overall operations as efficiently as possible to continue to meet our customers’ needs.” The company has notified the 940 workers at the facility, which begins a 60-day period that must be given prior to idling operations and laying-off employees. If market conditions do not improve, idling of portions of the facility will begin in mid-December and could last more than six months. Ashland Works produces carbon steel slabs, along with hot-dip galvanized and galvannealed coated steels.