In objections filed with the federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del., in connection to the recently filed motion for the Chapter 11 filing for protection from creditors by RG Steel, there are no indicators that a major purchaser - or even a minor one - are interested in bidding on the fragile company as a whole, or even in its individual parts, including its 1,200-worker Warren mill.
Bids that would lead to a purchase of the steel company were to have been filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington at the beginning of the week, though any details would not be expected to be released publicly until mid-July.
Hearings are to be held on various objections to motions filed last week in the bankruptcy reorganization case centering on details of how the steel company's holdings and repayment of its debts will be managed.
On July 16, bids entered by proposed purchasers are supposed to be opened and awarded. All sales must close by July 27. This is the core timeline by which the future of the area's steel mills is about to be written.
RG Steel's consolidated federal bankruptcy case filed in Delaware barely two weeks ago is about to reach another key milestone today, one that may well give an almost immediate indication what the future direction is likely to be for the long-struggling steel company.
Bids by any interested parties wanting to purchase all or part of the steel company are due into the U.S. Bankruptcy court in Delaware during the first half of the week, but are not expected to be made public until mid-July, just days before the July 27 court imposed date by which any purchase would need to be completed.
While it is known representatives from a range of business entities have been taken through several of the RG Steel locations in the area, there has been no public confirmation of interest in a possible purchase other than that shown by a former owner of the company, which is said to be limited to a very small portion the bankrupt steel maker's vast holdings.
Local mills have been being toured by representatives from steel related and non-steel related interests, but no solid interested buyer has yet been shown publicly through the traditional practice of establishing a court approved "stalking horse bidder."
The process is meant to effectively establish a bidding floor from which real purchasing interest is shown by potential buyers. Built into the practice is a component that notes a stalking horse bidder is assured many of their initial bid related costs will be recouped, should they not win the bidding process.
Late last week, the committee of unsecured creditors that was established included Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. of Cleveland; Metal Services, dba Phoenix Services, of Kennett Square, Pa.; Siemens Industry Inc. of Cannonsburg, Pa.; The United Steelworkers headquartered in Pittsburgh; Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, headquartered in Washington; Mingo Junction Energy Center of Chicago; Balli Steel and Balli Group, London.
Loccisano writes for the Times Leader in Martins Ferry.