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 MASSILLON, Ohio, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Republic Engineered Steels, Inc. has confirmed that it plans to construct a state of the art continuous caster - direct billet mill complex at its major Canton, Ohio facility. The project is subject to the company's ability to arrange appropriate financing, reaching a satisfactory contract for construction of the facility and obtaining all necessary governmental permits.
 The proposed new facility will provide Republic with high quality, low cost billets for use in its bar rolling mills. Under the planned process, a new ladle metallurgical station and vacuum degasser unit will receive molten metal produced in existing electric arc furnaces. There the hot metal will be processed into high quality engineered steels. The steel will then pass through a continuous integrated process where it will be transformed from a liquid state into cast blooms, immediately reheated and then, by rolling on a new alternating horizontal-vertical billet mill, the blooms will be made into billets for rolling on Republic's bar mills.
 The continuous caster, reheat furnace, billet mill and related equipment are anticipated to cost between $160 and $165 million, installed. Construction is expected to take 24 months. Rust Engineering of Pittsburgh, an international engineering and construction firm, has been retained by Republic to perform engineering, procurement and construction management services. Substantially all engineering design work required for the project has been completed. Company officials are currently in the process of selecting major equipment suppliers and obtaining necessary governmental permits.
 Russell W. Maier, president and chief executive officer, said, "It is important to emphasize that this planned installation is a continuous process as opposed to simply constructing a casting machine and other equipment. We are actively pursuing the necessary financing to permit us to begin and complete this important project. Its successful completion will result in significant quality improvements and cost savings to the company, by enhancing product yields and streamlining processing requirements." He noted that the new facility will allow Republic to continuously cast up to 70 percent of its product, rather than the 30 percent it currently casts. "By doing so, our competitive position is enhanced," Maier added.
 From a market standpoint, Stephen S. Higley, vice president - commercial stated, "As a major producer of special quality bars, Republic must continually strive to meet its customers' demands. This new caster billet mill complex is intended to keep us competitive in the marketplace."
 The facility's production will be directed toward key markets which consume the vast majority of the company's products. Some of these key market segments are automotive transportation, off-highway, industrial bearings, distribution and the cold finished bar market, including Republic's cold finished division. In this connection, Higley noted that, "The size range of products that will be made from billets produced from this new process will be in the heart of the markets which we currently supply, as well as providing substantial opportunity for growth of certain product lines."
 Republic is the leading domestic producer of special bar quality hot rolled and cold finished steel bars and one of the leading domestic producers of specialty steels. The company's products are used for a wide variety of critical applications where precise metallurgical requirements and compliance with rigorous quality specifications are demanded. It has annual shipping capacity of 1.1 million tons and in its 1993 fiscal year ended June 30, 1993 it shipped 935,782 tons. During that same fiscal year it had operating income, before post retirement benefits, of $33.5 million on sales revenues of $646.2 million.
 Headquartered in Massillon, Ohio, Republic is owned by its roughly 5,000 employees and has plants in Canton, and Massillon, Ohio; Beaver Falls, Pa.; Gary, Ind.; Willimantic, Conn.; and Chicago.
 -0- 11/8/93
 /NOTE TO MEDIA: Free photo to accompany this story is available immediately to any media with telephoto receiver or electronic darkroom (PC or Macintosh) that can accept overhead transmissions. To retrieve a photo, please call 214-416-3686./
 /CONTACT: Harold V. Kelly, executive vice president and general counsel, 216-837-7045, or Marian J. Carpenter, manager, advertising/marketing communications, 216-837-6302, both of Republic Engineered Steels/

CO: Republic Engineered Steels ST: Ohio IN: MNG SU:

BM-SM -- CL006 -- 1680 11/08/93 10:28 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 8, 1993

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