Russian steel giant OAO Severstal Group is moving deeper into the North American automotive steel market to primarily go after Southern auto plants.
Severstal is building an $880 million Mississippi steel mill called SeverCorr LLC. The venture brings together a wide range of financiers and incentives. They include Russian investors, funding from a German export bank, loans and state incentives from Mississippi, private investors, low-cost Tennessee Valley Authority power rates and nonunion labor to supply the expanding auto market around the Southeast.
The mill, in Columbus, Miss., will be equipped to turn out 72-inch-wide steel sheets, which will allow the company to supply larger vehicles. Many North American mills are limited to 64-inch widths.
Over the past two years, Severstal, of Moscow, has taken steps to capitalize on North America's straining supply of finished steel for vehicles.