Automobile sales help AK Steel's business keep rolling, though it also has operations in the infrastructure and manufacturing industries. The company manufactures carbon, stainless, and electrical steel. It sells hot- and cold-rolled carbon steel to construction companies, steel distributors and service centers, and automotive and industrial machinery producers. AK Steel also sells cold-rolled and aluminum-coated stainless steel to automakers. The company produces electrical steels (iron-silicon alloys with unique magnetic properties) for makers of power transmission and distribution equipment. AK Steel has seven steel-making and finishing plants located across Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The company has been buffeted by a difficult economic environment and factors beyond its control (such as high prices in raw materials). Strategically the company is focused on cost competitiveness and ready to capitalize on an economic recovery. AK Steel saw a significant increase in its revenues in 2010, up more than 46% over recession-shrouded 2009. Sales volumes began to pick up during the second half of the year, though prices continued to be stuck in the low range. Net income remained in the loss column in 2010, due primarily to the rise in the cost of raw materials brought on by increased demand in China and other growing markets.
The steel industry has been consolidating for years as troubled companies have been snapped up by market leaders. AK Steel has maintained its independence, however, in part because of its status as a leading supplier of some high-grade niche products, such as components of stainless steel exhaust systems for carmakers.
In recent years the company has increased the production capacity at many of its facilities. Total investments in its US plants have been about $268 million. The company also operates subsidiaries in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, and other countries. – less