CEO: Big River Steel to Remain Independent

CEO: Big River Steel to Remain Independent

Big River Steel, which this summer said it would expand its scrap recycling and steel production facility near Osceola, says it will remain an independent company, according to a report by Fastmarkets AMM.

CEO David Stickler tells the website that it will instead focus on its expansion, as well as plans to build a second flat-rolled mini-mill in the southern U.S.

"The group wants to stay together, build the platform and not exit the market," Stickler said. "We think that there is tremendous opportunity ahead for Big River Steel."

But Stickler said the company might consider joint ventures with other firms to make high-strength, automotive-grade steel, according to the report by Michael Cowden.

Nucor was reportedly among the companies considering an acquisition.

At $1.3 billion, the Big River Steel plant was a major economic development project by the AEDC and the state Legislature, which in 2013 approved a multimillion-dollar package of incentives for the plant, including a $125 million bond issue under Amendment 82 of the Arkansas Constitution — the first time the "superproject" legislation was implemented. 

In 2014, Arkansas Teacher Retirement System trustees authorized investing up to $125 million in Big River Steel. Koch Minerals, a subsidiary of Koch Industries of Wichita, Kansas, was an early — and major — investor in Big River Steel.

Construction on Big River Steel began in September 2014, and the company processed its first batch of steel in 2016. It aims to produce 1.6 million tons of niche and specialty steel for sale in North America.