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LTV, Japanese Firm to Build U.S. Steel Mill

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Times Staff Writer

LTV Corp., a Dallas-based conglomerate and the nation’s second-largest steelmaker, said Monday that it has agreed to form a joint venture with Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. to make galvanized steel for the auto industry at a new plant in Cleveland.

LTV said that the $125-million project, which will begin operations in the spring of 1986, will be jointly managed by American and Japanese executives, with LTV retaining 60% ownership in the venture. The financing for the project has been arranged through a Japanese bank, Mitsui & Co.

The joint venture will build an automated facility on the site of an old LTV steel mill and will employ about 70 workers to produce up to 500,000 tons of rust-resistant, flat-rolled steel annually, an LTV spokesman said. Raw steel for the new galvanizing line will be supplied by an existing LTV mill in Cleveland.

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LTV’s joint venture with Sumitomo is the latest in a series of moves by ailing American steel producers to link up with healthier and technologically more advanced Japanese steelmakers in order to reduce the costs of updating their domestic operations.

Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. and Nisshin Steel Co. of Japan have agreed to form a joint venture to make galvanized steel together, and Nippon Kokan K.K., another Japanese steelmaker, has acquired a 50% stake in National Steel Corp., a subsidiary of National Intergroup, Inc.

Like most domestic steel firms, LTV has been suffering from record levels of steel imports and sagging orders. It has been a big money loser over the last few years, with its steel division posting an operating loss of $298.9 million in 1982 and $200.2 million in 1983.

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