Workers at an Evraz Steel Plant
Moscow - Evraz, the largest steelmaker in Russia, announced yesterday that it will purchase Oregon Steel Mills Inc. for $2.3 billion. Oregon Steel Mills is planning a new pipe mill in Portland, Oregon to supply its customers with more steel pipe. The company currently produces steel products in Canada and Colorado.
Industry analysts in the U.S. and Russia say that Evraz paid a steep premium for the U.S. steel producer, but could reap rich benefits from diversifying assets in the North American market. In particular, the Oregon Steel acquisition gives Evraz access to the North American oil and gas pipeline infrastructure market. In the next twenty years, U.S. and Canadian companies are planning to build two major pipelines to provide natural gas from Alaska and Canada's McKenzie Delta to customers in the lower 48 U.S. states.
Evraz's share of the Russian steel market
What makes this deal interesting from the perspective of Russian business is that 40% of Evraz is owned by the billionaire Roman Abramovich. Last year Mr. Abramovich, age 40, sold Sibneft to Gazprom for a nearly $13 billion. Since then, Mr. Abramovich has grabbed headlines by moving into the metals business in a big way.
Abramovich is the governor of the remote Far Eastern province of Chuhotka
In September, Abramovich invested in the Russian merger that created the world's largest aluminum producer, RusAl. Mr. Abramovich's partner in that megadeal, Oleg Deripaska, also happens to be Boris Yeltsin's grandson by marriage. Abramovich and Deripaska first became business partners in 2000, but go way back to the early 1990s, when Abramovich built his fortune through oil trading. Abramovich acquired his share of Sibneft in a government auction in 1995, as the junior business partner to Boris Berezovsky. He reportedly managed the Yeltsin family's finances during their time in the Kremlin. Now he is ten years younger than the next billionaire on Forbes magazine's list of the richest people on the planet.