Buyer Bedrock aims to 'make Stelco the employer of choice again in Hamilton'
If all continues smoothly this week, Bedrock Industries is scheduled to officially take over as the buyer of Stelco on Saturday, July 1.
Depending how the political waves roll and what happens in the steel industry, we think we're going to make money either way.- David Cheney, Bedrock Industries
And Tuesday, a Bedrock representative made the company's first local public appearance since emerging as a would-be buyer more than a year ago.
David Cheney, Bedrock managing partner, told Hamilton and Burlington business leaders the company wants to be profitable for "all of our stakeholders," which he listed as the workers, the community, the environment and the company's shareholders.
"One of our goals is to make Stelco the employer of choice again in Hamilton," Cheney said during a live interview with McMaster University business professor Marvin Ryder at the Bay Area Economic Summit.
"This is an iconic brand with a rich history in Hamilton and the province of Ontario and we're going to restore that."
Earlier this month, an Ontario judge approved the sale of Stelco to Bedrock Industries. The previous owner, U.S. Steel, imposed a deadline of June 30 to get the deal done.
Cheney said the company is a "privately funded, industrial investor" with $500 million already committed and access to $2 billion for other deals.
He said company president Mike McQuade will continue in that role after the sale closes, but he and his partner Alan Kestenbaum plan to be "hands-on" in the operations.
'We think we're going to make money'
He acknowledged that both the steel industry and politics are volatile arenas.
But he said the company will be successful even if Donald Trump's "Buy American" mantra ripples to a company like Stelco.
"Depending how the political waves roll and what happens in the steel industry, we think we're going to make money either way," he said.
Cheney highlighted the difficulty of drawn-out court restructuring processes, which Stelco has been through twice in the last decade.
"Comments have been made that this (Bedrock's bid to buy) may not be the best solution, but it's probably the best solution that gets everybody something of what they want," Cheney said. "A great outcome is that everyone is kind of unhappy."