Gerdau S.A. 20-F 2009
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
Amendment No. 1
Commission file number 1-14878
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
The total number of issued shares of each class of stock of GERDAU S.A. as of December 31, 2008 was:
496,586,494 Common Shares, no par value per share
934,793,732 Preferred Shares, no par value per share
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
x Yes o No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
o Yes x No
Note Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
x Yes o No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
o Yes o No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of accelerated filer and large accelerated filer in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
If Other has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
o Item 17 x Item 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
o Yes x No
The Company is amending its Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2008 (the Annual Report) to correct the omission of a line item in the Summary Financial and Operating Data and to correct typographical errors in Exhibits 13.01 and 13.02 as originally filed.
No other changes are being made to the Annual Report, as originally filed, although Exhibits 12.01, 12.02, 13.01 and 13.02 have been refiled in their current form. The Annual Report, as amended by this amendment, continues to speak as of the date of its original filing, and the Company has not updated the disclosure as of a later date.
Unless otherwise indicated, all references herein to:
(i) the Company, Gerdau, we or us are references to Gerdau S.A., a corporation organized under the laws of the Federative Republic of Brazil (Brazil) and its consolidated subsidiaries;
(ii) Açominas are references to Aço Minas Gerais S.A. Açominas prior to November 2003 whose business was to operate the Ouro Branco steel mill. In November 2003 the company underwent a corporate reorganization, receiving all of Gerdaus Brazilian operating assets and liabilities and being renamed Gerdau Açominas S.A.;
(iii) Gerdau Açominas are references to Gerdau Açominas S.A. after November 2003 and to Açominas before such date. In July 2005, certain assets and liabilities of Gerdau Açominas were spun-off to four other newly created entities: Gerdau Aços Longos, Gerdau Aços Especiais, Gerdau Comercial de Aços and Gerdau América do Sul Participações. As a result of such spin-off, as from July 2005, the activities of Gerdau Açominas only comprise the operation of the Ouro Branco steel mill;
(iv) Chaparral Steel or to Chaparral are references to Chaparral Steel Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, and its consolidated subsidiaries;
(v) Preferred Shares and Common Shares refer to the Companys authorized and outstanding preferred stock and common stock, designated as ações preferenciais and ações ordinárias, respectively, all without par value. All references herein to the real, reais or R$ are to the Brazilian real, the official currency of Brazil. All references to (i) U.S. dollars, dollars, U.S.$ or $ are to the official currency of the United States, (ii) Canadian dollars or Cdn$ are to the official currency of Canada (iii) billions are to thousands of millions, (iv) km are to kilometers, and (v) tonnes are to metric tones;
(vi) Installed capacity means the annual projected capacity for a particular facility (excluding the portion that is not attributable to our participation in a facility owned by a joint venture), calculated based upon operations for 24 hours each day of a year and deducting scheduled downtime for regular maintenance;
(vii) Tonne means a metric tonne, which is equal to 1,000 kilograms or 2,204.62 pounds;
(viii) Consolidated shipments means the combined volumes shipped from all our operations in Brazil, Latin America, North America and Europe, excluding our joint ventures;
(ix) IISI means the International Iron and Steel Institute, IBS means Brazilian Steel Institute (Instituto Brasileiro de Siderurgia) and AISI means American Iron and Steel Institute;
(x) CPI means consumer price index.
The Company has prepared the consolidated financial statements included herein in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The investments in Gallatin Steel Co. (Gallatin), Bradley Steel Processor and MRM Guide Rail, all in North America, of which Gerdau Ameristeel holds 50% of the total capital, the investments in Armacero Industrial y Comercial Limitada, in Chile, in which the Company holds a 50% stake, the investments in the holding company Multisteel Business Holdings Corp., in which the Company holds a 49% stake, which holds 98.57% of the capital stock of Industrias Nacionales, C. por A. (INCA), in Dominican Republic, the investments in the holding company Corsa Controladora, S.A. de C.V., in which the Company holds a 49% stake, which holds the capital stock of Aceros Corsa S.A. de C.V., in Mexico, the investments in the holding company Corporacion Centroamericana del Acero S.A., in which the Company holds a 30% stake, which holds the capital stock of Aceros de Guatemala S.A., in Guatemala, the investments in Estructurales Corsa S.A.P.I. de C.V., in Mexico, in which the Company holds a 50% stake, the investments in SJK Steel Plant Limited., in India, in which the Company holds a 45.17% stake, and the investment in Dona Francisca Energética S.A, in Brazil, in which the Company holds a 51.82% stake, are accounted for using the equity accounting method.
Unless otherwise indicated, all information in this Annual Report is stated for December 31, 2008. Subsequent developments are discussed in Item 8.B - Financial Information - Significant Changes.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995. These statements relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies.
Statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to future events or conditions or that include words such as expects, anticipates, intends, plans, believes, estimates and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, these statements are subject to several risks and uncertainties and are made in light of information currently available to us.
It is possible that our future performance may differ materially from our current assessments due to a number of factors, including the following:
· general economic, political and business conditions in our markets, both in Brazil and abroad, including demand and prices for steel products;
· interest rate fluctuations, inflation and exchange rate movements of the real in relation to the U.S. dollar and other currencies in which we sell a significant portion of our products or in which our assets and liabilities are denominated;
· our ability to obtain financing on satisfactory terms;
· prices and availability of raw materials;
· changes in international trade;
· changes in laws and regulations;
· electric energy shortages and government responses to them;
· the performance of the Brazilian and the global steel industries and markets;
· global, national and regional competition in the steel market;
· protectionist measures imposed by steel-importing countries; and
· other factors identified or discussed under Risk Factors.
Our forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results or developments may differ materially from the expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements. As for the forward-looking statements that relate to future financial results and other projections, actual results will be different due to the inherent uncertainty of estimates, forecasts and projections. Because of these uncertainties, potential investors should not rely on these forward-looking statements.
We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Not applicable, as the Company is filing this Form 20-F as an annual report.
Not applicable, as the Company is filing this Form 20-F as an annual report.
A. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The Company changed its financial basis of reporting for purposes of filing financial statements with the SEC from United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), beginning with the financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2008 presented in this Annual Report. The first financial statements of the Company prepared following IFRS issued by the IASB were those as of and for the year ended December 31, 2007 which were filed with the local securities regulator in Brazil and made publicly available. The selected financial information for the Company included in the following tables should be read in conjunction with, and is qualified in its entirety by, the IFRS financial statements of the Company and Operating and Financial Review and Prospects appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report.
The consolidated financial data for the Company on December 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006 are derived from the financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS and presented in Brazilian Reais.
We also present consolidated financial data for the Company on December 31, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP which was the basis of reporting used in financial statements filed on Annual Reports on Form 20-F until the year ended December 31, 2007. Our audited financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP filed on Annual Reports on Form 20-F were presented in United States dollars herein.
In conjunction with our change in basis of reporting from US GAAP to IFRS as adopted by the IASB we have also changed our reporting currency from the United States dollars previously used to Brazilian Reais.
In order to comply with Regulation S-X 3-20 the consolidated financial data prepared under US GAAP is presented in Brazilian reais and, as such, has not been derived from our audited financial statements presented in United states dollars. The consolidated financial data under US GAAP presented in Brazilian reais results from converting the corresponding information in our financial statements presented in United States dollars as follows: (a) balance sheet date has been converted by applying the respective year-end exchange rates as of December 31, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004, and (b) income statement data has been converted by applying average exchange rates for the years ended December 31, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
For a reconciliation of our net income for the years ended December 31, 2007 and 2006 and of our shareholders equity at January 1, 2006 (the transition date for transition to IFRS), at December 31, 2006 and 2007, see Note 31 Supplemental Information Reconciliation of Shareholders Equity and Net Income between U.S. GAAP and IFRS.
The summary financial data prepared in accordance with IFRS and U.S. GAAP is not comparable.
IFRS Summary Financial and Operating Data
(1) Per share information has been retroactively restated for 2007 and 2006 to reflect the effect of: (a) the stock bonus of one share for every share held approved in April 2008 (see note 23.2.a of the consolidated financial statements). Earnings per share has been computed on weighted average share outstanding during each year.
(2) The information on the numbers of shares presented above relate to the end of each year, and the years of 2007 and 2006 were retroactively restated to reflect changes in numbers of shares due to the transactions described in (1) above.
(1) Include trading, available for sale and held to maturity investments.
(2) Total current assets less total current liabilities.
U.S. GAAP Summary Financial and Operating Data
(1) Per share information has been retroactively restated for all periods to reflect the effect of: (a) the stock bonus of one share for two shares held approved in March 2005, (b) the stock bonus of one share for two shares held approved in
March 2006 and (c) the stock bonus of one share for every share held approved in April 2008. Earnings per share has been computed on weighted average share outstanding during each year.
(2) The information on the numbers of shares presented above relate to the end of each year, and is retroactively restated to reflect changes in numbers of shares due to the transactions described in (i) above.
(1) Include trading, available for sale and held to maturity investments.
(2) Total current assets less total current liabilities.
Exchange rates between the United States Dollar and Brazilian Reais
The following table presents the exchange rates for the periods indicated between the United States dollar and the Brazilian reais which is the currency in which we prepare our financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 20-F.
Exchange rates from U.S. dollars to Brazilian reais
The Companys total authorized capital stock is composed of common and preferred shares. As of June 30, 2009, the Company had 496,586,494 common shares and 934,793,732 non-voting preferred shares outstanding.
The following table details dividends and interest on equity paid to holders of common and preferred stock since 2004. The figures are expressed in Brazilian reais and converted into U.S. dollars on the date of the resolution approving the dividend. Dividend per share figures have been retroactively adjusted for all periods to reflect: (a) the stock dividend of one share for every share held (approved in April 2004), (b) the stock dividend of one for every two shares held (approved in March 2005), (c) the stock dividend of one share for every two shares held (approved in March 2006), (d) the public share offering, with the issue of 44,000,000 shares (approved in March 2008); and (e) the stock dividend of one share for every share held (approved in May 2008).
Dividend per share information has been computed by dividing dividends and interest on equity by the number of shares outstanding, which excludes treasury stock. The table below presents the quarterly dividends payment, except where stated otherwise:
(1) Payment of interest on equity.
(2) Payment of both dividends and interest on equity.
Note: the Company did not advance dividends in the 1st quarter of 2009.
Law 9,249 of December 1995 states that a company may, at its sole discretion, pay interest on equity in addition to or instead of dividends (See Item 8 Financial Information - Interest on Equity). A Brazilian corporation is entitled to pay its shareholders interest on equity up to the limit based on the application of the TJLP rate (Long-Term Interest Rate) to its shareholders equity or 50% of the net income in the fiscal year, whichever is greater. This payment is considered part of the mandatory dividend required by Brazilian Corporation Law for each fiscal year. The payment of interest on equity described herein is subject to a 15% withholding tax. See Item 10. Additional Information - Taxation.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, Gerdau launched the Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP), which is a program that allows the holders of Gerdau ADRs to reinvest dividends to purchase additional ADRs in the Company, , with no issuance of new shares. In January 2009, Gerdau provided its shareholders a similar program in Brazil that allows the reinvestment of dividends in additional shares, with no issuance of new shares.
B. CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS
C. REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS
D. RISK FACTORS
Global crises and subsequent economic slowdowns may adversely affect global demand and lead to a reduction in international trade. As a result the Companys financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
The world economic crisis is an ongoing financial crisis triggered by a dramatic rise in subprime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures in the United States, with major adverse consequences for banks and financial markets around the globe. Developed markets, such as North America and Europe, are experiencing serious recessions as a result of the collapse of mortgage lending and lack of global credit. Demand for steel products has contracted in 2009, based on the pattern observed since 2008. If the Company is unable to remains competitive in these changing markets, its profits, profit margins and revenues may be adversely affected. The unprecedented economic slowdown and turmoil in the global economy has adversely impacted consumer markets, affecting the companies business environment in the following subjects:
· Decrease in international steel prices;
· Slump in international steel trading volumes;
· Crisis in automotive industry and infrastructure sectors and
· Lack of liquidity, mainly in the U.S. economy
In 2008, Gerdaus shipments decreased 24.4% in the 4th quarter compared to the same period in 2007, mainly due to the economic slowdown. North America Operation was the Companys most affected business with a 38.2% decrease in shipments in the same period, mainly affected by a sharp reduction in consumer spending in the U.S., that affected industry and infrastructure demand. Latin American Operation suffered a 27.6% reduction in shipments resulting from a large exposure in the international market (steel importers countries) affecting mainly Colombia, Peru and Chile where Gerdau owns some of its mills. Specialty Steel Operation fell 21.1% in the same period, due the automotive industry crisis, its main consumer market. In Long Steel Brazil and Açominas Operations the economic turmoil affected principally the export shipments which decreased 78.7% and 22.3%, respectively, in the same period.
In the first months of 2009, the steel market followed the same demand level of the fourth quarter of 2008. This notwithstanding the demand for steel products is showing modest improvements in a monthly basis. The Company can not assure that these improvements will be maintained through 2009. A reversal of this trend could decrease Gerdau shipments at lower levels, considering the bottom reached in the first quarter of 2009.
Risks Relating to Brazil
Brazils political and economic conditions and the Brazilian governments economic and other policies may negatively affect demand for the Companys products as well as its net sales and overall financial performance.
The Brazilian economy has been characterized by frequent and occasionally extensive intervention by the Brazilian government. The Brazilian government has often changed monetary, taxation, credit, tariff and other policies to influence the course of the countrys economy. The Brazilian governments actions to control inflation and implement other policies have involved hikes in interest rates, wage and price controls, devaluation of the currency, freezing of bank accounts, capital controls and restrictions on imports.
The Companys operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected by the following factors and the government responses to them:
· exchange rate controls and fluctuations;
· interest rates;
· tax policies;
· energy shortages;
· liquidity of domestic and foreign capital and lending markets; and
· other political, diplomatic, social and economic developments in or affecting Brazil.
Uncertainty over whether the Brazilian government will change policies or regulations affecting these or other factors may contribute to economic uncertainty in Brazil and to heightened volatility in Brazilian securities markets and securities issued abroad by Brazilian issuers. These and other developments in Brazils economy and government policies may adversely affect the Company and its business.
Inflation and government actions to combat inflation may contribute significantly to economic uncertainty in Brazil and could adversely affect the Companys business.
Brazil has experienced high inflation in the past. Since the implementation of the Real Plan in 1994, the annual rate of inflation has decreased significantly, as measured by the National Broad Consumer Price Index (Índice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo, or IPCA). Inflation measured by the IPCA index was 7.6% in 2004, 5.7% in 2005, 3.1% in 2006, 4.5% in 2007 and 5.9% in 2008. If Brazil were to experience high levels of inflation once again, the countrys rate of economic growth could slow, which would lead to lower demand for the Companys products in Brazil. Inflation is also likely to increase some costs and expenses which the Company may not be able to pass on to its customers and, as a result, may reduce its profit margins and net income. In addition, high inflation generally leads to higher domestic interest rates, which could lead the cost of servicing the Companys debt denominated in Brazilian reais to increase. Inflation may also hinder its access to capital markets, which could adversely affect its ability to refinance debt. Inflationary pressures may also lead to the imposition of additional government policies to combat inflation that could adversely affect its business.
Variations in the foreign exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies of countries in which the Company operates may increase the cost of servicing its debt denominated in foreign currency and adversely affect its overall financial performance.
The Companys operating results are affected by fluctuations in the foreign exchange rates between the Brazilian real, the currency in which the Company prepares its financial statements, and the currencies of the countries in which it operates.
For example, Gerdau Ameristeel reports its results in U.S. dollars. Therefore, fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Brazilian real could affect its operating results. The same occurs with all other businesses located outside Brazil with respect to the exchange rate between the local currency of the respective subsidiary and the Brazilian real.
The Brazilian real appreciated against the U.S. dollar by 8.7% in 2006 and 17.2% in 2007 and depreciated against the U.S. dollar by 31.9% in 2008. On June 30, 2009, the U.S. dollar/Brazilian real exchange rate was $1.00 per R$ 1.95, resulting in appreciation of 16.5% when compared to December 31, 2008.
Depreciation in the Brazilian real in relation to the U.S. dollar could also result in additional inflationary pressures in Brazil, by generally increasing the price of imported products and services and requiring recessionary government policies to curb demand. In addition, depreciation in the Brazilian real could weaken investor confidence in Brazil.
The Company held debt denominated in foreign currency, mainly U.S. dollars, in an aggregate amount of R$ 19,717.7 million at December 31, 2008, representing 84.9% of its indebtedness on a consolidated basis. On December 31, 2008, the Company held R$ 2,654.6 million in cash equivalents and short-term investments denominated in currencies different from Brazilian real. Significant depreciation in the Brazilian real in relation to the U.S. dollar or other currencies could reduce the Companys ability to service its obligations denominated in foreign currencies, particularly since a significant part of its net sales revenue is denominated in Brazilian reais.
Export revenue and margins are also affected by fluctuations in the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar and other local currencies of the countries where the Company produces in relation to the Brazilian real. The Companys production costs are denominated in local currency but its export sales are generally denominated in U.S. dollars. Revenues generated by exports denominated in U.S. dollars are reduced when they are translated into Brazilian real in periods during which the Brazilian currency appreciates in relation to the U.S. dollar.
Developments in other emerging markets or in the United States may adversely affect Brazils capital markets.
Political, economic, social and other developments in other countries, particularly those in Latin America, other emerging-market countries or the United States, may have an adverse effect on the market value of the Company. Although conditions in these countries may be quite different from those in Brazil, investors reactions to developments in these countries may affect Brazils securities markets and reduce investor interest in the securities of Brazilian issuers. Brazil has experienced periods with significant outflows of U.S. dollars, and Brazilian companies have faced higher costs for raising funds, both domestically and abroad, and have been prevented from accessing international capital markets. Particularly, in the second semester of 2008 Brazil experienced a high outflow of U.S. dollars combined with a lack of financing alternatives, thus increasing Brazilian companies capital cost. The Company cannot assure that the international capital markets will be available to Brazilian companies in the same level of liquidity as in 2007 or that prevailing interest rates in these markets will be at investment grade levels for the Company, which may limit the Companys ability to refinance its debt.
Risks Relating to Gerdau and the Steel Industry
Demand for steel is cyclical and a reduction in prevailing world prices for steel could adversely affect the Companys operating results.
The steel industry is highly cyclical. Consequently, the Company is exposed to substantial swings in the demand for steel products, which in turn causes volatility in the prices of most of its products and eventually causing write downs on its inventories. In addition, the demand for steel products, and hence the financial condition and operating results of companies in the steel industry, including the Company itself, are generally affected by macroeconomic changes in the world economy and in the domestic economies of steel-producing countries, including general trends in the steel, construction and automotive industries. Since 2003, demand for steel products from developing countries (particularly China), the strong euro compared to U.S. dollar and world economic growth have contributed to a historically high level of prices for the Companys steel products. However, these relatively high prices may not last, especially due to expansion in world installed capacity or a new level of demand. Since 2008, and especially in the beginning of 2009, the U.S. and European economies have shown strong signs of slower growth, in turn affecting many other countries. A continuous material decrease in demand for steel or exports by countries not able to consume their production could have a significant adverse effect on the Companys operations and prospects.
Higher steel scrap prices or a reduction in supply could adversely affect production costs and operating margins.
The main metal input for the Companys mini-mills, which corresponded to 77.0% of total crude steel output in 2008 (in volume), is steel scrap. Although international steel scrap prices are determined essentially by scrap prices in the U.S. local market, because the United States is the main scrap exporter, scrap prices in the Brazilian market are set by domestic supply and demand. The price of steel scrap in Brazil varies from region to region and reflects demand and transportation costs. Should scrap prices increase significantly without a commensurate increase in finished steel sale prices, the Companys profits and margins could be adversely affected. An increase in steel scrap prices or a shortage in the supply of scrap to its units would affect production costs and potentially reduce operating margins and revenues.
Increases in iron ore and coal prices or reductions in market supply could adversely affect the Companys operations.
When the prices of the raw materials increase, the Company needs to produce steel in its integrated facilities, particularly iron ore and coking coal, the production costs in its integrated facilities also increase. The Company uses iron ore to produce liquid pig iron at its Ouro Branco mill, and at its Gerdau Barão de Cocais and Gerdau Divinópolis units in the state of Minas Gerais. Iron ore is also used to produce sponge iron at the Gerdau Usiba unit in the state of Bahia.
The Ouro Branco unit is the Companys biggest mill in Brazil, and its main metal input for the production of steel is iron ore. In 2008, this unit represented 45.9% of the total crude steel output (in volume) of Gerdaus Brazilian operations. A shortage of iron ore in the domestic market may adversely affect the steel producing capacity of its Brazilian units, and an increase in iron ore prices could reduce profit margins.
All of the Companys coking coal requirements for its Brazilian units are imported due to the low quality of Brazilian coal. Coking coal is the main energy input at the Ouro Branco mill and is used at the coking facility. Although this mill is not dependent on coke supplies, a contraction in the supply of coking coal could adversely affect the integrated operations at this site, since the Ouro Branco mill requires coking coal to produce coke in its coking facility. All the coking coal used in Ouro Branco is imported from Canada, the United States and Australia. A shortage of coking coal in the international market would adversely affect the steel producing capacity of the Ouro Branco mill, and an increase in prices could reduce profit margins. The Company does not have long-term supply contracts for certain raw materials it uses.
The Company may not successfully integrate its businesses, management, operations or products, or achieve any of the benefits anticipated from future acquisitions.
Over the years, the Company has expanded its presence mainly through acquisitions in the North American and Latin American markets. The integration of the business and opportunities stemming from entities recently acquired and those that may be acquired by the Company in the future may involve risks. The Company may not successfully integrate acquired businesses, managements, operations, products and services with its current operations. The diversion of managements attention from its existing businesses, as well as problems that can arise in connection with the integration of the new operations may have an impact on revenue and operating results. The integration of acquisitions may result in additional expenses that could reduce profitability. The Company may not succeed in addressing these risks or any other problems encountered in connection with past and future acquisitions.
The Company regularly conducts impairment tests for the recovery of goodwill from its investments, adopting market practices for these tests and discounted cash flow multiples of its units where goodwill was allocated. A downturn in the steel market could negatively impact expectations for futures earnings, leading to the need to recognize a loss in its income statement regarding the reduction in goodwill.
The Companys operations are energy-intensive, and energy shortages or higher energy prices could have an adverse affect.
Steel production is an energy-intensive process, especially in melt shops with electric arc furnaces. Electricity represents a significant cost component at these units, as also does natural gas, although to a lesser extent. Electricity cannot be replaced at the Companys mills and power rationing or shortages such as those that occurred in Brazil in 2001 could adversely affect production at those units.
Natural gas is used in the reheating furnaces at the Companys rolling mills. In the case of shortages in the supply of natural gas, the Company could in some instances change to fuel oil as an energy source. However, these measures could increase its production costs and consequently reduce its operating margins.
Restrictive measures on trade in steel products may affect the Companys business by increasing the price of its products or reducing its ability to export.
The Company is a steel producer that supplies both the domestic market in Brazil and a number of international markets. The Companys exports face competition from other steel producers, as well as restrictions imposed by importing countries in the form of quotas, ad valorem taxes, tariffs or increases in import duties, any of which could increase the costs of products and make them less competitive or prevent the Company from selling in these markets. There are no assurances that importing countries will not impose quotas, ad valorem taxes, tariffs or increase import duties.
Less expensive imports from other countries to North America may adversely affect the Companys business.
Steel imports to North America have caused downward pressure on steel prices in recent years, adversely affecting sales and profit margins. Competition from foreign steel producers is strong and may grow due to an increase in foreign installed steel capacity, depreciation in the U.S. dollar and a reduction in domestic steel demand in other markets, with these factors leading to higher levels of steel imports to North America at lower prices. In the past, the U.S. government has taken temporary protective measures to regulate steel imports by means of quotas and tariffs. Protective measures may not be taken and, despite trade regulation efforts, unfairly priced imports could enter North American markets in the future, resulting in price pressure that could adversely affect the Companys business.
Costs related to complying with environmental regulations may increase if requirements become more stringent, which may adversely affect the Companys operating results.
The Companys industrial plants are required to comply with a number of federal, state and municipal environmental laws and regulations with respect to the environment and the operation of mills in every country in which the Company operates. These regulations include environmental licensing procedures, the control of air emissions, waste water discharges and solid and hazardous waste handling and disposal. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may result in civil and administrative penalties, criminal sanctions or closure orders, and in various circumstances requires the cleanup of the contamination. If existing laws or future legislation become more stringent, expenditure on fixed assets and the costs of compliance may rise, adversely affecting the Companys financial condition. Furthermore, the Company may be subject to additional expenditures and costs associated with environmental compliance as a result of future acquisitions.
Layoffs in our labor force have generated severance costs, and such layoffs could reoccur.
A substantial number of our employees are represented by labor unions and are covered by collective bargaining or other labor agreements, which are subject to periodic negotiation. Strikes or work stoppages have occurred in the past and could reoccur in connection with negotiations of new labor agreements or during other periods for other reasons, including the risk of layoffs during a down cycle that could generate severance costs. Moreover, we could be adversely affected by labor disruptions involving unrelated parties that may provide us with goods or services. Strikes and other labor disruptions at any of our operations could adversely affect the operation of facilities and the timing of completion and the cost of our capital projects.
The Company may be unable to reduce its financial leverage, which could increase its cost of capital, in turn adversely affecting its financial condition or operating results.
In 2007, the international rating agencies Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poors classified the Companys credit risk as investment grade, which gave to the Company access to financing at lower borrowing rates. Due to its acquisitions in recent years, its total debt/EBITDA ratio reached the maximum normally accepted by the agencies for an investment grade rating. In 2009, Standard & Poors put Gerdau on a CreditWatch Negative listing reflecting its views of the Companys weakening cash flow and credit metrics in the currently challenging market environment. Although market conditions have been improving since the low point of December 2008 and January 2009, Standard & Poors believes there is still uncertainty concerning the Companys ability to strengthen its credit metrics. If the Company is unable to improve its operating and financial results, it may loses its investment grade rating, which could increase its cost of capital and consequently adversely affect its financial condition and operating results.
A. HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMPANY
Gerdau S.A. is a Brazilian corporation (Sociedade Anônima) that was incorporated on November 20, 1961 under the laws of Brazil. Its main registered office is located at Av. Farrapos, 1811, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and the telephone number is +55 (51) 3323 2000.
The current Company is the product of a number of corporate acquisitions, mergers and other transactions dating back to 1901. The Company began operating in 1901 as the Pontas de Paris nail factory controlled by the Gerdau family based in Porto Alegre, who is still the Companys indirect controlling shareholder. In 1969, Pontas de Paris was renamed Metalúrgica Gerdau S.A., which today is the holding company controlled by the Gerdau family through intermediate holding companies that in turn controls what is today Gerdau S.A.
From 1901 to 1969, the Pontas de Paris nail factory grew and expanded its business into a variety of other steel and steel-related products and services. At the end of World War II, the Company acquired Siderúrgica Riograndense S.A., a steel producer also located in Porto Alegre, in an effort to broaden its activities and provide it with greater access to raw materials. In February 1948, the Company initiated its steel operations, which foreshadowed the successful mini-mill model of producing steel in electric arc furnaces using steel scrap as the main raw material. At that time the Company adopted a regional sales strategy to ensure more competitive operating costs. In 1957, the Company installed a second unit in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in the city of Sapucaia do Sul, and in 1962, steady growth in the production of nails led to the construction of a larger and more advanced factory in Passo Fundo, also in Rio Grande do Sul.
In 1967, the Company expanded into the Brazilian state of São Paulo, purchasing Fábrica de Arames São Judas Tadeu, a producer of nails and wires, which was later renamed Comercial Gerdau and ultimately became the Companys Brazilian distribution channel for steel products. In June 1969, the Company expanded into the Northeast of Brazil,
producing long steel at Siderúrgica Açonorte in the state of Pernambuco. In December 1971, the Company acquired control of Siderúrgica Guaíra, a long steel producer in the state of Paraná in Brazils South Region. The Company also established a new company, Seiva S.A. Florestas e Indústrias, to produce lumber on a sustainable basis for the furniture, pulp and steel industries. In 1979, the Company acquired control of the Cosigua mill in Rio de Janeiro, which currently operates the largest mini-mill in Latin America. Since then, the Company has expanded throughout Brazil with a series of acquisitions and new operations, and today owns 15 steel units in Brazil.
In 1980, the Company began to expand internationally with the acquisition of Gerdau Laisa S.A., the only long steel producer in Uruguay, followed in 1989 by the purchase of the Canadian company Gerdau Ameristeel Cambridge, a producer of common long rolled steel products located in Cambridge, Ontario. In 1992, the Company acquired control of Gerdau AZA S.A., a producer of crude steel and long rolled products in Chile. Over time, the Company increased its international presence by acquiring a minority interest in a rolling mill in Argentina, a controlling interest in Diaco S.A. in Colombia, and, most notably, additional interests in North America through the acquisition of Gerdau Ameristeel MRM Special Sections, a producer of special sections such as elevator guide rails and super light beams, and the former Ameristeel Corp., a producer of common long rolled products. In October 2002, through a series of transactions, the Company merged its North American steel production assets with those of the Canadian company Co-Steel, a producer of long steel, to create Gerdau Ameristeel, which is currently the second largest long steel producer in North America based on steel production volume. The Company currently holds 66.4% of the outstanding shares of Gerdau Ameristeel, whose remaining shares are publicly traded in Canada and in the United States. Gerdau Ameristeel itself has a number of operations throughout Canada and the United States, including its 50% joint venture interest in Gallatin Steel, a manufacturer of flat steel, and also operates 18 steel units, 56 fabrication shops and 14 downstream operations.
In September 2005, Gerdau acquired 35.98% of the stock issued by Sipar Aceros S.A. , a long steel rolling mill with a total installed capacity of 260,000 tonnes of rolled steel, located in the Province of Santa Fé, Argentina. This interest, added to the 38.46% already owned by Gerdau represents 74.44% of the capital stock of Sipar Aceros S.A. At the end of the third quarter of 2005, Gerdau concluded the acquisition of a 57.1% interest in Diaco S.A. , the largest rebar manufacturer in Colombia with a total installed capacity of 510,000 tonnes of crude steel and 690,000 tonnes of rolled steel. In January 2008, the Company purchased an additional interest of 40.3%, for $107.2 million (R$ 188.7 million on the acquisition date), increasing its ownership to 97.4%.
In January 2006, through its subsidiary Gerdau Hungria Holdings Limited Liability Company, Gerdau acquired 40% of the capital stock of Corporación Sidenor S.A. for $219.2 million (R$ 493.2 million), the largest long specialty steel producer, forged parts manufacturer and foundry in Spain, and one of the major producers of forged parts using the stamping process in that country. In December 2008, Gerdau Hungria Holding Limited Liability Company acquired for $288.0 million (R$ 674.0 million) from LuxFin Participation S.L. and Bogey Holding Company Spain S.L., which holds a 20% interest in Corporación Sidenor. With this acquisition, Gerdau became the majority shareholder (60%) in Corporación Sidenor. In December 2006, Gerdau announced that its Spanish subsidiary Corporación Sidenor, S.A., had completed the acquisition of all outstanding shares issued by GSB Acero, S.A., a subsidiary of CIE Automotive for $143.0 million (R$ 313.8 million). GSB Acero produces specialty steel and is located in Guipúzcoa, Spain. Corporación Sidenor S.A. has a total installed capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.2 million tonnes of rolled steel.
In March 2006, the assets of two industrial units were acquired in the United States. The first was Callaway Building Products in Knoxville, Tennessee, a supplier of fabricated rebars to the construction industry. The second was Fargo Iron and Metal Company located in Fargo, North Dakota, a storage and scrap processing facility and service provider to manufacturers and construction companies.
In June 2006, Gerdau acquired for $103.0 million (R$ 224.5 million) Sheffield Steel Corporation in Sand Springs, Oklahoma in the USA. Sheffield is a mini-mill producer of common long steel, namely concrete reinforcement bars and merchant bars. It has one melt shop with a total installed capacity of 630,000 tonnes of crude steel and one rolling mill in Sand Springs with a total installed capacity of 520,000 tonnes of rolled steel, Oklahoma, one rolling mill in Joliet, Illinois with a total installed capacity of 70,000 tonnes of rolled steel, and three downstream units in Kansas City and Sand Springs.
In the same month, Gerdau S.A. won the bid for 50% plus one share of the capital stock of Empresa Siderúrgica Del Perú S.A.A. (Siderperú) located in the city of Chimbote in Peru for $60.6 million. In November 2006, Gerdau also won the bid for 324,327,847 shares issued by Siderperú, which represents 32.84% of the total capital stock for $40.5 million, totaling $101.1 million (R$ 219.8 million). This acquisition added to the interest already acquired earlier in the year, for an interest of 83.27% of the capital stock of Siderperú. Siderperú operates a blast furnace a direct reduction unit, with a total installed capacity of 400,000 tonnes of pig iron, a melt shop with two electric arc furnaces and two LD converters with a total installed capacity of 560,000 tonnes of crude steel and three rolling mills with a total installed capacity of 900,000 tonnes of rolled steel.
In November 2006, the Company completed the acquisition of a 55% controlling interest in Pacific Coast Steel (PCS), for $104.0 million (R$ 227.4 million). The company operates rebar fabrication plants in San Diego, San
Bernardino, Fairfield, and Napa, California. Additionally in April, 2008 Gerdau increased its stake in PCS to 84% paying $82.0 million (R$ 138.4 million). The acquisition of PCS expanded the Companys operations to the West Coast of the United States and also added rebar placing capability.
In March 2007, Gerdau acquired Siderúrgica Tultitlán, a mini mill located in the Mexico City metropolitan area that produces rebar and profiles with installed capacity of 350,000 tonnes of crude steel and 330,000 tonnes of rolled steel. The price paid of the acquisition was $259.0 million (R$ 536.0 million).
In May 2007, Gerdau acquired an interest of 30.45% in Multisteel Business Holdings Corp., a holding of Indústrias Nacionales, C. por A. (INCA), a company located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. INCA is a producer of rolled products, with annual capacity of approximately 400,000 tonnes of rolled steel. This partnership allowed the Company to access the Caribbean market. The total cost of the acquisition was $42.9 million (R$ 82.0 million). In July 2007, the Company acquired an additional interest of 18.55% in Multisteel Business Holdings Corp., bringing its total interest in the Company to 49%. The total cost of this second acquisition was $72.0 million (R$ 135.2 million).
In June 2007, Gerdau acquired 100% of the capital stock of Siderúrgica Zuliana C.A., a Venezuelan company operating a steel mill in the city of Ojeda, Venezuela, with annual production capacity of 300,000 tonnes of crude steel and 200,000 tonnes of rolled steel. The total cost of the acquisition was $92.5 million (R$ 176.2 million).
In the same month, Gerdau and the Kalyani Group from India initiated an agreement to establish a joint venture for an investment in Tadipatri, India. The joint venture included an interest of 45% in Kalyani Gerdau Steel Inc., a producer of steel with two LD converters, one continuous casting unit and facilities for the production of pig iron. The agreement provides for shared control of the joint venture, and the purchase price was $73.0 million (R$ 127.3 million). Gerdau concluded this joint venture agreement.
In September 2007, Gerdau Ameristeel concluded the acquisition of Chaparral Steel Company, increasing the Companys portfolio of products and including a comprehensive line of structural steel products. Chaparral was the second largest producer of structural steel products in North America and also the largest producer of steel bars. Chaparral operates two mills, one located in Midlothian, Texas, with a total installed capacity of 1.5 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.4 million tonnes of rolled steel and the other located in Petersburg, Virginia, with a total installed capacity of 1.0 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.0 million tonnes of rolled steel. The total cost of the acquisition was $4.2 billion (R$ 7.8 billion), plus the assumption of certain liabilities.
In October 2007, Gerdau Ameristeel acquired 100% of Enco Materials Inc., a leading company in the market of commercial materials headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Enco Materials Inc. has eight units located in Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia. The purchase price for this acquisition was $46 million (R$ 84.9 million) in cash, plus the assumption of certain liabilities of the acquired company.
In the same month, Gerdau executed a letter of intent for the acquisition of an interest of 49% in the capital stock of the holding company Corsa Controladora, S.A. de C.V., headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico. The holding company owns 100% of the capital stock of Aceros Corsa, S.A. de C.V. and its distributors. Aceros Corsa, located in the city of Tlalnepantla in Mexico City metropolitan area, is a mini-mill responsible for the production of long steel (light commercial profiles) with installed capacity of 150,000 tonnes of crude steel and 300,000 tonnes of rolled products per year. The acquisition price was $110.7 million (R$ 186.3 million). In February, 2008, the Company announced conclusion of this acquisition.
In November 2007, Gerdau entered into a binding agreement for the acquisition of Quanex Corporation, which, through MacSteel, is the second largest producer of Special Bar Quality (SBQ) in the United States and operates three mini-mills located in Jackson, Michigan; Monroe, Michigan; and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Company also operates six downstream operations in the states of Michigan (two), Ohio, Indiana (two) and Wisconsin. MacSteel has annual installed capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.1 million tonnes of rolled products. The agreement did not include the Building Products business of Quanex, which is an operation not related to the steel market. The purchase price for this acquisition was $1.5 billion (R$ 2.4 billion) in addition to the assumption of their debts and some liabilities. Gerdau concluded the acquisition in April, 2008.
In December 2007, the Company entered into a binding agreement for the exchange of its interest in the capital of Margusa Maranhão Gusa S.A., through which the Company became the holder of Aplema. The exchange was carried out on an equivalent amount basis in terms of the membership interests in Aplema and the stock in Margusa.
In April 2008, Gerdau entered into a strategic partnership with Corporación Centroamericana del Acero S.A., assuming a 30.0% interest in the capital of this company, which has total installed capacity of 450,000 tonnes of crude steel and 630,000 tonnes of rolled steel. The Company owns assets in Guatemala and Honduras as well as distribution centers in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Belize. The price of the acquisition was $180 million (R$ 303.7 million).
Also in 2008, Gerdau invested in the verticalization of its businesses. In July, it acquired a 50.9% stake in the capital of Cleary Holdings Corp, which controls a metallurgical coke producer and coking coal reserves in Colombia for $ 73.0 million (R$ 119.3 million). The Company has annual coke production capacity of 1.0 million tonnes and coking coal reserves estimated at 20 million tonnes.
In February 2008, Brazils National Electric Power Agency (ANEEL) transferred to Gerdau the concession to operate the São João Cachoeirinha Hydroelectric Power Plant complex, which comprises two power plants to be built on the Chopim River, located in the cities of Honório Serpa and Clevelândia in Paraná state. The plant complex will have 105 MW of installed capacity (São João - 60 MW and Cachoeira - 45 MW), with construction to be concluded in 2012.
B. BUSINESS OVERVIEW
The world steel industry is composed of hundreds of steel producing installations and is divided into two major categories based on the production method utilized: integrated steel mills and non-integrated steel mills, sometimes referred to as mini-mills. Integrated steel mills normally produce steel from iron oxide, which is extracted from iron ore melted in blast furnaces, and refine the iron into steel, mainly through the use of basic oxygen furnaces or, more rarely, electric arc furnaces. Semi-integrated steel mills produce steel by melting in electric arc furnaces scrap steel, which occasionally is complemented by other metals such as direct-reduced iron or hot-compressed iron. According to Worldsteel, in 2008, 31% of the total crude steel production in the world was through mini-mill process and the last 69% was through integrated process.
Over the past 16 years, , according to Worldsteel figures, total annual crude steel production has grown from 728 million tonnes in 1993 to 1,327 million tonnes in 2008, for an average annual increase of 4.2%, with a large part of this growth occurring after 2000.
The main factor responsible for the increase in the demand for steel products has been China. In less than three years, China has become the worlds largest steel market, consuming as much as the United States and Europe combined.
Over the past year, total annual crude steel production decreased by 1.8% from 1,351 million tonnes in 2007 to 1,327 million tonnes in 2008, triggered mainly by the reduction in output in C.I.S. (Commonwealth of Independent States former Soviet Republics) countries and the United States due to the contraction in market demand.
Crude Steel Production (in million tonnes)
Source: Word Steel Association/World Steel Figures 2008
China is still undergoing a period of strong industrialization, launching numerous infrastructure projects and developing an important manufacturing base, which has contributed to increased Chinese output. China is currently the worlds largest steel producer, producing 500.5 million tonnes of crude steel in 2008.
Crude Steel Production by Country (million tonnes)
Source: Word Steel Association /World Steel Figures 2008
China became the first country ever to produce more than 500.0 million tonnes in a single year. Chinas crude steel production in 2008 reached 500.5 million tonnes, an increase of 1.1% over 2007. Production volume in China more than doubled within five years, from 222 million tonnes in 2003. Chinas share of world steel production continued to grow in 2008, when it accounted for 38% of total world crude steel production.
Asia produced 769 million tonnes of crude steel in 2008, accounting for 58% of total world steel production, for an increase of 0.9% in relation to 2007. South Korea and India recorded increases of 3.8% and 3.7%, respectively, in 2008, while Japan produced 119 million tonnes, down 1.2% in relation to 2007.
The EU-27 produced 198 million tonnes of crude steel in 2008, down 5.5% compared to 2007, with major steel producing countries, including Germany, Italy and France, recording reductions.
In 2008, steel production in North America also contracted in relation to the previous year, by 5.9%. The United States produced 91 million tonnes of crude steel, decreasing by 7.0% against 2007.
The CIS registered a drop in steel output of 8.1% in 2008. Russia produced 69 million tonnes of crude steel, a 5.4% reduction over 2007, while the Ukraine recorded a decrease of 13.4% to 37 million tonnes.
The Brazilian Steel Industry
Since 1940, steel has been of vital importance to Brazils economy. For approximately 50 years, the Brazilian government held a monopoly in the production of flat steel products via the state-owned company Siderurgia Brasileira S.A. (SIDEBRÁS). But the Brazilian government did not hold a monopoly in the non-flat steel industry, traditionally composed mainly of small private companies. The principal integrated producers of flat steel products operated as semi-independent companies under the control of SIDEBRÁS. During the 1970s, the government invested heavily to give Brazil a steel industry capable of fueling the countrys industrialization process. After a decade of practically no investments in this industry, the government selected steel as the first industry to be sold in the privatization process that began in 1991.
Brazil, with its high installed capacity and tradition as a world steel exporter, has consistently exported a substantial portion of its production. Sales of Brazilian steel products totaled 31.0 million tonnes in 2008, 31.0 million tonnes in 2007, 30.1 million tonnes in 2006, and 28.6 million tonnes in 2005, exceeding domestic demand of 21.8 million tonnes in 2008, 20.6 million tonnes in 2007, 17.5 million tonnes in 2006 and 16.1 million tonnes in 2005 by 9.2 million tonnes, 10.4 million tonnes, 12.6 million tonnes and 12.5 million tonnes, respectively.
Brazil has performed an important role in the export market, principally as an exporter of crude steel (slabs, blooms and billets) for industrial use or for re-rolling into finished products. Brazilian exports of crude steel totaled 5.7 million tonnes in 2008, 5.1 million tonnes in 2007, 5.7 million tonnes in 2006 and 6.0 million tonnes in 2005, representing 61.7%, 48.9%, 45.2% and 47.6% of Brazils total exports of steel products, respectively.
In 2008, the Brazilian market continued its expansion seen in 2007, and Brazil was the worlds 9th largest producer of crude steel, with a production of 33.7 million tonnes, a 2.5% share of the world market and 71.1% of the total steel production in South America in 2008. This was equivalent to approximately a third of U.S. production.
The breakdown of total sales of Brazilian steel products in 2008 was 61.0% or 18.9 million tonnes of flat steel products, formed by domestic sales of 12.5 million tonnes and exports of 6.4 million tonnes. The other 39.0% or 12.1 million tonnes represented sales of long steel products, which were formed by domestic sales of 9.3 million tonnes and exports of 2.8 million tonnes.
Breakdown of Total Sales of Brazilian Steel Products (million tonnes)
(*) Preliminary figures
Domestic demand - Historically, the Brazilian steel industry has been affected by significant variations in domestic steel demand. Although per capita domestic consumption varies in accordance with gross domestic product, or GDP, variations in steel consumption tend to be more accentuated than changes in the level of economic growth. Per capita crude steel consumption in Brazil increased from 100 kilos in 1999 to 139 kilos in 2008, which is still considered low compared to the levels in developed countries.
In 2007 and 2008, Brazilian GDP grew by 3.7% and 4.5%, respectively, mainly due to a more restrictive monetary policy. Between 2007 and 2008, total steel sales in the domestic market increased 6.0%, from 20.6 million tonnes to 21.8 million tonnes. Domestic sales of long steel products totaled 8.1 million tonnes in 2007, for growth of 16.9% in relation to the previous year. Comparing 2008 with 2007, total long steel sales in the domestic market increased by 15.2%, from 8.1 million tonnes to 9.3 million tonnes.
Exports and imports - In 2008, Brazilian steel exports totaled 9.2 million tonnes, representing 29.6% of total sales (domestic sales plus exports) or $8.0 billion in export revenue. According to the World Steel Association, in 2008, Brazil was the eleventh largest exporter of semi-finished and finished steel products in the world. Brazil is a small importer of steel products. Its steel imports in 2008 totaled only 2.3 million tonnes (excluding the imports made by the steel mills to avoid double counting), or 9.4% of apparent domestic consumption. In 2008, Brazil recorded a positive balance in steel transactions of $4.4 billion and a total positive commercial balance of $43.6 billion.
Over the past 20 years, the Brazilian steel industry has been characterized by a structural need for exports. The Brazilian steel market has undergone periods of excess capacity, cyclical demand and intense competition in recent years. Demand for finished steel products, based on apparent domestic consumption, has lagged total supply (total production plus imports).
Production and Apparent Demand for Crude Steel (million tonnes)
(*) Preliminary figures
Production and Apparent Demand for Long Steel (million tonnes)
(*) Preliminary figures
Brazils steel export market is highly diversified. In 2008, Asia, Latin America and North America were the main markets, accounting for 35.1%, 30.1% and 13.9% of all Brazilian steel exports, respectively. Among Asia countries, South Korea was the main destination, representing 13.7% of all Brazilian exports. The five biggest markets together corresponded to 51.2% of Brazilian steel exports in 2008.
In 2008, Brazils steel imports totaled 2.3 million tonnes (excluding the imports made by steel mills to avoid duplicate counting), or 9.4% of apparent domestic consumption. In 2008, Brazil imported 807,000 tonnes of long steel products or 8.0% of apparent domestic consumption of long steel products.
Raw materials - One of Brazils major competitive advantages is the low cost of its raw materials. Brazil has an abundance of high quality iron ore. Various integrated producers are located in the state of Minas Gerais, where some of the worlds biggest iron ore mines are located. The cost of iron ore in Brazil is approximately one-third the cost of iron ore in Japan, Eastern Europe, United States and South Korea.
In Brazil, most of the scrap metal utilized by the steel mills comes from the state of São Paulo. Its suppliers deliver scrap metal derived from obsolete products directly to the steel mills. The Brazilian steel industrys dependence on scrap metal is minimal, due to the high percentage of total steel production coming from integrated producers.
Brazil is a net producer of pig iron. Most of Brazils pig iron is produced in the state of Minas Gerais by several small producers. In Brazil, the price of pig iron is related to the cost of charcoal, an important input and the most volatile component in pig irons production cost. When the price of charcoal is high, coking coal can be used as a substitute and,
although more expensive, it produces more pig iron. Practically all the coking coal is imported because domestic supplies are considered low quality.
North American Steel Industry
The global steel industry is highly cyclical and competitive due to the large number of steel producers, the dependence on cyclical consumer markets and the high volatility in raw material and energy prices. The North American steel industry is currently facing a series of challenges, including volatile pricing, high fixed costs, low-priced imports, the lower impact from U.S. tariffs and the challenges faced by the industry in attracting new management talent. The future success of North American steel producers is dependent upon numerous factors, including general economic conditions, steel import volumes and prices and the strength of the U.S. dollar.
Crude Steel Production by North American Countries (million tonnes)
(*) Preliminary figures
Beginning in mid-2000 and continuing through 2002, the North American steel industry experienced a severe downward cycle impacted by excess global production capacity, high import levels at low prices, including prices below the combined costs of production and shipping, and weak general economic conditions. These forces resulted in lower domestic steel prices and significant domestic capacity closures. Prices for many steel products reached 10-year lows in late 2001. As a result of these conditions, over 20 U.S. steel companies sought protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code since the beginning of 2000.
In response to these conditions, in March 2002, former President Bush imposed a series of tariffs and quotas on certain imported steel products under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. These measures were intended to give the domestic steel industry an opportunity to strengthen its competitive position through restructuring and consolidation. On November 10, 2003, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body issued a ruling that upheld an initial WTO panel ruling that declared the Section 201 tariffs on steel imports to be in violation of WTO rules concerning safeguard measures. On December 4, 2003, President Bush signed a proclamation terminating the steel safeguard tariffs, and announced that the tariffs had achieved their purpose and that changed economic circumstances indicated it was time to terminate them. International trade negotiations, such as the ongoing steel subsidy agreement negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the WTO Doha Round negotiations, may affect future international trade rules with respect to trade in steel products.
The North American steel industry has recently experienced a significant amount of consolidation. Bankrupt steel companies, once overburdened with under-funded pension, healthcare and other legacy costs, are being relieved of obligations and acquired by other steel producers. This consolidation, including the acquisition of the assets of LTV Corporation, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Trico Steel Co. LLC and National Steel Corporation, has created a lower operating cost structure for the resulting entities and a less fragmented industry. In the bar sector in 2002, the merger of Gerdau North America and Co-Steel in October 2002 and Nucor Corporations acquisition of Birmingham Steel Corporation in February 2002 significantly consolidated the market. Gerdaus acquisition of the North Star Steel assets from Cargill in November 2004, of Sheffield Steel Corporation in 2006 and of Chaparral Steel Company in September 2007 further contributed to this consolidation trend. Since the beginning of 2007, Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. acquired Corus Group PLC, SSAB Svenskt Staal AB acquired Ipsco Inc., Essar Global Ltd. acquired Algoma Steel Inc., United States Steel Corporation acquired Stelco Inc., and ArcelorMittal Inc. acquired Bayou Steel Corporation. The Company believes this consolidation in the North American steel industry will continue over the next few years, resulting in the creation of larger steel companies, a reduction in operating cost structures and further rationalization among steel producers.
The creation of larger and more efficient steel producers resulting from consolidation in the steel industry has significantly contributed to a higher market discipline. As a result, the remaining steel producers have become better positioned to tailor production capacity to market demand and have benefited from scale efficiencies. Such factors have improved steel producers ability to reduce costs, negotiate raw material contracts and better respond to the cyclical nature of the steel industry. In addition, the increase in domestic competition from imports observed in early 2000 has diminished, primarily in response to higher world steel prices, higher transportation costs due to more expensive fuel and a weaker U.S. dollar.
The steel industry registered a strong performance through the middle of 2008, driven by increased global demand for steel related products and the continuing consolidation among steel producers. In addition, in the same period, the domestic U.S. market experienced a rebound in non-residential construction fueled mainly by industrial and infrastructure projects (including highway, energy-related construction and water treatment plants), warehouse space, schools, hospitals and a strong retail market. Beginning in the fall of 2008, the steel industry began to feel the negative effects of the severe economic downturn brought about by the credit crisis. The economic downturn has resulted in a significant reduction in steel production, shipments and steel prices in North America, as well as lower steel exports from the United States to other parts of the world.
According to the Brazilian Steel Institute (IBS), Gerdau is Brazils largest producer of long rolled steel. Gerdau holds significant market share in the steel industries of almost all countries where it operates and has been classified by Worldsteel as the worlds 13th largest steel producer based on its consolidated crude steel production in 2008.
Gerdau operates steel mills that produce steel by direct iron-ore reduction (DRI) in blast furnaces and in electric arc furnaces (EAF). In Brazil it operates three blast furnace steel mills, including its largest mill, Gerdau Açominas, an integrated steel mill located in Ouro Branco in the state of Minas Gerais. The Company currently has a total of 60 steel producing units globally, including joint ventures and associated companies. The joint ventures include a unit located in the United States for the production of flat rolled steel and another unit in India. The associated companies are Aceros Corsa in Mexico; Corporación Centroamericana del Acero in Guatemala; and INCA in the Dominican Republic.
In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008, approximately 34.4% of all physical sales were generated from operations in Brazil (64.7% from Long Steel and 35.3% from Açominas, before intercompany sales), 40.0% from operations in the U.S. and Canada, 11.7% from Latin American operations (excluding Brazil) and 13.9% from Specialty Steel operations.
As of December 31, 2008, total consolidated installed capacity, excluding the Companys investments in joint ventures and associated, unconsolidated companies, was 26 million tonnes of crude steel and 22 million tonnes of rolled steel products. In the same period, the Company had total consolidated assets of R$ 59.1 billion, consolidated net sales of R$ 41.9 billion, total consolidated net income of R$ 4.9 billion and shareholders equity (including minority interests) of R$ 25.0 billion.
Gerdau offers a wide array of steel products, which are manufactured according to an extensive variety of customer specifications. Its product mix includes crude steel (slabs, blooms and billets) sold to rolling mills, finished products for the construction industry such as rods and structural bars, finished products for industry such as commercial rolled steel bars and machine wire and products for farming and agriculture such as poles, smooth wire and barbed wire. Gerdau also produces specialty steel products utilizing advanced technology and normally with a certain degree of customization for the manufacture of tools and machinery, chains, locks and springs, mainly for the automotive and mechanical industries.
A significant and increasing portion of Gerdaus steel production assets is located outside Brazil, particularly in the United States and Canada, as well as in Latin America and Europe. The Company began its expansion into North America in 1989, when consolidation in the global steel market effectively began. The Company currently operates 19 steel production units in the United States and Canada through its principal entity, Gerdau Ameristeel, and believes that it is one of the market leaders in North America in terms of production of some long steel products, such as rods, commercial rolled steel bars, extruded products and girders.
The Companys operating strategy is based on the acquisition or construction of steel mills located close to its customers and sources of the raw materials required for steel production, such as scrap metal, pig iron and iron ore. For this reason, most of its production has historically been geared toward supplying the local markets in which it has production operations. However, in recent years, and especially after acquiring the Ouro Branco plant, the Company has expanded its exposure to international markets. The Company has a diversified list of international customers and its main export destinations include Asia and Latin America.
Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, the Company also engages in other activities related to the production and sale of steel products, including reforestation; electric power generation projects; coking coal, iron ore and pig iron production; as well as fab shops and downstream operations.
Business Cyclicality and Seasonality
The steel industry is highly cyclical worldwide. Consequently, the Company is exposed to substantial swings in the demand for steel products which in turn causes volatility in the prices of most of its products. In addition, since the Brazilian steel industry produces substantially more steel than the domestic economy is able to consume, the sector is dependent on export markets. The demand for steel products and hence the financial condition and operating results of companies in the steel industry, including the Company itself, are generally affected by macroeconomic fluctuations in the world economy and the domestic economies of steel-producing countries, including general trends in the manufacturing, construction and automotive sectors. Since 2003, demand for steel products from developing countries (particularly China), the strength in the euro and overall world economic growth have contributed to historically high levels in the prices of the Companys steel products. However, these relatively high prices may not persist, especially in view of the expansion in installed capacity worldwide or the recent lower level of demand. Since 2008 and more effectively in the beginning of 2009, the United States economy has shown strong signs of lower economic activity, affecting many other countries.
In the Companys Brazilian and Latin American operations, shipments in the second and third quarters of the year tend to be stronger than in the first and fourth quarters, given the reduction in construction activity. In the Companys North American operations, demand is influenced by winter conditions, when consumption of electricity and other energy sources (i.e., natural gas) for heating increases and may be exacerbated by adverse weather conditions, contributing to increased costs and decreased construction activity, and in turn leading to lower sales. In the Companys Specialty Steel Operations, particularly in Spain, the third quarter is traditionally marked by collective vacations that reduce operations in the quarter to only two months.
The Company sells its products to a diversified list of customers for use in the construction, manufacturing and agricultural industries. Sales by the Companys Brazilian operations include both domestic and export sales. Most of the sales by the Companys business operations in North and Latin America (except Brazil) are aimed at their respective local markets.
Gerdaus operations are managed as follow: (i) Long Steel Brazil; (ii) Açominas; (iii) North America, including all North American operations, except for the Mexican operations and specialty products (MacSteel); (iv) Latin America, including all Latin American operations, except for the Brazilian operations; and (v) Specialty Steel, including the specialty steel operations in Brazil, Europe and the United States.
The following tables present the Companys consolidated shipments in tonnage and net sales by Business Operation for the periods indicated:
Long Steel Brazil Operation
Gerdaus Long Steel Operation minimizes delays by delivering its products directly to customers through outsourced companies under Gerdaus supervision. Sales trends in both the domestic and export markets are forecast monthly based on historical data for the three preceding months. Gerdaus Brazilian Operation uses a proprietary information system to stay up-to-date on market developments so that it can respond swiftly to fluctuations in demand. Gerdau considers its flexibility in shifting between markets (Brazilian and export markets) and its ability to monitor and optimize inventory levels for most of its products in accordance with changing demand as key factors to its success.
This operation reached volume of 5.5 million tonnes in 2008, an increase of 10.5% from the previous year, driven mainly by strong demand from the manufacturing and construction sectors in Brazil. To meet the higher steel consumption in Brazil, exports from this operation were reduced by 40.8%, with strategic clients maintained. Meanwhile, domestic sales increased 19.5% in the period.
In 2008, approximately 13.7% of the production sold in Brazil before intercompany eliminations was distributed through Comercial Gerdau, the Companys largest distribution channel, with 68 stores throughout Brazil, 14 fabricated reinforcing steel facilities (Prontofer) and four flat steel service centers, serving more than 120,000 customers in the year. Another important distribution channel is the network of almost 21,000 sales channels to which Gerdau sells its products, giving it comprehensive national coverage. Sales through its distribution network and to final industrial and construction consumers are channeled through Company employees and authorized representatives working on commission.
Gerdaus Açominas Operation has specific operational features. The products are usually sold to rolling mills and companies that use slabs, billets, blooms and ingots as raw material for their finishing lines, such as in the shipbuilding, forging and mechanical segments. Gerdau Açominas also produces its own finished products such as high quality wire rods and structural shapes. These products are delivered to the customers port of destination or directly to the customers plant facilities.
Açominas Operation sold 3.0 million tonnes in 2008, 21.6% higher than in 2007. This increase was supported by the new blast furnace at Gerdau Açominas with annual capacity of 1.5 million tonnes that launched operations in the year. Exports from Açominas accounted for almost 58.6% of this operations sales volumes.
Gerdau has been exporting a large part of its production since 2003, following the consolidation of its Brazilian operations and the 2005 integration of Açominas. Due to the stronger domestic market since 2007, a portion of sales has been reallocated from exports to the domestic market. In 2008, exports accounted for 26.4% of the Brazilian sales (Açominas and Long Steel together). Export activities are coordinated by the sales channel responsible for selling products directly to final overseas users and indirectly through trading companies. Sales are negotiated worldwide (i) primarily through CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) and (ii) guaranteed at sight through letters of credit issued by customers through prime European and U.S. banks.
Gerdaus Brazilian exports generated $1,866.3 million in revenue in 2008. Exports from Brazilian operations totaled 2.3 million tonnes, a decrease of 5.4% from 2007, due to the increase (22.1%) in sales to the domestic market. The export strategy has allowed Gerdau to develop a client base that is more evenly distributed throughout the world, with exports going mainly to South America and Asia. In 2008, exports to South America were responsible for 23% of total exports, the same as in 2007, while the percentage of exports to Asia rose from 27% in 2007 to 54% in 2008.
Since exports from Brazil have increased, Gerdau has been making efforts to improve its logistics strategies to overcome Brazils infrastructure limitations. In 2008, Brazilian exports from Açominas were dispatched to 43 countries aboard 155 ships, while those from Gerdau Aços Longos were dispatched to 19 countries aboard 101 ships.
The following table presents the Companys consolidated exports from its Brazilian Operation by destination for the periods indicated:
North American Operation
The Company operates in North America through its majority-owned subsidiary, Gerdau Ameristeel. The Company has annual manufacturing capacity of over 10.3 million tonnes of mill finished steel products. It has a vertically integrated network of 18 steel units and one 50.0%-owned joint venture for the operation of a mini-mill, 22 scrap recycling facilities, 14 downstream operations (including three 50.0%-owned joint ventures) and 56 fab shops. Gerdau Ameristeel primarily serves customers in the eastern regions of the United States and Canada. Gerdau Ameristeels products are generally sold to steel service centers and steel fabricators or directly to original equipment manufacturers for use in a variety of industries, including construction, automotive, mining, cellular and electrical transmission, metal construction fabrication and equipment fabrication. Most of the raw material feed stock for the mini-mill operations is recycled steel scrap.
Gerdau Ameristeel is organized into two business segments: mills and downstream. The mills segment manufactures and markets a wide range of steel products, including steel reinforcement bars (rebar), merchant bars, structural shapes, beams, special sections and coiled wire rod. The mills segment also produces rebar, merchant bars, rod and special bar quality products used by the downstream segment and transfers these products at an arms length market price to the downstream segment. The downstream segment comprises secondary value-added steel businesses and consists of fabrication of rebars, railroad spikes, cold drawn products, super light beam processing, elevator guide rails, grinding balls, wire mesh and collated nails.
Gerdau Ameristeels strategy is to have production facilities located in close proximity to customers job sites so that quick delivery is provided to meet their reinforcing steel needs and construction schedules. In 2008, Gerdau Ameristeel sold products to over 1,900 customers.
In general, sales of mill finished products to U.S. customers are centrally managed by the Tampa sales office while sales to Canadian customers are managed by the Whitby sales office. The Company has a sales office in Selkirk, Manitoba for managing sales of special sections. Metallurgical service representatives at the mills provide technical support to the sales group. Sales of the cold drawn and super light beam products are managed by sales representatives located at their respective facilities. Fabricated rebar and elevator guide rails are generally sold through a bidding process in which employees at the Companys facilities work closely with customers to tailor product requirements, shipping schedules and prices.
The North American Operation accounted for 40.0% of overall Gerdau shipments, reaching 7.6 million tonnes. The Companys Canadian operations sell a significant portion of their production in the United States.
Latin American Operation
The Latin America operation comprises 20 steel units (including joint ventures and associated companies), 25 retail facilities, 12 fab shops (including joint ventures and associated companies) and 6 scrap processing facilities located in 9 countries. The entire operation is focused on the respective domestic markets of each country, operating mini-mills facilities with annual manufacturing capacity of 2.9 million tonnes of finished steel products. The Latin American operation accounted for 11.7% of overall Gerdau shipments, representing 2.2 million tonnes of finished products in 2008, a 0.8% decrease compared with 2007. The main countries contributing to the Latin American Operation are Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Gerdau also operates in the markets of Uruguay, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Guatemala.
Chile - AZA was acquired in 1992, and has installed capacity of 470,000 tonnes of crude steel and 460,000 tonnes of rolled steel. In late 2000, Gerdau AZA created the business unit known as AZAonLine, which serves
customers in Chile over the Internet and represented the first e-commerce initiative in the steel sector in Chile. Customers can track their orders over the Internet, together with product inventories and their credit and payment status. Gerdau AZA sells its products to more than 150 clients, which are both distributors and end-users.
Colombia - Diaco was acquired in September 2005. Today it sells its products through more than 225 distributors and has more than 2,700 clients (end-users) in the construction, manufacturing and other sectors. Diaco has annual installed capacity of 510,000 tonnes of crude steel and 690,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Peru - Siderperú was acquired in June of 2006 and is one of the main steel companies in Peru, with more than 50 years of experience in this business. The company sells its products to approximately 190 clients in the construction, manufacturing and mining sectors and has more than 170 distributors. Siderperú has annual installed capacity of 560,000 tonnes of crude steel and 900,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Mexico - Located in the Mexico City metropolitan area, Sidertul produces rebars and structural shapes, with its products primarily used in the domestic market. The Company sells its products to clients and distributors from the construction and manufacturing sectors. In 2008, Gerdau acquired a 49% stake in Corsa Controladora, S.A. de C.V. in Mexico, which sells products to around 350 clients and distributors. Sidertul has annual installed capacity of 500,000 tonnes of crude steel and 340,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Specialty Steel Operation
The Specialty Steel Operation is composed of the operations in Brazil (Piratini and Aços Villares), the United States (MacSteel) and Spain (Corporación Sidenor). This operation, in partnership with its customers, produces engineering steel, tool steel, special bar quality and stainless steel. In order to meet the continuous need for innovation, this operation is constantly developing new products, such as micro-alloyed steel for high-power and low-emissions diesel engines, clean steel for application in bearings, and steel with improved machining characteristics that allows higher machining speeds and lower tooling replacement, among others.
Gerdaus main specialty steel operation is located in Brazil through Aços Villares (São Paulo) and Piratini (Rio Grande do Sul), with combined have annual capacity of 1.4 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.5 million tonnes of rolled steel, which is sold in the domestic and export markets. The two companies combined have more than 400 customers located mainly in Brazil.
Gerdau maintains a presence in the European Union through Corporación Sidenor, which sells specialty steel to the entire continent. Sidenor has more than 450 clients located mainly in Spain, France, Germany and Italy. Sidenor has annual installed capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of crude steel and rolled products.
Gerdau maintains a presence in North America through MacSteel, the second largest producer of specialty steel (Special Bar Quality - SBQ) in the United States. MacSteel operates three mini-mills, located in Jackson, Michigan; Monroe, Michigan; and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Company also operates six downstream operations located in the states of Michigan (two), Ohio, Indiana (two) and Wisconsin. MacSteel has annual installed capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.1 million tonnes of rolled products. MacSteel has 245 customers and distributors located in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
In Brazil, the Company has a decentralized production process, using both mini-mills and integrated facilities. In general, the Company has used the mini-mill model to produce steel products outside of Brazil.
Semi-Integrated Process (Mini-Mills)
The Company operates 44 mini-mills worldwide (excluding joint ventures and associated companies). Mini-mills are equipped primarily with electric arc furnaces that can melt steel scrap and produce the steel product at the required specifications. After loading the furnace with a preset mixture of raw material (i.e., steel scrap, pig iron and sponge iron), electric power is applied in accordance with a computer controlled melting profile. The Companys mini-mill production process generally consists of the following steps: obtaining raw material, melting, casting, rolling and drawing. The basic difference between this process and the integrated mill production process described below is in the first processing phase, i.e., the steelmaking process. Mini-mills are smaller plants than integrated facilities and the Company believes they provide certain advantages over integrated mills, including:
· lower capital costs,
· lower operational risks due to the low concentration of capital and installed capacity in a single production plant,
· proximity of production facilities to raw-material sources,
· proximity to local markets and easier adjustment of production levels, and
· more effective managerial structure due to the relative simplicity of the production process.
The Company operates 5 integrated mills, of which 4 are located in Brazil and 1 in Peru. The Ouro Branco mill is the largest integrated facility the Company operates. Although it produces steel using a blast furnace, this mill has some of the advantages of a mini-mill since it is located very close to its main suppliers and the ports from which the Company exports most of its production.
The Companys steelmaking process in integrated facilities consists of four basic processes: raw material preparation, pig-iron production, steel production and production of crude steel (billets, blooms and slabs). In the primary stage of iron making, sinter (a mixture of iron ore and limestone), coke and other raw materials are consumed in the blast furnace to produce pig iron. Coke acts as both a fuel and a reducing agent in this process. The Companys blast furnaces have installed capacity of 5.9 million tonnes of liquid pig iron per year.
The pig iron produced by the blast furnace is transported by rail to the desulphurization unit to reduce the sulfur content in the steel. After the desulphurization process, the low-sulfur pig-iron is transformed into steel through LD-type oxygen converters. The LD steelmaking process utilizes molten pig iron to produce steel by blowing oxygen over the metallic charge inside the converters. The process does not require any external source of energy, which is fully supplied by the chemical reactions that occur between the oxygen and the molten pig iron impurities. The LD steelmaking process is presently the most widely used in the world.
Some mills further refine the LD converters output with ladle furnaces. Liquid steel is then poured into ingot molds and allowed to solidify into ingots. The molds are stripped away and the ingots are transported by rail to the soaking pits, where they are heated to a uniform rolling temperature. The heated ingots are rolled in the primary rolling mill to produce slabs and blooms, some of which are rolled in the secondary rolling mills to produce blooms and billets. At this point in the process, the Company either sells a portion of the product to other manufacturers where the rolling process must take place in order to produce steel ready for final use, or the Company performs the rolling process itself, transforming the product into heavy structural shapes or wire rods.
Gerdaus production processes are based mainly on the mini-mill concept, with mills equipped with electric arc furnaces that can melt steel scrap and produce steel products at the required specifications. The main raw material used at these mills is steel scrap, which at some units is blended with pig iron. The component proportions of this mixture may change in accordance with prices and availability at the time of production in order to optimize raw material costs, with the ratio of steel scrap to pig iron varying from 60.0%-40.0% to 90.0%-10.0%. Iron, iron ore (used in blast furnaces and in one Direct Reduction Iron - DRI plant) and ferroalloys are also important.
Although international steel scrap prices are determined by the U.S. domestic market (since the United States is the largest scrap exporter), the price of steel scrap in Brazil varies from region to region and is influenced by demand and transportation costs. Gerdau is the largest consumer of steel scrap in Brazil and has 39 scrap processing facilities globally.
Long Steel Brazil and Specialty Steel - The Companys Brazilian mills use scrap and pig iron purchased from local suppliers. In 2008, 25.0% of the solid pig iron requirements of Gerdau Brazils mini-mills was produced internally. Due to the nature of the raw materials employed in its processes, Gerdau has medium- and long-term supply contracts with scrap generators and short-term contracts with some suppliers for its mini-mills in Brazil, acquiring scrap as necessary for the mills needs. Scrap for the Brazilian Operation is priced in Brazilian reais, thus input prices are not directly affected by currency fluctuations.
Açominas - Due to its size, the Ouro Branco mill utilizes long-term contracts to guarantee raw material supplies. The units main raw materials include: (i) coal imported from Canada, Australia and the United States, anthracite from Vietnam and the Ukraine and coke petroleum purchased from Petrobras; (ii) ferroalloys, of which 90.0% is purchased in the domestic market; and (iii) iron ore, which is partially produced from its own mines and partially supplied by large-, medium- and small-sized mining companies, some of them strategically located close to the plant. These three items accounted for more than 40.0% of the total production costs of Gerdau Açominas in 2008.
North America - The main metallic input used by the Companys mills in the United States is steel scrap. When steel scrap prices exceed acceptable levels, as occurred in 2004, the mills seek to modify input sources accordingly. Gerdau Ameristeel has consistently obtained adequate supplies of raw materials and is not dependent on any one supplier. Moreover, it believes there is an adequate number of alternative suppliers in the marketplace should it need to replace an existing one.
Latin America - The main metallic input used by the Companys mills in Latin America is steel scrap. The Latin American Operation does not maintain long-term contracts with suppliers and is thus exposed to market fluctuations.
There are two broad categories of steel scrap: (i) obsolescence scrap which is steel from various sources, ranging from tin foil cans to car bodies and white goods; and (ii) industrial scrap, which is essentially factory steel cookie cutouts, steel turnings and even scrap generated by the Companys production processes themselves. In Brazil the use of scrap in electric arc furnaces varies between obsolescence scrap and industrial scrap as follows: industrial, between 30.0-40.0%; obsolescence, between 70.0-60.0%. The North American plants use mainly industrial scrap.
Gerdau reuses more than 16 million tonnes of Brazilian scrap every year, accounting for significant gains through increasingly competitive operating costs.
Long Steel Brazil and Specialty Steel - Gerdau has purchasing power in all regions of Brazil. It operates scrap yards in its mills and in strategically situated locations. To make the purchase in more distant locations viable, it uses moving presses, which are moved to the suppliers, crushing the scrap for subsequent transport. The price of scrap in Brazil varies by region, depending upon local supply and demand, and transportation costs. The Southeast region is the most industrialized in the country, generating the highest volume of scrap. Due to the high concentration of players in this region, the competition is most intense.
Gerdau has stowage yards (collection points) for scrap in strategic locations throughout Brazil and uses several mobile presses that travel the country, relying on processing equipment like presses, scissor presses and mobile scissor presses that prepare the scrap for transportation to its mills. Every processing unit has a recycling yard with state-of-the-art equipment to process scrap using presses and stationary and mobile shears. The Company also has five shredders, including a mega-shredder at Gerdau Cosigua in Rio de Janeiro capable of processing shredded scrap in volumes equivalent to 200 car bodies.
Corporación Sidenor does not maintain long-term contracts with scrap suppliers and has more than 70 scrap suppliers, with industrial scrap the main type of scrap used in the Spanish Operation.
North America - Steel scrap is Gerdau Ameristeels primary raw material. Steel scrap is a commodity whose availability varies in accordance with the level of economic activity, seasonality, export levels, and price fluctuations. Gerdau Ameristeels Jackson, Jacksonville, St. Paul, Wilton, Whitby, Midlothian and Petersburg mills all have on-site dedicated scrap processing facilities, including shredder operations that supply a significant portion of their scrap requirements. Gerdau Ameristeel MRM Special Sections receives a significant amount of its scrap from Manitoba Metals Recycling and the North Dakota scrap collection and processing yards. Gerdau Ameristeel has a total of 23 scrap recycling locations. Given the fact that not all of the scrap it consumes is sourced from its own scrap yards, it buys residual requirements in the market either directly or through dealers that source and amass scrap.
Latin America - The price of scrap in the Latin America Operation varies in accordance with demand, transportation costs and region varying according to the international prices due to its exposure to the international market. Latina America Operation in comparison to the others Gerdaus operations has the most volatile scrap prices because it consolidates prices from seven countries.
All of Gerdau Ameristeels production facilities in North America are mini-mills, in which operating results are closely linked to the cost of steel scrap and scrap substitutes, the primary input of mini-mills. Steel scrap prices are relatively higher during winter months due to the impact of weather on collection and supply efforts. Approximately half of all steel products in North America are currently made in electric arc furnaces using steel scrap. Prices for steel scrap are subject to market forces largely beyond the Companys control, which include demand from U.S. and international steel producers, freight costs and speculation.
Pig Iron and Sponge Iron
Brazil - Brazil is an exporter of pig iron. Most Brazilian pig iron is produced in the state of Minas Gerais by a large number of small producers. Pig iron is a natural substitute for scrap, and in Brazil is an important component of the metal mix used to make steel in the mills. In Brazil, the price of pig iron is related to internal and external demand and to the cost of charcoal, the most volatile cost item in pig iron production. The Company produces sponge iron at its
industrial plant in the state of Bahia (Gerdau Usiba), whose entire production is used internally to manufacture steel products.
The Company does not have any Brazilian contracts for the supply of pig iron, negotiating amounts and delivery conditions directly with suppliers. The price of pig iron may fluctuate in line with its international market price, given that a large portion of production in Brazil is exported.
North America - Scrap availability is a major factor in Gerdau Ameristeels operations. Sponge iron and pig iron can be substituted for a limited portion of the steel scrap used in electric arc furnace steel production. Gerdau Ameristeel does not employ significant quantities of scrap substitutes in its mini-mills except for pig iron used for its chemical properties at the Beaumont facility, and to manufacture certain special sections.
Gerdaus Brazil Operations use iron ore to produce pig iron at its Barão de Cocais and Divinópolis mills in the state of Minas Gerais and sponge iron at its Gerdau Usiba mill in the state of Bahia. Gerdau Contagem and Sete Lagoas also use iron ore to produce solid pig iron. The Company has acquired iron ore from MMX and Companhia Vale do Rio Doce as well as from other smaller suppliers located in the state of Minas Gerais near the ore mines.
Gerdau Açominas uses fine grain quality iron ore (sinter feed and pellet feed), which is transformed into sinter in a sinter unit for use as the main iron input in the steel production. Lump ore and iron ore pellets are directly loaded into the blast furnace to increase productivity. Part of the raw material is supplied from local companies adjacent to the plant to reduce transportation and storage costs, and part from its own mines that are also located close to the mill. The molten pig iron produced in the blast furnace is the main raw material used in the melt shop. In 2008, metal inputs consisted of 82.6% of molten pig iron, 12.3% of steel scrap and 5.1% of solid pig iron.
Brazil - In addition to scrap, pig iron, sponge iron and iron ore, Gerdaus Brazilian operations use other inputs to produce steel such as ferroalloys, electrodes, furnace refracting materials, oxygen, nitrogen and other industrial gases and limestone, albeit in smaller amounts. All of these inputs are readily available in Brazil. Additional inputs associated with the production of pig iron are charcoal, which is used in blast furnace mills, and natural gas, which is used at the DRI unit.
Gerdau Açominas important raw materials and inputs also include coking coal. Coal is used in the production of coke, the main reduction agent for sinter, iron ore and pellets in the blast furnace. Pulverized Coal Injection (PCI) is also used to reduce coke consumption, increase productivity and consequently the cost of pig iron. At the steel works, ferroalloys are used to make steels with special characteristics. Oxygen, nitrogen and argon are also used in some processes and supplied by an on-site company. The gas resulting from the production of coke, pig iron and steel, once cleaned, is used as fuel for several processes and for generating electricity to power the plant.
Latin America - Gerdau has a metallurgical coke producer and coking coal reserves in Colombia. This producer has annual coke production capacity of 1.0 million tonnes and coking coal reserves estimated at 20 million tonnes.
North America - The North American operations also use additional inputs. Various domestic and foreign companies supply other important raw materials or operating supplies required for the business, including refractory materials, ferroalloys and carbon electrodes that are readily available in the open market. Gerdau Ameristeel has obtained adequate quantities of these raw materials and supplies at competitive market prices. The Company is not dependent on any one supplier as a source for any particular material and believes there are adequate alternative suppliers available in the marketplace if the need to replace an existing one arises.
Steel production is a process that consumes large amounts of electricity, especially in electric arc mills. Electricity represents an important cost in the production process, along with natural gas, which is used in furnaces to re-heat billets in rolled steel production.
Dona Francisca Energética S.A. (DFESA) operates a hydroelectric power plant with nominal capacity of 125 MW located in Agudo, Rio Grande do Sul state. Its corporate purpose is to operate, maintain and maximize use of the energy potential of the Dona Francisca Hydroelectric Plant. The generated energy is sold to COPEL (Paraná state energy distributor). Dona Francisca participates in a consortium (Consórcio Dona Francisca) with the state power utility Companhia Estadual de Energia Elétrica (CEEE), in accordance with contract CEEE/9700295 of March 13, 1997 and its amendments. Following the acquisition by Gerdau S.A. of an additional stake in 2003, the shareholders of Dona
Francisca Energética S.A. are Gerdau S.A. (51.8%), COPEL Participações S.A (23.0%), Celesc (23.0%), and Desenvix (2.2%).
Gerdau also holds the concession to operate the São João Cachoeirinha Hydroelectric Plant Complex located in Paraná state. The complex has total installed capacity of 105 MW. The start of construction is currently awaiting the granting of the environmental licenses.
In Brazil, the Companys units hold long-term contracts with electricity suppliers and do not depend on a single contract. Energy is currently supplied to the Companys industrial units under two types of contracts:
Contracts in the Regulated Contractual Environment in which the Company is a Captive Consumer are used at the following units: Riograndense, Aços Especiais Piratini, Guaíra, Usiba, Açonorte and Sorocaba. These involve state-owned companies or holders of government concessions. In these contracts, demand and consumption are negotiated between the parties and the rates are defined by the National Electric Power Agency (ANEEL).
Contracts in the Free Market Environment in which Gerdau is a Free Consumer are used at the following units: Araçariguama, Cosigua, Cearense, Ouro Branco, Divinópolis, Barão de Cocais, Pindamonhangaba and Mogi das Cruzes. These units have power purchase agreements contracted directly with power generation companies and/or energy traders, with prices defined and adjusted according to rules predetermined by the parties. The transmission and distribution rates are regulated by ANEEL and revised annually. Ouro Branco generates approximately 70.0% of its energy needs internally, using gases generated by the steelmaking process. This keeps its exposure to the energy market significantly lower than in the case of mini-mills.
The power supply agreements for Pindamonhangaba and Mogi das Cruzes were partially renewed in March 2009, while the other contracts are in the negotiation process.
Last year, Corporación Sidenor S.A. closed a one-year contract motivated by deregulation in the Spanish energy market that expired last June. This year, Corporación Sidenor S.A. closed a one-year power contract starting as from July 2009.
The power generation capacity of Gerdau Açominas was increased by 50.0% in 2007, due to the units expansion project. Construction of the Caçu and Barra dos Coqueiros hydroelectric power plants in the state of Goiás, with total installed capacity of 155MW, is also currently underway. These power plants are expected to start up operations in 2010, with all power made available to the units located in Brazils Southeast.
The supply of natural gas to all units is regulated and performed under long-term contracts. The Barão de Cocais and Divinópolis units do not have access to natural gas supplies, therefore using another energy sources..
In North America, there are two kinds of energy markets: regulated and deregulated. In the regulated market, agreements are established with local electric power concession holds and the rates are determined for each region. In the deregulated market, the price of power can change every 5 minutes (spot price) to reflect the actual cost of electricity generation. Although the deregulation of both the natural gas and wholesale electricity markets may create opportunities to reduce costs as a result of market competition, the prices of both these forms of energy have recently become more volatile and may remain so. The Company has no long-term agreements with natural gas suppliers and therefore is subject to market variations and price fluctuations.
In Chile, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay, both electricity and natural gas are purchased under long-term agreements. In Colombia, the electricity and natural gas agreements will be renewed in 2009. In Chile, Gerdau AZA renegotiated its electric power agreement in 2008 and has used diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of natural gas. Gerdau AZA is negotiating a natural gas supply agreement that will take effect in the second half of 2009 when the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal will start up.
Argentina uses LPG and natural gas and Uruguay uses fuel oil as substitutes during energy shortages. In 2008, Gerdau Sipar signed a contract with Petrobrás to supply the energy requirements of the new plant as of May 2010. In view of the postponement of this project, this contract is being reviewed.
The power purchase agreement in the Dominican Republican expired in May 2009, and Inca negotiated a new agreement with duration of five years.
The Company is currently analyzing in-house power generation alternatives in all countries where it operates.
The Company supplies its customers with a wide range of products from five major product lines:
Crude Steel (Billets, Blooms and Slabs)
Crude steel products (billets, blooms and slabs) have relatively low added value compared to other steel products. Billets are bars from square sections of long steel that serve as inputs for the production of wire rod, rebars and merchant bars. They are the main product of the Companys Ouro Branco mill. Blooms are used to manufacture products such as springs, forged parts, heavy structural shapes and seamless tubes. Slabs are used in the steel industry for the rolling of a broad range of flat rolled products. Slabs are mainly used to produce hot and cold rolled coils, heavy slabs and profiles.
Crude steel products (billets, blooms and slabs) may be produced using either the continuous casting or conventional process. In the conventional process, liquid steel is poured into ingot moulds for rolling. The hot ingots are sent to the primary rolling mill to be heated in soaking pits and then are rolled to produce crude steel products (billets, blooms and slabs). Although this conventional process is not widely used in Brazil, it is still employed at the Companys Ouro Branco mill. The use of a conventional casting system may represent a competitive advantage since the Company believes it is one of the only companies manufacturing billets and blooms in Brazil, leading the Company to have captive customers for these products in Brazil and also outside the country.
Common Long Rolled Products
Common long rolled products represent a major portion of the Companys production. The Companys main long rolled products include rebars, merchant bars and profiles, which are used mainly by the construction and manufacturing industries.
Drawn products include barbed and barbless fence wire, galvanized wire, fences, concrete reinforcing wire mesh, nails and clamps. These products are not exported and are usually sold to the manufacturing, construction and agricultural industries.
Specialty Steel Products
Specialty or high-alloy steel requires advanced manufacturing processes and normally includes some degree of customization. The Company produces specialty and stainless steel used in tools and machinery, chains, fasteners, railroad spikes and special coil steel at its Aços Villares and Piratini units in Brazil, at its associated company Corporación Sidenor units in Spain and at the MacSteel units in the United States.
In the United States, Gerdau Ameristeel produces special sections such as grader blades, smelter bars, light rails, super light I-beams, elevator guide rails and other products that are made on demand for the Companys clients, which are mainly manufacturers.
It also supplies steel to its customers through its joint venture company Kalyani Gerdau Steel Inc. located in India. It is a joint venture with the Kalyani Group in India and has nominal installed capacity of 270,000 tonnes of flat steel per year. Gerdau has a 45% stake in the joint venture.
The Companys Ouro Branco mill produces slabs, which are rolled into flat products such as hot and cold steel coils, heavy plates and profiles. In addition, the Companys distribution subsidiary, Comercial Gerdau, resells flat steel products manufactured by other Brazilian steel producers, adding further value through additional processing at its four flat steel service centers.
Gerdau Ameristeel also supplies flat steel to its customers through its joint venture Gallatin located in Kentucky. Gallatin is a joint venture with ArcelorMittal, Canada, a leading flat steel producer, and has nominal installed capacity of 1.4 million tonnes of flat steel per year. Both partners in the joint venture have a 50.0% stake.
Technology and Quality Control
All Gerdau units have excellent quality control supported by a wide array of quality control tools. Product development projects are headed by specialists who use quality tools such as Six Sigma, a set of statistical procedures for improving the assessment of process variables, as well as Quality Function Deployment, a methodology through which technicians can identify the full range of customer requirements.
Given this level of quality control, 49 units have received ISO 9001 certification. In general, production and quality teams are responsible for developing new products to meet customer and market needs.
The Company uses a quality control system developed in house that applies tests for product design, manufacturing processes and final-product specifications. A specially trained team and modern technologies also exist to assure the Companys high standards of quality. The Companys specialists make random visits to its customers to check on the quality of the products exported by the Company in order to guarantee user satisfaction for products purchased indirectly.
Due to the specialized nature of its business, the Companys specialty steel plants are constantly investing in technological upgrading and in research and development. These units are active in the automotive segment and maintain a research and development department responsible for new products and the optimization of existing processes.
International machinery manufacturers and steel technology companies supply most of the sophisticated production equipment the Company uses. These suppliers generally sign technology transfer agreements with the purchaser and provide extensive technical support and staff training for the installation and commissioning of the equipment. The Company has technology transfer agreements with Nippon Steel, Sumitomo Steel, Thyssen, Daido Steel and BSW.
As is common with mini-mill steelmakers, the Company usually acquires technology in the market rather than developing new technology through intensive research and development, since steelmaking technology is readily available for purchase.
The Company is not dependent on patents or licenses or new manufacturing processes that are material to its business.
Sales Terms and Credit Policy
The Companys Brazilian sales are usually made on a 20/25-day settlement CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) basis. Comercial Gerdau, the retail arm of Gerdau in Brazil, sells on a 26-day settlement basis, mainly CIF. Brazilian customers are subject to a credit approval process. The concession of credit limits is controlled by a corporate-level system (SAP R/3) that can be accessed by all sales channels. The credit and collection department is responsible for evaluating, determining and monitoring credit in accordance with the credit limit policy. This policy provides for the active participation of staff from the various sales channels. At Comercial Gerdau, in particular, the criteria for retail sales also include practices such as the use of credit card services. Gerdau Açominas exports are guaranteed via letters of credit and/or pre-payment before the product is shipped. Exports to Gerdaus subsidiaries may be sold on credit at market interest rates.
Gerdau Ameristeels credit terms to customers are generally based on customary market conditions and practices. Gerdau Ameristeels business is seasonal, with orders in the second and third quarters tending to be stronger than those in the first and fourth quarters, primarily due to weather-related slowdowns in the construction industry.
Corporación Sidenor S.A. has a Risk Committee that is responsible for analyzing customer credit.
North American specialty steel operations, Brazilian specialty steel operations and Latin American operations have their own credit departments for analyzing costumer credit.
As a result of the implementation of these policies, the Companys provision for doubtful accounts was an insignificant percentage of its consolidated accounts receivable (less than 2.0%) on December 31, 2008. Thanks to the implementation of the Integrated Risk Management Project, Gerdau has improved its credit approval controls and enhanced the reliability of its sales process through the use of risk indicators and internal controls.
Transportation costs are an important component of most steel mill businesses and represent a significant factor in maintaining competitive prices in the export market. The majority of the Companys mills are strategically located in various different geographic regions. The Company believes that the proximity of its mills to raw material sources and important consumer markets gives it a competitive advantage in serving its customers and obtaining raw materials at competitive costs. This represents an important competitive advantage in inbound and outbound logistics.
To reduce logistic costs, Gerdau also uses different types of transportation modes (highway, rail and waterway) to receive raw materials and deliver products to its customers or ports of destination. Accordingly, the Company has developed long-term relationships with logistic companies specialized in delivering raw materials and steel products.
In Brazil, Gerdau has acquired an interest of 1.31% in MRS Logística, Brazils principal rail company, which operates the railroad connecting the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, which are Brazils main economic centers. This interest provides for secure and efficient use of this mode to transport raw materials (scrap and pig iron) as well as final products. In North America, the Company owns a large number of rail cars for the same purpose. The accounting treatment for this investment was equity at cost.
Gerdau uses around 20 ports to deliver products from the entire Brazilian coastline. The majority of exports are shipped from the Praia Mole private terminal in Vitoria, Espírito Santo, in which Gerdau holds an interest. Furthermore, this is Brazils most efficient and productive seaport for handling steel products, with more than 20 years of expertise in this business. Gerdau also owns ports specialized in iron ore deliveries that supply its steel units in the state of Bahia and in Peru.
The steel market is divided into manufacturers of long steel products, flat steel products and specialty steel.
The Company operates in the long steel market, which is the most important market for Gerdau, by supplying to the following customer segments: (i) construction, to which it supplies rebars, merchant bars, nails and meshes; (ii) manufacturing, to which it supplies products for machinery, agricultural equipment, tools and other industrial products; and (iii) other markets, to which it supplies wires and posts for agricultural installations and reforestation projects. In North America, the Company also supplies customers with special sections, including elevator guide rails and super light beams. The Company also provides its customers with higher value-added products at rebar fabrication facilities.
The Company operates in the flat steel market through its Ouro Branco mill that produces slabs, which are used to roll flat products such as hot and cold rolled steel coils, heavy plates and profiles. In addition, the Companys distribution subsidiary, Comercial Gerdau, resells flat steel products manufactured by other Brazilian steel producers, adding further value through additional processing at its four flat steel service centers. Gerdau Ameristeel also supplies flat steel to its customers through its joint venture Gallatin. Gallatin is a joint venture with ArcelorMittal, a leading flat steel producer, and has nominal installed capacity of 1.4 million tonnes of flat steel per year.
The Company produces specialty and stainless steel used in tools and machinery, chains, fasteners, railroad spikes, special coil steel, grader blades, smelter bars, light rails, super light I-beams, elevator guide rails and other products that are made on demand for the Companys customers at its Aços Villares and Piratini units in Brazil, at the units of its associated company Corporación Sidenor in Spain, at its MacSteel units in the United States and through its joint venture Kalyani Gerdau Steel Inc. in India.
Competitive Position Brazil
The Brazilian steel market is very competitive. In the year ended December 31, 2008, the Company was the largest Brazilian long steel producer, with 55.3% market share, according to the Brazilian Steel Institute (IBS). Meanwhile, ArcelorMittal Brasil was the second largest producer in Brazil in the year, with roughly 32.8% of the market.
The table below presents the Companys main competitors and market share in Brazils crude steel market:
(1) Arcelor S.A. controls CST, Belgo and Acesita
(2) Includes Aços Villares
(3) Usiminas and Cosipa are part of the Usiminas Group
(*) Preliminary figures
World common long rolled steel demand is met principally by steel mini-mills and, to a much lesser extent, by integrated steel producers. Shipping, freight and demurrage costs are a major barrier to imports, and since the Company operates in Brazil primarily in the common long rolled product business, where profit margins are relatively narrow, the
incentive for foreign competitors to enter the Brazilian market is low. In the Brazilian market, no single company competes against the Company across its entire product range. The Company believes that its business diversification and decentralization provide a competitive edge over its major competitors, where operations are more centralized.
In the domestic market, Gerdau Açominas is almost an exclusive supplier of blooms and billets to well-defined and loyal customers that have been purchasing from it regularly for over 15 years. Intense competition exists between the Company and Arcelor Mittal in the slab and wire rod markets. In the international market, Gerdau Açominas, in its export markets, faces strong competition in the commercial quality products line from Eastern Europe (CIS) and China. The main competitors in the high quality products segment are Europeans and, to a lesser extent, the Japanese. The Company is a strong player due to its vast experience and the high quality of its services and products. Gerdau Açominas has a highly diversified list of traditional customers located all over the world.
Competitive Position Outside Brazil
Outside Brazil, notably in North America, the Companys subsidiary Gerdau Ameristeel has increased its market share through acquisitions. The Company has progressively increased its share in the North American market, with annual nominal capacity of 10.0 million tonnes of crude steel and 10.3 million tonnes of rolled products, according to the Companys statistics.
Gerdau Ameristeels geographic market encompasses primarily the United States and Canada. It faces substantial competition from numerous competitors for each of its products. Rebar, merchant bars and structural shapes are commodity steel products for which pricing is the primary competitive factor. Due to the high cost of freight relative to the value of steel products, competition from non-regional producers is somewhat limited. Proximity of product inventories to customers, combined with competitive freight costs and low-cost manufacturing processes, are key to maintaining margins on rebar and merchant bar products. Rebar deliveries are generally concentrated within a 350-mile radius of the mini-mills and merchant bar deliveries are generally concentrated within a 500-mile radius. Some products produced by the Selkirk, Midlothian, Jacksonville, Jackson, Cartersville and Petersburg mini-mills are shipped greater distances, including overseas. Except in unusual circumstances, the customers delivery expenses are limited to freight charges from the nearest competitive mill, and the supplier absorbs any incremental freight charges.
Ameristeels principal competitors include Commercial Metals Company, Nucor Corporation, Steel Dynamics Inc. and ArcelorMittal Inc. Gallatin Steel competes with numerous other integrated and mini-mill steel producers.
Despite the commodity characteristics of the rebar, merchant bar and structural markets, Gerdau Ameristeel believes it has competitive advantages over competitors due to its broad product range, quality products, consistent delivery performance, capacity to service large orders and ability to fill most orders quickly from inventory. It believes it produces one of the largest ranges of bar products and shapes. Product diversity is an important competitive advantage in a market where many customers are looking to fulfill their requirements from a few key suppliers.
In Latin America, each country has a specific competitive position that depends on conditions in their respective markets. Most compete domestically and face significant competition from imports. More than 80% of shipments from Gerdaus Latin American Operation originate from Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. In Chile, the main barriers faced by Gerdau AZA sales are freight and transportation costs and the availability of imports. The Company estimates the share of the domestic long steel market held by Gerdau AZA at about 30%, and that Diaco has a 39.0% stake in the Colombian steel market. It also believes that Siderperú has market share of approximately 46.0% in the long products segment in Peru.
In the Specialty Steel Operation, Corporación Sidenor holds approximately 10% of the specialty steel market in the European Union; in the U.S. market, Gerdau has roughly 15% share in the SBQ market through its subsidiary MacSteel; and in Brazil, Gerdaus specialty steel units (Aços Villares and Piratini) are combined the biggest player in that market.
The Company maintains insurance coverage in amounts that it believes adequately cover the principal risks of its operating activities. The Company has contracted insurance for its Ouro Branco mill against operating losses, which covers amounts up to approximately $4.0 billion, (R$ 8.7 billion as of April 30, 2009), including material damage to installations ($3.0 billion) and losses of gross revenues ($988 million), such as halts in production arising from business interruptions caused by accidents for a period up to twelve months. The Companys current insurance policy relating to the Ouro Branco mill remains effective until April 30, 2010. The Companys mini-mills are covered against named perils under various policies.
Trade Investigations and Government Protectionism
Over the past several years, exports of steel products from various companies and countries, including Brazil, have been subject to antidumping, countervailing duties and other trade-related investigations in importing countries. Most of these investigations resulted in duties limiting the investigated companies ability to access such import markets. Until now, however, these investigations have not had a significant impact on the Companys export volumes.
Mine Operating License
The Companys mining operations are subject to government concessions, and its mining activities are subject to the limitations imposed by Brazils Federal Constitution and Mining Code and the laws, rules and regulations enacted pertaining to mining activities. Under the concession contracts, the Company was granted permission to commercially operate the mines located at Miguel Burnier, Várzea do Lopes, Dom Bosco and Gongo Soco in the state of Minas Gerais for as long as the reserves last. Brazils Mining Code and Federal Constitution impose on companies that conduct mining activities, such as us, requirements concerning, among other things, the manner in which mineral deposits are used, worker health and safety, environmental protection and restoration, the prevention of pollution and the health and safety of the local communities where the mines are located
Information on the Extent of the Companys Dependence
The Company is not dependent on patents or licenses, industrial, commercial or financial contracts (including contracts with customers or suppliers) or new manufacturing processes that are material to the Companys business or profitability.
The Company has a policy of diversifying its suppliers so that it can replace them in the event of a breach of contract without affecting the Companys operations.
In the case of a power outage, there are no alternative supply options available at most Gerdau mills due to the high volume and tension required for the operation of these plants. In such cases (as occurred in Brazil in 2001, when the federal government set targets for reducing consumption), the measures and their consequences are discussed with the respective energy concessionaires while operating capacity is kept at emergency levels to protect staff and equipment.
In the event of rationing, decisions and procedures will be implemented by the regulatory agency of the Brazilian government. These may have a materially adverse impact on the Companys results, with a consequent contraction in production in light of the availability of electricity and the adjustments to delivery schedules. Although such problems are not common in Brazil, some Gerdau small units may choose, as an alternative, to use generators to compensate for the energy shortage. Moreover, the Ouro Branco mill generates 70% of its power needs internally using gases generated in the steel-making process. During the period of electricity rationing in 2001, Gerdau overcame the crisis by reallocating production among its various industrial units and rationalizing the use of electricity. These measures resulted in efficiency and productivity gains that were incorporated into the production process after the critical period ended.
In terms of natural gas, the units in Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and São Paulo are supplied by imported natural gas, through GASBOL (Brazil-Bolivia Pipeline), whereas the other units are supplied by domestic natural gas. In the event of natural gas rationing, it would be possible to adapt equipment for the use of diesel and LPG.
Material Effects of Government Regulation
In addition to the government regulations that apply to its industry in general, the Company is not subject to any specific regulations that materially and adversely affect its business.
C. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
The Companys operational structure (including its main operating subsidiaries engaged in steel production) was as follows on December 31, 2008:
Gerdau S.A. is a non-operational holding company controlled by a holding company, Metalúrgica Gerdau S.A. As of December 31, 2008, Gerdau S.A. has been consolidating the results of the following operating companies: Gerdau Aços Longos S.A. (Brazil) and subsidiaries, Gerdau Comercial de Aços S.A. (Brazil), Gerdau Açominas S.A. (Brazil) and subsidiary, Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation (USA/Canada) and subsidiaries, Gerdau Aços Especiais S.A. (Brazil) and subsidiaries, Corporación Sidenor S.A. (Spain) and subsidiaries, Gerdau MacSteel Inc. (USA), Gerdau Laisa S.A. (Uruguay), Gerdau Chile Inversiones Ltda. and subsidiaries, Sipar Gerdau Inversiones S.A. and subsidiaries, Diaco S.A. (Colombia) and subsidiaries, Empresa Siderúrgica del Perú S.A.A. (Peru), Gerdau GTL México, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico), Siderúrgica Zuliana, C.A. (Venezuela) and Seiva S.A. Florestas e Indústrias (Brazil) which operates in the forestry industry.
The Companys investments in Gallatin, Bradley Steel Processor and MRM Guide Rail in North America, in which Gerdau Ameristeel holds a 50% stake in the total capital, the investments in Armacero Industrial y Comercial Limitada in Chile, in which the Company owns a 50% stake, the investments in Indústrias Nacionales (INCA) in the Dominican Republic through Multisteel Business Holdings, in which Gerdau has a 49% stake, the investments in Corporación Centroamericana del Acero S.A. in the Guatemala, in which Gerdau has a 30% stake, the investment in Corsa Controladora, S.A. de C.V. in Mexico, in which Gerdau has a 49% stake, the investment in Kalyani Gerdau Steel Inc., in which Gerdau has a stake of approximately 45% and the investment in Dona Francisca Energética S.A, in Brazil, in which the Company holds a 51.82% stake are accounted in the Companys financial statements using the equity method (for further information see Note 3 Consolidated Financial Statements).
The table below shows the main consolidated companies and the investments controlled directly or indirectly by Gerdau on December 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006:
(*) The equity interest reported represents the ownership percentage directly and indirectly held by the investor in the subsidiary.
(1) Subsidiaries: Gerdau USA Inc., Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., Gerdau Ameristeel Perth Amboy Inc., Sheffield Steel Corporation, Gerdau Ameristeel Sayreville Inc., Pacific Coast Steel, and Chaparral Steel Company.
(2) Subsidiary: Gerdau Açominas Overseas Ltd.
(3) Subsidiaries: Gerdau US Financing Inc. and Gerdau MacSteel Inc.
(4) Fixed-income investment fund managed by Gerval DTVM Ltda.
(5) Subsidiaries: Sidenor Industrial S.L., Aços Villares S.A., Sidenor y Cia, Sociedad Colectiva, Sidenor I+D S.A., Forjanor S.L., Trefeileria Arraste, S.L., Trefilados de Urbina, S.A., Rectificadora del Vallés S.A., Vicente Gabilondo and Hijos S.A.
(6) Subsidiaries: Indústria del Acero S.A., Industrias del Acero Internacional S.A., Gerdau Aza S.A., Distribuidora Matco S.A., Aceros Cox Comercial S.A., Salomon Sack S.A., Matco Instalaciones Ltda e Trefilados Bonati S.A., Cerney Holdings Ltd. and Indac Colômbia S.A.
(7) Subsidiary: LuxFin Participation S.L. and Bogey Holding Company Spain S.L.
(8) Subsidiary: GTL Equity Investments Corp.
(9) Subsidiary: Ferrer Ind. Corporation e Laminados Andinos S.A.
(10) Subsidiaries: Siderúrgica Tultitlán, S.A. de C.V., Ferrotultitlán, S.A. de C.V., Arrendadora Valle de México, S.A. de C.V. and GTL Servicios Administrativos México, S.A. de C.V.
(11) Subsidiaries: Sipar Aceros S.A. and Siderco S.A.
The operating companies that are fully consolidated or accounted according to the equity method in the financial statements of Gerdau S.A. are described below:
Gerdau Aços Longos S.A. - This company produces common long steel and has 10 mills distributed throughout Brazil and annual installed capacity of 4.8 million tonnes of crude steel.
Gerdau Comercial de Aços S.A. - This company sells general steel products and has 68 steel distribution centers located throughout Brazil.
Gerdau Açominas S.A. - Açominas owns the Ouro Branco mill located in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. The Ouro Branco mill is Gerdaus largest unit, with annual installed capacity of 4.5 million tonnes of crude steel, accounting for 45.9% of Gerdaus crude steel output in Brazil.
Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation - Gerdau Ameristeel has nominal annual capacity of 10.0 million tonnes of crude steel and 10.3 million tonnes of rolled products. Gerdau S.A. holds a controlling interest in Gerdau Ameristeel. The Company is the second largest producer of long steel in North America and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. Gerdau Ameristeels subsidiaries are Gerdau USA Inc., Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., Gerdau Ameristeel Perth Amboy Inc., Sheffield Steel Corporation, Gerdau Ameristeel, Sayreville Inc., Pacific Coast Steel and Chaparral Steel Company. Gerdau Ameristeel also has a 50% interest in the joint venture Gallatin in the United States.
Gerdau Aços Especiais S.A. - This company is headquartered in Charqueadas in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and has consolidated annual installed capacity of 410,000 tonnes of crude steel.
Corporación Sidenor S.A. - Sidenor, with operations in Spain, produces specialty steel and has annual capacity of 1.2 million tonnes. Corporación Sidenors subsidiaries are Sidenor Industrial S.L., Aços Villares S.A., Sidenor y Cia,
Sociedad Colectiva, Sidenor I+D S.A., Forjanor S.L., Trefeileria Arraste, S.L., Trefilados de Urbina, S.A., Rectificadora del Vallés S.A., Vicente Gabilondo e Hijos S.A.
Gerdau MacSteel Holdings Inc. - MacSteel is the second largest producer of specialty steel (Special Bar Quality - SBQ) in the United States. It operates three mini-mills located in Jackson, Michigan; Monroe, Michigan; and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The Company also has six downstream operations and annual installed capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of crude steel and 1.1 million tonnes of rolled steel.
Gerdau Laisa S.A. - In 1980, the Company acquired the Laisa mini-mill in Uruguay. Gerdau Laisa is the largest long steel producer in Uruguay and has annual installed capacity of 100,000 tonnes of crude steel and 80,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Gerdau Chile Inversiones Ltda. - The subsidiaries of this company are Indústria del Acero S.A., Industrias del Acero Internacional S.A., Distribuidora Matco S.A., Aceros Cox Comercial, S.A., Salomon Sack S.A., Matco Instalaciones Ltda y Trefilados Bonati S.A., Cerney Holdings Ltd. Indac Colômbia S.A. and Gerdau Aza S.A. The latter company has two units in Chile with combined annual production capacity of 470,000 tonnes of crude steel and 460,000 tonnes of rolled steel. Gerdau AZA also sells its products through Aceros Cox.
Sipar Gerdau Inversiones S.A. - Sipar, through its operational subsidiary Sipar Aceros S.A., entered the Argentinean market in December 1997 and has annual installed capacity of 260,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Diaco S.A. - Diaco is the largest producer of steel and rebar in Colombia and has annual installed capacity of 510,000 tonnes of crude steel and 700,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Empresa Siderúrgica del Perú S.A.A. - Acquired in 2006, Siderperú is a long and flat steel producer with annual installed capacity of 560,000 tonnes of crude steel. Siderperú operates one blast furnace, a direct reduction unit and a melt shop with two electric arc furnaces (EAF), two LD converters and six rolling mills.
Gerdau GTL México, S.A. de C.V. - This companys subsidiaries are Ferrotultitlán, S.A. de C.V., Arrendadora Valle de México, S.A. de C.V., GTL Servicios Administrativos México, S.A. de C.V. and Siderúrgica Tultitlán, S.A. de C.V. The latter company is a long steel producer located in the metropolitan area of Mexico City with annual installed capacity of 500,000 tonnes of crude steel and 340,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Sizuca - Siderúrgica Zuliana, C. A. - In June 2007, Gerdau acquired Sizuca - Siderúrgica Zuliana located in Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela. Sizuca owns a mini-mill that produces concrete reinforcement bars. Sizuca has annual installed capacity of 300,000 tonnes of crude steel and 200,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Corsa Controladora, S.A. de C.V. - In 2008, the Company acquired a 49% stake in Corsa Controladora, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico). Corsa Controladora owns 100% of the capital of Aceros Corsa, S.A. de C.V. and its distributors. Located in the metropolitan area of Mexico City, Corsa is a mini-mill that produces long steel (light merchant bars) and has annual installed capacity of 150,000 tonnes of crude steel and 300,000 tonnes of rolled products.
Multisteel Business Holdings - In 2007, the Company signed a strategic alliance with the shareholders of Multisteel Business Holdings Corp., a holding company headquartered in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Company has a 49% stake in the capital stock of the holding company Multisteel Business Holdings Corp., which holds 99% of the capital stock of Industrias Nacionales (INCA), a long steel rolling mill company with annual shipments of almost 400,000 tonnes of steel products.
Corporación Centroamericana del Acero S.A. - Strategic partnership entered into with Corporación Centroamericana del Acero S.A., assuming a 30.0% stake in the capital of this company, which has installed capacity of 500,000 tonnes of crude steel and 700,000 tonnes of rolled steel. The Company owns assets in Guatemala and Honduras as well as distribution centers in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Belize.
Kalyani Gerdau Steel Inc. - Joint venture with the Kalyani Group for the operation of a steel mill in Tadipatri, located in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh state in India. Gerdau and the Kalyani Group each hold stakes of approximately 45% in the Companys capital stock. The remaining 10% is held by other investors. The crude steel capacity of this unit is approximately 270,000 tonnes.
Seiva S.A. - Florestas e Indústrias - A reforestation company created in 1971, Seiva has pinus and eucalyptus forests used by the pulp and paper industries.
Cleary Holdings Corp. - Gerdau has a 50.9% stake in the capital of Cleary Holdings Corp, which controls a metallurgical coke producer and coking coal reserves in Colombia. The Company has annual coke production capacity of 1.0 million tonnes and coking coal reserves estimated at 20 million tonnes.
D. PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT
Gerdaus principal properties are for the production of steel, rolled products and drawn products. The following is a list of the locations, capacities and types of installation, as well as the types of products manufactured at December 31, 2008: