Usinor was a French steel making group formed in 1948. The group was merged with Sacilor in 1986, becoming Usinor-Sacilor and was privatised in 1995, and renamed Usinor in 1997.
Sacilor and predecessors
In 1704 Jean Martin de Wendel bought an Ironworks in Hayange in Lorraine (region), north-eastern France. Over the next one hundred years industrial production grew, and, in 1822 the first coke fired blast furnace in France was constructed. Further growth occurred under de Wendel family ownership in the next century; in 1950 approximately 20,000 tons of iron and cast iron each were produced, by 1869 this had increased 15 blast furnaces and a production of well over 100,000 tons of cast iron and iron each. Production included rails, bars, sheet, tin and wire.
The company was split as a result of the Alsace-Lorraine region becoming part of Germany after that countries victory in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. After Germany's defeat in the First World War the region returned to France, and the factories regained. Production continued to increase, with over 1.5million tons of iron and cast iron each produced in 1929.
The Great Depression in France affected the company's ability to invest and in 1948 nine steelmakers formed the Société Lorraine de Laminage Continu (Sollac), pooling their resources to modernise. Further consolidation took place in the 1950s and 60s; Sidélor was formed from the Rombas and Homécourt group of companies in 1950, in 1963 the Union des consommateurs de produits métallurgiques et industriels (UCPMI) and Knutange merged to form the Société Mosellane de Sidérurgie (SMS).
Sacilor was first created in 1964 as a joint venture between the de Wendel and Sidélor groups (France for the construction of a modern steel plant in Gandrange, Lorraine. The groups themselves merged with SMS in 1967, forming de Wendel-Sidélor; in 1968 this group produced 40% of French production: 20million tons of Iron.
The entire group became named Sacilor in 1973.
Usinor and predecessors
Usinor was created in 1948 from the merger of Denain-Anzin (Les Hauts Fourneaux, Forges et Aciéries de Denain-Anzin) founded 1849 and Nord-Est (Les Forges et Aciéries du Nord et de l'Est) founded 1882. Both companies had their origins in ironworks founded in the first half of the 19th century in the modern day département of Nord.
The company was formed for the consolidation of the steel works in the region, with a new plant in Denain, opened in 1952. Another factory, dedicated to steel sheet production was opened in Dunkirk in 1971, receiving materials by sea and from abroad.
In 1963 merger with Lorraine-Escaut, also formed from the merger of older companies. (Senelle-Maubeuge, Longwy and Escaut et Meuse). The financial crisis of the 1970s affected the company negatively, and state investment grew. In 1979 another merger took place between Usinor and the smaller Chiers-Chatillon-Neuves Maisons. By 1981 90% of Usinor's shares were stated owned.
Nationalisation and merger of Usinor and Sacilor
The economic effects of the 1973 oil crisis affected the both the steelmaking groups, already in debt from modernisation projects, and heavily reliant on state loans; in 1981 both Usinor and Sacilor was nationalised.
Following another steel market crash in 1983, and the halt to subsidies to the steel industry brought in by the European Commission in 1986; Both companies were making heavy losses; in September 1986 the merger of Usinor and Sacilor was announced forming Usinor-Sacilor.
Usinor-Sacilor, Usinor, and merger into Arcelor
Further companies were absorbed into the group, Sollac in 1990, Ugine in 1991. In 1995 the company was privatised, and in 1997 the entire group renamed Usinor.
Usinor restructured as primarily a flat carbon steel producer in the last years of the 20th century, and disposed of several speciality steel product and long steel product businesses: the Usinor/Cockerill owned rolling mill manufacturer Forcast was sold to Akers (company) in 1998; in 1998/9 the subsidiary: Unimetal (long products) and its subsidiaries Trefileurope, and Societe Metallurgique de Revigny (SMR) were sold to Ispat International for approximately $107 million (693 francs); railway wheelset and axle manufacturing subsidiaries Valdunes and RTM were sold to Freedom Forge Holding (Standard Steel, USA) in 1998; railway rail manufacturing subsidiary Sogerail (Hayange, France) was sold to British Steel in 1999. the special long products and forged products subsidiary Ascometal was sold to Lucchini S.p.A in 1999; and the electrical steel subsidiary UGO (Usinor Grains Orientés SA) was sold to Thyssen Krupp in 2000.
- "USINOR SACILOR -- Company History". www.fundinguniverse.com.
- "SACILOR". www.rail.lu. Historique - Geschichtlicher Überblick.
- "History of Usinor". www.arcelormittal.com.
- Philippe Dryon, Estelle Krzeslo (28 December 1998). "Usinor takes over Cockerill-Sambre, under union supervision". www.eurofound.europa.eu. European industrial relations observatory on-line.
- "SIDERURGIELe recentrage d'Usinor fait la part belle aux " spécialistes "Usinor vient de céder Unimétal au sidérurgiste anglo-indien Ispat et s'apprête à se séparer d'Ascométal. La cession de ces pôles s'inscrit dans l'évolution vers davantage de spécialisation et dans une remise en cause progress...", L'Usine Nouvelle (in French) (2679), 18 March 1999
- "MétallurgieForcast se restructureUn an après son entrée dans le groupe suédois Akers, le fabricant de cylindres de laminoir Forcast procède à un plan social. Il doit améliorer sa rentabilité.", L'Usine Nouvelle (in French) (2691), 10 June 1999
- "Usinor et Cockerill cèdent le contrôle de Forcast au suédois Akers", Les Echos (in French) (17562), 13 January 1998: 11
- "Ispat to buy Usinor units", www.indianexpress.com, 3 March 1999
- Manik Mehta (10 July 1999), "Ispat International acquires 3 Usinor companies", www.financialexpress.com
- "Ispat International N.V. Reaches an Agreement in Principle With Usinor For the Acquisition of Unimetal, Trefileurope and SMR", www.thefreelibrary (Ispat International NV / PRNewswire), 14 May 1999
- Case No IV/M.1509 - ISPAT / UNIMETAL (REGULATION (EEC) No 4064/89 MERGER PROCEDURE, 22 June 1999, I. The Parties and operation, "4. Unimétal is a steel producer currently owned by the Aster company, itself wholly owned by the Usinor group. Through its wholly owned subsidiaries Société Métallurgique de Revigny (SMR) and Tréfileurope, Unimétal produces and sells bright bars and drawn wire"
- "USINOR SELLS VALDUNES, RTM UNITS", www.europolitics.info, 2 December 1998
- Harry Hondius (5 November 2008), "http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/exploiting-synergies-in-the-wheelset-market.html", www.railwaygazette.com
- "Commission authorises acquisition of Sogerail (France) by British Steel (UK)", europa.eu, 4 August 1999
- "British Steel Buys French Firms", International Railway Journal (Simmons-Boardman Publishing), October 1999
- "Locus Technologies Completes Due Diligence of Ascometal Plants in France.", www.thefreelibrary (PRNewswire), 25 May 1999
- "THYSSEN KRUPP STEEL CLEARED TO ACQUIRE USINOR GRAIN-ORIENTED STEEL BUSINESS", www.europolitics.info, 13 October 1999
- "Isbergues : Une usine qui " sème " des graines orientés et " récolte " des tôles", www.echo62.com (in French), November 2002
- "USINOR SACILOR", International Directory of Company Histories (St. James Press) 4, 1991: 226–8