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Edgewater Steel files for bankruptcy again

Thursday, August 09, 2001

By Len Boselovic, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The epidemic of bankruptcies afflicting the U.S. steel industry claimed another local victim this week, one already painfully familiar with the process.

Edgewater Steel, which survived two bouts of bankruptcy in the 1990s, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization petition Monday, listing assets and liabilities each of $1 million to $10 million. Its 20 largest unsecured creditors are owed $5.6 million, according to court papers. They include The Reserve Group, the Akron, Ohio, holding company that owns Edgewater.

The Oakmont company forges steel ingots into wheels used on locomotives, mass transit cars and other vehicles. It also rolls steel used by customers to make ball bearings and other products.

Edgewater Steel was acquired at a 1997 bankruptcy court auction by The Reserve Group. Two years earlier, employees and Erie Forge and Steel led a buyout that rescued the company from a 1992 bankruptcy filing.

Officials of the Reserve Group were out of the office yesterday and could not be reached for comment. Calls to Edgewater were not returned.

Edgewater's attorney Mark Freedlander, blamed the filing on the company's higher energy bills as well as slumping demand and prices for its products. He said operations were continuing at the plant, which employs about 145, including about 130 represented by the United Steelworkers union. Edgewater is current with its payroll and received court permission yesterday to continue to meet payroll, Freedlander said.

Court records indicate The Reserve Group is owed $330,000. The largest unsecured creditor, Ellwood Quality Steel of New Castle, is owed nearly $1.9 million. Other creditors and the amounts they are owed include Duquesne Light Co. ($295,080), Keystone Health Plan ($215,741), Equitable Gas ($115,877) and the Oakmont Water Authority ($50,165).

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