US Steel will idle 2 tubular steel plants

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Steel said Monday that it will stop work at two tubular steel manufacturing facilities, and said it filed a complaint about unfair competition from foreign companies.

The company said it will idle facilities indefinitely in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, and Bellville, Texas, starting in August. It will eliminate about 260 jobs as a result. Tubular steel is primarily used by oil, gas, and petrochemical companies.

United States Steel Corp. said it filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Commerce to stop "unfair trade by foreign competitors" on the American market. The Pittsburgh company said the complaint was joined by other domestic tubular steel makers.

The closings will leave U.S. Steel with eight tubular steel facilities in the U.S., and will enable the company to operate more profitably.

In the first quarter U.S. Steel said prices for tubular steel goods decreased because of competition from high levels of imports. Revenue from the company's tubular steel operations fell 6 percent to $644 million, and net income from the division dropped to $24 million from $64 million.

Even though U.S. Steel reported lower net income from its tubular steel business in the first quarter, the company posted a quarterly profit for the first time in more than a year.

In the fourth quarter U.S. Steel permanently shut down its Hamilton Works operations in Ontario, and it also took a large goodwill impairment charge connected to its North American flat-rolled and Texas Operations units.

Shares of the company lost 32 cents to $22.73 in midday trading. Its shares had fallen almost 22 percent so far this year through the close last Friday.

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