U.S. Steel to redeem debt, make pension payment

The sign at Gary Works is shown. 

U.S. Steel is redeeming debt and making a pension payment as it looks to shore up its finances.

"Today, United States Steel Corporation announced that it has taken two liability management actions to further strengthen its balance sheet using its improved cash and liquidity position," the steelmaker said in a statement.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker, one of Northwest Indiana's largest employers, plans to pay off $200 million in senior secured notes on Dec. 22. U.S. Steel will pay off all the principal four years early, thereby saving money on interest.

The steelmaker also recently made a payment of $75 million to the U. S. Steel Retirement Plan Trust for its steelworkers.

U.S. Steel managed to reduce its debt by $200 million to $1.2 billion during the third quarter of this year. The steel producer, which has local operations in Gary, Portage and East Chicago, now has $3.5 billion in liquidity, including $1.7 billion in cash.

The steelmaker needs to have a strong financial position as it looks to invest $1.2 billion in a flat-rolled segment asset revitalization program over the next few years, including $50 million this year on hot strip mills, pickle waste liquor lines and other operations at Gary Works.

U.S. Steel intends to pump money into upgrading its equipment at its mills in order to take advantage of the currently favorable environment of high steel prices.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.