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[Ken Helle | Times (2008)]
Gerdau Ameristeel CEO Mario Longhi in the company's Tampa headquarters.
Company information
May 2009

Address: 4221 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Suite 600, Tampa, FL 33607; (813) 286-8383;

Business: Steel production and recycling

Ticker symbol, market: GNA, NYSE, Toronto

Market capitalization: $2.39 billion, down from $6.57 billion

CEO: Mario Longhi

Employees: 11,000, up from 10,000

(Year ended Dec. 31, 2008)

Revenue: $8.5 billion, up 47 percent

Net loss: ($542 million)

Per share: ($1.25)

Return on equity: (17.48 percent)

Biggest challenge: Reducing its cost structure until the economy perks up. The company, which operates steel minimills in the United States and Canada, saw net sales drop by half for the first quarter compared with a year earlier as the global credit crunch strangled new nonresidential commercial construction. Executives expect demand for steel to pick up as infrastructure projects funded by the government's economic stimulus get under way.

Corporate culture
May 2008

Brazilian flavor spices a blend of international cultures

Gerdau Ameristeel Corp.'s Tampa headquarters has a Brazilian flavor you can't miss if you drop by during the monthly potluck lunch. Churrasco (grilled meat), feijoada (black beans and pork) and panqueca (pancakes with meat) are among the items you're likely to find on the menu.

About 50 of Gerdau's 400 Tampa employees are Brazilian, a reflection of the fact that the company's majority shareholder is Brazil's Gerdau Group, the world's 14th-largest steelmaker. CEO Mario Longhi, now a U.S. citizen, was born in Brazil.

Gerdau (pronounced ger-DOW) Ameristeel blends Brazilian, U.S. and Canadian business practices and cultures at steel minimills (including one in Jacksonville) and fabrication shops (including one in Plant City) in 25 states and two Canadian provinces. It is continuing to grow through acquisitions. Products include rebar, nails, wire mesh and railroad spikes. The company's Tampa roots go back for decades to its days as Florida Steel. It went through a period of Japanese ownership, changed its name to Ameristeel, then in 2002 merged with Co-Steel of Canada and two Gerdau companies.

Legally it is a Canadian company, which is why Gerdau hasn't been on the Times 10 list in the past. The criteria changed in 2008 to add the company in recognition of the fact that corporate operations are headquartered in Tampa.

—Times Staff Writer

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