Chesterton Tribune

Steel company to build new facility at Port at Indiana Burns Harbor

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Ratner Steel Supply Company, a producer of steel products based in Roseville, Minn., recently announced plans to locate a new facility at the Port of Indiana, creating up to 30 new jobs by 2015.

Ratner, which produces steel sheets and plates, will invest $14.25 million to build and equip a 102,000 square-foot steel service facility located at the Lake Michigan port. Construction on the facility will begin later this month with the facility slated to be operational in early 2013.

“Having a Minnesota-based company like Ratner Steel decide to open a facility in Indiana reinforces our magnetic appeal to companies across the Midwest," Indiana Secretary of Commerce Dan Hasler said in a statement released on Friday. “More and more companies are finding our pro-business, low-tax environment advantageous to their growth.”

Ratner Steel, which currently has 62 full-time employees nationwide, plans to begin hiring new sales, clerical, and production associates in October.

“While we easily could have opened a facility at any location, Indiana's business climate provided just the sort of location we were looking for," said Steve Gottlieb, general manager and chief financial officer of Ratner Steel. “This new facility allows our company unequivocal access to our customers while strategically placing ourselves in a position for future growth.”

Founded more than 25 years ago, the company serves customers in the agricultural, fabrication, and energy industries throughout the Midwest and Canada. In 2011, Ratner Steel recorded more than $100 million in sales.

The Port of Indiana is now home to 30 companies, including 16 steel-related firms, which benefit from the facility's multi-modal connections, specialized services and foreign-trade zone status. The 600-acre port handled more than 2 million tons of cargo in 2011 via international ships, lake vessels, and river barges.

“This port is home to the who's who of steel companies and Ratner Steel is a great addition,” said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. “Ratner will not only benefit from synergies with existing port companies but also from being able to access our railroad, highway and waterway connections, which can significantly reduce transportation costs.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Ratner Steel Supply Co. up to $210,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The City of Portage approved additional property tax abatement.

“Portage is the beneficiary of the exceptional work of the IEDC, the Port of Indiana, and the Portage Economic Development Corporation,” said Portage Mayor James Snyder. “Like Ratner Steel, anyone looking to bring jobs to Portage can rest assured we have the best team and location to help them call Portage home. We are grateful Ratner Steel has chosen Portage as their expansion location and we believe they are just a start to a strong economic comeback.”

Posted 3/12/2012