Bethlehem to raise price of tin-coated steel


Bethlehem Steel Corp. yesterday announced it will increase the price of tin-coated steel, made at its Sparrows Point steel mill in Baltimore County, by 4 percent on Jan. 2 to recoup increased production costs.

The nation's second largest steel producer also said it is raising the price of electrolytic chromium coated steel, used for the ends of tin cans, by 5 percent.

Bethlehem's price increase of tin-plated steel, which is priced from $1,200 to $1,400 a ton, comes less than a month after USX-U.S. Steel Group, the country's largest steelmaker, announced the same increase.

Whether those price increases will hold is questionable, said Charles A. Bradford, a metals analyst for UBS Securities Inc., a New York investment banking firm.

While the steel companies may see an opportunity for a price increase because of hikes in the cost of aluminum and plastic used for beverage containers, the market for tin cans for food remains flat, he said. Yet, tin mill products do not face competition from mini-mills, which are threating the large steel company's steel sheet market.

"It will be touch and go," Mr. Bradford said.

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