New company emerges as Sparrows Point's high bidder

Court records filed Friday show that the high bidder for the Sparrows Point steel mill is a Missouri redevelopment firm called Environmental Liability Transfer.

An official with the company, which bid $72 million, said in an interview Friday that Environmental Liability Transfer is doing a joint venture with Hilco Trading, an Illinois liquidator that was identified as the buyer by the local United Steelworkers union and in an internal email to Sparrows Point managers.

"That's all I can say at this time," said Tom Roberts, principal of Environmental Liability Transfer.

The Tuesday auction came 10 weeks after Sparrows Point owner RG Steel filed for bankruptcy protection. The winning price was far below the $810 million paid for the mill four years ago.

The auction's back-up bid came from CJ Betters Enterprises, which offered $65 million.

CJ Betters won the bidding for RG Steel's plant in Warren, Ohio, at $16 million. The back up bidder? Environmental Liability Transfer.

The union is hoping to find a company to buy Sparrows Point from the high bidder and restart it. About 2,000 workers were laid off when the plant was idled after the bankruptcy, and they don't want it to close permanently.

The leaders of Local 9477 are meeting with United Steelworkers officials in Pittsburgh on Monday to get answers to questions created by the auction.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

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