Thursday, August 6, 2009

News from Alloy Steel

The company (OTC BB: AYSI.OB) filed this 8-K earlier today:

Mill Commissioning

The company advises that the new ARCOPLATE manufacturing plant specifically designed to produce extra thick (up to 20/11mm) and super alloy wear plate has been commissioned and has commenced production.

The new mill is the only one in the world capable of producing a bi-metallic fused super alloy wear plate in a thickness of application of up to 20 mm (just over ¾ of an inch) in a single continuous casting operation.

The conventional method used to produce a hard surface overlay is by a welding method which can only achieve a weld surface which at best is ¼ inch or 6mm thick in a single pass and is flawed with major quality technical limitations.

The new AYSI new technology has overcome all the known technical difficulties and is capable of fusing 20mm or super wear resistant alloy onto a ½ inch or 12mm steel backing plate.

This is a significant technological breakthrough which should see this plate be specified consistently in new mining projects and become the norm for replacements in upgrades for existing mining operations.

Mr. G Kostecki C. E. O. of the company is very encouraged with the strong interest being shown by all the major producers who have seen the test samples and the technical reports and predicts a large future demand for the product.

Mr. Kostecki was responsible for the technical innovation and development of the new process and alloy formulation.

These reports have been carried out by independent laboratories.

Whether any of the demand predicted above will be apparent in the 10-Q Alloy Steel is going to file next week remains to be seen, but this is good news. More generally, the surge in Chinese steel production and the recovery of iron ore prices has been good news for Alloy Steel's mining company customers (how sustainable Chinese demand will be remains to be seen).

I picked up a few more shares of Alloy Steel at .325 on Tuesday, when the stock dipped about 20% on no news. Still keeping most of my powder dry for investing in another asset class though.

Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Alloy Steel in a comment thread on Fred Wilson's blog, in response to a comment by Mark Cuban about how he'd be more interested in investing in a Rearden Steel1 than the next social media start-up. That was a brain cramp on my part: Even if Cuban could buy all of Alloy Steel, it wouldn't be a big enough investment to be worth his time. Plus, Cuban (wisely) likes to invest where he has an information advantage2, so unless he has connections in the wear plate or mining industries, he probably wouldn't seriously consider investing in this sort of company.

1An allusion to Hank Readen's company in Atlas Shrugged.

2Writer, entrepreneur, and angel investor Tim Ferriss seconded Cuban's point in a post last fall. Ferriss wrote that he feels more comfortable investing in tech companies where he has some inside knowledge and connections than swimming with the sharks in the stock market.


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