CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two investment firms have begun looking into ways to restructure Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.'s $500-million debt to seven major banks and lending institutions, a United Steelworkers official says.
Paul Rusen, director of the union's Wheeling, W.Va.-based District 23, said the New York firms Lazard Freres & Co. and Salomon Bros. Inc. began discussing the debt with the banks Wednesday night.
The union and Wheeling-Pittsburgh officials agreed to hire the firms Wednesday after resuming talks in Pittsburgh on the steelmaker's sagging finances. Another round of discussions is scheduled this morning.
Lazard Freres will report to the union while Salomon Bros. will present its findings to the company, Rusen said.
The talks between the union and company broke off Feb. 13 in a dispute over the investment firms.
At that time, the union said it would not meet with Salomon Bros., which had been hired to replace Lazard Freres. Lazard Freres, hired jointly by the company and union, quit after reportedly accusing Wheeling-Pittsburgh Chairman Dennis Carney of setting a time limit for reorganizing the company's debt.