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Overview Nucor emerged from relative obscurity and near bankruptcy in 1966 to become one of the fastest growing steel companies in America and one of the worlds lowest-cost producers of steel products in 1990 Company revenues had increased from 21 million in 1966 to nearly 15 billion in 1990 and earnings were 75 million up from 13 million in 1966 Despite an economic recession in 1991 it appeared that Nucor had a virtually unstoppable low-cost leadership strategy to grow into one of the biggest and best-known global producers of steel Customers liked Nucors expanding product line and low prices investors were pleased with the companys relatively strong earnings and stock price performance and Nucor with Ken Iverson as a model company president had become a media darling and one of the most admired US companies But by the fall of 2001 just ten years later so much had changed Ken Iverson was no longer CEO and a newly appointed president and CEO was exerting more control over the companys highly decentralized operations The steel industry worldwide had far more production capacity than was needed to meet market demand forcing many companies to operate in the red The economic slowdown which hit Asia and Europe in the late 1990s reached the United States in 2000- 2001 and then was further exacerbated by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks Hamstrung by over-capacity in the home markets foreign steel producers were dumping their steel in the US market atcut-rate prices Although many domestic steel producers had imitated Nucors innovative production processes and cut their costs to help them be more price competitive over 20 US steel companies had been forced to file for bankruptcy protection since late 1997 As Nucor entered the 21st century still pursuing a strategy of long-term growth achieving expansion profitably was not as simple and opportunities in steel were harder to come by Nucor still expected to improve its position as the second biggest
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