Since the 1960s, only one American corporation has independently begun to produce steel on a large scale, and Bain Capital deserves a good deal of the credit for its success. In the spirit of globalization and creative destruction, private-equity firms are supposedly drivers of off-shoring and outsourcing, accelerating the decline of key American industries. Though it’s impossible to say what effect Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital has had on American industry overall, he can point to at least one success story in an ailing American industry: Steel Dynamics.
Bain’s investment in another steel firm, GS Technologies, was the impetus for a Reuters story repeatedly cited as an example of the worst kind of private-equity investment — loading a company down with huge debt, extracting dividends for the investors, and charging for consulting services. But Bain’s more successful involvement in Steel Dynamics, an Indiana-based company, has not received nearly as much attention (though the Romney campaign has cited it as a counter-example). From its founding in 1994, Steel Dynamics (SDI) has grown to be America’s fifth-largest producer of carbon-steel products, one of just six major U.S.-owned steel companies.
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