Business news briefs: Restructuring will spur U.S. Steel savings: Longhi

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U.S. Steel president and CEO Mario Longhi told analysts the company expects to generate $150 million in new cost savings this year as part of its Carnegie Way restructuring initiative. The company also will benefit from lower coal, pension and retirement benefit expenses this year, he said. Mr. Longhi said the company is considering replacing an aging blast furnace at its Fairfield, Ala., mill with a smaller electric furnace and will apply for permits for the project. He said it is too early to put a price tag on the work. If the board approves the new furnace, construction could begin in the third quarter of next year and be completed in mid-2017, he said.

Industrial product firm's board may weigh nominees

Investor Mario Gabelli has informed Ampco-Pittsburgh that he may nominate one or more individuals for positions on the Pittsburgh industrial products company's board. Mr. Gabelli and his affiliates own 17.2 percent of Ampco-Pittsburgh's shares.

Pittsburgh Glass Works joins venture to build China plant

North Side-based Pittsburgh Glass Works is part of a joint venture that will build a new auto glass manufacturing plant in China. PGW's partner is Jinjing, China. The facility will be in Zibo in eastern China. Groundbreaking is scheduled for next month, and the plant is expected to be operating by mid-2015. PGW expects it to employ more than 350 workers.

Lanxess names new CEO amid 'significant challenges'

German rubber and chemical maker Lanxess has named a new chief executive as it tackles what its chairman called "significant challenges." Matthias Zachert, formerly chief financial officer of Lanxess and currently CFO of drug company Merck, will replace Axel Heitmann, who will leave Feb. 28 "by mutual consent," Lanxess said. Mr. Heitmann has held the top job since Lanxess was spun out of Bayer AG in 2004. In the third quarter, sales dropped by 5 percent and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell by 26 percent. Lanxess' North American headquarters is based in Findlay and it employs about 350 in the region.

Struggling Abercrombie makes board, shareholder moves

Abercrombie & Fitch is separating its chairman and CEO roles and expanding its board's size. The teen retailer is also terminating its shareholder rights plan. The moves are typically used to ward off a hostile takeover attempt. Michael Jefferies, who'd served as chairman since 1996, will remain a director and the CEO. Abercrombie is among the teen retailers that have struggled recently.

Business research group's confidence index rises

The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday its consumer confidence index rose to 80.7 this month from a December reading of 77.5. For 2013, the confidence gauge averaged 73.3, the highest since 2007.

New Crest toothpastes feature nontraditional flavors

Procter & Gamble said Tuesday it is launching a line of Crest toothpastes called "Be" featuring nontraditional flavors including Mint Chocolate Trek, Vanilla Mint Spark and Lime Spearmint Zest. The toothpaste line will be available the first week in February and will retail for $4.99.

Also in business ...

Koppers Inc. extended two sales contracts with Norfolk Southern Corp. to supply railroad crossties and other rail products for another three years. ... J. Rich Alexander, a former executive vice president at PPG Industries, has joined private equity firm Advent International as an operating partner. Mr. Alexander retired from PPG in March 2013. ... Allegheny Technologies named former Alcoa executive Kevin B. Kramer to the new position of senior vice president, chief commercial and marketing officer, effective Monday.


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