More than 200 analysts and investment managers heard 14 Pennsylvania companies pitch their shares Thursday at an all-day conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
The conference was organized by Terry McWilliams, president of a Louisville, Ky., firm that has conducted similar conferences in Louisville; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and other cities. He said the meetings give companies of all sizes the opportunity to talk with investment professionals who are not based on Wall Street.
The INVESTPennsylvania conference drew investment professionals from Pittsburgh as well as Chicago and Columbus and from Virginia and other states, Mr. McWilliams said.
All but one of the companies that presented -- Hershey -- is based in Western Pennsylvania. They included PPG Industries, L.B. Foster, S&T Bancorp, and Kennametal.
During his presentation, U.S. Steel chairman and CEO John P. Surma said the steel producer has started production at a new $560 million coke battery at its Clairton plant. The new battery -- and a new coke unit at its Gary, Ind., mill -- are expected to reach full production next year. He also touted the benefits of cheap natural gas and said the company is using more of it instead of coke to fire its blast furnaces.
Federated Investors president and CEO J. Christopher Donahue criticized federal efforts to further regulate the $2.6 trillion money market fund industry. He said proposals to allow the value of fund shares to float rather than remain at a stable $1 per share is "the fastest way I know to eliminate money market funds."
Calgon Carbon president and CEO Randall S. Dearth said promising markets for removing mercury from coal-fired power plant emissions, disinfecting ballast water from ships and removing hazardous materials from municipal water supplies should hit their stride in a few years unless environmental regulations are delayed.
"2015 is when things are really going to start heating up," he said.
Mr. Dearth, who assumed command in August, said the Robinson environmental services firm is preparing for those days by reducing costs, streamlining production and reducing the number of products it offers.
The conference's sponsors included the CFA Society of Pittsburgh, law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and the Allegheny Conference on Community and Economic Development.
Len Boselovic: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1941.