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CEO of Cliffs on Finances, Outlook

Updated: 03/06/2014 6:27 PM
Created: 03/06/2014 3:25 PM WDIO.com

He's only been on the job for 100 days, but the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources, Gary Halverson, has been very busy.

Part of his duties have included some major restructuring of the company's assets. According to a news release from Cliffs, he suspended their chromite project in Canada, and have idled other under-performing projects.

He told the community leaders at the annual Cliffs' breakfast on Thursday, that he is focusing on financial discipline, making the company leaner, and improving the bottom line.

"We have to make sure we're prepared for the worst, and hope for the best. We're in a volatile industry. We can't control commodity pricing, because that's based on supply and demand. But we can control how efficiently we operate," he said. 

In recent months, one of Cliffs' shareholders, Casablanca Capital, has aggressively pushed their own business proposals on Cliffs, urging the company to make more money.

And in an open letter to shareholders, Cliffs said they are taking steps to create shareholder value.

In regard to the outlook for U.S. Iron Ore, which is a core priority of their company, Halverson said he sees modest growth in the domestic steel industry. He cited an expected increase in vehicle production and steel production in general. "We're projecting 22-23 million tons of pellets in 2014," he said.

Halverson also commented on the importance of people. "We have 7,000 employees. Our best asset are our people," he said.

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