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The Gerdau group is the 13th largest steelmaker in the world and the largest producer in America. It hast 4 associated companies and more than 337 industrial and commercial facilities. It has presence in more than 14 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Peru, Spain, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. [1]

Company History

The group began operations in 1901, when Joao Gerdau and his Son Hugo established the Ponta de Paris nail factory. After several divisions and structural actions during the 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, in 1947 the company was listed on the Porto Alegre stock exchange. Between 1948 and 1962, the company established more than 6 new factories in Brazil. 1971 was a very significant year for Gerdau. It acquired the Siderúrgia Guairía and 2 new companies were established. But it was not until 1980 when the company took its first international step: it opened its first factory in Uruguay. In 1989, Gerdau began operations in Canada and in 1992 in Chile. In 1999, Gerdau acquired AmeriSteel, the second arbor producer in the United States. In 2002, Gerdau began its presence in Singapore, signing an agreement with Natsteel of Singapore. Also in 2002, the company was listed on the Madrid (Spain) stock exchange. At the end of 2003, Gerdau S.A. and Acominas S.A. merged into a single company: Gerdau Acominas S.A. The company continued growing and now is one of the most important steelmakers in the world. [2]

Political and Public Influence

Paragraph information

Political Contributions


Corporate Accountability

On the webpage of the company all the principles and values of the company, as well as the policies with which Gerdau manages its relation with its workers, clients, and providers can be consulted. The company devotes a significant amount of money and efforts to social responsibility programs. These efforts have been recognized through several prize programs . However, Gerdau has also been involved in several controversies and allegations related to labor rights and respect of trade unions.

12 July 2006: “Se entregan mañana en Chile los galardones del Ránking más Responsables del País” [3]

The article reports that on July 13, 2006, the prizes for the most socially responsible companies would be given. The prize has been given to 15 companies with operations in Chile. Gerdau was included in this group.

27 June 2007: “Estas son las 15 empresas más responsables socialmente del 2007”[4]

The article announces that in 2007 Gerdau, again, was included into the group of the most social responsible companies in Chile. The prize was given to 15 companies.

Labor and Environment

The big problems Gerdau has had have been related to its participation in the U.S. market under the brand name “Gerdau AmeriSteel”.

22 June 2006: “Steelworkers demand compliance and appropriate penalties at Gerdau Ameristeel´s Jackson, Tenn. facility” [5]

This article, published on the “United SteelWorkers” webpage, relates the call the United SteelWorkers made to the state of Tennessee “to set a hearing to enforce a previously issued Order to Gerdau AmeriSteel for alleged violations that occurred between 2000 and 2004.” According to the article, the company released 310,461 pounds of toxic metals during this period of time. They allege that very serious health effects occurred as a result, particularly in children.

7 April 2006: “Steelworkers Want Partnership with Gerdau Ameristeel” [6]

In this article The United States SteelWorkers, which represented at that time more than 3000 Gerdau Workers, proposed to Gerdau AmeriSteel a partnership in the new acquisition of a new steel company in North America. The SteelWorkers felt this would make the new entity more suitable (according to USW, having them as a partner would create better labor conditions, and this would translate into more productivity) and fix the relations between this trade union and the company. Company-union relations had been strained since May 2005 when, according to the trade union, AmeriSteel locked out more than 300 workers in Texas, ending the lock out after losing approximately $14 million.

Financial Information

A complete 2007 financial report is available on the following webpage:


Executives Board members/affiliations Executive director/compensation Date and venue of next AGM

Contact Information

Head Office

Av. Farrapos, 1811

90220-005 - Porto Alegre - RS - Brazil

Phone: +55 (51) 3323.2000

Central Sales Office

Rua Cenno Sbrighi, 170 - Edifício II

05036-010 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil

Phone: +55 (11) 3874.4000

Articles and Resources

Books on the Company

Related SourceWatch Articles


External Resources

External Articles

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