German Company Eliminates Osceola as Possible Site for New Steel Mill

FEBRUARY 7, 2007 - Posted at 10:12 a.m. CST, updated at 2:08 p.m. CST

FRANKFURT, GERMANY - Steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG said today that it has removed a northeast Arkansas site from the running in its search for where to locate a $2.9 billion steel and stainless steel manufacturing site.

A site on the Mississippi River near Osceola was being considered, but the company now says it has narrowed its search to sites in Alabama and Louisiana.

The Duesseldorf-based company said it took Arkansas out of the running because the state did not meet the criteria in the search process.

The company says Arkansas made an excellent proposal, but simply did not meet necessary criteria.

Arkansas Senate President Jack Critcher (D-Batesville) says he is not surprised by the announcement.

Critcher says he was part of the negotiations and said the state was willing to offer $200 million to the company to land the plant here.  However, he said Alabama and Louisiana each had several hundred million dollars of federal economic aid from Hurricane Katrina to leverage in negotiations.

The plant will start operating in 2010 and is expected to create as many as 29,000 jobs during its construction, and employ 2,700 workers when complete.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)