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Why the steel mill changed its name (Updated)

Chief executive officer Kalyan Ghosh unveiled the new corporate branding today, standing just a few strides from where Algoma's famous Flaming A proudly stood until it was torn down 14 years ago
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20170526 Algoma CEO Kalyan Ghosh KA 02
Kalyan Ghosh, CEO of Essar Steel Algoma, speaks during the announcement of new Algoma branding for the company on May 26, 2017. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

The name is Algoma, thank you very much.

It's no longer Essar Steel Algoma.

It's no longer Algoma Steel.

Just good old, workaday, plain-vanilla Algoma.

"Since 1901, this company has been Algoma in some form. It is who we are," the steelmaker said in a written statement.

"The Algoma brand has deep roots in this community and in the Canadian steel industry. Algoma products and Algoma people are reputed for their strength, their endurance and their ability to respond."

"From this day forward, we will be doing business as Algoma. It is time to set a course for a strong future and to focus on what we do best — and that is making exceptional quality steel," the company said.

For legal purposes, the place that makes steel at the far end of Queen Street West will remain Essar Steel Algoma Inc. until it emerges from insolvency protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

After that, it will be up to the new owners to decide on branding.

But for the time being, our steel mill is making a fresh start, doing business as Algoma.

The slick new corporate logo was unveiled today at Gate No. 2 by chief executive office Kalyan Ghosh.

As the photo above shows, Ghosh was standing just a few strides from the pedestal/impossibly skinny building where Algoma's famous Flaming A logo proudly stood until it was torn down 14 years ago.

Also nearby were two brand-new heavy-lift transporters (HLTs), freshly painted with the new Algoma logo and loaded with Algoma coil steel.

"HLTs are the workhorses of our operation, transporting steel coils from the DSPC [direct strip production complex] and strip mill to the cold mill for finishing and to the steel dock for export via barge."

"They also transport scrap steel from our material reprocessing facility to the steel shop. Their long-awaited arrival is critical to the ongoing refurbishment and reliability of our transportation fleet," the company statement said.

With individual payload capacities of 280 tons, the new HLTs are the biggest ever built by Paling Transporter Ltd. of Hamilton, Ontario.

Interestingly, the transporters are largely made from high-strength Algoma QT100 steel plate and Algoma 50 checkered plate.

New branding. New transporters.

Clearly, the steel mill now known as Algoma is a little more fiscally robust these days.

Earlier this week, the company joined the American Iron and Steel Institute, definitely not something one would expect from a firm worried about imminent demise.

"The company is doing well at this point in time," Ghosh told SooToday. "The markets are good. We remain strong."

"We do not know what the final name of the company will be, depending on what the buyer will finally name it."

"We hope that the new buyer will keep the Algoma brand.... We are trying to go back to the roots and remain as Algoma."

Ghosh said the decision to rebrand was made in consultation with the court-appointed monitor overseeing Essar Algoma's restructuring.

"The preferred bidder has not said anything about it, but I think they will support the name change."

The long Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act proceedings have injected a lot of fatigue into the company and its employees, Ghosh said.

"What we need in the process is something on which we can keep running, and running strong. This is what we are trying to do . . . At the end of the day, we need a fresh start."

Essar spokesperson Brenda Stenta explained the design:

AlgomaALogo

“Our new branding and logo strike a balance between honouring our past and looking to our future. It represents our strong ties to Northern Ontario, where our unique geography and environment play a major role in our everyday lives.”

“The blue represents the waterways and the green our beautiful, natural environment. From shipping our product on the Great Lakes to enjoying outdoor activities with our families, we take pride in where we work and live.”

“The ‘A’ is a modern take on our company’s history. Bringing everything together to symbolize the strength and endurance of our people.”

“While our name is changing, we remain committed to carrying on our proven reputation for quality, innovation and creative solutions…”

“It is time to set a course for a strong future, and to set a course for what we do best and that is exceptional quality steel.”