<img alt="" src="https://secure.scan6show.com/206775.png" style="display:none;">

Overview

C/G Electrodes, LLC (now owned by GrafTech) was an international manufacturer of graphite electrodes purchased by steel makers all over the world. The company was also the largest employer in the small city of Saint Marys, Pennsylvania.

The Problem

C/G Electrodes, a once thriving manufacturing business northeast of Pittsburgh, fell victim to price fixing and filed for bankruptcy in 2003. Two European manufacturers of similar products conspired to purposely drive C/G Electrodes out of business by driving prices down until the Pennsylvania-based company could no longer compete, only to raise prices by 40% once C/G Electrodes was forced to shut its doors. 

The Solution

Renaissance Partners’ legal team, led by Leo Keevican, knew that C/G Electrodes was a strong operation. With a fair pricing market, they believed the company would be profitable and offer investors a positive return. Keevican especially saw value in the company; as a steel industry veteran, he felt a connection to the embattled business and knew his antitrust litigation expertise could put a stop to price fixing in the graphite electrodes industry and help C/G Electrodes forge a comeback.
 
Renaissance Partners’ connections in key areas of government played a critical role in C/G Electrodes’ successful revival. Keevican approached the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and the United States Department of Justice (US DoJ) Antitrust Division to share the graphite electrode manufacturer’s story. Both parties found the case compelling, and they agreed to bring suit against the two European companies engaging in unlawful price fixing.
 
During the mid-2000s, banks across the country were hesitant to lend money to steel manufacturers, making funding a challenge. But due to the firm’s relationships with investors across Pennsylvania, Renaissance Partners found a Philadelphia-based mezzanine fund willing to provide financing. The mezzanine fund consisted of retirement contributions from state teachers and state employees. That connection to Pennsylvania, and a strong desire to keep those workers’ retirement investments within the state, helped make the case for using the funds to invest in a neighboring Pennsylvania business.
 
Because C/G Electrodes was in bankruptcy, the company’s assets went to auction. Keevican and his team arrived in bankruptcy court on auction day alongside an equity investor, prepared to acquire the business and immediately begin transformation efforts. In anticipation of being outbid by one of the European manufacturers, Keevican personally persuaded the PA attorney general to attend court that day to ensure antitrust laws were not violated. 

The Results

In a tense exchange during the bankruptcy hearing, Renaissance Partners’ equity investor made the first bid -- but the European manufacturer’s representative immediately outbid the equity investor. The state attorney general, present in court that day only because of Keevican’s persistence, stood up and opposed the European’s bid. He explained his opposition to the judge, who agreed with the attorney general and awarded the business to Keevican’s client for $7 million.

140 hourly workers in Saint Marys, Pennsylvania were put back to work manufacturing graphite electrodes. And less than a decade later, C/G Electrodes was acquired by GrafTech for $700 million, a 100X return on the $7 million auction price during the bankruptcy hearing.

Innovate To Ascend

Our team supports commercializing innovation and steel industry experience.

Assets To Impact

Real estate solutions and capital markets to sharpen your focus.

Assess To Evolve

Our business assessments are a unique, third party perspective that unlocks hidden value.

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.