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The Journal Gazette

October 19, 2016 1:00 AM

Steel Dynamics to pay $4.6 million to settle class action

Staff, news services

Steel Dynamics Inc. has agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle a class action lawsuit, company officials announced Tuesday.

The Fort Wayne-based steelmaker was sued in 2008 in Chicago federal court by a group of direct steel buyers who alleged Steel Dynamics conspired with other steelmakers to limit production and drive up prices. 

Mark Millett, Steel Dynamics’ president and CEO, said the company was confident it would win the case but decided it would be smarter to end the “costly, protracted and distracting litigation” by settling out of court.

A separate claim brought by indirect steel buyers is unaffected by the deal, which must be approved by the court before it becomes final. Steel Dynamics and other defendants in that case believe the suit will be dismissed by the presiding judge.

Erapsco gets contract with Navy

A Columbia City-based defense contracting partnership has been awarded a contract worth almost $204 million by the Naval Air Systems Command.

Erapsco Inc. is a 50-50 partnership between Undersea Sensor Systems Inc. of Columbia City and Sparton Electronics Inc. of DeLeon Springs, Florida. The contract the Defense Department announced Monday calls for 48.3 percent of the work in Columbia City.

The order is for up to 141,500 sonobuoys of various types. The biodegradable tubes gather data and transmit them to aircraft, ships or satellites.

Homebuilders remain optimistic

U.S. homebuilders’ confidence eased this month after surging to the highest level in nearly a year in September.

Even so, builders remain optimistic about sales growth in months ahead, a reflection of how steady job gains are leading more Americans to buy newly built homes.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday fell two points this month to 63 following a reading of 65 in September. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.

Energy boosts consumer prices

Higher energy costs fueled U.S. consumer prices in September, but overall inflation remained in check as it has for the past several years.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that consumer prices increased 0.3 percent last month. Much of that rise stemmed from energy, housing and prescription drugs.

Energy costs surged 2.9 percent in September as oil and gasoline prices rebounded from recent lows.