The Schnitzer family, which has controlled the US-based Schnitzer Steel Industries since 1906, has dropped below the 20% stock ownership level required to keep control of the company.
A family spokesman told a local Oregon newspaper that the family's reasons for selling included "financial planning, estate planning, funding other investments."
The family has been selling stock since 2003 and this month saw them finally relinquish the majority voting rights afforded to them after the company went public in 1993. When stocks were first publicly floated, Class B voting shares were reserved for the family and had 10 times the weight of Class A shares held by public investors.
The business, which is in its third generation of family ownership, has been diversifying management positions to non-family professionals in preparation for the transition. "I think it's just a normal transition. There is no impact on the company. There is no change in the company' strategy, operations or board make-up," said the spokesman.
Schnitzer Steel Industries was founded in 1906 by Sam Schnitzer, a Russian migrant who built an empire from scrap metal. His five sons diversified the business into the steel, real estate and shipping and so continued to grow the company into the $1.9 billion concern it is today. Third-generation Robert Philip was the last family CEO when he left in 2005. (Click here to read Campden FB's exclusive interview with Robert)
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