Peter sent a message to Mario Longhi President and CEO, United States Steel Corp. that said:
My name is Peter Wernau and I am the CEO of Wernau Asset Management an investment advisor that holds both your bonds and equity for our clients. The catastrophic decline this year in US Steel's stock and bond prices is unacceptable performance, as I am sure you know and agree. We understand the headwinds you face and applaud your aggressive actions to reduce costs across the company's footprint. That said, the bond market is beginning to lose faith in your ability to continue as a going concern. This is a critical and most urgent issue that needs to be addressed. For example, your 2020 bonds today have a high bid of 40.35, this is a very distressed price and many fear that it is indicative of the company's future prospects. We do not agree, but that is based primarily on your assertions to the contrary.
I am writing you today to try to strongly advise you to communicate with the markets in a way that is more transparent about the intra-period liquidity challenges the company may or may not be facing. This should include a clear communication of the debt roll, how the company will be funded under various adverse average selling prices and volumes and a plan for selling any non-core assets which could increase the companies liquidity and help to retire debt. We are inclined to hold your bonds to maturity and expect the company to return our principal and make all scheduled interest payments.
To be clear, our clients are being severely punished by the market conditions for your bonds based upon assertions you have made publicly about the company and the Carnegie Way transformation embarked upon a few years ago. If our clients are likely to incur a permanent loss of capital based upon your previous assertions, it is highly preferable that those risks be communicated so we can make a decision to try to preserve capital particularly in the bonds of your company.
Many lives have been impacted by the lack of profitability of the company including those of your workers, shareholders and bondholders. The gravity of the situation is immense and I hope you recognize this fact as your prosecute your way through the challenges in front of you.