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Schnitzer Steel says under SEC probe

Wednesday, August 24, 2005; 1:52 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators have opened a formal investigation into improper commission payments by metals recycler Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc. to purchasing managers at its Asian customers, the company said on Wednesday.

Schnitzer said it is cooperating with the probe. An outside law firm under the supervision of the audit committee of the board of directors is already conducting its own independent investigation into the payments.

The company also named acting chief financial officer Kelly Lang to a new role overseeing the integration of acquired assets. Gregory Witherspoon will replace Lang as interim CFO until a permanent replacement can be found. Schnitzer has hired Korn Ferry International for that search.

Schnitzer Steel has experienced significant turnover in recent months. In mid-May it named John Carter president and chief executive, and Kenneth Novack as chairman, replacing Robert Philip, who left the company and the board.

In mid-July, the company elected Jill Schnitzer Edelson to the board but said three other Schnitzer family members resigned their board seats. The company hired Russell Reynolds Associates to find three new, independent directors before its next annual meeting.

Shares in Schnitzer were down 2 percent at $27.21 in afternoon trade on Nasdaq. The stock is down about 19 percent for the year. The Philadelphia SIG Steel Producers Index <.STQ2>, of which it is a component, is down about 10 percent on the year.

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Schnitzer Steel says under SEC probe

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