Neass History

1928 13th Feb, Inaugural meeting of NAISS. Ernest B Hall, Hall & Pickles. 61 members. Future program included an intention to redress the position regarding the exclusion of rebate to stockholders by producers.

1967 Jim R Robertson, George Depledge: Yorkshire Iron & Steel Stockholders. Nationalisation of the Industry. Before this date all price lists had to be lodged with the NAISS. Stockholder market share is approx 25%.

1969 James M Dunlop, Dunlop & Ranken: During this year the "Iron” was voted out of the title. Membership was 34. Times of great change, BSC are considering going into stockholding, credit is in a bad situation with customers taking 12 to 15 weeks when we are trying to hold them to the more reasonable 8 to 9 weeks. Tonnage with profit not tonnage for tonnage sake.

1970 Good year for stockholders. BSC raise prices three times in one year. Most products are in short supply. This lasts until early into the next year and then the good times are over.

1971 D A Illingworth, Miles Druce. This is the year that we amalgamate with the smaller North Eastern Steel Stockholders. Postal strike. Ernest Barrett is president of the EIA

1972 Another abysmal trading year. Problems on the horizon include metrication and VAT.Change of title to NEASS

1973 A J Wilson, Wilson Steels. Excellent trading with sales only constraint being lack of supply. Allocations will probably be with us until the end of next year

1974 Miners strike and power shortages are the cause of the three day week. Business is good and is only impeded by a lack of steel. The government imposes restrictions on prices, profits and wage levels

1975 Brian Hails, Robert Fraze1. 37 members. The market shows signs of collapse in the early part of the year. BS try to manipulate demand by extending lead times. Many of our members have surplus stocks and the trading outlook is poor. By the middle of the year the bubble has well and truly burst and all products are down on volume and margin. "Cost of Possession" is the new buzzword.

1976 Trading conditions are still gloomy but at least stocks are now under control. Monty Finneston, the BSC chairman, confirms their intention of securing a 15% stake of stockholder outlets: Wilsons become part of BSSC.

1977 Michael Kent, Downings. Membership 38.Bob Scholey gave an address at the AGM when he said that they thought that the difficult times were over and they were optimistic for the future. BSC are to set up a speedstock at Shelton which will complement the plate stock at Hartlepool. Much breast-beating on lack of margin and ES Johnson reminds members that stockturn x margin should ideally be 100. Davignon plan is main topic of discussion. Ernest Barrett is president of NASS

1978 Hidden rebates are supposed to end in April. The association hopes that there are opportunities to improve profitability by embracing Davignon. BSC losses are running at £430 million per year. Volumes are low and stockholders are at odds with accusations of breaking rules and agreements rife. Imports, which are not so tightly controlled on either price or volume, appear to be on the increase. Volume down 3% on 1977. The year-end marks the start of the winter of discontent.

1979 Roger Firth, Austins. Membership 44. Why is it felt necessary to cut prices when the business is not there? This is the year when rising fuel costs are in the news. Confidence at a low ebb with increasing amounts of business being lost to non NASS members who traditionally have favoured imports. This, compounded by the effects of the Davignon price rules, means that minimum price levels have become maximum to be charged. There is a steel strike in Germany followed by a hauliers strike here. Stockholder market continues to increase and should be 50% by the mid 80's. Mid way through the year things pick up marginally but all in all it has been poor for the past two years. BS continue to expand their stockholder role and D&R are taken under their wing. Members are unable to recoup rising transport costs and there is an engineers' strike.

1980 BSC Strike: Fears over secondary picketing. The strike helps people to clears out all their old stock, teaches them to import and raise prices. Average days of credit bas been l 0 weeks for the past few years. Patent Shaft and Lloyds Rolling are to close. By mid-year business is once again very poor. Ian MacGregor is the new BSC chairman and he reports that their share is down 30% shortly after the strike and restocking period. Forecast for next year is also gloomy with an expected reduction of 7% over 1980.

1981 Alec McNicol GKN Galloway member 44. Price control under Davignon doesn’t work so now we try quotas. More breast beating over falling prices chasing non existing volume. Roger, in his AGM address, echoes the comments made by Brian Hails in 1977.

A dreadful yeah with all sections of industry in decline. Edward S Johnson is president of NASS. All members with 12000 tonner pa treaty of Paris products sales must lodge price lists with Brussels.

1982 Members 45. Another bad year with volume and price collapse. Blame is put on the uncontrolled sector and rules are changed on the tonnage criteria to 6000 tpa to include more of them and so force them to submit price lists. There is overcapacity in Europe and a world-wide recession. The rail strike has little effect. War with Argentina. Not much hope for next year.

1983 Barry Keith, GS Services. Membership 41. The year starts with discussions on alignment, terms and conditions, prompt payment discounts and what authority inspectors would have in regard to Davignon rules. It is now 5 years since the start of the Davignon initiative but a lack of trust and discipline has meant that the pain has endured. The only positive aspect, if we can call it that, is that sterling has fallen some 12-15% making imports less attractive. Gordon Sambrook tells us that 40% of the BSC output goes to stockholders and the total UK market is now 11 million tonnes against 19 million a few years ago. EEC has overcapacity amounting to 25%. No sustainable increase in demand is forecast for the next 2 to 3 years. BSC lose 375 million and total imports were 3 million tonnes.

1984 Membership 40. Trading conditions improve but the margin is still not adeqwite. This year is a bqom compared to the last three years but we are still not taking full advantage of the situation. All agree that this is the first time in 9 years to increase prices. Trade is buoyant and the Davignon initiative on prices and quotas appears to be working. The miners' strike is having little effect. Jarrow and Monks Hall are about to close and the talk is of how much UMB will affect Sheerness and Cardiff.

1985 Members 39. Quite a good year the only exception being plate. Steel gains ground against concrete. 90 days credit is prevalent and this is a major cause for concern. This year Michael Kent relinquishes the presidency of NASS after his two year stint.

1986 Bob Malcolm. GKN Steelstock. Resigns same year. 37 members. Edward S Johnson retires. The year starts slowly. David Prior addresses the AGM and tells us that the overcapacity in Europe is 25 million tonnes. This is exacerbated by third world production, particularly South Korea, coming on stream with low cost steel. BSC now in a stable position with no major upheavals envisaged within the next three years. Costs are on par with anyone in Europe and production quotas had the effect of freezing market share but this would change in 1987 when they were about to end. Business has not improved in the last three years. Interest rates, at 2.1/2 times the rate of inflation, were the highest in Europe, with Germany at 3% and UK at 10%.

1987 Alan Black, GS Services. Resigns year after. Membership 37. A reasonable start to the year but 90 days credit is now prevalent. Interest rates start to fall and BSC, who have just announced a healthy profit, are likely to be privatized By April things have further improved on volume and margin and there is an air of optimism. The plate market has halved from 1.4 million tonnes in 1976 to to-days figure of 700,000 but even here things are improving with lead times at 3 to 4 months and a price increase in the offing.

1988 Barry Keith, GS Services. Barry steps in to fill the gap. Membership is 35 and Profilers now qualify for membership and are to be actively encouraged to join. Demand is now quite strong for all products and price increases have been implemented, the only weak area is RM plate. This year sees demand increase 7-8% over last year but stockholders, in the rush to secure their share, have once again been guilty of-cutting prices. The current topic is ·of the impending privatization of BSC and its implications for the industry. Guy Barrett, president of the European Convention for Structural Steelwork, gives an address at the AGM when he says that fabricators have full order books due to major projects including Canary Wharf and the Sheffield Student games. Boom conditions continue throughout the year and are forecast to extend into next year before levelling out. Higher interest rates are now being experienced. This year sees a world record for steel consumption

1989 Heather Thompson, SM Thompson. Membership 41. BK, in his farewell speech, reminisces on what was deemed important to the members 20 years ago: stockholders not sticking to their price lists, the cyclical nature of the business and the ability of the old timers to spot the signs of recession like a native detecting spoor. The cycle of 3 poor years followed by a boom of 2 years last occurred in 197 5. There then followed a period of IO mediocre years with demand picking up gradually and so slowly that the next boom was on us before most people realised that it had happened. Another good year but the forecast is that it will not last. Can we charge for carriage and test certs?

1990 Ron Goodwill dies. 3 9 members. The forecast is for a drop in volume of 5-8% on last year and this has been confirmed by a loss of sales since September 89. People trying to hang on to their share have once again tried to buy it by cutting prices. By mid-year volume is down by 12% and we are back to 87/88 levels. BS are given the green light to take over Walker steelstock. Fears over insolvency when Rush & Tomkins go. Problems in the Gulf, increases in oil and fuel charges and higher interest rates exacerbate an already difficult situation and we are now in recession. Les Paxton retires.

1991 Bob Bramham, Lye spencer Members 37. The years starts badly with prices in freefold. As the year progresses things get worse with tonnes now 20/25 on 1990 and the outlook is poor. Merchant bar @ £185 and same as 10 years ago. Liquidations and receiverships are rife. The only bright spot is that the carriage surcharge, introduced by members to combat rising derv costs, had held in spite of recent reductions in fuel costs. Corby introduce their cold formed product: not a good time to be coming into this market Michael Kent retires.

1992 Membership 36. The year starts low key but things, at least, are not getting any worse. SM Speedstock is now as low as £212, however production cutbacks, forecast for early next year, might create some stability. A request for a donation of 6mm plate, by a "charitable organisation" is considered but following an investigation, by the fraud squad, was denied. Members exhibit a lack of interest and the September meeting has to be cancelled. Black Wednesday occurs in the autumn. Edward S Johnson dies on Xmas Eve.

1993 Malcolm Rogerson, J Stansfeld. Members 34. Interest in the Association reaches rock bottom at the AGM. However, by the end of the year this has been rekindled by the introduction of rule changes to widen membership and working parties who will attempt to improve the profile of NEASS and attract new members. Demand for the first quarter shows improvement even including RM plate. On merchant bar there had been 3 unopposed price increases totaling </c>50 with another in the offing and producers still had full order books. By mid-year there had been increases on hollow sections and SM plate which were accepted and further increases seemed likely. Demand continues to improve and Fabricators have forecast an increase in steel consumption of 6% for this year. Large projects in China represent grounds for future improvement and the year ends on a note of optimism. Richard Rawlins resigns from NASS. Barry Keith dies.

1994 Members 34. The year starts with volume holding up but there is a feeling that margins are being eroded. Heavy sections are showing improvement and tonnage was at its highest for 4 years. Plenty of business available on CF hollow but the market was awash with cheap imports. BSC's new CF2 mill, to be opened in September, will not help matters. As the year progresses both demand and margins improve and price increases appear to be the norm. The recruitment drive is paying off and we attract new members. Jim Winter gets the MBE

1995 Chris Bagnall, AP Steels. Members 42. The year starts well with all products achieving good levels of sales in spite of implementing price increases. By mid-year demand has flattened out and there were worries about the ability to make impending price increases stick. Come the year end and the market is in a state of flux. The hollow section market of 400 Kta has been infiltrated by Turkish supplies to the tune of 100K this year, against only 20K last year: this has led to instability on price. On sections, fabricators were still busy, the market at I million tonnes, but amazingly there had not been a price increase on this product for 2 years. BSC announce a £30 million investment package including the development of Stourton as the new GS site. The BS policy on credit is helping to re-educate customers. NEASS year-end and date for membership renewals are changed to coincide on the 31st, March.

1996 Members 37. At the first meeting this year all agreed that sales were up on volume but down on margin when compared to the situation 12 months ago. The chairman stated that prices were lower now than they were 20 years ago. Cases were cited of Turkish box at </c> 310 and there were rumours of Bulgarian plate as low as </c>230, vis a vis Indian at a more reasonable </c>280. By the end of quarter one the erosion of margin is confirmed by all. British Steel, whose market for heavy section is only 50% compared to 70% a few years ago, introduce speedstock to try and remedy the situation. They are also to produce PF channels. The year ends on a note of optimism with hopes of price increases in the New Year. Scott MacDonald is president of NASS.

1997 John Thompson, Tomrods. Members 39. The year begins with demand steady but the strong pound makes imports increasingly attractive which tends to weaken prices. Price increases are announced but there is skepticism as to whether they will be made to stick. However, as the year progresses some products are in short supply and price increases, in the main, have been achieved. Millennium projects should bode well for the future. Gordon Poulson takes over at NASS.

1998 Members 4 7. No change in subscription rates which remains at 1996 levels and the recruitment drive pays off. Demand is patchy but prices are falling rapidly and this state continues throughout the year. Come the year-end and prices have fallen some £40 tonne, which causes instability and results in stock losses. People are once again nervous with regard to credit as it is felt that the number of companies failing was about to increase. IT continues the campaign with NASS to sort out the unfair situation with regard to new recruits paying a reduced subscription. Ernest Barrett dies.

1999 Tony Levison, NSD. Members 51. The year starts with demand steady and the feeling that at last prices have stopped falling. This is confirmed as the year progresses with price increases being the norm, (merchant bar has about 5) and activity is good. Much change on the producers' side with the formation of Corns, the amalgamation of Sheerness and ASW and the closure of GT Tubes. Disasters such as the earthquake in Turkey and the fire at LLanwern disrupt supply and strengthen the band of the stockholder over the end user. The strength of the pound continues to hamper the export. of finished goods and also encourages the import of cheap steel. Interest rates creep up steadily.

2000 Members 60. Year starts with a flurry of activity. Part of Richardson Westgarth sold to ASD inc Gardener Baugh and Jones. Howard Todd buys Steel Supplies and Burns Dakin sold to Struthers. Ed goes to P & C and to ASD and after 3 months on again to Corns. Michael Baugh moves on and is rumoured to be setting up a new Steel Stockholder. Corus announce further redundancies Steady progress throughout the year regarding prices but there is a feeling of uncertainty regarding the USA and worrying signs concerning Turkish cold box. Heavy section demand is 3% down on last year.

2001 John Wigglesworth, Hillsborough, membership 64. The year starts with news of further redundancies at Corus which will reduce manpower to 22000 over the next 2 years (a reduction of 6000). Foot & mouth in the U.K. Recession in the U.S.A. and Japan. Irish Steel closes, problems at U.E.F. September 11th atrocities mark down forecasts by l to 2% and insurance premiums rocket. Later in the year they announce that Dudley Port is to close. There is talk of a merger between Usinor, Aceralia and Arbed that would result in the world's largest steel maker. Prices tumble. Dave & Heather get married.

2002 Members including those of the NW now 86. Job losses at Corus and Vauxhall. Credit insurance, inllight of scandals in USA, review cover and limits and raise premiums. Dan & Anastel in receivership. Beltame acquire Ferrero and Henry Barrett buys S & Carter. Gordon Poulson leaves NASS in September. Strong demand in China and clarification on 201 (Does not affect general steels) contribute to the feeling that prospects are improving. Prices start to rise & the mood becomes more bullish as the year progresses.

2003 Howard Todd, Steel Supplies. 90 members. Every product has a price increase. Celsa take over Cardiff and Sheerness. RM Plate is sorted as DDS, Corns & Spartan emerge as the main players in the market. Recovery is underway. China still taking huge amounts of steel. Talk of surcharges. The European community is set to expand by 10 members next year & this is perceived as a threat.

2004 94 members. Eddie Dolan replaces Ken Fay (who sets up Steel Beams) and later in the year Edward Bilcliffe agrees to be our next chairman. Increase in raw material, freight & energy, plus sustained global demand cause prices to rocket. A very good year & everyone makes money. The only worry is that ofliquidity. Someone gives a talk on counter proliferation. Chas retires to the Philippines. Outlook is good & prospects for 2005 are positive. The year ends on a sad note with the news of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

2005 Edward Bilcliffe, 97 members including associates & satellite depots. We have a record turnout for the dinner with 217 guests & raise £1126 for the tsunami appeal. John Brierley comes in as vice-chairman. A good year but clearly not as good as 2004. Prices for oil & gas rocket and energy prices are the main worries. Another topic of conversation is the introduction of the CE mark. Caparo purchase Tyco, Celsa & Mittal flex their muscle in the UK, Stocksbridge is to close by the end of the year and Rover go bust. The euphoria associated with the successful London bid for the Olympics is short lived as we get news of the 7 /7 bombings.

2006 100 members. Another record for the dinner, held in the garden room, with 234 guests and £1975 raised for Ralph's charity Wateraid. All stockholders do well with echoes of 2004. Good attendances all year with records for the races (41) and Golf, 64 players and 80 at the dinner. The interest in CE marking seems to have subsided. More talk of world cup football and the Olympics in 2012. Ends on a sad note as we learn of Les Paxton (& his wife Helen) demise.

2007 John Brierley, 105 members and a new record (300) for the dinner.

2013 Chairman Nick Watson, 100 members, Annual dinner February 221 attended, AGM 36 attended, Ripon races 34 attended, Joint Meeting with Nass 37 attended

2014 Chairman Nick Watson, 102 members, Annual Dinner February 216 attended, Ripon Races and qt meeting 20 attended, Neass Golf 12th September, 69 Golfers 6 Dinner only, Joint meeting with Nass 30 attended

2015 Chairman J Dent / R Smith, 108 Members, Annual Dinner 6th February 208 attended, AMG 13th May 30 attended, Ripon Races and Qt meeting 18th June 26 attended, Golf 11th September 71 golfers 6 Dinner only, joint meeting with Nass 4th November 42 attended

2016 Chairman R Smith, 101 Members, Annual Dinner 5th February 204 attended, AGM 9th March 22 attended, Ripon Races and Qt meeting 16th June 24 attended, Golf 16th September 50 golfers 5 dinner only, Joint meeting with Nass 2nd November 42 attended

2017 Chairman H Todd, 113 Members, Annual dinner 3rd February 215 attended, AGM 29th March 30 attended, Ripon Races and Qt meeting 22nd June 23 attended, Golf 1st September 57 golfers 9 dinner only, Joint meeting with Nass 2nd November 30 attended

2018 Chairman H Todd, 118 Members, Annual dinner 2nd February 209 attended, AGM 22nd March 21 attended, Doncaster Races 27th April 37 attended, Qt meeting 28th June 22 attended, Golf 7th September 50 golfers 10 dinner only, Joint meeting with Nass 6th November 32 attended, Christmas party 12th December 24 attended

2019 Chairman H Todd, 109 members, 30th Annual dinner 1st February 203 attended, AGM 28th March 30 attended, Doncaster races 26th April 30 attended, Qt meeting 4th July 20 attended, Golf 6th September 38 golfers 10 dinner only, Joint meeting with Nass 5th November 32 attended, Christmas party 11th December 27 attended

2020 Chairman H Todd, 101 Members, Covid, Annual dinner 7th February 216 attended, AGM 30th July 18 attended, Golf postponed, Joint meeting with Nass 11th November 26 attended

2021 Chairman H Todd, 105 Members, The year of Covid, Annual dinner postponed, AGM 15th April 28 attended, Golf Neass / Nass 3rd September 49 golfers 11 dinner only, Qt meeting 15th July 22 attended, Doncaster races 22nd October 15 attended, Joint meeting with Nass 18 attended, Tom McDougall became vice chairman of Neass, Christmas Party 16 attended

2022 Chairman Howard Todd, 4th February, Annual Dinner 131 Attended, 24th March , AGM 20 attended, 22nd April , Doncaster Races, 27 attended, 14th July ,Qtr, Meeting , 19 attended, 9th September , Neass Golf Day , 34 golfers, 3 dinner only, 21st October , Doncaster Races , 20 attended, Richard Smith and Helena Day join the Neass Committee, 16th December , Christmas Party 11 attended

2023 Chairman Howard Todd,