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Outokumpu Oyj, owner of the American Brass planty on Sayre Street in Buffalo, announced today it had sold its copper products division to private equity firm Nordic Capital for $770 million as the company concentrates more on stainless steel.

The transaction, to be concluded in June, will mean a capital loss of $280 million to be recorded in the first quarter of 2005, the Finnish metals group said.

In August, Outokumpu announced a corporate goal of beocming the world's No. 1 stainless steel maker, and said it would sell its copper division.

Nordic Capital, founded in 1989, has invested in more than 60 Nordic-based companies operating in various business sectors.

The sale includes the Outokumpu American Brass plant on Sayre Street in Buffalo that employs about 600 people.

The plant has been sold several times in its 99-year history. It opened in 1906 as the Buffalo Copper & Brass Rolling Mills and became a division of Anaconda Copper and Mining Co. in 1917. Sixty years later, Atlantic-Richfield purchased Anaconda. In 1985 it was acquired by a group of local investors headed by Randolph A. Marks, retired chairman of Computer Task Group, and Paul W. Joy, former president of the Carborundum Co. Outokumpu bought American Brass in 1990.

The plant, which covers 1.1 million square feet, makes a broad range of copper and copper alloy strip and sheet products that are used by a variety of customers in the telecommunications, electronics, automotive and other industries.

Chief Executive Juha Rantanen said the sale was part of a long-term plan.

"The sale of the fabircated copper products business is a strategic move on our way to a focused stainless steel and technology company. Our vision is to be the undisputed No. 1 in stainless (steel)," Rantanen said.

Outokumpu, with annual sales of more than $9 billion, employs 19,500 people and has operations in 40 countries. The Finnish government holds a 40 percent stake.