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Stuart Smith
Managing Director
Red Nine PR

Covast Connects Trading Community for SMI
The Covast EDI Accelerator for Microsoft BizTalk Server gives SMI next generation B2B environment

ATLANTA – January 28, 2003 – Covast, a provider of integration software that enables complex electronic data interchange (EDI) functionality within Microsoft BizTalk Server, today announced that it is connecting the four steel minimills owned by Commercial Metals Company known as SMI Steel-Alabama, SMI Steel-Arkansas, SMI Steel-South Carolina, and SMI-Texas (collectively referred to as SMI) to their trading partners through extensive value-added network (VAN) connectivity and EDI capabilities.

The SMI mills provide steel to customers throughout North America. The mills are part of the CMC Steel Group and manufacture a wide range of steel products including rebar, angles, channels, flats, rounds, squares and special sections. These mills also provide a variety of grades including special bar quality (SBQ) steels for forging and customer specific applications.

SMI deployed the Covast EDI Accelerator for Microsoft BizTalk Server to provide connectivity to their trading partners and to enable the exchange of EDI documents. The EDI Accelerator was chosen in combination with BizTalk Server to reduce the costs of maintaining the existing Gentran system from Sterling Commerce.

SMI had two legacy servers that it utilized, one at SMI Steel-Arkansas and one at SMI Steel-Alabama, which were getting to be both costly and obsolete. They made the decision to rely on one enterprise server to support the integration and EDI needs for all of the steel minimills. SMI decided to go with Microsoft BizTalk Server as its primary solution for integration. This made it imperative that the company find a reliable product to handle EDI and communication with the VAN and one that was developed to work with BizTalk Server. Microsoft recommended the Covast EDI Accelerator.

The challenge that SMI had was to access the data required to create documents that effectively support its business, including sales order acknowledgements, shipping notices and invoices. Covast and BizTalk are now providing SMI with a total communications package and the mapping technology has given SMI more functionality than its previous system. “A lot of the old mapping tools were very difficult to work with. The tools that Covast and BizTalk provide are very seamless and very easy to deal with,” said Patrick Walsh, supervisor of eBusiness applications for SMI.

In terms of cost-effectiveness, SMI has received a solid base to do B2B without expensive maintenance contracts. “Thanks to Covast, SMI has already begun to see cost savings and has dramatically decreased the delivery time of connecting to our customers. We now have a complete B2B environment to support our trading community today and into the future,” added Walsh.

According to Daan Scheer, founder and CEO, Covast, “SMI was looking for a cost-efficient solution that provided connectivity to its trading partners and a solid architecture infrastructure. EDI Accelerator serves as the ultimate B2B tool by solving trading partner challenges that businesses like SMI regularly face.”

About Covast

Covast provides the only integrated EDI solution for the BizTalk Server environment. The combination of Microsoft BizTalk Server and the Covast EDI Accelerator delivers the ultimate B2B solution - enabling companies to easily integrate their EDI infrastructures with internal applications and providing a gateway for connecting trading communities. With European headquarters in the Netherlands and U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Covast has strategic relationships with partners and customers including Microsoft, HP, Akzo Nobel, Grampian Foods, SMI Steel and Oldcastle. For more information, visit

About Commercial Metals Company

Commercial Metals Company (NYSE: CMC) and subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and market steel and metal products, related materials and services through a network of over 130 locations including 4 steel minimills, 32 steel fabrication plants, a castellated and cellular beam fabricating plant, 5 steel joist plants, 4 steel fence post manufacturing plants, 2 heat treating plants, a railcar rebuilding facility, 27 concrete-related product warehouses, an industrial products supply company, a railroad salvage company, a copper tube mill, 44 metal recycling facilities and 16 marketing and distribution offices in the United States and in strategic overseas markets.

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