Gerdau, headquartered in Porto Alegre, the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, is the largest producer of long steel in the Americas, with steel mills in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Peru, Spain, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela. It also holds a 40% stake in the Spanish company Sidenor. Currently, Gerdau has an installed capacity of 26 million metric tons of steel per year and offers steel for the civil construction, automobile, industrial, agricultural and various sectors. Gerdau is the world’s 14th largest steelmaker and the largest producer of long steel in the Americas. It has 337 industrial and commercial units and more than 45,000 employees across 14 countries. Gerdau was founded by Johannes Heinrich Kaspar Gerdau, known as João Gerdau, a German migrant who left the port of Hamburg for Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil, in 1869 in search of new business opportunities. He arrived at the port of Rio Grande, Rio Grande do Sul and, at only 20 years of age, established himself in Colônia de Santo Ângelo (now the town of Agudo), where he invested in trade, transport and the subdivision of land. He moved to the town of Cachoeira do Sul in 1884, where he founded an important General Store. Always seeking new opportunities, João Gerdau moved again, this time to Porto Alegre, with his wife Alvine Gerdau and his three children, Hugo, Walter and Bertha. There he went into industry, buying the Pontas de Paris Nail Factory in 1901 marking the entry into steel industry.