Geneva Steel has announced its intention to sell shares of company stock to the public.

Basic Manufacturing and Technologies of Utah, Inc., which does business as Geneva Steel, has been a privately held company since it was reopened in 1987. Officials will file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the "near future" outlining an initial offering of common stock, according to a press release. The offering is expected to consist of both primary and secondary shares, and will be made only by means of a prospectus.The proceeds of the shares to be sold by the company will be used for capital expenditures and general corporate purposes. Company spokeswoman Mary Kay Lazarus said SEC regulations prevent company officials from discussing the proposal.

Connie White, assistant director of registration, state division of securities, said there are a variety of reasons a company may decide to go public - to avoid having to borrow money from a bank is one of them. Also, public companies are believed to be more prestigious, White said.

Geneva recently announced plans to spend more than $70 million on an extensive environmental modernization program.

White said the SEC could take anywhere from a month to a year to review and approve Geneva's registration statement after it is filed.

According to one Provo stockbroker, shares of the company's stock could prove to be very popular.

"From my personal standpoint, I think in Utah County - and in Utah, period - it would be a very popular stock," said Tony Martin, a stockbroker with Piper, Jaffray & Hopwood. "Most people know Geneva, know what they do, and a lot of people work there."

Martin said the stock's popularity elsewhere would depend on how well it is marketed.

A little more than a year ago, the possibility of a public stock offering caused friction between company president Joe Cannon and his brother, Christopher Cannon, who worked together to buy the steel mill from USX Corp.

Christopher Cannon opposed taking the company public and said he was "afraid rich Easterners will buy up the stock and dominate the company." Upset over the management and direction the company was taking under his brother's direction, he filed suit against Joe Cannon.

The brothers later reached an agreement that included keeping the company privately owned for the time being and the formation of a venture capital company to be run by Christopher Cannon.