Optima Steel International (Optima) started steel marketing and distribution services in 1997 as part of Oxbow Carbon & Minerals, a leading global producer, marketer, and distributor of raw materials to both the domestic and international communities. While concentrating on West Coast opportunities, the company developed and perfected a unique business model, and thus experienced dramatic growth at the start of 2000. As the company grew, the natural next step was to separate the steel marketing and distribution activities from the carbon and minerals business, allowing each entity to focus on their core competencies. In 2006, Oxbow Steel International was formed, becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Oxbow Group.
In 2010, Oxbow Steel committed to developing a strategic balance in terms of product and geographic diversification, and opened a sales office in Pittsburgh, PA. This expansion provided an opportunity to bring the unique business model to the East, Midwest, and Southeast markets. In August 2013, a group of managing partners, with the help from outside investors and banking partners, was able to purchase Oxbow Steel from its parent Oxbow Carbon & Minerals Holdings. As part of the purchase agreement, in February 2014, the company changed its name to Optima Steel International, LLC.