JEF Steel to Expand Plate Mill toward 6 million tonnes in F2008

JFE Steel tries to expand the plate steel mill output capacity under strong demand. The firm increased the capacity by more than 10,000 tonnes at Keihin are of East Japan works in fiscal 2006 ended March 2007. The plate output reached around 5.4 million tonnes in fiscal 2006 hitting the record after the integration of Kawasaki Steel and NKK in 2003. The firm targets 6 million tonnes of plate output capacity by fiscal 2008. The firm considers additional expansion for heat treatment capacity to increase the output of high valued products. The firm expects the plate steel supply keeps tight despite of the full capacity operations by domestic makers when domestic shipbuilders keep order backlog up to 2012 along with strong demand for construction machinery and energy industry. The firm estimates the demand also increases for building structure and bridge. The firm tries to keep the delivery schedule under tight rolling schedule through close communication with the users. The firm seeks higher price for shipbuilders and other plate users to improve the profitability when the domestic price level is still lower than international level. The firm also tries to improve the products mix increasing high valued products by 10 percentage points from current 60% for high valued items and 20% for only one and number one items in the year. The firm also develops new products line to meet severer demand from manufacturers including shipbuilders and machinery makers.