World no.2 stainless steel maker, Acerinox’s chairman and CEO Victoriano Munoz said the stainless output capacity will increase by 16% to 3 million tonnes in 2007. The firm will become world no.1 after the capacity expansion to 3.5 million tonnes by end of 2008 exceeding no.1 stainless maker, ThyssenKrupp. Acerinox tries to seek world no.1 competitiveness through the expansion to meet growing stainless demand worldwide. The firm started study for new production site in Asia other than current sites in Europe, North America and South Africa while the firm keeps studying for cold rolling joint venture with Nisshin Steel. The firm seeks another growth based on new capacity in growing market. The firm already announced the 437 million euro of expansion including 38% more annual output capacity for hot rolling with 3.1 million tonnes, 25% more for cold rolling and 59% more for long products by end of 2008 compared with output in 2006. The firm expands the stainless steel making capacity by 400,000 tonnes to 1.4 million tonnes at North American Stainless (NAS) in USA. The firm also increases the cold rolling capacity by 60,000 tonnes for Acerinox in Spain, 200,000 tonnes for NAS and 100,000 tonnes for Columbus Stainless in South Africa. Mr. Munoz said the firm focuses on better competitiveness while with the expansion, the firm exceeds ThyssenKrupp with 2.86 million tonnes of stainless steel output in 2006. Acerinox tries to meet higher demand through competitive operations including low cost operation of Acerinox, NAS with more than 30% flat products share in USA and Columbus with competitive condition of electricity, chrome resource and human resource. Mr. Munoz said the firm is in study for new production site though the firm now focuses on the expansion for annual 3.5 million tonnes of capacity. Mr. Munoz excludes China as potential new plant and expects the firm could build new plant in growing Asia. The firm tries to seek long term growth through new operation in Asia.
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