Kobe Steel Expands Aluminium Disc Output at Record Level

Kobe Steel enjoys firm aluminium disc market. The firm increases the aluminium blank materials to monthly 26 million units at Moka plant for the year from 22 million units in 2005. The output reaches record 36 million units including output at Kobe Precision Technology, which makes aluminium computer disc substrates in Malaysia. The firm expects the blank materials output could reach 30 million units in the beginning of 2007 under the firm demand. The firm targets 26 million units of the disc sales under 3-year plan to 2008. However, the demand expands more than the expectation. The Malaysian operation produces 20 million units per month, which is full capacity operation, with 50% sourcing of blank materials from Moka plant. The firm expands the Malaysian operation to 28 million units per month in March 2007 for US$ 47 million. The firm said the Moka plant can 32-33 million units with current facilities. The firm is still cautious for another expansion at Moka after the firm experienced wide up and down in the business. The firm started in the second half of 2005 to increase the selling price of disc. The firm already hiked the price by averaged 3 yen per unit for January shipment to cover higher premium of high purity aluminium ingot. The hike was the first hike after 2 yen price increase in 2004 to revise light metal rolling charge. The firm will keep the price so far considering another hike depending on the ingot price.