Marubeni-Itochu Steel to Invest in Steel Process in Emerging Countries

Marubeni-Itochu Steel’s president Kenichiro Ushino said to a reporter of Japan Metal Bulletin the firm focuses the investment in automobile, energy and infrastructure areas. The firm tries to expand the business through the investment to create new trading business opportunity. He said the firm tries to get major local partners in each area for offshore joint ventures to develop local market.

The firm plans 30-40 billion yen of investment for fiscal 2011 ending March 2012 after the firm decided 20 billion yen of investment mainly for offshore business in fiscal 2010.

The firm has major Chinese joint ventures including Julong Steel Pipe with China National Petroleum (CNPC), China Railway Yihong Steel Sheet Pile with China Railway Materials Commercial and steel sheet and pipe joint ventures with Pangang Group. Marubeni-Itochu Steel has wholly owned Chinese coastal area steel coil centers including Dalian Teng Yang Steel Processing, Jiaxing Hongzhong Steel Processing, Shanghai Rihong Steel Sheets Processing and MI Steel Processing Guangzhou. The firm also has inner China sheet steel joint venture with Pangang Group and China Steel of Taiwan. Mr. Ushino said the firm decided to build new wholly owned coil center in Changchun to cover growing demand in northeastern China.

Marubeni-Itochu Steel purchased 22.2% share in Thai Cold Rolled Steel Sheet (TCR) and 14.9% share in Thai Coated Steel Sheet (TCS) from Marubeni Corporation and Itochu Corporation. Mr. Ushino said Marubeni-Itochu Steel tries to expand steel supply chain in Thailand by utilizing the processing bases including United Coil Center and Premium Steel Processing when the joint venture partner of Sahaviriya Steel Industries of Thai established integrated steel operations after the firm acquired Teeside works from Tata Steel Europe.

Marubeni-Itochu Steel has tailored welded blank business with Caparo Group in India and launched steel processing joint venture with JSW Steel of India recently. Mr. Ushino said JSW Steel needs distribution and processing network to cover northern area of New Delhi through the joint venture, which starts operation in January 2013. He said they eyes expansion to 500,000 tonnes of processing capacity to follow growing demand.

Mr. Ushino said Marubeni-Itochu Steel focuses on steel demand in energy, building and infrastructure areas in Vietnam. The firm has oil drilling materials supply joint venture with PetroVietnam and established color coated steel joint venture with Nippon Steel & Sumikin Coated Sheet and Vietrust Technological Investment while Marubeni-Itochu Steel has shares in local concrete reinforcing steel par maker, Vina Kyoei Steel and local pipe pile making joint venture with Vietnam Steel.

Marubeni-Itochu Steel also expands Indonesian business. The firm launches tailored welded blank business in January 2012 at P.T. United Steel Center Indonesia to cover growing automobile demand. The firm also launches new plant for plate processing to supply construction machinery and commercial vehicle. Marubeni-Itochu Steel also launches PT. PK Manufacturing Indonesia in 2012 to make cabin for hydraulic shovel and eyes commercial vehicle parts production.