Nippon Steel to Launch Thai Galvanizing Line in 2013

Nippon Steel announced on Monday the firm builds automotive grade hot-dip galvanizing line in Thailand for around US$ 300 million. The firm establishes wholly owned subsidiary for the plant in the month. The firm builds new plant with annual 360,000 tonnes of output capacity to launch in 2013. The firm tries to supply high grade galvannealed steel products from the line with ability as Japanese lines when Japanese automakers try to procure from local suppliers.

The new plant is located in adjacent site of Nippon Steel’s cold rolling subsidiary, Siam United Steel in Rayong province. The new plant procures the material flat steel from SUS basically while the plant imports some of material flat steel from Nippon Steel only when SUS cannot makes the grade and sizes. The new plant supplies the products mainly for automobile applications from the new line with 700-1,880 millimeters width and 0.4-2.3 mm width of maximum production range.

Nippon Steel decided the new line when Thai automobile production reached 1.64 million units in 2010 through sharp recovery from slump after Lehman shock. The firm expects the automobile production will grow by annualized 5-6% to reach 2 million units in several years and to reach 2.5 million units in future. The firm expects the galvanizing steel demand will increase from current 700,000 tonnes to 1 million tonnes level.

The new line is 8th offshore hot-dip galvanizing line for Nippon Steel while the part of joint venture is under construction in Mexico. The total annual output capacity is 3.5 million tonnes including joint venture. The firm eyes restart of construction for No.2 line at US joint venture and potential No.4 line at Chinese joint venture. The firm has total 6.5 million tonnes of automotive grade flat steel making capacity including Indian cold rolled flat steel joint venture, which starts operation in 2013. The firm eyes potential expansion at SUS depending on the demand.

Japanese automakers try to make small car models in emerging countries while the automakers try to increase local procurement of the parts and materials. Nippon Steel tries to meet the local procurement needs. The firm supplies high strength steel up to 980 mega pascal class from the new line.