Japan Integrated Steel Makers Keep Active R&D Investment

Japanese 5 integrated steel makers keep high investment for research and development (R&D) in fiscal 2010 ending in March 2011. They advances R&D for high-end steel products applied to growing industries such as energy and environment in order to compete with offshore steel makers.

R&D investment in fiscal 2009 was 46.8 billion yen at Nippon Steel, increased from 45.7 billion yen in fiscal 2008, and 36 billion yen at JFE Holdings, decreased from 41.9 billion yen in fiscal 2008. Sumitomo Metal Industries’ R&D investment was 22.8 billion yen in fiscal 2009, increased from 22.1 billion yen of previous fiscal year. Kobe Steel decreased R&D investment to 28.2 billion yen in fiscal 2009 from 31 billion in fiscal 2008. Nisshin Steel’s investment decreased by 200 million yen to 5 billion yen, too.

Nippon Steel plans consolidated R&D investment at approximately 150 billion yen for 3 years of fiscal 2009-2011. The firm aims to keep technological advantage by acceleration of new product development. JFE Holdings plans to increase R&D investment by 11% to 40 billion yen in fiscal 2010 from fiscal 2009. The firm focuses on environment, energy and resource fields.

Sumitomo Metals plans to increase R&D investment by 7.5% to 24.5 billion yen for new high-end products. Kobe Steel is estimated to increase the investment by 6.4% to 30 billion yen. Nisshin Steel would also maintain high level R&D investment to enhance total solution power.

For April-June 2010, Nippon Steel’s R&D investment was 11.8 billion yen and JFE Holdings’ was 7.4 billion yen. Sumitomo Metals allocated 5.6 billion yen for R&D while Kobe Steel’s 6.5 billion yen and Nisshin Steel’s 1 billion yen. The 5 makers’ total R&D investment increased by 3.5% year-on-year.