New Nippon Steel president outlines global expansion goals

Nippon Steel representative director, president and chief operating officer Tadashi Imai says his company will “seize global growth opportunities,” Kallanish discovers from a Nippon Steel press release on 1 April.

While actively pursuing the acquisition of US Steel, Nippon Steel outlines its rationale for expanding its business operations across the globe.

“We are expanding our integrated steelmaking business in growing markets, particularly in India, ASEAN, and North America following the completion of the planned acquisition of US Steel,” states Imai. “This means that we are entering a new stage in our global expansion. Japan needs to become the global headquarters that deploys necessary resources according to local needs and provides strong support for the sound development of local group companies.”

Nippon’s new president says the company faces challenges in Japan that make global expansion critical to the company’s success.

“In Japan, amid a declining population and a shift away from manufacturing to a service-based economy, a natural recovery in steel demand cannot be expected,” explains Imai. “We will take this time of great changes in society and capture new business opportunities to our advantage.”

Integral to Nippon’s plan moving forward are seizing global growth opportunities, becoming “a pioneer in decarbonisation, and [taking] a giant step forward as the ‘best steelmaker with world-leading capabilities’,” Imai says.

Nippon Steel has bid $15 billion for the acquisition of US Steel in an agreement that is under heavy scrutiny in the US (see Kallanish passim).

Kristen DiLandro USA

Austria’s steel production decreases in February

Austria’s steelmakers decreased crude steel production in February compared with the previous month, according to worldsteel data.

Output amounted to 580,000 tonnes, down by 8.6% from January, but 1.3% more year-on-year, Kallanish notes. Austria remained at 21st place in the ranking of top ten global steel producers in February, worldsteel data show.

In January-February, the country produced 1.2 million tonnes of steel, up 6.5% on-year.

Overall EU output in February was flat on-year to 1.05mt. In the first two months of the month steel production was again flat on January-February 2023 to 21.1mt.

Austria’s largest steelmaker, voestalpine, has decided in March to change the planned strategic repositioning of Buderus Edelstahl into the sale of the subsidiary (see Kallanish passim). It says it is doing this in reaction to the economic conditions for industrial manufacturing companies in Germany.

This will result in negative one-off effects on the group’s Ebitda of about €90 million ($98m) and on Ebit of about €410m. This means an adjustment to the Ebitda expectation for the business year 2023-24 from around €1.7 billion to around €1.6 billion.

Earlier, the plant placed an order with Primetals Technologies for a 180-tonne electric arc furnace to be implemented at the steel producer’s site in Linz. Startup is scheduled for 2027. Construction of the 850,000 tonnes/year capacity EAF will begin in 2024, with commissioning scheduled three years later.

In 2023, Austria’s commerce chamber, Wirtschaftskammer Österreich (WKO), expressed concern over the crash in demand and orders for commodities in the country (see Kallanish passim). WKO saw orders declining by as much as 30%, with no relief in sight.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria