Tata Steel signs pact with Vietnam Steel Corp for rolling mill

Mumbai: Tata Steel Ltd has signed an agreement with Vietnam Steel Corp to undertake a feasibility study for building a cold rolling mill for the state-run firm, Tata Steel said in a statement.

Tata Steel, the world''s sixth-largest steelmaker, said it will hold a minimum 65 per cent stake in the project, which will be phased over 10 years, as well as a 30 per cent stake in the Thach Khe Iron Ore Joint Stock Company which will undertake mining in the Thach Khe iron ore mine in Vietnam.

Tata Steel had, on 29 May, signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam Steel over a steel project in the Ha Tinh Province of Vietnam. Tata Steel''s Singaporean unit NatSteel Ltd already has a joint venture with Vietnam Steel.

The two companies are also carrying out a separate feasibility study for a steel project in Vietnam''s Ha Tinh province, it added.

"Both the companies firmly believe that the simultaneous development of the domestic primary steel and value-added steel production is fundamental to the sustainable growth of the steel industry in Vietnam," the statement said.

Tata Steel did not give details of potential investments.

The firm''s September quarter net profit rose a better-than-expected 8 per cent due to higher metal sales and foreign exchange gains.

Robust demand from construction and the auto industry and declining exports from China kept steel prices strong, and analysts expect Tata Steel to gain significantly from this year''s $13 billion purchase of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group.

Vietnam Steel has an annual steel capacity of two million tonnes, while Tata Steel''s combined capacity after the acquisition of Corus is 25.6 million tonnes.