Nippon Steel eyes M&As overseas to emerge a global leader
03 September 2020
Nippon Steel Corp, Japan's top steelmaker, is pushing overseas expansion with plans for mergers and acquisitions to emerge as the world’s leading steel maker as continued losses from shrinking domestic sales started hurting profitability.
The Japanese steel giant, which merged domestic peer Sumitomo Metal Industries in October 2012 to become Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, has since followed an aggressive restructuring and business development plan in Japan and abroad
Reports citing Nippon Steel president Eiji Hashimoto said the steelmaker is seeking overseas mergers and acquisitions but not further deals at home. Perhaps Nippon Steel’s last domestic acquisition in Japan was Nippon Steel Nisshin, which was converted to a wholly-owned subsidiary.
"We are not considering to proceed with any further M&As in Japan, but we want to seek M&As overseas," Hashimoto told a news conference, the key growth markets for Nippon Steel being India, the United States and ASEAN countries.
The world's third-biggest steelmaker wants to boost its group-wide crude steel output to 100 million tonnes from about 65 million tonnes to become a "leading global steelmaker", he said, without giving a timeline.
"We still aim to become the world's top steelmaker by market capitalisation, but our first aim is to be the top steelmaker (by capitalisation) excluding Chinese rivals," he said.
Also the acquisition of Ovako in Sweden included Sanyo Special Steel in the arrangement, which also became Nippon Steel subsidiary.
Jointly with ArcelorMittal, Nippon Steel is engaged in the process of integrating Essar Steel, an integrated blast furnace steelmaker in India.
Nippon Steel, which renamed itself as `Nippon Steel Corporation’, is looking to grow in the world market, as a global steelmaker with origins in Japan.
Hashimoto reiterated that "additional restructuring measures are necessary", but did not give any further details. The company will announce such measures when finalised, he said.
To cope with slumping demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nippon Steel has temporarily idled about 30 percent of its furnace capacity, suspending six blast furnaces out of 15 in Japan.
Hashimoto said Nippon Steel may resume operation at one of the six suspended furnaces by end-March if a faster-than-expected recovery in demand in China and Japan continues.
Nippon Steel plans to announce its carbon reduction plans to 2030 and 2050 during the financial year to end-March 2021, Hashimoto said.