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World's No. 2 steel firm born

Publication Date : 02-10-2012


Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSMC) was officially inaugurated Monday with the merger of Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. into the world's second-largest steelmaker.

The new company held ceremonies such as the unveiling of its new sign at its headquarters in Tokyo's Marunouchi district.

"I'm convinced we will be able to survive intense global competition as we are the No. 1 steelmaker in comprehensive strength," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Shoji Muneoka, the former president of Nippon Steel.

The new firm's President and Chief Operating Officer Hiroshi Tomono, former Sumitomo Metal Industries president, called for internal harmony.

"From today, we will create new values with new colleagues in a new work style," he said.

NSSMC produces about 46 million tons of crude steel annually, which is more than South Korea's POSCO but still only half of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the world's largest producer. The new company has embarked under poor business conditions such as the strong yen and the slowing Chinese economy.

'Advantages in technology'

In an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun, Muneoka said the new firm has great advantages in technology and research because there is no other steelmaker in the world with 800 researchers and a 70 billion yen research budget.

He was bullish about the new entity's prospects, saying, "I'm convinced we will become the top company in terms of overall strength."

During the interview, Muneoka revealed his plan to enter the global market extensively and efficiently by utilising NSSMC's abundant funds and human resources.

"We'd like to be a model of realignment and integration [for Japanese companies] to thrive in the global market," he said.

On the other hand, Muneoka said he is aware the new firm is behind its Asian rivals in cost-cutting because of the strong yen and other factors. "I plan to implement measures and programmes to catch up with POSCO in a year or two," he said.

Regarding elimination and merging of blast furnaces and plants, which are too numerous, Muneoka said he would decide on them from a medium and long-term perspective.

He also mentioned plans to aggressively send employees of the new company to overseas offices to deal with the increase in the number of employees following the merger.


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