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Thai steel firm raises stake in downstream unit


September 26, 2008

Thai steel firm raises stake in downstream unit
Thai hot-rolled steel coil maker Sahaviriya Steel Industries said on Thursday it had spent 3.45 billion baht ($103 million) to raise its stake in a Japanese-run downstream unit to a controlling 50.15 percent from 18 percent, Reuters reported.

Increasing its stake in Thai Cold Rolled Steel Sheet was part of the company's expansion plan, President Win Viriyaprapaikit said in a statement.

Japan's JFE Steel Corp, a unit of JFE Holdings Inc, and Japan's fifth biggest trading firm, Marubeni Corp, held a combined 44.6 percent after the Sahaviriya acquisition, it said.

Thai Cold Rolled has annual capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of cold-rolled sheet, which uses hot-rolled steel as a raw material. Cold-rolled sheet is used in the auto, electrical and construction sectors.

Sahaviriya Steel wants to cut costs by expanding into downstream and upstream steel. Sahaviriya Group, which owns 47 percent of Sahaviriya Steel, has planned to start building a $10 billion iron ore smelter in the fourth quarter of this year.

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