ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Nippon Steel to make Thai investment
Nippon Steel Corp, Japan's largest steelmaker, will invest US$300 million (9.07 billion baht) to build a plant in Thailand to produce high-grade steel for the automobile and electrical appliance industries.
The plant will be located next to the Siam United Steel (SUS) plant in Rayong in which Nippon Steel is a major shareholder. With annual production capacity of 360,000 million tonnes of galvanized steel, the facility plans to be operational in 2013.
SUS owns an area of about 250 rai in Rayong, of which slightly more than 100 rai have been used by the existing plant that produces cold-rolled steel sheets, said Payungsak Chartsutipol, a former executive vice-president of SUS and now the company's adviser.
"This is to serve a sharp rise in steel demand from the automotive sector, projected to jump from 1.8 million units this year to 2.5 million in three to five years," said Mr Payungsak.
About half of the cold-rolled steel required for the Nippon Steel plant will be supplied by SUS and the balance will be imported from Japan, he added.
Wikrom Vajragupta, president of the Iron and Steel Institute of Thailand, said Nippon Steel and its competitors were eyeing Thailand's galvanized steel annual consumption of 800,000-900,000 tonnes.
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