Nippon Steel buys into Aussie maker

Kyodo

Nippon Steel Corp. said Monday it will purchase a 50 percent stake in the building-use steel sheet operation of Australia’s BlueScope Steel Ltd. in Southeast Asia and in the United States, with the aim of expanding its nonautomotive businesses abroad.

Nippon Steel and its building product subsidiary Nippon Steel & Sumikin Coated Sheet Co. will invest a combined $554 million (about ¥43 billion) in BlueScope Steel’s operation, which will be organized into an equally held joint venture, provisionally named NS BlueScope Coated Products.

The joint venture’s main products are hot-dip galvanized steel sheet, painted steel sheet and roll-formed building products. The investment procedures are expected to be completed by March next year, Japan’s top steelmaker said.

Nippon Steel will supply substrates for processing by the joint venture, which has an annual galvanizing capacity of 1.4 million tons and painting capacity of 650,000 tons.

“We will make a new push into the building supplies business by making this sizable investment,” Nippon Steel Executive Vice President Shinya Higuchi said in a briefing.

Nippon Steel and BlueScope have been partners since the ’70s.