Nippon Steel joins Alabama plant deal


Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and ArcelorMittal of Luxembourg have reached a broad agreement to jointly buy ThyssenKrupp AG’s automobile steel sheet plant in Alabama, sources said Wednesday.

The acquisition price is seen reaching some ¥200 billion, which is likely to be split equally between ArcelorMittal, the biggest steel maker in the world, and second-ranking Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, the sources said.

The German steel giant ThyssenKrupp said Nov. 19 that it is in exclusive negotiations on the potential sale of the U.S. plant.

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal and ArcelorMittal are jointly producing sheet metal for automobiles in Indiana. The acquisition of the Alabama plant would double their annual output capacity in the U.S. to some 4 million tons.

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal started auto sheet metal output in Mexico in August to meet growing demand from Japanese automakers operating in North America.

The Alabama plant went into operation in 2010, but its profitability has deteriorated amid intense competition.