The new president of Kawasaki Steel Corp. said his company’s decision to integrate operations with NKK Corp. is aimed at acquiring “physical and brain power” to survive “the law of the jungle” that will arise from further liberalization of the global steel market.

The integration of operations is expected to produce more effects than a simple combination of two companies in light of the technological prowess of Kawasaki Steel and NKK, Fumio Sudo said.

In April, NKK and Kawasaki, Japan’s second- and third-largest steelmakers, announced they will integrate operations under a joint holding company in October 2002 in a bid to strengthen their competitiveness in the global market.

In their respective meetings Thursday, shareholders of the two steelmakers approved the companies’ integration plan.

Sudo, who took Kawasaki’s helm earlier in the day, also said the company will conduct its Asian strategy on the basis of its tieup with Hyundai Hysco of South Korea.

Kawasaki will also promote technological cooperation with No. 1 South Korean steelmaker Pohang Iron & Steel Co., which has tied up with Nippon Steel Corp., Japan’s biggest steelmaker, Sudo said.

With regard to operations in the United States, where Kawasaki has tied up with AK Steel Corp. and NKK has National Steel Corp. as a subsidiary, Sudo said it would be “appropriate” for the Kawasaki-NKK alliance to have ties only with AK Steel.

He said maintaining the subsidiary, which has an annual production capacity of 6 million tons, would be unnecessary in the struggling U.S. steel industry.

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