Itochu Corp. and Marubeni Corp. said Friday they will merge their trading subsidiaries dealing in steel construction materials on equal terms on Oct. 1, simultaneous to the integration of their steel businesses.

The merger of Itochu Technometal Co., No. 1 in the domestic industry, and Marubeni Steel Structural Materials Inc., currently No. 3, will create the largest firm selling and exporting steel construction materials in Japan, they said.

The new company, to be named Marubeni-Itochu Techno Steel Inc., will be capitalized at 870 million yen and employ around 370 staff. It is expected to post sales of about 290 billion yen in fiscal 2002, they said.

Itochu and Marubeni plan to strengthen their sales force, increase cost competitiveness, and improve management efficiency, the companies said.

In a bid to boost their steel trading volume, Itochu and Marubeni are preparing to merge their steel operations on Oct. 1, under a fifty-fifty joint venture, Marubeni-Itochu Steel Inc.

Marubeni-Itochu Techno Steel, to be used by the two firms as their core subsidiary, will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Marubeni-Itochu Steel, the companies said.

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