Trading houses Mitsubishi Corp. and Nissho Iwai Corp. said Wednesday they will set up a joint venture Oct. 1 to integrate their steel businesses.

The venture, specializing in steel products transactions, will be capitalized at 150 billion yen, with Mitsubishi putting up 90 billion yen and Nissho Iwai the remainder, they said in a news release.

The venture will employ about 750 people and have annual consolidated sales of 2.08 trillion yen, making it the largest Japanese steel trader in terms of sales, they said.

Sales of a rival steel trading house set up by Marubeni Corp. and Itochu Corp. total 1.7 trillion yen.

Mitsubishi board member Norio Okada will assume the chairmanship of the venture, and Nissho Iwai board member Masashi Mizutani will be president, they said.

The pair will seek to bolster profitability by consolidating existing business bases used by the traders’ steel sections, and by cutting personnel and distribution costs, they said.

The venture will be headquartered in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

The companies announced in January 2001 that they had agreed to integrate their steel products operations under a joint venture by fall 2002, but the ratio of ownership in the joint firm was not disclosed at that time.

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