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Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co., a major electric furnace-based steelmaker, plans to establish a steelworks in 2009, the first domestic factory set up by the company in 14 years, company officials said Wednesday.

The steelworks will manufacture sheet metal for automobile bodies in the city of Tawara, home to Toyota Motor Corp.’s largest factory in Aichi Prefecture, in addition to products for use in building construction, the officials said.

The company last completed a new steelworks in 1995 in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture.

Tokyo Steel apparently wants to move into the automobile sheet metal market, which has been dominated by blast furnace-based steelmaking giants, industry observers said.

The capital outlay will amount to roughly 100 billion yen, with the new plant set to nearly double its combined output, the observers said.

The supply-and-demand situation in the automobile materials market is tight, and Tokyo Steel is eager to supply Toyota and other automakers, they said.

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