Business / Corporate

NSSMC to change name to Nippon Steel next year as it prepares for global competition

Kyodo

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSMC) will change its name to Nippon Steel Corp. next April as the group pushes ahead with streamlining, the company said.

Japan’s biggest steel-maker said Wednesday it will turn its 51 percent held Nisshin Steel Co. subsidiary into a fully owned unit in January and integrate its stainless steel plate operations into Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless Steel Corp. in April.

The move comes amid fierce competition from major steel-makers in developing countries who have been expanding market share through aggressive production increases and competitive pricing.

The steel industry also faces a new challenge after the United States recently imposed 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum, sparking fears of a global trade war.

“We see the need to strengthen competition at an early stage amid tough market conditions due to oversupply,” NSSMC President Kosei Shindo told a news conference Wednesday.

Shindo vowed to maximize synergistic effects within the group to respond to the changing business environment, including growing demand for lightweight steel sheets used in electric vehicles.

The change of name comes more than five years after NSSMC was created through the merger of Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. in 2012.

The company will resuscitate the name Nippon Steel Corp. as it wants to “make it clear that the company originated in Japan when entering the global market,” Shindo said. Nippon is a variant of Nihon, which means Japan in Japanese.