12 Oct 2009 13:33

ArcelorMittal expands presence in China via existing JV partners - CEO

Beijing. October 12. INTERFAX-CHINA - ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel mill, is continuing to expand in China through its existing joint venture partners, including Hunan Valin Group and Hebei Province-based China Oriental Group, Lakshmi Mittal, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, told Interfax on Oct. 12 at the 43rd World Steel Association annual conference held in Beijing.

Mittal said that ArcelorMittal is expanding into downstream steel projects in cooperation with Valin Group to produce high value-added products, which could supply the automobile industry, and electrical steel products.

A Valin Group employee, who asked to remain anonymous, told Interfax that on Oct. 9, the company kicked off construction on a joint venture automobile sheet facility and an electrical steel facility in Hunan, with an annual production capacity of 1.2 million tons and 400,000 tons respectively.

Mittal also mentioned that the company intends to cooperate on management training as well as technology and innovation with its joint venture partners in China.

According to a previous announcement by Valin Tube and Wire, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of Valin Group, Valin Tube holds a controlling 34 percent stake in the automobile sheet joint venture, with the remaining 66 percent equally divided between Valin Group and ArcelorMittal.

ArcelorMittal is also eying a steel sheet piling project with China Oriental but there is no timetable at the moment, an industry insider close to the steel giant said. China Oriental mainly produces steel H-beams.

As the Chinese government tightened regulations on foreign companies holding controlling majority stakes in Chinese steel mills since 2007, ArcelorMittal failed in its previous attempt to acquire Laiwu Iron and Steel Group based in Shandong Province.