Fri, Nov 17, 2006 - Page 12 News List

China Steel's share price up on investment plans

STAFF WRITER

Shares of China Steel Corp (中鋼), the nation's largest steelmaker, rose 1.9 percent yesterday on announcement that the company will invest NT$200 billion (US$6.09 billion) to expand capacity in the next five years.

Shares of China Steel rose NT$0.6 to close at NT$31.95 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The benchmark TAIEX advanced 0.29 percent during the same session.

China Steel chairman Chiang Yao-chung (江耀宗) said on Wednes-day that the company plans to invest more than NT$200 billion to boost its annual crude steel capacity to 20 million tonnes by 2009.

China Steel hopes to see annual sales reach NT$250 billion by 2010, a 25 percent increase over this year, Chiang said during a ceremony to mark his first anniversary on the post.

The Kaohsiung-based steelmaker saw pre-tax earnings jump 98 percent to NT$5.99 billion last month, the highest month of the year, on sales of NT$17.05 billion.

With rising steel prices and strong demand, Chiang said he is very optimistic on the company's profitability for next year.

Citing a forecast from the International Iron and Steel Institute, Chiang said worldwide steel consumption would increase 5.2 percent next year over this year, with demand from China and India rising 10.4 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.

He shrugged off a rumor that Indian steel giant Arcelor Mittal has contacted the firm about an acquisition deal, saying China Steel would ward off any hostile takeover bid.

China Steel will hold a meeting next Thursday to decide prices of steel products for the first quarter of next year. Chiang said the prices are expected to remain stable into next year, or even rise for some items.

Steeling home

* The company plans to invest more than NT$200 billion to boost its crude steel capacity by 2009.

* It predicts annual sales will reach NT$250 billion by 2010, a 25 percent increase over this year.


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