Wed, Aug 24, 2011 - Page 11 News List

China Steel to sell bonds, build new plant in India

GOING ABROAD:The firm plans to find Indian partners and build electrical steel sheet production lines to take advantage of demand in the Middle East and North Africa

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff Reporter

China Steel Corp (CSC, 中鋼), the nation’s largest steelmaker, plans to sell as much as NT$20 billion (US$689.9 million) in bonds in Taiwan this year and it plans to invest US$66.58 million in an electrical steel sheet plant in India.

CSC, based in Siaogang District (小港), Greater Kaohsiung, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday that its board had agreed to the sale of non-collateralized bonds, which will reach maturity in three to seven years with a yield of less than 2 percent, because the company plans to use the proceeds to enhance its working capital.

The company has not set a date for the bond issue or its pricing, the statement said.

CSC is among several Taiwanese firms selling corporate bonds amid a stable economic outlook and because of businesses’ refinancing needs, while interest rates remain relatively low compared with levels seen before the 2008 global financial crisis.

On Monday, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, sold NT$18 billion in bonds in two installments, including NT$10.5 billion in five-year bonds at a yield of 1.40 percent and NT$7.5 billion in seven-year bonds at 1.63 percent, Bloomberg reported, citing spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun (孫又文).

CSC’s board yesterday also approved a plan to engage foreign strategic partners in building electrical steel sheet production lines in the Bharuch district of India’s Gujarat State for US$66.58 million.

“This investment will allow the company to meet the high demand for electrical steel sheets in India and help to expand [our] reach to other markets, such as the Middle East, Europe and North Africa,” CSC said in the statement.

CSC will own a 37.4 percent stake in the Indian project, with an estimated investment totaling US$178 million. The company will build an annealing-and-coating production line to produce 200,000 tonnes of non-oriented electrical steel sheets per year, which are used as the key material in the manufacturing of high efficiency motors. The project will start construction next month and is scheduled for starting a test run in October 2013 , the statement said.

CSC executive vice president David Du (杜金陵) said the project's annual output will reach 1 million tonnes in four years and its revenue contribution to the company will be about NT$5 billion a year. CSC, however, did not disclose the identity of the foreign investors.

Because CSC also plans to diversify its business portfolio into the health sector, the board yesterday approved another plan to invest NT$200 million in the government-orchestrated Taiwan Medtech Fund (TMF).

The government launched the fund last week with the aim of raising as much as US$200 million in its initial stage. The Cabinet’s National Development Fund has already injected NT$1 billion into TMF, with investments expected from other state-run companies, including CPC Corp, Taiwan (台灣中油), Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖) and Taiwan Salt Co (台鹽).

At yesterday’s meeting, the directors also signed off on the management’s report on first-half performance — CSC saw net income drop by 35.58 percent year-on-year because of a surge in the cost of raw materials.

During the first half, CSC reported NT$15.34 billion in net income, or NT$1.16 earnings per share (EPS), on revenues of NT$120.13 billion. For the whole of last year, its net income was NT$37.59 billion, or NT$2.83 EPS, on revenues of NT$239.19 billion, company data showed.

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