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yellow   Gerdau's Q1 Earnings Jump 175%
    Brazilian steel group Gerdau's first quarter net income jumped 175% to 440mn reais (US$197mn) compared to same-period last year.
The increase reflects higher operating income received in the period, the company reported in its quarterly earnings release But compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, net income was down 10.6%, Gerdau added.
Net sales for 1Q14 reached 10.5bn reais, up 15.1% compared to 1Q13. Cost of sales rose 11.9% to 9.24bn reais and Ebitda rose 48.6% to 1.20bn reais.
In Brazil, Gerdau's biggest market, cost of goods sold decreased 1.3% to 2.91bn reais. Domestic sales increased 12% to 3.36bn reais, while revenue from exports totaled 295mn reais, down 35.3% in the period.
Crude steel production increased 3.3% year-on-year to 4.557Mt. Consolidated shipments decreased 3.7% to 4.387Mt in the quarter.
yellow   Baosteel Orders PQSC® Piercer Plugs
    Baosteel has ordered PQSC® piercer plugs from SMS Meer, Germany. The plugs are to be delivered in several sizes. Baosteel plans to use them to produce a variety of tube dimensions. They will be installed in a cone-type piercer delivered by SMS Meer some years ago. Baosteel uses these piercer plugs for the production of seamless tubes with chromium alloy. In making this investment the company aims to improve its process stability. What's more, Baosteel is looking to gain cost advantages due to the long service life of the PQSC® plugs. PQSC® stands for "Premium Quality Surface Coating". The PQSC® piercer plugs have a special ceramic coating to ensure high service lives for improved inside tube surfaces. The plugs are used in the first stage of seamless tube production, cross-roll piercing. Here the ingots are rolled over a piercer plug. These solid steel ingots are then turned into tube shells.
During the piercing process the plugs are surrounded by red-hot steel and exposed to extreme thermal and mechanical stresses. PQSC® piercer plugs from SMS Meer are capable of withstanding such stresses for particularly long periods of time. This enables tube producers to save tooling costs and increase their plant's productivity. In addition, PQSC® piercer plugs are able to meet high standards in terms of production reliability, freedom from flaws, dimensional accuracy, and thereby safeguard product quality.
Both Baosteel and SMS Meer can look back on many years of successful cooperation together. Back in the 1970s the Chinese company took delivery of a tube mandrel mill from SMS Meer, then called Mannesmann Meer.
yellow   Chinese Steel Cable ‘A Threat’ to Mexican Producers
    Mexico's economy ministry will continue an antidumping probe into Chinese steel cable after ruling the imports pose a threat to Mexican producers.
In a preliminary investigation, the ministry determined that there was sufficient evidence that cable from China was being dumped and that the imports constitute a threat of damage to Mexico's steel cable industry.
However, the ministry did not impose preliminary antidumping duties on the imports, saying such measures must be imposed with "special care."
The investigation was launched in August following a complaint by Mexican steel maker DeAcero. The probe is considering steel cable imported from China during 2012.
Imports of steel products at below fair value by Chinese companies are seen as a key threat to Mexican producers.
So far this year Mexican authorities have imposed preliminary antidumping duties on certain steel plate imports from China and full duties on steel tube imports from the country, but decided against imposing preliminary duties on imports of steel mesh.
The economy ministry has also launched an antidumping investigation into Chinese imports of cold-rolled steel sheet following a complaint by steelmaker Ternium México.
yellow   Essar Steel to Make Steel at Refurbished Zimbabwe Plant within 2 Years
    Essar bought state owned Zisco, since renamed NewZim Steel, in 2010 but disagreements within the government over mineral rights owned by the unit prevented it starting up operations.
Industry Minister Joey Bimha said that Essar Steel Ltd's Zimbabwe unit will produce an annual 500,000 tonne of the metal when it finishes the USD 650 mn first phase of the refurbishment of a plant in the nation within two years. Bimha told reporters in the capital Harare that “Whilst revival plans are being undertaken by the government of Zimbabwe, Essar has also agreed to implement immediate interim measures that would inject funding into NewZim Steel and offer relief to workers. The second-phase will see production rise to 1.2 MT a year.” Firdhose Coovadia, Essar director for capital, said that Essar will pay USD 187 million of debt owned by Redcliff based NewZim to Germany's KfW development bank. A further USD 204 million will be paid to local creditors and USD 59 mn to China's Sino Sure Ltd. Coovadia said that the company also plans a 600 MW power plant, with half of its output going to NewZim and the rest sold to Zimbabwe power utility Zesa Holdings Limited. Essar got a license from the regulator to produce and transmit the power.
yellow    Angang Steel to Galvanize 450,000 Tons of Steel Strip Per Year
    Angang Steel has placed an order with SMS Siemag, Germany, for the supply of a continuous hot-dip galvanizing line. The line, designed to galvanize 450,000 tons per year of steel strip, will be installed in a new plant near the city of Guangzhou in the province of Guandong. Starting in the second half of 2015, the plant will produce mainly deep-drawing grades and high-strength steels, including modern dual-phase steels, for the automotive industry. Aside from structural components, also premium-surface strips for exposed vehicle parts will be made. In addition to the design of the complete mechanical equipment and the manufacture of the core machines, the scope of supply also includes the supervision of installation and commissioning as well as the coordination of all key subcontractors. SMS Siemag will also supply all the electrical and automation systems.
The line will be designed for strips in thicknesses ranging between 0.4 and 2.5 millimeters and widths between 800 and 1,880 millimeters. In the process section, the strip will be galvanized at a process speed of 160 m/min, while in the entry and exit sections speeds of up to 220 m/min will be attained. The steel grades to be processed will be CQ, DQ, DDQ, EDDQ, HS and DP. The strips will be galvanized and galvannealed. In the line, the cold-rolled strip will first be annealed and objectively cooled to achieve the desired material properties. By hot-dip galvanizing, the strip receives durable corrosion protection and an attractive appearance and becomes more resistant to mechanical loading.
To achieve high cooling rates, DREVER International will install a vertical radiant tube furnace. The furnace will have an oxidation chamber to increase the wettability of steel grades with high manganese and silicon contents through objective oxidation and subsequent reduction. Furthermore, a high-quality air-knife system from DUMA-BANDZINK will be integrated. Modern features such as a patented radial regulating device, an automatic lip cleaner and a width adjustment system for the air knife will achieve high-grade surfaces. DREVER International and DUMA-BANDZINK are both companies of the SMS group.
Essential components of the hot-dip galvanizing line include the entry section with two uncoilers, the entry accumulator, cleaning section, the DREVER radiant tube annealing furnace with oxidation chamber, two zinc pots, the DUMA-BANDZINK air-knife system, the galvannealing furnace, cooling section, intermediate accumulator, skin-pass mill, tension leveler, roll-coater with a drying and cooling, inspection station, DUMA-BANDZINK oiling machine, flying shear and tension reel. system from DREVER, the exit accumulator, side trimmer with scrap chopper
yellow   Brazil Imports of Welded Steel Tubes Slump by 69% in April
    According to statistics released by customs, Brazil imported 6,487 tonnes of welded steel pipes in April, slumping by 69% YoY and decreasing by 36% from March. In April, China was the largest exporter of welded steel pipes to Brazil with 1,318 tonnes in comparison of 2,2,11 tonnes in March. Meanwhile, Brazil's imports of seamless steel pipes amounted to 7,212 tonnes in April, rising by 19% YoY while falling by 10% from a month ago. Germany was the largest seamless steel pipes supplier to Brazil with 1,519 tonnes in April, lower than 1,983 tonnes in March.
yellow   Japan's Small Bar Output Projected at 2.38 MT
    According to the compilation of their production plans by the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry, Japan's electric steelmakers plan to produce a total of 2,380,000 tonnes of small bars, averaging 793,000 tonnes per month, in April to June 2014 or in the Q1 of fiscal 2014 (April 2014 to March 2015).
The planned production volume of small bars is smaller by 70,000 tonnes or 2.7% than a definite 2,450,000 tonnes of actual production in the Q1 of fiscal 2013. The planned production volume, though, indicates an increase of 130,000 tons or 5.8% from an estimated 2,250,000 tons of actual production in the Q4 of fiscal 2013.
yellow   Major Investment Plan at Iron Foundry Firm
    A Black Country iron and steel foundry business, now winning new work after recovering from the recession, is planning a major investment programme.
Managing director of family firm Joseph & Jesse Siddons, Andrew Siddons, said that the investment being planned at its two foundries at Howard Street in Hill Top, West Bromwich, would secure the jobs of the 90 people that are currently employed on the site.
“We are looking at investing in melting plant and equipment over the next 12 months,” said Mr Siddons, who is the fifth generation of his family to run the business.
The current production facilities have the capacity to produce 5,000 tonnes of castings annually and the investment that is being planned will both modernise production and increase productivity.
Joseph & Jesse Siddons has recovered to build its annual turnover back up to £7 million in the last couple of years after a tough time during the recession.
“We have been winning new business including picking up work from rivals who have closed. “We are a long-established firm and very stable. While other people have had problems we are seen as a safe pair of hands,” explained Mr Siddons, who has worked for the business for 42 years.
The company dates back to 1846 and made its names in producing cast iron pots and pans and flat irons and exported them all over the world. At its peak in the 1930sthe West Bromwich business employed more than 600. In the 1950s pots and pans production ended in the face of growing competition from cooking utensils in other materials and imports. Just one iron foundry was retained as the business concentrated on sub-contracting work and let out its excess property. Joseph & Jesse Siddons today still has an industrial property letting division offering units of between 1,000 and 35,000 sq ft across the Midlands.
It opened a second foundry at its main site, where it has been located since 1876, in 1989. Its main business today is in producing engineering castings and it it serves many different markets.
A key market is the waste water industry with Sulzer in Germany and Ireland, which it supplies with pump body castings, one of its main clients. “We also specialise in diesel engine parts and water pump components and also supply commercial vehicle makers,” added Mr Siddons, whose son Alec also works for the business in purchasing and quality. Sand castings are produced in a variety of grey iron, spheroidal graphite iron and steel grades.
It can produce them in batches of from one to hundreds, The company has seen export sales fall to about 25 per cent in recent years and its main source of new customers is now coming from within the UK. Joseph & Jesse Siddons also works closely with the sculptor Sir Antony Gormley, best known for the giant Angel of the North.
The company has produced many iron castings, mostly based on Gormley's own body for his large scale works including 100 that are located at Crosby Beach in Lancashire as part of his Another Place installation. Mr Siddons said that the company had worked with the sculptor over 15 years and had produced about 350 castings weighing up to 600kg for him in total.
yellow   POSCO Cuts 2014 Capital Spending by More than 10%
    POSCO, South Korea's top steelmaker, has trimmed its facility investment for the year by more than 10% from its initial plan in order to improve its financial footing.
According to the sources, the steelmaker has lowered its capital spending for this year to KRW 5.7 trillion from the original KRW 6.5 trillion.
The figure includes investments by its affiliates. POSCO alone plans to spend some 3 trillion won this year, also lower than its earlier estimate of KRW 3.7 trillion.
In 2010, POSCO invested KRW 11.2 trillion but its capital spending fell to KRW 8.1 trillion in 2011 and KRW 7.2 trillion in 2012. Last year, its investment reached KRW 8.8 trillion. The cut in capital spending came as the world's fourth largest steelmaker is suffering a decline in its profits, while its debts are growing steadily.
The data showed that on a consolidated basis, its Q1 operating income dropped 1.7% on quarter to KRW 731 billion and its sales also sank 6.6% to KRW 15.44 trillion over the cited period.
POSCO's debt reached KRW 40.58 trillion as of March, up 5% or KRW 1.95 trillion from the end of last year, with its debt ratio standing at 89.6% up 5.3 percentage points over the cited period.
yellow   New Projects Boost Demand for Steel Products in UAE
    New construction projects in the UAE have boosted demand for the steel products in the country, according to private steel products manufacturer Conares. “The steady rise in construction, with the announcement of major landmark projects in the UAE, has given way to a boom in the steel industry,” said Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares as reported by emirates 24x7.
“The huge growth in the steel industry is a result of several factors, the primary reason being the new developments and announcements of new projects here. Further, the high-demand has also led most construction companies, developers and traders to turn to local producers, as imports of debars normally takes a minimum of 60 days to arrive in Dubai. “Furthermore, UAE financial institutes are very positive to support the steel industry which itself is good sign for the entire industry and future developments. Local producers are able to offer internationally competitive costs. That, coupled with the reliability of delivery locally, which is far better and easier compared to imports from outside UAE, have added immensely to the growth of the sector in the region,” he added.
Conares has an annual production capacity of over 750,000 metric tonnes, including 500,000 metric tonnes of rebar, and 250,000 metric tonnes of ERW pipe and 36,000 metric tonnes of galvanized pipes at its Jebel Ali facility in Dubai. UAE-based steel products manufacturer Conares output has increased double-digit in the first quarter of 2014, reaching nearly 100,000 metric tonnes rebars. The company said in a statement that the first quarter volume is almost equivalent to 50% of the last year's total tonnage. Total sales of Conares steel products has surged by 25% sales as of the end of 2013. Profit of the business also registered significant growth of 45% in 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.
yellow   Zimbabwe to Resume Steel Production
    Zimbabwe will resume steel production within two years, implementing a long delayed joint venture with India's Essar Africa Holdings Limited, a cabinet minister said recently as reported by AFP.
"The initial phase of the project will involve the revival of NewZim Steel to a production capacity of 500,000 metric tonnes of liquid steel within 24 months," Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said at a press conference in the capital Harare. "We are now going to see the implementation of the project."
Essar Africa Holdings said it will inject an initial USD 650 million to resuscitating production with funds going to buy new plant equipment and construction of a 600 megawatt thermal power station. NewZim Steel is a joint venture company between Essar and the Zimbabwe government formed in 2009, rebranding the old Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO).
Operations were delayed following disagreements over mineral rights. The Indian firm controls a 54 per cent stake in the joint venture project while the government controls the rest. Firdhose Coovadia, director of Essar Africa, Middle East and Turkey said NewZim Steel will settle over USD 400 million in debt which was taken from ZISCO. Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downturn for over a decade worsened by low foreign investment blamed on government policies including the controversial law which forces foreign businesses to cede a majority of shares to local partners.
yellow   Emirates Steel Industries to Keep Rebar Price Flat
    Emirates Steel Industries (ESI), the largest industrial conglomerate in UAE which is owned by SENAAT, has announced that the company's rebar offer price in May will stay at US$611/MT (EXW) which is about the price level as in April. Emirates Steel is the only integrated steel plant in the UAE, utilizing the latest rolling mill technology to produce rebar, wire rod and heavy sections.
Meanwhile, it is reported that UAE has imported about 150,000~200,000 metric tons of rebar from Turkey by US$583/M (CFR).
yellow   Hebei Province Sees Decrease Steel Output in April
    Steel production in North China's Hebei Province dipped 7.1% in April from a year ago despite increasing output levels nationwide, a sign that the central government's war on pollution is already eating into industrial output in the region as reported by ECNS. According to official air quality data, Hebei, home to seven of China's 10 smoggiest cities in 2013, has been under pressure to restructure and upgrade its economy and reduce its dependence on polluting industries like steel and cement. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, Hebei Province produced 16.18 million tonnes of steel in April accounting for 23.5% of the national total. The province produced 17.43 million tonnes in March. Over the first 4 months of the year, Hebei produced 66.59 mt, 24.5% of the total and 4% lower than in the same period of 2013. Hebei, which surrounds the capital Beijing, has been the major front in a war on pollution that has targeted small scale industrial plants, including hundreds of privately owned steel mills. The campaign has already had an impact on economic growth with provincial GDP up just 4.2% in the Q1 of 2014, down from a 9.1% expansion in the same period a year ago and growth of 8.2% in the Q1 of 2013.
yellow   Rio Tinto Set to Finalise USD 20 Billion Guinea Iron Ore Project
    Global mining giant Rio Tinto is set to finalise a USD 20 billion deal to develop the world's biggest untapped iron ore deposit in Guinea later this month following years of delays as reported by AFP .
Sam Walsh CEO of Rio Tinto said that “The Simandou iron ore project, which could create Africa's biggest ever infrastructure venture will boost Guinea's annual revenue by USD 1.2 billion through income tax and royalty payments and pump billions more into the nation's economy.”
Walsh said that "Later this month, we expect to sign the investment framework that formalises our partnership with the government of Guinea, Chalco and the IFC. This has taken some time to bring to fruition and I think this signing will inject the project with renewed momentum.”
He said that the "Remarkable project" would see billions of dollars invested in developing infrastructure in one of Africa's poorest nations, which is still recovering from decades of military dictatorships and misrule. The deal will formalise the partnership for Simandou with Guinea's government, China's state run aluminium group Chalco and the International Finance Corporation, a division of the World Bank.”
Walsh said that "When fully operational, the annual economic contribution of Simandou to the Guinean economy is estimated to be USD 7.6 billion that's 22 times the USD 340 million in international aid contributions to Guinea in 2012. It would be fair to say that this represents a new paradigm for Guinea.”
The estimated USD 20 billion project will include a railway to carry iron ore from the Simandou mountain range to a deep water port 650 kilometres (400 miles) away. The JV includes the development of the port, the establishment of fibre optic and wireless communications, and more than 1,000 kilometres of new and upgraded roads.
Rio was awarded control of all four tenements at Simandou which it said held 2.25 billion tonnes of iron ore resources in 2006, but was ordered by the then military dictatorship to relinquish two northern concessions in 2008.
These concessions were given to BSG Resources, a firm controlled by Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz which in turn sold half its rights to Brazilian mining giant Vale.
The permits were declared void by the Guinea government last month, although the nation's President Alpha Conde said the withdrawal of concessions were part of a wider clampdown on mining rights and not case specific despite claims of corruption against BSGR.
In April, Rio Tinto launched a complaint in a US district court against the awarding of the northern Simandou mining concessions to the VBG consortium, which was formed in 2010 by Vale and BSGR, appealing for damages to be awarded to the miner for the loss of the permits.
yellow   Tulachermet-Steel and SMS Group Sign 180 Million Euro Order
    Tulachermet-Steel and SMS group have concluded a contract for the supply of a complete steelworks with a connected continuous billet caster and two connected light-section mills. The order value comes to around EUR 180 million. The contract was signed on the SMS Meer booth at the Tube & Wire fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, in the presence of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Günther Horetzky, and the Consul General of the Russian Federation, Evgeni Shmagin.
The construction of a converter-based steel and rolling mill complex in the immediate vicinity of the Tulachermet iron works around 200 km to the south of Moscow. Tulachermet-Steel will assume the project management and the construction activities. The contracts for the construction and installation work will be placed with Russian companies.
The rolling mills, which will make light sections, bar steel and wire rod, will be designed for an annual capacity of 1.5 million tons in the first phase, with the possibility of a later increase to two million tons. The major part of the production will be supplied to Moscow and to other regions in Central Russia. Here, there is a demand for high-quality steel products, above all from the construction industry and from mechanical engineering and automotive companies. The steelworks and rolling mill complex will go into operation in 2016.
SMS Siemag is supplying a 160-t converter shop, equipped with a restraint-free lamella suspension system and a dedusting plant. The latter will be fitted with electrostatic precipitators from SMS Elex. SMS Siemag will also be supplying an energy recovery system.
For the further optimization of energy efficiency, SMS Siemag can provide a converter-gas recovery and mixing plant for subsequent combustion of the gas in the existing Tulachermet power station. SMS Concast is sup-plying a ladle furnace, a twin-tank vacuum degassing facility for second-ary metallurgical treatment and a six-strand billet caster.
The continuous caster will be equipped with CONVEX® technology and be able to pro-duce square sections in sizes from 150 х 150 to 180 х 180 millimeters. SMS Meer is supplying two almost identical light-section mills, each of which will be supplied by a walking beam furnace with a capacity of 160 tons per hour.
One of these light-section mills will be equipped with a wire rod line for the production of quality steel in the form of bar steel and wire rod. SMS group is also supplying the electrical and automation systems for all production lines.
yellow   Strategic Alliance for New DR/BF– Iron Making Technologies
    Alliances of Tenova HYL and Danieli & C, have entered into an agreement with Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co., Ltd. (NSENGI) to combine and commercialize their Energiron DR technology with an optimized blast furnace technology, as well as syngas technology (high efficiency coal gasification and steelworks by-product gas utilization technology) developed and owned by NSENGI.
The two key areas of combined know-how involve the integration of the Energiron Direct Reduction technology with the blast furnace as well as the areas of interface between existing and future syngas technologies with the Energiron process. The charging of specialized DRI to the blast furnace, produced by Energiron with high carbon content and its reduction ratio adjusted, will target a significant decrease in the blast furnace production cost in comparison to the conventional DRI charging to the blast furnace method.
This new alliance will allow the three parties to combine research and development activities with their respective expertise in Energiron DR, blast furnace and syngas technologies, with the ultimate objective of developing a new iron making technology which will reduce CO2 emissions and operating costs, while increasing productivity and/or decreasing capital expenditures for integrated steelmaking facilities. Such includes execution of EPC projects by the parties in connection with the above collaboration.
In addition, the optimized combination of Energiron Direct Reduction technology and syngas technology (high efficiency coal gasification and steelworks by-product gas utilization technology) will enable Energiron Direct Reduction plants to have access to non natural gas sited customers. The alliance also provides for the joint marketing of existing direct reduction technology to blast furnace customers.
    This section is a compilation from various company press releases, business dailies &
trade publications.