Japanese keen to invest in steel sector

Bhubaneswar: Japanese steel makers like Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Industries are keen to invest in Odisha, but would wait till Posco`s proposed 12mtpa steel project takes off near Paradip, official sources said today.

Mitsuo Kawaguchi, the Japanese Consul-General posted in Kolkata last week met Chief Secretary B K Patnaik here and apprised him of the interest of the two steel majors. "These two steel gaints are interested to invest in the state but will like to wait till implementation of the Posco project," an official quoting the Consul General said.

The two Japanese steel majors have separate plans to invest in the state. However, the consul general was not sure whether the two companies would like to set up separate facilities or one after their possible merger. Japan`s Fair Trade Commission has already approved merger of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Industries. After the possible merger, the new Japanese firm could become world`s second largest steel maker after ArcelorMittal.

The state government, which had already signed 50 MoUs with different steel companies including Posco-India, ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel, Jindal, Bhusan and Visa, however, urged the Japanese consul general to invest in downstream industries, particularly in the areas of automobile, heavy machinery, IT and petroleum and petro-chemical products.

The Japanese have invested in two refractories in the state. Nippon Steel, through its subsidiary Krosaki Harima Corporation, has invested in IFGL Refractories located at Kalunga near Rourkela. IFGL, promoted by Indo Flogates Ltd. of UK and Bajorias of Kolkata, is manufacturing specialised refractory and ceramics.