Baogang pushes on with steel expansion

By MENG FANBIN in Beijing and YUAN HUI in Hohhot(China Daily)
Updated: 2017-05-25 08:01:11

Steel giant Baogang Group is planning to integrate its overseas operations and expand its market share through the Belt and Road Initiative.

The State-owned iron and steel company will set up an international division from its Baotou headquarters in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

This is all part of a push by the group to seek overseas financing as it brings together its offices in the United States, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

"We will not only explore increasing global sales for our steel products, but also try to expand our role as an integrated trade service provider in the steel sector," said Wu Yongbo, deputy director of strategic development at Baogang.

Since being set up in 1954, the company has become one of the biggest steel conglomerates in Inner Mongolia and has around 50,000 employees.

In the first quarter, it reported profits of 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) an increase of 1.46 billion yuan compared with the same period last year.

Revenue topped 13.76 billion yuan, which was a rise of 98.76 percent, or 6.84 billion yuan, compared with the same period last year.

Increasing its global presence will help Baogang boost production as it taps into potential new markets through the Belt and Road Initiative.

"This will involve procurement and sales in the global market as well as in China," Wu said.

Other company plans include expanding iron ore operations in the Tumurtei mine in Mongolia as well as the anthracite project in Jargaland and the coking coal operation in Tavantolgoi, Mongolia.

Another key development will be to build advanced steel making factories overseas although the company has yet to reveal the global locations or time frames for the projects.

Still, Wu was quick to point out that Baogang is moving in the right direction.

"Last year, we signed a joint agreement with Salim Group, a multinational corporation in Indonesia, for iron and steel projects with annual production of 2 million metric tons," he said.

He also revealed that the company hopes to increase its market share by 10 percent of steel and nonferrous metal products to Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America without disclosing detailed figures.

During the first quarter, Baogang exported 536,500 metric tons of steel, an increase of 23.41 percent compared with the same period last year.

Pipeline steel exports also hit 29,000 tons in the same three months with 90 percent exported to countries and regions related to the Belt and Road Initiative, such as in South Asia and the Middle East.

"With the Belt and Road Initiative, the communication and transportation networks connecting eastern Europe, West Asia and Southeast Asia will be established, benefiting Baogang's economic ties with those countries and regions," Wu said.

Chen Ruhai, deputy manager of Baogang Group International and Trade Co, pointed out that the conglomerate was heavily involved in key infrastructure projects across the globe.

These include rail construction in East Africa countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

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