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Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) inaugurates Tianjin Plant

May 19, 2017

Kobe Steel, Ltd.

TOKYO, May 19, 2017 — Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) Co., Ltd. inaugurated its plant yesterday in Tianjin, China. The company, established in 2014, produces and sells automotive aluminum panel material.

Participating in the event from Kobe Steel was Chairman, President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki. Approximately 120 main customers and other guests attended the opening.

Among Japan’s rolled aluminum producers, Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) is the first production base in China for aluminum panel material. The wholly owned subsidiary of Kobe Steel has a production capacity of 100,000 tons per year. It currently has about 130 employees, which will increase to approximately 180 when the plant reaches full operation.

China is the world’s largest automobile market. Current production of approximately 28 million cars is anticipated to grow to about 33 million vehicles in 2025. Due to environmental issues, automotive emission regulations and fuel efficiency standards are expected to become stricter, and the need to reduce the weight of car bodies is increasing. As a result, demand for 50,000 tons of aluminum panel material in 2016 is expected to grow to 300,000 tons per year in 2025, forecasts Kobe Steel.

Kobe Steel has been developing aluminum panel material since the 1980s. With a competitive edge through its original alloy technology, along with expertise in advanced surface quality and processing know-how, Kobe Steel is the top supplier of aluminum panel material in the Japanese market. The launching of Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) enables Kobe Steel to supply aluminum panel material of the same high quality available in Japan to the growing Chinese market.

Last week, Kobe Steel announced that it would form a joint venture with Novelis in South Korea to form a joint venture to better secure metal supply capacity. In addition, Kobe Steel plans to add an aluminum panel line at its Moka Plant in Japan. These investments in China, South Korea and Japan will strengthen Kobe Steel’s supply structure for aluminum panel material in the Asian market.

Background information

Kobe Steel’s Aluminum & Copper business segment has other companies that serve the automotive sector in China. Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (China) Co., Ltd., established in September 2010, supplies aluminum forged suspension products. Suzhou Kobe Copper Technology Co., Ltd., formed in May 2005, supplies copper strip for automotive terminals and connectors.

In its Iron & Steel business segment, the Kobe Steel Group last year marked the start of operations of Kobelco Angang Auto Steel Co., Ltd., which produces automotive cold-rolled high-strength steel. The Kobe Steel Group has a total of eight locations in China that manufacture steel, aluminum and copper products for the automotive sector. Production of automotive materials is increasing as demand grows in China.

Responding to the move toward lighter cars, Kobe Steel aims to expand orders by establishing a global supply structure and by strengthening the competitiveness of its advanced high-strength steel and aluminum products, noted for their outstanding balance of weight savings and cost.

Outline of Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China) Co., Ltd.

President:
Katsuaki Masuda
Established:
January 2014 (with mass production commencing in April 2016)
Business:
Production and sale of automotive aluminum panel material
Location:
Xiqing Economic-Technological Development Area, Tianjin, China
Capitalization:
454 million yuan (about 7.5 billion yen)
Equity share:
100% owned by Kobe Steel, Ltd. (through Kobelco (China) Holding Co., Ltd.)
Total investment:
1.15 billion yuan (about 19 billion yen)
Equipment:
Continuous annealing line and surface treatment equipment
Capacity:
100,000 tons per year
Employees:
About 130 in April 2017 (About 180 when in full operation)

Tape-cutting ceremony

Tape-cutting ceremony
Sixth from left: Hiroya Kawasaki, Chairman, President and CEO, Kobe Steel
Fourth from left: Akira Kaneko, Executive Vice President, Kobe Steel
Second from left: Hiroshi Kato, Managing Executive Officer, Kobe Steel and Chairman of Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China)

Hiroya Kawasaki, Chairman, President and CEO of Kobe Steel, gave remarks at the inauguration ceremony.

Hiroya Kawasaki, Chairman, President and CEO of Kobe Steel, gave remarks at the inauguration ceremony.

Surface treatment line at Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China)

Surface treatment line at Kobelco Automotive Aluminum Rolled Products (China)

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