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Kobe Steel providing fingerprint-resistant steel sheet technology to voestalpine

December 14, 2009

TOKYO, December 14, 2009 - Kobe Steel, Ltd. announces that it is providing Austria's voestalpine Stahl GmbH, with technology to produce fingerprint-resistant electrogalvanized steel sheet.

This material is highly applicable for use in appliances and other electrical devices. It has a special surface treatment that makes the sheet resistant to fingerprints or fingerprints on the steel less noticeable. The steel sheet is also noted for its high resistance to corrosion.

voestalpine plans to conduct mill trials and customer trials starting in 2010. Following successful trials, it will then have the capability to produce this innovative steel sheet for potential flat-screen television manufacturers in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other central European countries, where many Japanese and South Korean transplants have set up production.

Kobe Steel's fingerprint-resistant electrogalvanized steel sheet is an original special surface-treated steel developed by the company. It is already being used in China and Southeast Asia, mainly in electric appliances. Kobe Steel has an over 25% share of all electrogalvanized steel sheet that Japan's blast furnace steelmakers export to China and Southeast Asia.

Because of its anti-corrosion properties, a chromate treatment was traditionally applied to fingerprint-resistant steel sheet. However, in 2005 Kobe Steel became the first Japanese steelmaker to cease chromate treatment to reduce the environmental burden. In February 2008, Kobe Steel stopped using chromate treatment in all of its other steel products as well.

Kobe Steel's relationship with voestalpine goes back many years. In 2002, Kobe Steel and voestalpine Stahl formed a cooperation agreement for automotive steel high strength steel sheet technology. The alliance between the two companies is centered on technology, know-how exchange, as well as the joint research and development of this material. The arrangement creates a global supply network for high strength steel to Japanese automotive transplants.

In 2008, Kobe Steel and voestapline Krems, another company of voestalpine AG, formed a cooperation agreement covering the application of Kobe Steel's ultra high strength steel and Krems' roll-forming technology in auto parts.

Expanding the cooperative relationship into the appliance field, the two companies are striving to increase their presence in their respective markets of Asia and Europe. These initiatives help support Japanese transplants in their global operations, both in the automotive and appliance fields.