US Metals Company to Join Asian Stainless Steel Sector Only For Right Reasons

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Continued from Part One.

Harsco President and CEO Patrick Decker was in New Delhi recently where he held a press conference, saying he was in India to take stock of the company affairs and business opportunities here.

Decker gave a clear indication of the kind of business his company was looking out for in India by telling reporters that there was a huge scope for business in both China and India’s railway infrastructure.

He pointed out that the old and worn out rail infrastructure in both countries needed to be rebuilt, and that “we are in early stages of pursuing that business.”

The company runs a Global Innovation Park in India. It has already acquired over 20 companies globally, and is now looking at the Indian and Chinese players in the steel sector.

But the CEO also made it clear that Harsco would not acquire a business for the mere reason of acquisition, hinting that it has to fit in the overall business plan of his company.

While India continues to be a dominant player in the stainless steel sector, it is being hampered by cheaper imports from China to the tune of about 300,000 tons a year, largely due to cheaper rates offered by the Chinese manufacturers.

As per the industry’s estimates, China currently produces about 12-13 MTPA, which is much more than their consumption (at about 9 MTPA). Chinese production is expected to rise to 20-25 MTPA in two to three years.

Just a few days ago, the Indian government had announced the imposition of a safeguard duty at the rate of 20 percent on imports of a certain variety of stainless steel from China to protect domestic players.

The duty has been imposed on hot rolled flat products of 304 grade stainless steel (up to a maximum width of 1,605 millimeters).

Sohrab Darabshaw contributes an Indian perspective to MetalMiner.

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