Iron and steel make headway abroad

Date: Jan 26, 2018
Chinese companies look to overseas markets for growth opportunities through Belt and Road

China’s iron and steel enterprises are increasingly tapping overseas markets, especially countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, for new growth opportunities.

As a pioneer in pursuing international capacity cooperation, Hebei province-based HBIS Group Co Ltd, one of China’s largest iron and steel manufacturers, has invested in more than 70 enterprises across the world, with combined overseas assets amounting to $7 billion (5.6 billion euros; ?5 billion), according to the company.

HBIS plans to build itself into a multinational steel behemoth with strong profits and a shining brand by the end of 2020, to compete in the global market. It is eyeing annual overseas revenue of more than $20 billion, or more than 30 percent of its total sales, by then.

In 2016, HBIS bought Serbia’s largest steel mill, Zelezara Smederevo, for 46 million euros ($57 million; ?40 million). The takeover ended seven years of losses for the 106-year-old Smederevo, which has since been renamed HBIS Group Serbia Iron & Steel DOO.

HBIS has invested $120 million and sent 11 groups of around 200 technicians for the technological and product upgrading of Smederevo.

After more than five months, HBIS managed to turn around the loss-making Serbian steel plant, making it profitable and reinforcing the view that its go-global strategy is yielding positive results.

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