BIG DEAL Li Huaidong (left), senior vice president of Baowu Group Zhongnan Iron and Steel Co. and Benjamin Yao, chair and CEO of SteelAsia, sign an agreement to pursue a project that will generate about 2,000 jobs. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
SteelAsia, BaoSteel forge deal to build P108-B facility
SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp. said it had entered into an agreement with the world’s largest steel producer, China’s BaoSteel Group, to build a P108-billion integrated steel facility in the Philippines, expanding further its capacity to produce materials used in infrastructure and heavy construction.
The Taguig-based Philippine steel company, which touts itself as the country’s largest steel producer, said the deal was signed by Benjamin Yao, chairperson and chief executive officer of SteelAsia and Li Huaidong, senior vice president of Baowu Group Zhongnan Iron and Steel Co., during President Marcos’ three-day state visit to China earlier this month.
“This project will spawn new industries and wean the country from its perennial dependence on imports. It will generate about 2,000 jobs, including for professionals who, in the past, have had to work abroad and leave their families,” Yao said.
The planned facility will reportedly produce three million tons of liquid steel, which can be converted into almost any finished steel products.
These products can then feed and strengthen other local industries, including the construction sector, the automobile and ship-building industries, as well as appliance manufacturers.
The Philippine steel company said that its Chinese partner would be fielding a team next month to jointly explore with SteelAsia a possible suitable location for this project.
Today, SteelAsia Manufacturing operates six manufacturing plants in Bulacan, Batangas, Cebu, Davao and Misamis Oriental.
The Philippine steel company is also set to open its seventh plant this year in the municipality of Compostela in the province of Cebu.
The Cebu plant is projected to increase SteelAsia Manufacturing’s output from 2 million metric tons of steel annually to 3 million MT.
This latest investment partnership with a Chinese company is part of the billions of dollars’ worth of investments from the East Asian country seen pouring into the Philippines to revive the local steel industry.
Earlier this month, Philippine ambassador to China Jaime FlorCruz said that the government expects $1.5 billion to $2 billion in investments from the 14 agreements that Mr. Marcos signed during his state visit to China. INQ