Steel Asia, the country’s largest steel manufacturer, expects Cebu to continue its economic growth in the coming years even as it remains one of the country’s major markets outside Metro Manila.
“Cebu is to the Visayas what Metro Manila is to Luzon,” said Ben Yao, Steel Asia president, adding that the firm is expanding its manufacturing operations there to make sure that Cebu has enough steel for the construction of malls, business and residential buildings, public infrastructure, and utilities.
Last year, Steel Asia supplied nearly 70 percent of Cebu’s needs. As a result, the steel firm became the province’s largest taxpayer when it paid close to P900 million in import duties and value added taxes.
From January to July this year, the company has imported billets worth over P2.5 billion for its Cebu plant to process into reinforcing steel bars (rebars), according to Yao.
The company has one rolling mill producing rebars in Cebu, one each in Davao and Cagayan de Oro, and three in Luzon.
Steel Asia accounts for about 60 percent of the country’s total steel rebar production. It delivers rebars to all of the country’s largest developers to the extent of supplying 100 percent of their requirements for major projects.
“The big players routinely order from us because we have successfully integrated our product into value-added services while at the same time proven that we meet all quality standards and specifications, allowing the developers to lower their construction costs,” he said.
Cebu’s construction boom is expected to last for several more years as the government continues to spend on infrastructure and the private sector also continues to build to meet the demands of the business process outsourcing and the growth in consumer spending, he said.
“The infrastructure budget of the government alone can jack up demand for steel and other construction materials. Steel Asia will make sure there is enough supply because that is our responsibility as an industry leader and as a responsible partner in nation-building,” he added.