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China's Steel Giant Set to Enter World's Top 500

The Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation says it hopes to enter the world's top 500 enterprises, with sales revenue forecast to top US$13.25 billion this year.


The figure far exceeds the US$10.173 billion reported by the lowest ranked on Fortune's list in 2002, said Baosteel's President and General Manager Xie Qihua.


Xie said Baosteel aimed to enter the top 500 by 2005 and become a world-leading multinational firm by 2010.


The steel giant has been rated BBB this year by Standard & Poor's, the prestigious international rating organization, for its successful reforms in management and production, as well as the massive potential for further expansion.


Baosteel annexed two smaller state-owned, loss-making steel companies in 1998, which led Standard & Poor's to downgrade its rating.


But the annexed companies performed well, with substantial drops in debt burden, marked improvement in capital structure and cash flow, strong production capacity and optimized product structure.


The company recorded net profit of 3.803 billion yuan (US$458 million) in the first half of 2003, a jump of 183 percent year on year, earlier reports said.


Fortune magazine began in 1990 to publish a ranking of the top 500 industrial enterprises worldwide. The ranking is based mainly on operational revenues. Factors taken into consideration also include assets, net income, sales volume, number of employees, investment and dividends.


Most Chinese firms that have made the list so far are either from monopolistic sectors such as telecommunications, power, gas and petroleum or state-owned commercial banks.


(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2003)

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