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Baosteel Plans Huge Jump in Production
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Baosteel, China's largest steel producer, has approved a plan that will enable it to produce 50 million tons of steel by 2012, more than doubling its current output.


Baosteel plans to boost production of crude steel to 23.27 million tons in 2007 from 21.74 million tons last year. By the turn of the decade it hopes to boost annual production capacity to 30 million, tons by 2010 and become one of the top three steel producers in the world


Although Xinhua failed to ascertain from the company exactly how it plans to achieve such dramatic increases in production, one way is likely through mergers and acquisitions.


In January, Baosteel Group acquired 69.61 percent of the stock of Xinjiang Bayi Iron and Steel in northwest China.


The government has also called for a rationalization and restructuring of the country's steel industry, which is likely to favour the expansion of larger producers and the closure of small steel plants.


The company also plans to boost production of added-value products and expand its market share in China, the world's largest steel consuming country.


Baosteel reported sales of 157.79 billion yuan last year, up 24.6 percent from a year earlier. Its net profits climbed 2.7 percent to 13.01 billion yuan (US$1.68 billion) in 2006.


(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2007)


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