Combining copper tube

Kobe Steel and Mitsubishi Materials are to combine their copper tube businesses in Japan and Southeast Asia into a new joint venture.

Kobe Steel will have a 55% share of the company, while Mitsubishi Materials will have 45%.

The venture is forecast to have consolidated sales of 34 billion yen and a domestic market share of roughly 35%. With an estimated 30% share in Southeast Asia, the new company will be one of the largest manufacturers of copper tube in the region.

Kobe Steel’s Hatano Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture and Mitsubishi Materials’ Kitamoto Plant in Saitama will both become part of the new venture, while Kobe Steel’s Hatano Pipe Centre in Kanagawa will become a 100% owned subsidiary as will Kobe Steel’s Kobe Copper company in Malaysia and Mitsubishi Materials’ MMC Copper Tube company in Thailand.

Kobe Steel’s US tube operation, KobeWieland Copper Products is unaffected by the deal and will remain part of Kobe Steel.

The joint venture will begin its operations on April 1, 2004.

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