STEELASIA Manufacturing Corp., the largest steel bar maker in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, has formally offered to acquire National Steel Corp. (NSC) in Iligan City to convert it into its newest steel manufacturing complex.
“This will be a major step toward the development of a long overdue local steel industry which will generate new businesses and strengthen existing ones like the automotive industry, shipbuilding and repair, construction, and infrastructure that in turn will boost countryside growth and create more jobs,” Benjamin Yao, president of SteelAsia , said over the weekend.
SteelAsia plans to put up a modern and environment-friendly factory in Iligan to produce products like plates, beams, billets, slabs, sheet piles, among others, which are all currently imported, Yao said.
Under the proposal sent to National Development Company (NDC) General Manager Ma. Lourdes Rebueno, SteelAsia will negotiate with all valid claimants, including the government, for an asset-purchase arrangement.
In December last year, it was reported that 400 hectares of land and properties of the foreclosed NSC were auctioned by Iligan City due to an estimated P4 billion in tax delinquencies. Since there were no bidders during the auction, the city treasurer forfeited the properties in favor of the city government.
According to Yao, if their proposal is accepted, the Iligan plant will be SteelAsia’s seventh steelworks. Its six steelworks, located in key growth regions throughout the country, are all operating at full capacity.
“We grew exponentially in the past 10 years, starting with a production capacity of 450,000 metric tons in 2006 to 2.7 million metric tons in 2016 for rebars and billets. We are putting up new ones in the next two years to bring up our capacity to five million metric tons, which will be 60 percent of total annual demand,” Yao said.
This growth came from plants it put up from scratch, like those in Davao City and Meycauayan, and from acquiring mothballed or existing plants, like those in Carcar, Cebu; Calaca, Batangas; and Phividec, Misamis Oriental.
Yao said all these acquisitions were all fully paid as of last year.
“We have the expertise and the balance sheet to take over Iligan and restart our quest for a steel industry that will serve as the backbone of our industrialization,” he added.
“We see continuing growth in demand in the coming years, that is why we need to expand. The Iligan plant will be a strategic maneuver for us as a company and the country as well in terms of industrialization,” Yao said.