THE SteelAsia group said it has fully settled P7.2 billion in loans incurred to build a steel mill in Davao and rehabilitate and upgrade two other mills in Batangas and Cebu.
The loans were incurred to build its Davao mill from the ground up and to rehabilitate and upgrade its Batangas and Cebu mills, which were mothballed assets.
“In the last 10 years, demand for steel products was strong and we responded by building more mills with the best technologies available. Our output increased 10-fold during this period, giving us the resources to pay our obligations on time,” Ben Yao, SteelAsia president, said on Friday.
Yao said the company continues to expand to respond to a stronger economy and the aggressive infrastructure and industrialization program of the government.
Full payment was made in December 2016 on a P2.25-billion long-term project loan from Standard Chartered London for the P4-billion mill in Davao City.
The project is now fully operational and uses the most efficient, environment-friendly and operationally safe technologies. It directly employs 400 personnel plus some 2,000 more jobs in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) supporting plant operations, Yao said.
In November 2016, SteelAsia also paid the last scheduled amortization for its P2.6 billion acquisition of a mothballed steel mill in Calaca, Batangas.
The mill had been under receivership and controlled by a consortium of banks until SteelAsia acquired it in 2008 with an eight-year repayment schedule.
New equipment was installed and the mill soon became profitable. The Calaca mill has a workforce of 800 and indirectly creates an estimated 4,000 jobs. It is now the Philippines’ only integrated steelmaking and rolling mill, producing 500,000 tons a year, and it also has the largest and most modern melt shop, SteelAsia said.
Also in 2016, SteelAsia paid the final amortization on a seven-year, P600-million acquisition of a mothballed steel mill in Carcar, Cebu.
The mill was rehabilitated and upgraded to double its capacity, now 350,000 tons per annum. It is the only rebar rolling mill in the Visayas today.
The company also said that four new mills that will manufacture a wide array of steel products are now in various stages of completion.
SteelAsia is a leading steel producer in the country and claims to be the largest rebar manufacturer in Southeast Asia. It currently operates six steel mills—three in Luzon, one in Cebu and two in Mindanao—with a combined production of some 2.3 million tons of steel.