US STEEL is expanding its Košice operations.
An announcement made by company headquarters, situated in Pittsburgh, USA, said that the company would build a new hot dip galvanizing (HDG) facility at its steelmaking operation in Košice.
"The decision of carmakers to open new plants in Slovakia and the central European region has created new opportunities on the steel market in the region. US Steel thus decided to invest in the new HDG facility," Ján Bača, US Steel's spokesman in Košice, told The Slovak Spectator.
"US Steel in Eastern Slovakia already owns hot dip galvanizing facilities that specialize in products for the automobile industry. However, the new facility will be more modern, enabling us to produce plates for car bonnets and doors," added Bača.
Whether the new facility will serve the domestic and international markets will depend on supply and demand.
The official statement from US Steel Košice reads: "With an annual capability of approximately 350,000 metric tonnes [including existing HDG facilities], the facility will serve the growing demand for high quality coated steels in the central European automotive and construction industries.
"Construction of the $160 million (€123 million) facility will begin this year, with start-up expected in early 2007. Demand for automobiles in Central Europe, especially in the Visegrad 4 countries, has grown and is expected to continue to grow.
"This demand, combined with the region's central location, skilled workforce and favourable cost structure, has led a number of automotive manufacturers to locate new assembly operations in the area, which are expected to require an increasing amount of high quality coated sheet steel products."
US Steel expects that the construction industry could also drive increased demand for galvanized products to supply residential and commercial construction and infrastructure development.
"As the premier flat-rolled supplier in the Visegrad 4, we have continually upgraded and expanded our facilities to meet the growing needs of our customers," said Joe Scherrbaum, company vice president.
"Since 2001, our major market-driven investments have included a vacuum degassing station, expansion of our tin coating facilities and, most recently, an electrical steel line. This automotive hot dip galvanizing facility is part of our ongoing plan to provide customers with state-of-the-art products," he said.
US Steel is a major supplier of sheet steel to the North American automotive market. The company wants to produce new grades and steels in Central Europe to offer automotive customers advanced products from a local supplier.
US Steel's president in Košice, Chris Navetta, said: "US Steel Košice is dedicated to providing our customers with quality products while supporting the growing economies of Košice and Eastern Slovakia. Our hot dip galvanizing facility is expected to accomplish both of these goals. Our Central European automotive and construction customers will have a local source of high quality galvanized steel to meet their growing demand, and Eastern Slovakia will benefit from the employment and expenditures that a major new investment creates."
28. Mar 2005 at 0:00 | Marta Ďurianová