Japan's JFE Steel, Hyundai In Tie-Up Talks

The expansion of cooperation might lead to sharing of technology for making high-grade automotive steel.

Japan's second-largest steelmaker JFE Steel said Jan. 29 it was in talks with South Korea's Hyundai Steel to expand their six-year-old alliance. JFE Steel said in a statement that it had been discussing ways to "deepen and expand its existing partnership with steel firms of the Hyundai group."

JFE Steel is considering providing the South Korean firm with the technology to build and operate blast furnaces, as well as helping to construct and manage mills, the newspaper Nikkei said. The planned alliance will lead to the sharing of technology for making high-grade automotive steel, the daily said.

The move comes after JFE Steel's main rival Nippon Steel expanded its ties with South Korea's steelmaker Posco and Chinese giant Baosteel Group. In December 2000, JFE's predecessor Kawasaki Steel bought into Hyundai Hysco, a steel fabricating company of the Hyundai group. Kawasaki Steel merged with NKK under JFE Holdings in September 2002. JFE's stake in Hyundai Hysco now stands at 12.%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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