FRANKFURT, Sept 29 (Reuters) - German steelmaker Salzgitter will build a third hot-dip galvanising line to strengthen its position in premium steel for the automotive industry, it said on Friday.
The new line, planned to go into operation in the second half of 2020, will have annual capacity of 500,000 metric tonnes, adding about 7 percent to Salzgitter’s total capacity.
Salzgitter did not say how much it would invest in the new line but similar capacity expansions by competitors have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
“This project represents the implementation of a key component in the group’s “Salzgitter AG 2021” strategy, namely a consistent focus on the premium product range,” it said.
Salzgitter makes about 16 percent of its sales to the automotive industry. The biggest chunk of its sales, about 20 percent, comes from trading and steel service centres.
“The investment is a renewed commitment to steel production in Germany,” said Chief Executive Heinz Joerg Fuhrmann, who has resisted attempts to forge an all-German steel merger with bigger rival Thyssenkrupp.
Thyssenkrupp has instead agreed to form a European steel joint venture with India’s Tata Steel.
Shares in Salzgitter were up 0.2 percent by 0916 GMT.
Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Victoria Bryan