Russia, Middle East said primed for steel boom

Nov 08, 2004 | 08:00 AM | Frank Haflich

Steel plant and equipment builders, facing a slowdown in China's rapid growth, are raising efforts to find new business in other regions--and they say they're finding success.

Whether or not what's available outside China will equal remarkable expansion seen during the past two years is anybody's guess. While a number of equipment suppliers forecast strong growth in China this year, by many accounts 2004 proved to be even more of a bonanza than first projected.

Now, however, with the Chinese government taking steps to reign in steel sector expansion, suppliers attending the annual meeting of Instituto Latinoamericano del Fierro y del Acero (Ilafa) said they see encouraging signs that steelmakers in other parts of the world, including Russia and the Middle East, are primed to ramp up capital spending.

This year, China will represent an "incredible" 400 million euros ($518.2 million) in business for Voest-Alpine Industrieanlagenbau GmbH (VAI), according to Gerhard F. Falch, president and chairman of the Linz, Austria,-based equipment supplier, whose total business could grow 25 percent this year from $1.15 billion in 2003.....

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