SÃO PAULO Argentinas Techint Group will invest a record $600 million in 2013 to modernize its operations, expand production capacity and consolidate its leadership, according to steelmaking subsidiary Ternium SA.
"Our challenges involve betting on regional integration and increasing productivity to become more competitive in a context of rising costs, and an economy that will grow in the coming years at a lower rate than in the past decade," Techint chief executive officer Paolo Rocca said in a seminar in Buenos Aires, Argentina, published on Terniums website Jan. 22.
Rocca also highlighted the need to take action to protect production in Latin America.
This is under threat from the "predatory actions of China," which exports manufactured goods in unfair competition conditions, creating "an obstacle to the reindustrialization of our countries," he said.
Rocca warned that, faced with a complex international context, metalworking companies must focus on competitiveness, which will require effort and investment in automation, scale, training and management, among other factors.
In an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, deindustrialization in Latin America must be reversed to return to conditions that encourage productive investment and strengthen the value chain, Ternium chief executive officer Daniel Novegil said at the event. He cited the association of Ternium and Brazils Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA (Usiminas) as an example of regional integration that helps enhance the Latin American steel industry.
"Our biggest challenge is to maintain relevant investment levels that allow us to develop and grow further in the region," he added.
In 2012, Ternium invested $250 million in Argentinian steel works Ternium Siderar, and this year plans to spend between $220 million and $240 million, Novegil said. This is well above the $80-million annual average for 1993 to 2003 and the $170-million average for 2004 to 2011.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.