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China ditches steel industry consolidation targets in new plan

Published on Mar 25, 2014 11:25 AM
 
Steel rods in a steel market in Qingdao, Shandong province. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said China would continue to simplify approval procedures and also make it easier for firms in bloated sectors like steel, cement and aluminium to finance acquisitions. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's policymakers have again promised to make it easier for steel mills to merge and consolidate, but they appear to have ditched a long-standing target to bring 60 per cent of the sector under the control of its 10 biggest enterprises by 2015.

A new industry consolidation plan published on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (www.miit.gov.cn) late on Monday said China would continue to simplify approval procedures and also make it easier for firms in bloated sectors like steel, cement and aluminium to finance acquisitions.

But the plan did not include the target, last mentioned in official policy documents in January 2013, to put 60 per cent of China's total steel production capacity in the hands of its top 10 steel mills by the end of 2015, up from about 40 per cent.

The target was part of a state strategy designed to help state-owned steel firms become more competitive by encouraging them to swallow smaller rivals, and led to a series of high-profile mergers in the sector.

 
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