China's northern city of Tianjin plans to merge its four State-owned steel mills into a group with annual capacity of about 23 million tons, the China Business News said on Monday, citing a company official.
China is eager to consolidate its fragmented steel sector, partly in order to bolster their bargaining position on iron ore supplies from top miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Brazil's Vale.
The country has urged steel mills to consolidate so that the top five mills jointly account for more than 45 percent of the nation's total capacity, while facilities located in coastal areas account for more than 40 percent of the country's capacity.
The State-owned asset management body of the coastal city near Beijing plans to establish a steel group to control the four existing mills, similar to steel sector consolidations in the provinces of Hebei and Shandong, the newspaper said.
The four companies are Tianjin Tiantie Metallurgical Group, Tianjin Tiangang Steel Group, Tianjin Steel Pipe Group and Tianjin Metallurgical Group (Holdings) Ltd, the newspaper said, citing the official in Tiantie, the largest of the four.
The State-owned parent of Tangshan Iron and Steel Co merged last year with two smaller rivals to become the country's second-biggest steel mill, Hebei Iron and Steel Group. It now ranks among the world's top five steel producers.
Earlier, the Shandong provincial government merged Jinan and Laiwu to create Shandong Iron and Steel Group. The new group is set to ultimately take over other fast-growing private mills in the province.