Steel giant Tata plans to set up shop in PH anew

By: Riza T. Olchondra, November 10th, 2012 12:51 AM

Tata Steel International is mulling over plans to again set up shop in the Philippines and offer specialty steel products needed by an expanding economy.

Tata Steel, which is based in the United Kingdom, used to do business in Manila under a different trade name. But in 2006, it had to close shop due to stiff competition in commercial steel.

“We’re making progress,” said Alan Smith of Tata Steel, referring to the company’s plans in the Philippines. “It’s up to Tata to decide whether to hire local technical sales people and open a sales office in Manila again.”

Smith, a member of the UK Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Infrastructure Mission, told reporters that the company has started to compete again in the local market after an absence of five years.

Since May, the steelmaker has bagged contracts with mining companies and fabricators for offshore oil and gas ventures. It also sealed a deal with aerospace products manufacturer Moog in Baguio City, he said.

Smith said that the company is also interested in supplying rail tracks for the LRT-1 extension to Cavite province and the MRT-7 line from North EDSA to Bulacan province, which the government is developing under the PPP scheme.

The government has been rolling out infrastructure projects to support the country’s economic expansion. According to the Philippine Development Plan, growth may range at an average of 7 to 8 percent from 2010 to 2016.

Companies from Japan, the United States and Europe are also vying for Philippine contracts, particularly those for the supply of rail tracks, as well as aerospace and mining infrastructure, Smith said.

Tata Steel used to be the British Steel Company. It merged with a Dutch company and later became Corus. The Corus Group closed and withdrew from the Philippine market in 2006 as the steel market in the Philippines became too competitive with the entry of lower-priced products from China, South Korea and Taiwan.

In 2007, Corus UK was acquired by the Tata Steel group and was rebranded in late 2010 to Tata Steel Europe.

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