Johor: Malaysia is set to become one of the largest stainless steel producers in Asia with the construction of a US$1.6 billion in the Tanjung Langsat industrial area, Pasir Gudang, here.
The plant will be operated by joint-venture company, Bahru Stainless Sdn Bhd, which is owned 67 percent by Spanish company, Acerinox, and 33 percent by Nisshin Steel.
Bahru Stainless managing director, Rafael Garvin Salazar, said the plant would be constructed in three phases and would be fully completed in 2020.
"It will be the largest and fully-integrated stainless steel plant in the region," he said in an interview with Bernama here Friday.
Salazar said Malaysia was the only country in Asean (Association of South-East Asian Nations) to have a fully-integrated stainless steel plant.
"There is no doubt that this is the largest stainless steel plant in Asean.
"Malaysia will become one of the most important players in stainless steel production," he said.
Acerinox is the largest stainless steel producer in the world and its plant in Tanjung Langsat is the first in Asia. It has two plants in Spain, one in South Africa and two in the US.
Salazar said for the first phase, construction of the plant, costing US$320 million, would start next week and was expected to be completed by end-2010.
He said the plant would have a production capacity of 240,000 tonnes a year, out of which 182,000 tonnes would be cold-rolled production.
"After the first phase, the company will embark on an expansion programme.
"When fully completed in 2020, the plant will have the capacity to produce one million tonnes of stainless steel and 800,000 tonnes of cold-rolled production per annum," he said.
Salazar said 70 percent of the output would be for export and 30 percent for local use.
He said the plant, when fully completed, would provide 1,600 jobs and generate a multitude of spin-off activities for the local economy.
Salazar said the Asean market for stainless steel market was growing and expanding whereas the European market was hit by limited growth.
"That is why we are here (Malaysia) with an integrated stainless steel plant.
Malaysia was picked to house Acerinox's latest plant due to its geographical and strategic location, excellent infrastructure and political stable," he said.
He said Malaysia would be Acerinox's gateway to the Asean and Asia stainless steel markets.-Bernama