NS BlueScope steel firm looks for business in new sectors

Corporate April 29, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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NS BlueScope, a provider of steel products, has unveiled a business plan to tap into new market segments.

As the demand for steel in Thailand’s large-scale construction projects is slowing down, the newly appointed president of NS BlueScope (Thailand), Somkiat Pintatham, has revealed his vision for the company to tap into new segments such as small and medium-sized plants, residential properties, and the makers of electrical appliances. 
Leading its product portfolio are BlueScope ZAC steel for residential properties and SMEs and SuperDyma coated steel for the production of electrical appliances. 
In addition, the company plans to recruit other high-potential roof roll-formers and steel distributors to become trade partners and join its network of BlueScope authorised dealers.
“The demand for high-quality steel in Southeast Asia is growing steadfastly, particularly in Singapore, where the steel-consumption rate is far more than 500 kilograms per capita per year,” Somkiat said. “Next in line is Malaysia, where the rate is 300kg per capita per year. Thailand comes third at 200kg. There is no doubt that there is still room for substantial growth in steel demand in Thailand – the market where a product like coated steel has enjoyed robust growth of 10 per cent annually over the past five years.
“Until now, our primary target customers have been large-scale construction contractors or industrial and commercial businesses. However, demand in the I&C market has slightly slowed down from late last year, affected by protracted political uncertainty and delayed investment decisions both domestically and from overseas. So we have decided to extend our focus to reach out to the new market segments of SME plants and residential property projects, in which we see potential to grow substantially. 
“In addition, our company recently welcomed new shareholders from Japan, and therefore we believe it is also possible for us to expand into the market of electrical appliances,” Somkiat said. 
“The name NS BlueScope is well known among I&C clients. However, SME clients and end users are not yet familiar with our products. We need to create greater awareness of our products among these target groups, and we aim to do that by promoting BlueScope ZACS as our flagship brand. Many products will be integrated under one brand to make it easier for clients to remember. Also, we aim to offer products that respond to the individual demands of our clients to obtain their satisfaction.
“In addition, we plan to recruit high-potential steel-roof roll-formers and steel distributors to become trade partners and join our network of BlueScope authorised dealers. Each and every dealer office will be designed and decorated under the same corporate theme and offer the same professional products and services our clients can depend on. With this marketing strategy, both NS BlueScope and our trade partners will greatly benefit. 
“The first BlueScope authorised dealer will be on Bang Na-Trat Road, and 10 more dealers are planned for opening later this year.”
Moreover, NS BlueScope has invested more than Bt1 billion on implementing in Thailand innovative production technology from Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation. This company is an NS BlueScope joint venture that was established last year. 
The technology will be used to manufacture SuperDyma coated steel with resistance to corrosion the company says is superior to galvanised steel. It is suitable for use in the production of electrical appliances. This technology will enable NS BlueScope to branch out into this new market segment and begin supplying coated steel to leading Japanese brands such as Sharp, Panasonic and Toshiba. 
Currently, BlueScope is the sole manufacturer and distributor of SuperDyma coated steel for the construction and electrical-appliances markets in Thailand. 
“We anticipate that, very soon, more SME plants and residential projects will be built in the provinces bordering neighbouring countries, especially when the Asean Economic Community is fully implemented,” Somkiat said. “As a result, the demand for high-quality steel will grow exponentially. 
“Our coated-steel products offer several construction benefits including easy installation, durability and cost efficiency. We are confident that coated steel will soon be more popular as a high-quality construction material that helps contractors create a better-quality product and more appealing construction work. 
“Also, we are confident that NS BlueScope businesses will grow by no less than 10 per cent [this year], which is in line with the expected growth of the construction industry.”

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