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Interview with ERAMET Chairman Patrick Buffet in Japan (2)
= Cost retrenchment in nickel business and growth in special steel and ferroalloy divisions are expected =
Chairman & CEO Patrick Buffet of ERAMET Group, France who visited Japan had a press interview at Hotel Okura situated in Minato-Ku, Tokyo on July 7, and made a statement about its business activity in 2015 and the outlook for the future business.

As to the group's business results in 2015, the division-wise activities and future outlook are as shown under:-

[Nickel Division]

Content of Activities:
(1) LME nickel price drops and the inventory level of nickel metal is high, which leads to the macro-economic circumstance getting worse. (2) In 2015, the production volume of ferro-nickel at SLN in New Caledonia exceeded 53,000 tons, but was down by 3% from the prior year. However, the production volume of ferro-nickel maintains to be the world's number one, and (3) The business result in 2015 ended in the red following the prior year due to the flagging prices.

Future Outlook:
(1) The demand and supply balance leaned toward short supply in the former half of 2016 due to increased consumption of nickel, which however was not enough to lead to a drastic decrease in the inventory, and it can hardly be expected the price will make an early recovery, (2) Such a project is being implemented as aiming to retrench a production cost by 20% until the period from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017, (3) SLN's nickel production is expected to be up, and 55,000 tons in pure Ni equivalent is planned to be produced in 2016, (4) SLN's plan to retrench the cost also includes restructuring and (5) Mitsubishi Corporation and Pacific Metals Co., Ltd. retreated from Weda Bay Nickel in Indonesia, and now the new partners are being looked for.

[Special Steel and Ferroalloy Division]

Content of Activities:
(1) The operation is picking up thanks to receiving orders from the aircraft industries having a strong demand, and now a full-scale operation is being kept, (2) The titanium recycle plant corresponding to aircraft grades (eco titanium) is now in operation, (3) Multiple types of new steel are developed and (4) There are such new market developments as preparation and expansion of products for additive fabrication, introduction of a new equipment with one-ton batch processing and the agreement with Safran Group to jointly develop titanium powder.

Future Outlook:
(1) The management will be done by the business unit by market to be newly set up, (2) A new company, Valdi will do a recycle business of battery, catalyst and metal oxide including metals, (3) The sales of powder metallurgy is also expanding, and the development will be going on aiming at offering to the development project for military engines and (4) The sales also starts meant for a 3D printer whose demand is going up.

[Manganese Division]

Content of Activities:
(1) On the other side of the coin that the world's crude steel production was down last year and the demand for manganese ore was down, the price of manganese ore dipped below one-half from the prior year due to the increased supply from a new mine in South Africa, (2) In 2015, the ore production by COMILOG hit a record high of about 3.95 million tons (up by 11% from the prior year). This was because the transportation by rail became more efficient, (3) The drop in the prices of ferroalloys was smaller than that in the ore prices, and the production of medium and low-carbon products that continues to be specialized keeps a top share of 18% of the world's production, (4) In June 2015, Moanda Metallurgy Complex (C2M), a first ferroalloy refinery in Gabon was opened. The annual production capacities of silico manganese and manganese metal are 65,000 tons and 20,000 tons respectively, (5) The mineral sand development project (pigment titanium oxide and zircon) started operation in 2014, reached a maximum level of production capacity in the latter half of 2015, and the production volume of mineral sand was 663,000 tons and (6) Besides, in Norway, the improvement and enhancement of the plant which converts to a high-grade raw material have been already implemented.

Future Outlook:
(1) The main market for manganese is meant for carbon steel, and the production specialized for medium and low-carbon products will be ongoing afterward as well and (2) The investment in Trans-Gabon Railway in Gabon is different from the investments inside the group, and promotion of steamlining the transportation is taking place from now onward as well.
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last modified : Tue 19 Jul, 2016 [09:48]
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