KWT Steel: Our ultimate goal is to become a fully-integrated steel manufacturer

Tuesday, 13 November 2018 10:35:51 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

At SteelOrbis 2018 Fall Conference & 79th IREPAS Meeting, we had the chance to get together with Siddig Elhassan, commercial manager at Kuwaiti-based KWT Steel, and talked about the company’s plans going forward.

Can you please tell us about KWT Steel’s journey through the years?

KWT Steel has consistently been achieving its yearly production targets as well as optimal utilization rates. Furthermore, it has been achieving its annual sales targets and fulfilling all market needs throughout the years. Due to its constant success, KWT Steel has been expanding according to market needs, with its rebar production increasing from 1.2 million mt to 1.4 million mt currently. Kuwait Steel has been actively focusing on production efficiency and sustainability during its operational years and will continue to do so. Our ultimate goal is to eventually become a fully-integrated steel manufacturer or steel complex.

What is your current capacity and product range?

We produce 8 mm to 40 mm rebar with an annual production capacity of 1.4 million mt. We also produce billet, all specs, with an annual production capacity of 1.2 million mt.

How do you see demand in your domestic market? Do you target foreign markets as well?

Domestic demand has been weak due to seasonal holidays which began with the month of Ramadan in May and was followed by Eid and the seasonal summer holidays, which is the norm every year round. We are not targeting foreign markets because we are not exporting our products, given our aim of fulfilling or supplying domestic market needs which have been increasing annually.

How has 2018 been so far and what is your expectation for rest of the year?

So far 2018 has been good as it has seen the mobilization of governmental construction and infrastructural projects, which boosted market demand and steel consumption. Increased government expenditure and the reduced governmental budget deficit is the key reason behind the heightened construction activity.

There is a 10 percent duty in effect in Kuwait on rebar imports from non-GCC countries until February next year. Do you think domestic rebar supply in Kuwait is sufficient to meet the local demand? Do you think the import duty may be extended beyond February 2019?

Yes, I can conclude that KWT Steel is catering to and fulfilling all market needs. The move by the government was implemented in order to protect the local industry from dumping of steel into the market at significantly low prices, which has been hurting the industry in Kuwait. If the same reasons still exist, then the duty will definitely be extended.

Speaking of trade measures, what are your views on rising protectionism and the trade war between China and the US? Do you think trade habits will change in this new environment?

Currently, we are not facing any problems with the situation at hand because we are not trading outside of Kuwait, but we are purchasing our raw material from abroad and in this regard we might see a change depending on the outcome of trade flows between the two countries.

Do you have any HBI/DRI investment plans in the near future to make KWT Steel less dependent on imports when it comes to raw material?

Yes, we are planning on expanding our operations into the production of raw material products in order to reduce our cost of production and not rely on import material, which has become more challenging to source.

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