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Nippon Steel leaves door open to integrated Asian mills

President stresses profit over scale, doubles down on specialization

Nippon Steel's Kashima works in Ibaraki Prefecture.

TOKYO -- Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal will consider building integrated blast furnace steelworks in Asia if governments request it, President Kosei Shindo told The Nikkei, a step back from previous statements that the steelmaker would avoid such projects.

Shindo also addressed the successes and challenges of the merger that created the Japanese company five years ago Sunday, as well as how the steelmaker will navigate a global realignment driven by the rapid ascent of Chinese competition. Excerpts from the interview follow.

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