TOKYO -- Electric furnace operators Tokyo Tekko and Itoh Iron & Steel will start talks on merging their businesses, the companies said on Monday.
The two second-tier companies manufacture steel bars for reinforced concrete. They have been in partnership for some time, sharing a sales unit, among other things.
Japan's electric furnace industry is overcrowded, with fierce competition raging among 30 companies.
Tokyo Tekko and Itoh Iron & Steel hope to streamline their production and sales operations to survive the highly competitive environment. Details of the merger are still unclear, including what stake each will claim and when the merger will take place.