TOKYO -- A Vietnamese joint steel venture led by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group that includes Japan's JFE Holdings will open a second blast furnace this summer, doubling its potential crude output in a steel-hungry region.
Formosa Ha Tinh Steel operates Vietnam's first blast-furnace integrated steel mill, located in the central province of Ha Tinh. The first furnace began churning out crude steel in May. The second furnace will boost annual capacity to about 7 million tons.
JFE took a 5% stake in the venture in 2015, entitling the Japanese steelmaker to a share of output. Taiwan-based China Steel holds a significant interest as well.
JFE plans to sell hot-rolled steel coil from Formosa Ha Tinh Steel under its own brand. It also will supply steel from the plant to Southeast Asian processing facilities run by the JFE group, which now use material from Japan.
Vietnam, ranking third in population among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with 93 million people, has become the region's largest consumer of steel products amid a wave of building and infrastructure construction.