Corus, which has alliances in some parts of the world, is now eyeing a global alliance. Globally, there has been an increasing trend to forge partnerships among steel companies even as they compete with each other.
Earlier this year, ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding, which entailed focusing on joint business activities in automotive steel in North Amercia.
In 2002, corporation had been forged among Arcelor, much before it was acquired by Mittal Steel, Nippon Steel and Tata Steel for providing effective steel solutions to the Indian automotive industry. However, the agreement was not renewed.
Clearly, automotive steel will be a focus area for the Tata Steel-Corus combine.
Jean-Sebastien Jacques, director corporate development & strategy, Corus, said, "Corus has lined up an investment of £153 million pounds for automotive and construction market at its Ljmuiden plant. Tata Steel is also planning expansion in the downstream automotive space."
Tata Steel ranks first in the automotive segment in India, while Corus is third in Europe. In fact, Jaguar and Land Rover, being eyed by Tata Motors, happen to be customers of Corus.
Currently, the combined entity of Tata Steel and Corus is going through the integration process. The synergies that would be built between Tata Steel and Corus by the end of the third year were pegged at $450 million
Philippe Varin, chief executive, Corus, said there were 20 working groups focusing on the integration, working on iron making, steel making, raw material security and rolling mills, among various other aspects, he said.
The company would in the next step integrate raw materials. In iron ore, projects in the Atlantic basin were under review while in coal, projects were being explored across the globe.
The combined entity had 25 per cent iron ore and 20 per cent coal security, which it plans to take to 60 and 80 per cent, respectively, he said.
The correspondent is in London on a visit sponsored by Tata Sons.