United States Steel Corporation announced today that it will build a new hot dip galvanizing (HDG) facility at the company's steelmaking operation in Slovakia -- U. S. Steel Kosice (USSK). With an annual capability of approximately 350,000 metric tons, the facility will serve the growing demand for high quality coated steels in the Central European automotive and construction industries. Construction of the $160 million facility will begin this year, with start-up expected in early 2007.
Demand for automobiles in Central Europe -- especially in the V4 countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) -- has grown, and is expected to continue to grow. This demand, combined with the region's central location, skilled workforce and favorable cost structure, have led a number of automotive manufacturers to locate new assembly operations in this area, which are expected to require an increasing amount of high quality coated sheet steel products.
The construction industry is also expected to drive increased demand for galvanized product to supply residential and commercial construction and infrastructure development. USSK is already a leader in the construction market and intends to maintain its position as the market grows. "As the premier flat-rolled supplier in the V4, we have continually upgraded and expanded our facilities to meet the growing needs of our customers," said Joe Scherrbaum, vice president-commercial for U. S. Steel Kosice. "Since 2001, our major market-driven investments have included a vacuum degassing station, expansion of our tin coating facilities and, most recently, an electrical steel line. This automotive hot dip galvanizing facility is part of our ongoing plan to provide customers with state-of-the- art products."
U. S. Steel is a major supplier of sheet steel to the North American automotive market and a leader in the development of new grades and steels for the automotive industry. U. S. Steel will bring this expertise to Central Europe to offer automotive customers advanced products from a local supplier. U. S. Steel Kosice President Chris Navetta commented, "USSK is dedicated to providing our customers with quality products while supporting the growing economies of Kosice and Eastern Slovakia. Our hot dip galvanizing facility is expected to accomplish both of these goals. Our Central European automotive and construction customers will have a local source of high quality galvanized steel to meet their growing demand, and Eastern Slovakia will benefit from the employment and expenditures that a major new investment creates."