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HBIS to invest EUR 150 million in Smederevo steel mill by June 2020 – Factory needs new equipment
Song Sihai, the director of HBIS Serbia, says that this years production at the Smederevo steel mill will reach 1.8 million tons, whereas the production of cast steel slabs will amount to 1.7 million tons.

As he told RTS, this will be the companys all-time record.

He also said that a great progress would be made when it comes to export, compared to last years exports.

– In the period from January till May, the exports reached the level of 560,000 tons, which is 43.6% more than in the same period last year and is a big a step forward – Song said.

He notes, however, that, if the European Union implemented quotas for the market covered by HBIS Serbia, it would have an impact on the production, but also on Serbias economy.

– We hope that the Government of the Republic of Serbia could help with the problem of quotas through its efforts, as the market of the European Union is still important for our steel mill, whereas the monthly amount in the Serbian market is less than 20,000 tons – he said.

Regarding the steel trade war of America with China and the EU, Song says that, due to 232 investigation procedures initiated by the U.S.A, the customs duties have jumped by 25%, which has led to an increase in the costs of the export of steel of HBIS Serbia, but that it still exports to the American market, as the prices are even higher there.

– The biggest impact is in the European Union, where the impact of the increase of American customs duties is also felt and where the implementation of quotas for all non-member states is being considered – Song notes.

He reminds that, in the two years since HBIS took over Zelezara Smederevo, a great job has been done.

He says that EUR 158 million has been invested, in order to support the production and the modernization of the equipment, and that a lot has been invested in the technology through various projects: from upgrading the equipment, repairs and reconstruction of the agglomeration facility, the blast furnace, the steel mill, the casting machinery, and the cold and the hot rolling mills. Also, he says that a complete reconstruction of the blooming train, as well as the automatization of the first and the second levels of the rolling line, have been completed.

– Our last years production revenues amounted to USD 750 million, which is also a great contribution to the Serbian economy. At the same time, we paid taxes in the amount of USD 39 million, which is all thanks to these investments – Song says.

Talking about further investment plans, he says that they will invest EUR 150 million by June 2020, as new equipment is needed in the entire factory.

– Primarily the new agglo machinery, which is environmentally friendly, the new step-by-step furnace at the hot rolling mill, in order to solve the issue of the usage of the blast furnace gas and so as to not waste energy. Investments in the reduction of gas and dust emission are planned. All this is the investment focus of HBIS Serbia in the next two years – Song explains.

He notes that HBIS Serbia secures 5,000 jobs and that that it creates job opportunities for 200 young people from Smederevo and other parts of Serbia each year.

– This year, we want to establish cooperation with local faculties and incite students of subjects suitable for our company to stay and work in the country. This year, we will provide scholarships and enable them to do practical work and get employed at our company. We believe that we will motivate 50 to 100 students to work at the steel mill in two years – Song says.

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