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Bluescope Steel to Build Three New Plants in India to Supply the Building and Construction Industry

BlueScope Steel today announced Board approval for investment of Rs3,400 million (A$100m) to construct three new manufacturing facilities in India, at Pune, Chennai and New Delhi.

The new facilities, which will be wholly owned by BlueScope Steel, will deliver a world class range of LYSAGHT® and BUTLER™ quality branded products to customers in the growing Indian building and construction industry. These products will be manufactured from BlueScope Steel's premium ZINCALUME® and COLORBOND® coated steels which have been marketed in India since 1998.

The facility in Pune serving the burgeoning Western region is expected to be commissioned in 18-24 months time. The Pune facility will incorporate a BUTLER™ manufacturing facility for PEBs (pre-Engineered Buildings) and a Design Centre which will engineer and design creative, cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing buildings for the growing Indian market.

The Chennai and New Delhi rollforming facilities, offering a full range of LYSAGHT® products, will serve India's growth territories in the South and North respectively.

BlueScope Steel will establish a network of 18 new sales offices at locations around India, with sales planned to commence in 2006.

BlueScope Steel CEO and Managing Director Kirby Adams said: "We are encouraged by the opportunities available in India.

"BlueScope Steel has a proven track record over 40 years in successfully building market demand for quality steel building products in developing Asian markets.

"Our Company's products, brands and service offer are very well established in countries as diverse as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Vanuatu, and we have operated a LYSAGHT® rollforming business in Sri Lanka since 1994.

"India, therefore, represents BlueScope Steel's logical next frontier."

Mr Adams continued: "BlueScope Steel's strong focus will be on developing new markets and new applications for coated steels in the Indian construction market.

"We are looking to apply the 'reverse integration' approach that our Company has successfully deployed elsewhere in Asia, whereby initial investments in rollforming capacity lead to further investment in a steel coating and painting operation once demand for our products is well-established.

"To this end, BlueScope Steel is also currently engaged in a feasibility study with Tata Steel - one of Asia's leading steel companies - exploring the possibility of forming a 50/50 joint venture to develop a metal coating and paint line facility in India. The study is expected to be concluded by May 2005."

The discussions with Tata Steel are proceeding on the basis that, should a decision be made to commence construction of a coating and painting facility, the new investments being announced today would form part of that 50/50 joint venture.

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