Hiap Teck’s Eastern Steel resumes operation

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KUALA LUMPUR (July 17): The wait is over as Hiap Teck Venture Bhd announced today its blast furnace at Eastern Steel Sdn Bhd has resumed production finally, after a halt of nearly three years.

In a statement today, the steel maker said the reigniting of Eastern Steel's blast furnace was done yesterday, marking a successful resumption of its operations.

Eastern Steel is principally involved in the manufacturing, selling, and dealing in a range of steel products using the blast furnace plant, with a current production capacity of 700,000 tonnes of steel slabs per annum.

Its products are targeted to be sold locally to satisfy domestic demand and also exported to neighboring countries principally, Indonesia and Thailand, which are net importers of steel slabs, said the group.

Operations at Eastern Steel were halted since October 2015, to minimise losses due to difficult market conditions then.  

Today, the board said it is confident that the resumption of its operations will contribute positively to the future performance of the Hiap Teck group.

Hiap Teck’s executive director Foo Kok Siew said last December that the group is expecting to return to the black in its current financial year ending July 31, 2018 (FY18), after it was loss making for three years.

The group had also announced in April that it was paring down its stake in 55%-owned Eastern Steel, by disposing of a 20% stake to Shanxi Jianlong Industry Co Ltd for RM139.3 million, a move it said could potentially bring about a "successful turnaround".

Shares in Hiap Teck was unchanged at 32.5 sen today, valuing the group at a market capitalisation of RM432.76 million.