CITIC Pacific Special Steel is the leading producer of bar products such as bearing steel, gear steel and spring steel, which are sold mainly to the auto component and machinery manufacturing industries. Given that our bar production lines operated at near full capacity in 2013, sales volumes of bars during the year were at about the same level as in 2012. Our operational approach is more about optimising product mix and raising product quality, which in turn will improve profitability.
Supply in the medium-to-heavy plate market continued to exceed demand, which led to intensified price competition. We at CITIC Pacific Special Steel are newcomers in the plate market. However, through intensified marketing, particularly in the oil and petrochemical sectors, we were able to increase the utilisation rate of the plate lines to 52%. Our plate sales grew 27% from 2012 to 1.48 million tonnes in 2013. We also saw an improvement in profit margins. Furthermore, last year we joined with Shanghai University and Xuzhou Heavy Machinery to successfully develop S890 high strength plate for use in the heavy machinery industry.
Seamless steel tubes
Sales of seamless steel tubes amounted to 600,000 tonnes in 2013, a 13% increase compared with 2012 mostly due to increased sales to the overseas market. The utilisation rate of our seamless steel tube lines increased to 55%.
In 2013, our research team developed ultra-supercritical P91 boiler tubes, for which we obtained certification from the China Standardization Committee on Vessels. Six major corporations bought this new product, including Harbin Boiler Works and Shanghai Boiler Works.
Xingcheng Special Steel’s new 500,000 tonne wire production line began operating in June 2013 and by the end of 2013 had sold 300,000 tonnes. With our increased wire production capacity, we were able to meet the market demand for wire products such as tyre cord steel, high-end core steel and automobile fastening steel, as well as high-end bearing and spring steel.
Special forging steel
In 2013, production and sales of forging steel was over 70,000 tonnes with a utilisation rate of about 65%.