Kobelco Welding of Japan’s Kobe Steel enters Bangladesh, eyeing shipbuilding industry

29 April 2015

The world’s leading Kobelco Welding, a group company of Japan’s Kobe Steel Limited, has announced its entrance into Bangladesh, eyeing the country’s fastest growing shipbuilding industry.

The company is now selling its wielding equipment to the Western Marine Shipyard, the country’s leading shipbuilders, through its local dealer Tsi Marine Ltd.

“The local welding industry is now at its nascent stage in Bangladesh, giving us an opportunity to tap the market,” said Shinichi Tanaka, managing director of Kobelco Welding India Private Ltd, the Group’s India operation, told a group of journalists at a city hotel on Monday.

Bangladesh welding industry is mostly dominated by the use of manual welding equipment. However, this situation is expected to change as several industries have started demanding automated equipment to support higher productivity.

More than hundred-year old, Kobe Steel is Japan’s fifth-largest and the world’s fifteenth-largest steelmaker with an annual turnover of around $16 billion and employing some 36,000 people across the world. Its 40% turnover comes from steel business, 5% from welding materials and the rest from other segments, including construction materials.

The annual demand for welding equipment in Bangladesh is around 70,000 tonnes.

“This demand is expected to rise as Bangladesh’s shipbuilding industry is growing,” said Tanaka. “Our welding equipment help manufacturing works finish faster and better.”

The traditional-used welding electrode takes time about four hours, which is much more than the automated one that takes one hour only to complete any manufacturing task, he added.

Back in February 20 this year, Kobelco appointed TSI Marine Limited for marketing and distributing its welding equipment in Bangladesh.

To this effect, director of TSI Marine Syed Samiul Huq and sales and marketing manager of Kobelco Welding Asia Pacific PTE Ltd Hiroyuki Negoro signed the agreement on behalf of their respective companies.

“We are targeting the sale of 100 tonnes of welding equipment widely used in various sectors in Bangladesh from one of our plants located in Singapore,” said Tanaka who is associated with the Kobelco for around 30 years.

The company has plants in Japan, Thailand, Korea, Europe, Indonesia, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

About the company’s plan to set up a plant in Bangladesh, he said, “It depends on the market response.”

Founded in 1905, the Kobe Steel Limited is comprised of numerous consolidated and equity-valued companies in Japan, the Americas, Asia and Europe.