Thai longs product producer Long Luck Steel Group plans to open a steel billet mill to open mid 2014 in a US$36M investment.

The project has a new strategic partner, Asia Pacific Investment House (APIH), a venture capital firm registered in the British Virgin Islands. APIH did not reveal the amount of its investment.

The mill is planned for an industrial estate in Samut Sakhon, and the group plans to produce, sell and distribute steel billets and steel wire rod, with a projected combined annual production of 380kt.

The Iron and Steel Institute of Thailand (ISIT) rates Thailand the largest steel market in ASEAN.

APIH said steel products are needed for economic growth, and steel use in the region has increased. Sectors ranging from construction, automotive and electrical appliances all use steel products, and there is a supply shortage.

With local production only meeting 30% of Thailand's steel demand, the country potentially risks the quality and security of the supply chain by using imports, said an APIH.

Long Luck's new production output already has a buyer for at least 50% of its annual output.

Long Luck has been in the steel business since 1998 and was founded by Wuttichot Hirunsearetumrong, who remains director of the company.

Source: Daily ‘Bangkok Post’, Bangkok; 25 Oct 2013