WISCO - history of Wuhan Iron and Steel - China.
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History of Wuhan Iron & Steel

Wuhan Iron & Steel was the 11th largest steelmaker in the world, producing ~26 million tonnes (mt) of steel in 2015. The company was acquired by Baosteel at end-2016, to create the Baowu Iron and Steel Group.

The timeline below covers the history of the firm until the point of the takeover by Baosteel.

  • 1955: Construction of Wuhan iron and steel facilities commences.
  • 1958: Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp (WISCO) founded in 1958.
  • 1959: Open hearth furnace No.1 put into production at Qingshan.
  • 1963: Qingshan heavy steel rolling mill project completed.
  • 1970: WISCO production of iron & steel reaches 1 million tons.
  • 2005: Acquisition by Wuhan of 51% equity of Liuzhou Iron & Steel.
  • 2006: Chinese wire rope m/f jv agreed with Wire Corp of America.
  • 2007: Plan for integration of Kunmin Steel by WISCO agreed.
  • 2008: WISCO sets up trading office on US West Coast.
  • 2009: Acquisition announced of Echeng Iron and Steel by WISCO.
  • 2009: Commissioning by Liuzhou Steel of new convertor at Nanning.
  • 2012: Long-term export cooperation agreement signed with POSCO.
  • 2012: Purchase completed by Wuhan of remaining equity of Liuzhou.
  • 2012: Wuhan Steel drops plans to build Brazil steel mill.
  • 2012: Agreement to buy ThyssenKrupp's tailored blanks division.
  • 2013: Wuhan in talks to develop iron ore project in West Africa.
  • 2014: First shipment made of iron ore from Liberia.
  • 2015: Reported interest in privatisation of PSM.
  • 2015: Concern emerging about status of WISCO foreign investments.
  • 2016: Start-up expected of new 8.6 mt/yr steelworks Fangchengang.
  • 2016: Merger takes place of Baosteel and Wuhan Iron & Steel
  • 2017: For subsequent developments, see Baowu history page

  • 1955: WISCO started civil work at its Qingshan plant. This step symbolised the birth of the first 'steel city' in new China.
  • 1974: New steel mill equipment was introduced from the former Federal Republic of Germany and from Japan. This set a precedent for the introduction of modern foreign technology to the Chinese Iron and Steel Industry, as was therefore a notable step for the industry.
  • 2005: Wuhan Iron & Steel Group, China's third-biggest steelmaker at the time, agreed in December 2005 to pay 6.5 billion yuan (HK$6.2 billion) for 51 percent of state-owned Liuzhou Iron & Steel Group.
  • 2012: The plans to build a steel plant in Brazil were dropped after negotiations on infrastructure investment [railways and port terminals] floundered, according to a Wugang spokesman.
  • 2012: The acquisition by Wuhan of TKS's stamping assets marked China's entry into German steel-rolling.
  • 2013: These talks concerned the Mbalam iron ore project, which straddles the border between Cameroon and The Republic of Congo and has a planned annual capacity of ~35 million metric tonnes of the steelmaking raw material.
  • 2014: Liberia Bong Mines was the first overseas iron ore mines to be developed by WISCO. WISCO Sino-Africa (HK) Mining Co. Ltd celebrated making its first shipment of iron ore fines to WISCO in February 2014.
  • 2015: Representatives from WISCO reportedly took part in discussions relating to the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills in October 2015.
  • 2015: WISCO foreign investments include iron ore mines in Brazil and in Canada. WISCO controlled up to 20 percent of MMX Mineracao & Metalicos SA, which owns iron ore mines in Brazil and Chile but which went bankrupt at end-2014. WISCO is also a business partner with U.S. mining company Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., operator of the Bloom Lake mine in Quebec, which in suspended production in early 2015.
  • 2016: This refers to the planned commissioning of a new greenfield integrated steel plant at Fangchengang Port, a project estimated to cost ~$9.5 billion.
  • 2016: Upon merger of Baosteel and Wuhan Iron and Steel, the 52-year-old chairman of the Wuhan Iron and Steel Group Mr Ma Guoqiang becomes the new chairman of the merged entity.

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