Nippon Steel, Tata in Talks on Joint Output

Nippon Steel, the world's second-largest steel maker, is in talks with India's Tata Steel to
jointly produce automotive sheet steel in India, the Nikkei business daily reported on Tuesday.

The two companies are likely to invest about 50 billion yen ($423 million) to build a plant with an annual capacity to produce around a million tons of thin sheet mainly for auto bodies, the paper said.

A Nippon Steel spokesman could not immediately confirm the report.

Demand for sheet steel in India is expected to rise further as Japanese car makers such as Suzuki Motor and Honda Motor increase output there, and the alliance with Tata would make Nippon Steel the first major Japanese steel maker to enter the market, the paper said.

Nippon Steel, benefiting from strong worldwide sales of Japanese cars, earlier this month raised its full-year forecast for the third time in six months on booming demand from carmakers and said it would post a record profit for a third straight year.

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