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April 28
Stainless steel: quality, production and market prospects

This was the main theme for the International Conference 'Prospects for Stainless Steel Production', held on April 25th and 26th at Dneprospetsstal.

World-class experts in metallurgy arrived in Zaporozhye to take part in the conference as well as rolled stainless steel and pipe manufacturers, metal traders and representatives of the major consumers. These consumers included the largest companies engaged in the machine building, chemical and power generation industries. Participants at the forum discussed world-wide stainless steel production and consumption trends. The participants paid special attention to such issues as broadening the variety and range of steel grades and shaped steel sections offered as well as quality improvement and product competitiveness. The main problem today - a sharp jump in the price of nickel (chief alloying element used in production of stainless steel) was also discussed.

Daniel Valk, Chairman of the Board at DSS, opened the conference. In his opening address he indicated the following:

- The main purpose of the conference is to establish feedback with our customers, suppliers and competitors as Dneprospetsstal today is the leader in Ukraine's market for special steels. There are competitors in Russia, but our company possesses unique technologies and indisputable advantages. Moreover, we sell our products at world-wide competitive prices. We position ourselves as a manufacturer of quality products rather than merely a low-cost manufacturer.

The rates of growth in the Ukrainian metal market depend directly on the rate of Ukraine's general economic growth. DSS's main goal for now is to penetrate the markets where we will be able to maximize profits from our products.

Sergej Kovalev, Director of the Department for Rolled Stainless Steel Products at OJSC AGHIS STAHL (Moscow) shared this position:

- We have worked with DSS for more than ten years. We are VIP customers of Dneprospetsstal. Quality of DSS products is superior to that of Russian and European manufacturers. DSS also ensures a distinctively good product appearance.

- We expect reliable predictions from the analysts invited concerning nickel price changes and current information about replacement of nickel-containing steel grades. It is the second time that our representatives attend such a conference. It always means an exchange of experience, a sharing of information of companies' achievements and a search for new marketing solutions.

The conference consisted of three working sessions. A presentation by Konstantin Il'chenko, Vice Chairman of the DSS Board for Marketing and Sales attracted much interest. Its title was 'Dneprospetsstal in the Market of Rolled Stainless Steel Products: from Leadership in the CIS to Global Prospects', and in it he analyzed DSS's prospects for conquering new international markets. Marcus Moll, a world-renowned expert and the main market analyst at SMR, pointed out the following in his report:

- For a manufacturer as large as DSS the Ukrainian market is not big enough. On the other hand, products made in Ukraine are not popular outside the country. But DSS is known as a major-league player in the world market. The metal of this Zaporozhye mill is an attractive alternative to that of Western Europe. Furthermore, DSS is beginning to penetrate the US market and will shortly start to enter the Asian market. The metal market is on the rise and it is important that decisions be made now concerning large investments into the manufacturing sector. The next five years will be critical for the metal makers.

During the second session participants' attention was riveted to presentations from Russian colleagues. Roman Modzgvrishvili, Director-General of the Trading House of the Krasny Oktyabr' plant, spoke about problems and growth prospects for the special steels market in Russia and the CIS. He analyzed the situation with special steels in the post-Soviet territory, identified problems and offered solutions.

- We are interested in concluding new supply contracts for DSS products and have already opened discussions. The conference is a good occasion to meet with colleagues', said Valery Litvak, Vice Director-General at BALTIC STAINLESS STEEL (St Petersburg). We are convinced that DSS products are of high quality, based on two-years experience of joint work, and we would like to open discussions on the supply of forging ingots. We would also like to see the process of DSS obtaining licenses for export of stainless steel and ingots speeded up'. The organizers also made sure that the guests could see that very manufacturing process through which DSS gained an unshakable reputation as the leader in special steels in Ukraine by providing a tour of the steel mill at the close of the conference.

The forum 'Prospects for Stainless Steel Production' re-confirmed its status as a beacon of information and guidance for stainless steel manufacturers and created an opportunity for business and manufacturing professionals to establish new links.

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