China Kailuan Group takes 30 pct in Shougang JV -paper

SHANGHAI, March 2 Thu Mar 1, 2012 11:16pm EST

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SHANGHAI, March 2 (Reuters) - Kailuan Group, one of China's major coal producers, has taken a more than 30-percent stake in a joint venture steel project in north China, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Friday, citing an official with the JV's partner Shougang.

Shougang, China's sixth-largest steelmaker, has increased its stake in Shougang Jingtang Iron & Steel to 70 percent from the previous 51 percent, the paper said, citing chairman Zhu Jimin.

After being ordered to leave Beijing as part of efforts to improve the capital's air quality in 2008, Shougang set up the joint venture with Tangshan Steel to run a greenfield Caofeidian steel project in neighbouring Hebei province, China's largest steel-producing region.

Zhu said in March last year that Tangshan Steel would withdraw its 49-percent stake from Shougang Jingtang.

A spokesman with Shougang Jingtang Iron & Steel declined to comment, while a spokeswoman with Shougang Group could not be immediately reached.

The project, with an annual capacity of 9.7 million tonnes, is also in line with China's plans to move as much as 40 percent of total steel capacity to a series of new coastal bases in the next five years in order to keep down the transport costs of imported iron ore and improve the environment. (Reporting by Ruby Lian and Jacqueline Wong)

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