「ほっ」と。キャンペーン

鉄鋼大合併―世界仕様の再編の始まり

2011/02/05
--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 4
鉄鋼大合併―世界仕様の再編の始まり
EDITORIAL: Steel megamerger

A huge merger between two leading Japanese steel makers, which constitute an important part of the nation's industrial base, was announced Thursday. Nippon Steel Corp., the largest Japanese steel manufacturer in terms of crude steel production, and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd., the No. 3 player, said they are planning to merge in autumn next year.
 日本の産業の土台ともいえる鉄鋼メーカーの大合併が浮上した。粗鋼生産量で国内トップの新日本製鉄と3位の住友金属工業が来年秋を目標に合併を検討する、と発表した。

If the two companies bring together their competitive technologies and improve the efficiency of production, they will be able to supply steel products of higher quality to manufacturing industries at lower prices. The deal could bolster efforts to revitalize the floundering Japanese economy.
 それぞれの強みがある技術を持ち寄り、生産を効率化すれば、より高品質な鉄を、より安く加工産業に供給することが可能となる。日本経済の再生を支援する効果も期待できよう。

This is not a defensive merger by two companies trying to protect themselves from takeovers or integrating themselves because of poor earnings performances. This is a strategic move for "aggressive investment in the global market," according to Nippon Steel President Shoji Muneoka.
 これは買収からの企業防衛や、経営不振で肩を寄せ合うような守りの統合策ではない。「グローバル市場に積極的に投資する」(宗岡正二・新日鉄社長)という攻めの発想だ。

The new steel giant will have a greater ability to meet swelling demand in fast-growing emerging countries through local production and make the large investment needed to develop technologies to fight global warming and enhance competitiveness.
高い成長が続く新興国での現地生産で需要に対応できるうえ、地球温暖化対策や競争力強化のための新技術開発に向けた巨額投資もしやすくなる。

The Anti-Monopoly Law will be the largest obstacle to the proposed megamerger. The outlook of the deal will become murky if the Fair Trade Commission decides to focus on the combined share of the two companies in the domestic market in its antitrust scrutiny of the plan.
 実現への最大のハードルとなるのが独占禁止法である。公正取引委員会が、国内市場の占有率に重きを置いて審査するなら判断は微妙になろう。

Some industry observers say the two steel makers, which formed a capital tie-up eight years ago, have been deterred from moving toward their merger by concerns about whether the deal will receive the green light from the antitrust watchdog.
8年前に資本提携した両社が統合へ進むのをためらってきたのは、その点にあるとの見方も産業界にある。

When Nippon Steel was created through a merger of two steel manufacturers 41 years ago, some of the facilities had to be sold to other companies after the FTC warned that the combination could limit competition in the sector. But the current business environment for steel makers is totally different from the situation four decades ago.
 41年前の新日鉄誕生では公取委から競争制限の恐れがあると勧告され、結局、他社に設備を譲って合併を実現した。だが今は当時と環境が全く違う。

The combined steel production of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal would still be only half of the output of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel maker. In terms of size, the combination would not overwhelm South Korea's Pohang Iron and Steel Co. (POSCO), the Japanese companies' main foreign rival in terms of product quality.
 今回の合併が実現しても生産量は首位のアルセロール・ミッタルのほぼ半分。品質でしのぎを削る韓国のポスコを圧倒する規模にもならない。

More to the point, Japan had just become the second-largest economy in the free world after years of rapid economic growth when Nippon Steel was born. In contrast, the Japanese economy has achieved little nominal growth in the past two decades, and China has overtaken Japan as the world's second-largest economy.
 なによりも、新日鉄が誕生したころの国内市場は高度成長の末に経済規模で自由世界第2位となったばかりだった。ところが、今の日本はこの20年間で名目成長率はほぼゼロ。中国に世界第2位の経済大国の座も譲った。

The administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan is stepping up efforts to conclude free trade agreements. The administration's new push to "open up the nation" has been driven by the drastic change of Japan's status in the world economy.
 菅政権が「国を開く」と自由貿易協定の拡大に本腰を入れる背景にも、世界経済の中の日本の位置づけが様変わりしたという事情がある。


The number of Japanese companies that consider mergers as a key part of their global strategies will increase in the coming years as competitiveness in the global market has become a major factor for their long-term viability.
 グローバルな市場での競争が生き残りを左右する大きな要因となった以上、世界戦略として統合を考える企業は今後増えていくはずだ。

In addition to the emergence of behemoths in the world steel market, soaring raw materials prices are another factor that has driven Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal into the deal. The international markets for such raw materials as coal and iron ore are now dominated by a small number of resources giants. That means steel makers need to be large if they want to have enough leverage in negotiations over prices with the suppliers of raw materials.
 ライバル企業の巨大化だけでなく、資源価格の高騰も、新日鉄と住友金属の合併へと背中を押した要因である。石炭や鉄鉱石など海外の資源会社の寡占化も進んでおり、価格交渉力を確保できる規模の大きさも必要となっているという現実がある。

Given these radical changes in the business environment, the FTC should approve the merger between the two firms. The watchdog needs to develop new criteria for its antitrust investigations for the new era and make them clear to other global companies that may be considering similar consolidation moves.
 こうした環境の激変を考えれば、公取委は両社の合併を認めるべきだろう。新時代に対応した新たな審査指針をつくり、同様の統合を模索するグローバル企業に対しても、それを明確に示してほしい。

It is also the FTC's important job to ensure that the creation of a new steelmaking titan will not bring disadvantages to the many small and medium-sized manufacturers dependent on the domestic market.
 もちろん、巨大な鉄鋼メーカーの誕生が、国内市場で生きている多くの中堅・中小メーカーの不利益とならないよう目を光らせ続けるのも、公取委の大事な仕事である。
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2011-02-05 11:32 | 英字新聞

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