The steel industry is growing fast and will continue to do so in the coming years, driven by rapid industrialization and urbanization around the world. Due to its unique combination of strength, weldability, and ductility, steel has been widely used in a variety of industries such as electrical appliances, transportation, engineering and construction, machinery & equipment, and infrastructure. This makes steel one of the world's most essential materials for economic growth. One of the latest trends being observed in the market is the rising demand for steel products that are stronger, lighter, and that meet environmental standards. This trend is further expected to increase the growth of the global steel industry in the future.
As per Straits Research's latest report on the steel market, the overall market is expected to reach USD 1.01 trillion in terms of value by 2025, registering a CAGR of 2.6% during the forecast period, 2019–2026. Building and infrastructure is the largest end-user for steel, accounting for over 51% of the global steel production. This sector is followed by automotive and transport (17%), mechanical equipment (15%), metal products (11%), electrical machines and equipment (3%), and household appliances (3%).
The world's crude steel production surpassed 1.808 million metric tonnes in 2018, up from 79 million metric tonnes than the previous year, marking an increase by 4.3%. The top 10 steel-producing companies in the world accounted for nearly 25 percent of this production. These companies are briefly discussed below, with an emphasis on their revenue and production numbers, indicated in millions of metric tons (MMT).
ArcelorMittal S.A. — the world's largest steel and mining company — was formed in 2006 as a result of the high-profile merger between Arcelor and Mittal Steel. The company has operations in over 80 countries, employing more than 232,000 individuals and accounting for over 5.2% of the total steel crude production. In 2019, ArcelorMittal posted USD 71 million in revenue.
The company plays a significant role in exporting steel to the markets, including automotive, construction, household, and packaging. Overall, Europe produces 47% of the steel, followed by America (35%) and Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and South Africa (18%). ArcelorMittal announced 35 transactions globally at the beginning of the merge. It continued its investments, with deals announced in the U.S., United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australia, Canada, France, Brazil, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Turkey.
Tonnage (2019): 97.31 MMT
China Baowu Steel Group is by far the largest steel company in Mainland China and the second-largest across the world. The company produces steel products such as carbon steel, special steel, and stainless steel, exporting it to more than 40 countries worldwide. Additionally, it is one of the leading steel suppliers in the world for industries like astronautics, metalwork, automobile, nuclear power, energy, petrochemical, household appliances, and machinery & equipment. The company recorded USD 62.04 billion in revenue in FY2018.
Tonnage (2019): 95.47 MMT
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC) was established in 2012 as a high-profile merger between Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal and is the largest steel manufacturer in Japan. The company engages in the production and distribution of steel plates, structural steel, steel pipes, and other metal and chemical products to industries such as automobile, energy, construction, civil engineering, and railways in Japan and around the world.
NSSMC employs more than 115,878 individuals and is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Before the merger, the company was awarded the Fray International Sustainability Award for its venture into sustainable steel manufacturing processes. For the fiscal year 2019, the company's revenue totaled USD 55.72 billion.
Tonnage (2019): 51.68 MMT
Hesteel Group Company Limited, previously known as HBIS Group, is the second-largest iron and steel manufacturing group in China. The company produces steel pipes, cold-rolled plates, special steel products, and high-strength steel bars for industries like automobile, transportation, construction, machinery & equipment, mining, electricity, and household appliances. Hesteel Group's revenue for FY2019 was USD 50.920 billion, up from USD 45.39 billion than the previous year. MIT recognized one of their manufacturing plants as being 'the cleanest steel plant in the world' in 2017.
Tonnage (2019): 46.86 MMT
Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) — the largest steel producing company in South Korea — operates two integrated steel mills (South Korea) as well as a joint venture with U.S. Steel (California, United States). The company's major steel products include wire rod, cold-rolled steel, hot-rolled steel, electrical steel, steel plate, and other stainless steel products. In FY2019, Posco reported its revenues as amounting to USD 59.22 billion, marking an 11.2% increase over the previous year. The company employs over 33,784 staff with operations in more than 53 countries in the world.
Tonnage (2019): 43.12 MMT
Jiangsu Shagang Group Co., Ltd. is one of the largest steel and iron manufacturing companies in China. The company manufactures and distributes high-speed wire rods, wide heavy plates, ribbed steel bars, hot-rolled strip coils, and other stainless steel products. Its yearly production capacity is more than 40 million tons of steel, 37.2 million tons of rolled products, and 31.9 million tons of iron, making it by far one of the largest steel companies in the world by volume.
In FY2019, Jiangsu Shagang Group's revenue totaled USD 36.44 billion, with an increase in profits of 76% than the previous year.
Tonnage (2019): 41.10 MMT
Ansteel Group is a Chinese state-owned steel production company. The company produces hot-rolled steel sheet products, medium and heavy sheets, cold-rolled steel sheets, and other stainless steel products. Ansteel's products are sold to more than 60 countries around the world. It is currently the largest rail and ship plate manufacturer in China and the largest vanadium producer in the world. Moreover, it is the largest titanium oxide and titanium raw material production plant in China. For FY2019, the company's revenue was USD 32.619 billion.
Tonnage (2019): 39.20 MMT
Jianlong Group — a part of China's largest domestic private enterprise Beijing Jianlong Group — is a leading manufacturer of steel and iron products as well as shipping, shipbuilding, and electrical machinery. The company's main steel products include hot-rolled steel strips, hot-rolled ribbed bars, low-carbon cold-rolled steel strips, quality carbon constructional steel, alloy constructional steel, etc. Jianlong Group reported revenues of almost USD 16.99 billion in the fiscal year 2019.
Tonnage (2019): 31.18 MMT
Tata Steel Group — a part of the Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Group — is a leading producer of steel. The company, with its global presence across five continents, has been recognized as one of the largest steel manufacturers and suppliers in the world. The World Steel Association recognized Tata Steel Limited and Tata Steel Group as the "Steel Sustainability Champions" in 2019. It posted USD 22 billion in revenue in 2019, recording 27% growth over the previous year.
Tonnage (2019): 30.15 MMT
Shougang Group — a leading Chinese state-owned steel company — is one of the oldest steel manufacturing businesses in China established in 1919. The company is primarily engaged in producing steel coils, medium plates, cold-rolled steel coils, long steel plates, and electrical steels. Shougang Group also operates businesses in real estate, finance, city infrastructure, and mining.
In 2018, the company witnessed a 35.4% increase in revenues and turned a USD 9 million profit. Shougang Group's revenue for FY2019 accounted for USD 31.10 billion.
Tonnage (2019): 29.34 MMT