Steel Giants Announce Plans For Internet Trading Platform

Leading international steel traders Cargill Steel, Duferco, Samsung Corporation and Trade ARBED have announced plans to create an Internet steel exchange by the fourth quarter of this year.

The four big steel traders said their as-yet-unnamed site will become the largest such trading platform in the industry. To support the project, the four companies said they each intend to route a portion of their international sales volumes through the new exchange.

The four partners did not specify exactly which of their production facilities would supply steel for the exchange. However, Duferco is known to trade steel produced by the Nizhny Tagilsk Metals Combine, in which the company is also a shareholder. Steel produced at Nizhny Tagilsk and at its affiliates Western Siberian, Kuznetsk and others is expected to be included in the exchange.

Wednesday's news marks the fourth such announced electronic steel exchange project that would include trading of local steel. Each of the previous three has claimed that it will be the largest, although none of them have gotten off the ground yet.

Two local metallurgy giants, Severstal and Magnitogorsk, announced plans to create their own electronic metals exchange in April. The Novolipetsky and Ukraine's Zaprozhstal plants have since declared their desire to join that project. The four partners are planning to meet in Moscow next week.

British metals holding Middlesex Group and a subsidiary of Gazprom announced their own steel trading platform plans in February. Their project called conducted a pounds 650,000 ($1.03 million) public offering earlier this year with prices soaring well above the offering's face value of 1 penny per share to hit as high as 90 pence ($1.43) in's first day of trading.