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Japanese Steel Manufacturer Looks to Boost Extruder Sales

 JSW’s booth at K 2016 JSW’s booth at K 2016

Japan Steel Works Ltd. sees significant potential in the Iranian extrusion market with the lifting of nuclear sanctions on the country and plans a seminar there in early 2017 to kick off its effort.

Tokyo-based JSW announced the seminar just ahead of K 2016–trade fair for plastics and rubber industry held in the German city of Düsseldorf October 19-26–and company executives said in an interview at the show that they see a lot of interest from potential customers, even if access to financing in Iran remains a hurdle, reads an article published by American weekly Plastics News.

Miki Wakayama, general manager of JSW’s plastics machinery sales department, said JSW has a historically strong relationship with Iran, with about a 50% market share for extruders for polyolefins.

After the sanctions took effect a decade ago, that business fell dramatically. But JSW was able to continue to sell spare parts, provide support and maintain communication with the market, in accordance with United Nations sanctions and Japanese government rules, she said.

“Of course, we have suffered from the sanctions,” said Tadashi Gion, JSW assistant sales manager. “We were prohibited to export some critical parts of the main body of the extruder.”

Now, with the financial sanctions being lifted and long-term potential in Iran with its 80 million people, the company said there is interest from the market to expand its plastics industry and find higher-value uses for its oil and gas.

“They have oil and gas, ideas and demand, but they don’t have the financing capability,” said Gion, who is organizing the seminar in Tehran. “We have several potential projects in Iran, but most do not have clear financing situations.”

But, he said, “The customers are thinking seriously.”

The seminar is planned for February 15, immediately following a two-day conference organized by the Iran Masterbatch & Compound Producers Association. JSW estimates 100 people will attend.

The company said the seminar will emphasize JSW’s large twin- and single-screw extruders and mixers for polypropylene and polyethylene.

Wakayama said Iranians have a lot of technical skills in manufacturing and JSW sees opportunities in industries like automobiles, packaging, and the medical and pharmaceutical markets.

“Before the sanctions, Iran had a larger auto manufacturing industry than the United Kingdom,” she said.

“It will take Iran at least one year to work out the financing hurdles, she said.

JSW also said the Iranian market push is being helped by its May 2015 acquisition of South Korean extrusion machinery maker SM Platek.

SMP also delivered many extruders to the Iranian market before the sanctions.

JSW’s public statement of its interest in Iran follows other similar announcements from the global machinery industry.

In December, the German VDMA plastics and rubber machinery trade group held a seminar in Tehran that drew 500 attendees.

And the organizers of K 2016, Germany’s Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, in September 2015 announced a partnership with the Iran Plast Fair, the country’s largest plastics show.

“I think it is going to be a race,” said Thomas Behne, with Windsor Kunststofftechnologie GmbH in Hanau, Germany, which has been selling JSW machines in Germany since 2007.

“German and Swiss makers of extrusion equipment are also gearing up for expected demand in Iran,” he said.

In other developments at K 2016, JSW said it is moving its existing European extrusion technical laboratory in Overpelt, Belgium, to Dusseldorf by the end of the year.

“It’s a larger laboratory, allowing the company to expand its technical service offerings and be more centrally located for the European market,” Gion said.

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