BHP’s corporate leadership has invested significant effort in charting out a forward-looking brand vision based around growth and security, despite the risk of global financial challenges. Its major re-branding exercise continues to derive strong results as BHP has increased its brand value 51 % since 2017.
The world’s second most valuable mining, iron and steel brand goes to ArcelorMittal, improving 52 % to US$ 4.3 billion, with the price recovery of steel helping boost revenues. Acquisitions are also driving its brand value growth; the company completed its transaction to acquire Italian steelworks brand, Ilva, which will be known as ArcelorMittal Italia and help grow its European steel business. It also announced plans to acquire the insolvent Essar Steel, which supplies the only steel approved in India for warships, submarines, battle tanks and armoured vehicles. This acquisition is through a 50-50 joint venture with Nippon Steel, Japan’s largest steel producer and third largest steel producer in the world.
Nippon Steel also performed well in the ranking, increasing 34 % to US$ 3.1 billion as the company focused on growing market share and export volumes of high-grade steel for cars. A strong demand for auto-steel in Asia and North America was a large driver for the company to form joint ventures and carry out acquisitions in these regions.
India’s largest private-sector steel producer, Tata Steel is the fastest-growing mining, iron and steel brand this year, up 60 % to US$ 1.2 billion. India experienced increasing demand for steel to facilitate government infrastructure projects, and the company focused its strategy domestically, opening the Kalinganagar steel plant in Odisha, helping Tata Steel to increase sales to almost 8 million t/a. In August 2018, Tata Steel announced its Q1 consolidated net profit more than doubled from the same period last year, which was largely contributed to sales growth in the automotive and industrial sectors as well as improved operational efficiencies.
Following its 15 % brand value decrease in 2018, Kobelco fell a further 23 % this year to US$ 736 million in the Brand Finance Mining, Iron & Steel 25 2019 ranking. The company was indicted after admitting to fabricating the strength and quality data of products sold to hundreds of clients, including Boeing, Toyota and General Motors. The scandal has affected both demand and supply of its products – EU aircraft manufactures were advised by the EU aviation regulator to stop using parts supplied by Kobelco – and has also led to a shake-up of the company’s senior management, including the resignation of its chief executive Hiroya Kawasaki.
As Kobelco struggles to turn things around, other brands should take notice. The largest producer of iron ore in the world, Brazilian mining company Vale, improved 26 % to US$ 2.6 billion as the price of iron ore remained relatively high, driving its growth. However, the company’s shares recently plummeted 20 % after a tailing dam collapsed in late January, killing more than 150 people. The lasting effects of the dam disaster, both for Vale and iron ore prices, will continue to be seen in the coming months.
Global Mining Review, April 25, 2019