5 September 2007 Bekaert and Mukand (India) sign strategic cooperation agreement

Today Bekaert signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Indian steel company Mukand. Both partners will set up a 50/50 joint venture and invest Rs. 100 Crores (€ 18 million) in a new factory to be built in Maharashtra (India) for the production of stainless steel wires. These wire products are used around the world in components for the automotive industry and all sorts of other industrial applications.

Mukand is a leading producer of alloy and stainless steel long products in India with manufacturing facilities in Kalwe, Thane and Hospet, Karnataka. Mukand has supplied to Bekaert previously and will provide the new plant with wire rod.

Bekaert has been active in India for some time, mainly in production of steel cord for the reinforcement of radial tires and carding products for the textile industry.

According to Mr. Rajesh Shah, Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Mukand, this will broaden Mukand’s product portfolio as hitherto Mukand did not manufacture stainless steel wires. This joint venture will now open up new markets for Mukand.”

Henri-Jean Velge, Group Executive Vice President of Bekaert added: “With this new step forward, Bekaert wants to further expand its activities in India, together with a strategic partner in the steel industry. Together with our production plant in Zwevegem (Belgium) we aim at doubling our activities in stainless steel wires around the world in response to our customer’s increasing need for top quality products.”