KORTRIJK, Belgium (July 31) — Steel cord maker N.V. Bekaert S.A. reported sales of steel cord in China increased 38 percent in the first six months of 2006, offsetting a 4-percent drop in sales in all other markets.
Demand for advanced wire products for the automotive sector, which includes steel cord, remained weak in both Europe and North America during the period, Bekaert said. In Europe, Bekaert said it faced more intense competition in steel cord, especially in passenger tires.
The company strengthened its position in North America during the period with its acquisition of bead wire maker Delta Wire Corp. of Clarksdale, Miss. Bekaert also is investigating opportunities in Russia and is engaged in talks on exclusive cooperation with Uralkord.
With the growth in China, that country now generates 7 percent of Bekaert´s sales in the Advanced Wire Products division.
That business unit reported sales of $1.04 billion for the period, up 4 percent over 2005.