Japan’s JFE Shoji buys stake in Chinese unit of French motor parts maker r. bourgeois

11, May. 2019

TOKYO, NNA – Japanese steel trader JFE Shoji Trade Corp. has acquired an undisclosed number of shares in the Chinese unit of r. bourgeois S.A., a French maker of magnetic steel rotor and stator lamination assemblies for electric motors and generators.

The trading arm of major steelmaker JFE Steel Corp. said in a statement Thursday it had bought shares in Zhejiang r. bourgeois mechanics, which makes motor lamination cores for European auto parts manufacturers and local customers in China.

JFE Shoji spokesman Kazuya Tanaka declined comment on the transaction value and ownership percentage of the Chinese unit, which was established in 2010, but said it is now JFE’s “affiliate.”

JFE Shoji said it expects demand for electrical steel sheets to rise in China, the world’s largest automobile market.

China is a major market for Japanese-made high-end automobile steel sheets which are used mainly by Japanese carmakers in China.

For electric and hybrid vehicle motors, the quality of electrical steel sheets holds the key to achieving high fuel efficiency, said Masashi Kaneko, head of the international trade and overseas market research group at the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.

In the Chinese auto market, sales of fuel-efficient vehicles more than doubled to 299,000 units in the first three months of this year, with electric vehicles accounting for more than three quarters of them, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

JFE Shoji and Besancon, eastern France-based r. bourgeois formed a motor core processing joint venture for the North American market in 2014.