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Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional

Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN)
Sociedade Anônima
Traded as BM&F Bovespa: CSNA3
Industry Iron and steel
Founded 1941
Headquarters São Paulo, Brazil
Key people
Benjamin Steinbruch, (Chairman & CEO)
Products Steel
Revenue US$ 7.3 billion (2013) [1]
US$ 225.9 million (2013)
Number of employees
Website [1]

Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) is the second major steel-maker company in Brazil.[2] Its main plant is located in the city of Volta Redonda, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Its current CEO is Benjamin Steinbruch.

Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional is the largest fully integrated steel producer in Brazil and one of the largest in South America in terms of crude steel production. Its annual crude steel capacity and rolled product capacity are 5.6 million and 5.1 million tons, respectively. It produces a broad line of steel products, including slabs, hot- and cold-rolled, galvanized and tin mill products. Its products are used by the distribution, packaging, automotive, home appliance and construction industries.

CSN accounted for approximately 49% of the galvanized steel products sold in Brazil. In 2004, it accounted for approximately 98% of the tin mill products sold in Brazil. It is one of the world's leading producers of tin mill products. CSN is also unique in owning its own source of iron ore.


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • Growth of CSN post-1980 1.2
    • Privatization 1.3
  • Production 2
  • Holding 3
  • Domestic government policies 4
    • Anti-dumping, Countervailing Duties, Safeguards and Government Protectionism 4.1
    • Potential Costs of Environmental Compliance; Mining Regulation 4.2
    • Dependence on Water Source 4.3
    • Mining Concessions 4.4
    • Fluctuation of the Real Exchange Controls 4.5
    • Inflation and Interest Rate Risks 4.6
  • Bid for Corus 5
  • Competitive advantage 6
  • CSN Future Outlook 7
  • Global business concerns 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10



It was created as a state-owned company on April 9, 1941, during the "Estado Novo", by Brazilian president, Getúlio Vargas, after an agreement between the American and the Brazilian governments (see the Washington Accords) for the construction of a facility that would provide steel for the Allies during the Second World War and later be an aid for Brazil's development. It began its operations in 1946, under Eurico Gaspar Dutra's presidency.

CSN was a Brazilian corporation incorporated in 1941 pursuant to a decree of Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas. The Presidente Vargas Steelworks, located at Volta Redonda, in Rio de Janeiro State, started production in 1946. It initially produced coke, pig iron castings and long products. Two major expansions were undertaken at the Presidente Vargas Steelworks during the 1970s. The first, completed in 1974, increased installed annual production capacity to 1.6 million tons of crude steel. The second, completed in 1977, raised capacity to 2.4 million tons of crude steel.

Growth of CSN post-1980

CSN underwent another expansion in 1989, increasing capacity to 4.5 million tons of crude steel. Until 1993, CSN was a government entity. It was privatized through a series of auctions held in 1993 and early 1994, through which the Brazilian government sold its 91% interest in the company.

In 1993, CSN adopted a capital improvement program, which was revised and extended in 1995. The goals of the capital improvement program were to increase the annual production of crude steel, to improve the productivity of the production units and the quality of the products, and to enhance the environmental protection and cleanup programs. Since February 1996, all production has been based on the continuous casting process, rather than ingot casting, an alternative method that results in higher energy use and metal loss. From 1996 through 2002, CSN spent the equivalent of US$2.4 billion under the capital improvement program and for operational capacity maintenance, culminating with the revamping in 2001 of Blast Furnace #3 and Hot Strip Mill #2 at the Presidente Vargas Steelworks that increased the annual production capacity to 5.6 million tons of crude steel and 5.1 million tons of rolled products, from approximately 5.0 million tons in each case at the beginning of 2001.

In 2005, CSN set its sights high: To reinforce its position as the largest iron-mining operation in the country,through its controlling stake in Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), and to join the exclusive global club of the world's largest suppliers of the commodity.

In January 2004, the CSN board announced the approval of investments up to US$820 million to be made through 2007, for:

  • The expansion of the annual production of the Casa de Pedra iron ore mine from 15.5 million tons in 2004 to approximately 40 million tons.
  • The expansion of the coal terminal adjacent to the Sepetiba Port facilities to enable annual exports of up to 30 million tons of iron ore.
  • The construction of a six million-ton pellet plant.

CSN also explored opportunities for acquisitions or mergers abroad in order to expand output. It proposed to build a new steel plant which would have doubled current annual production of 5.8 million tons of raw steel, at an estimated investment cost of US$2.6 billion, assuming prospecting results pan out. Seeking to maintain focus on its program of acquisitions and growth, CSN set aside $520 million for investments in 2005.


It was a state-owned firm until 1993, when it was privatized by Itamar Franco's government, during the National Program for Privatization led by the federal government, started by Fernando Collor and continued by Franco.[3]

Its main factories are located in Volta Redonda, at the Vale do Paraíba region, southern Rio de Janeiro state, and its iron mines at Congonhas and Arcos, both of them cities in the Minas Gerais state, and the coal mines at Siderópolis, Santa Catarina state.

During almost 50 years of state control, the Brazilian flat steel sector was coordinated on a national basis under the auspices of Siderbrás, the national steel monopoly. The state had far less involvement in the non-flat steel sector, which has traditionally been made up of smaller private sector companies. The larger integrated flat steel producers operated as semiautonomous companies under the control of Siderbrás and were individually privatized during 1991 to 1993.


CSN primarily operates as an integrated steel producer in Brazil. It produces a line of steel products, including slabs, which are semi-finished products used for processing hot-rolled, cold-rolled, or coated coils and sheet products; hot-rolled products comprising heavy-gauge hot-rolled coils and sheets, and light-gauge hot-rolled coils and sheets; cold-rolled products, including cold-rolled coils and sheets; and galvanized products consisting of flat-rolled steel coated with zinc or a zinc-based alloy. The company also offers tin mill products, including tin plate, tin free steel, low tin coated steel, and black plate products. CSN also mines iron ore, limestone, and dolomite, and maintains strategic investments in railroads and power supply companies. The company sells its steel products to customers in Brazil and 71 other countries in North America, Europe, and Asia through its sales force and distributors. It is considered one of the most productive steel-makers in the world, producing more than 6 million tons of raw steel and more than 5 million tons of laminates per year.


CSN owns different firms, such as GalvaSud (in Porto Real - Rio de Janeiro), Inal (in Mogi das Cruzes - São Paulo and Barra Mansa - Rio de Janeiro), CSN PARANÁ (in Araucária - Paraná) and container (TECON) and coal (TECAR) terminals in the Itaguaí port (in Itaguaí - Rio de Janeiro). It also has control through shareholding in MRS Logistics, CFN, in railway transportation, the hydroelectric generators of Igarapava between the São Paulo and Minas Gerais states and Itá, between Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul states, and factories in the United States and Portugal.

Domestic government policies

Anti-dumping, Countervailing Duties, Safeguards and Government Protectionism

Protectionist measures adopted by the governments in some of CSN's main markets could adversely affect crucial export sales. In response to the increased production and exports of steel in many countries, anti-dumping, countervailing duties and safeguard measures have been imposed by countries which represent some of the main markets for CSN exports. Those, and similar, measures could provoke an imbalance in the international steel market, which could adversely affect CSN's exports.

Potential Costs of Environmental Compliance; Mining Regulation

New environmental standards imposed on CSN may require capital expenditures that do not increase productivity. CSN's steel-making facilities are subject to a broad range of laws, regulations and permit requirements in Brazil relating to the protection of human health and the environment.

Dependence on Water Source

Large amounts of water are required in the production of steel. CSN's principal source of water is the Paraíba do Sul river, which runs through the city of Volta Redonda. Much of the water is recirculated, and some, after processing, is returned to the Paraíba do Sul river. A law passed in 1997 permits the Brazilian government to charge for water usage from water courses.

Brazilian government policies in the energy sector may have an adverse impact on the cost or supply of electricity for CSN aluminum-related and ferroalloy operations.

Tax and Social Security Reforms May Affect the Brazilian Economy, and May Impose a Higher Tax Burden on CSN.

The Brazilian Federal Congress has recently amended the Brazilian Constitution to modify certain aspects of the social security and tax system. Moreover, the Brazilian Federal Congress is currently reviewing additional bills which would introduce further changes to Brazil's tax and social security laws. Such reforms may affect Brazilian economic conditions generally, and may impose a higher tax burden on CSN. If CSN is not able to pass the cost of such potential higher tax and social security burdens to customers, their profit margins may be adversely affected.

Mining Concessions

CSN mining operations are governed by the Brazilian Constitution and the Mining Code and are subject to the laws, rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the Constitution and the Code. Under the Brazilian Constitution, all mineral resources belong to Brazil. CSN mining activities at the Casa de Pedra mine are based on holding of a Manifesto de Mina, which gives them full ownership over the mineral deposits existing within their property limits. CSN mining activities at the Bocaina mine are based on a concession which gives them the right to mine for as long as ore reserves exist.

Fluctuation of the Real Exchange Controls

Fluctuation in the exchange rate of the real can adversely affect CSN earnings. Historically, emerging markets, including Brazil, have experienced devaluation of their currency at various times. In 2002, the Brazilian exchange rate fluctuated from a low of R$2.2709 per US$1.00 to a high of R$3.9552 per US$1.00. On June 6, 2005, the rate was R$2,4576 per US$1.00. The real depreciated against the U.S. dollar approximately 2.3% in 2002, due in part to the continued economic and political uncertainties in Brazil and other emerging markets and the global economic slowdown. In 2003 and 2004, the real appreciated 18.2% and 8.1%, respectively, against the U.S. dollar. In the first quarter of 2005 the real depreciated 1% against the U.S. dollar. Further fluctuations in the Brazilian currency, in relation to the U.S. dollar or other currencies, may have an adverse effect on CSN's financial condition and results, increasing the cost in reals of CSN's foreign currency denominated borrowings and imports of raw materials, particularly coal and coke.

Inflation and Interest Rate Risks

High inflation rates have in the past had negative effects on the Brazilian economy and CSN's business. During 2002, the Central Bank raised Brazil's base interest rate by a total of 7.5% to 26.5% as a result of the growing economic crisis in Argentina, one of Brazil's primary trading partners, the lower level of growth of the U.S. economy and the economic uncertainty caused by the Brazilian presidential elections, among other factors. During 2003, the Central Bank decreased Brazil's interest rate from 26.5% to 16.5%, reflecting the good momentum and inflation stability in line with the Central Bank's inflation target. During 2004, the Central Bank increased Brazil's base interest rate by 1.25% to 17.75%, on concerns that growth in Brazil's gross domestic product could jeopardize the inflation target.

Bid for Corus

CSN has bid for the Anglo-Dutch steel firm Corus, valuing it at 9.6 billion dollars in response to Tata Steel's new offer on December 11. Tata Steel and Corus had already been preparing a merger agreement when CSN barged in on November 17. CSN's bid will be formalised, if Corus' board cooperates, after a due diligence is completed.[2] The Corus board was supposed to vote on the Tata offer on December 4, but postponed its meeting until December 20, thus granting more time for CSN to formalise its bid.[4]

The merchant bankers of CSN have purchased about 15% shares of Corus from the open market, clearly indicating the strong intent it has in the deal.

As of December 11, 2006,[5] the board of Corus have formally announced their recommendation of acceptance of the bid by CSN to the amount of 515p per share (approx £4.9 billion total), although it has also confirmed that CSN already owns 3.8% of those shares through previous purchases on the open market. This bid was in response to Tata's increased offer of 500p per share. Agreement has also been reached with both of Corus' main pension bodies on the acquisition.

On January 30, both Tata Steel and CSN bid for Corus in a closed-door, nine-round auction in London. Both Tata Steel and CSN were expected to considerably up the offer from the previous 515 pence. However, doubts are already being raised about the bid winner eventually proving to be a loser, owing to unrealistic valuation of Corus.

In the bidding war it was India's Tata Steel which won the bid in an auction round. It outbidded CSN at 608 pence per share.

CSN came into headlines recently because of the battle it took part in to acquire Corus. After a heated bidding war, Tata Steel managed to acquire Corus, but not before it was forced to pay a much higher price than it had initially proposed. Interestingly, CSN and Corus had planned to merge in the year 2002. Corus had bid 2.7 billion pounds for CSN. But the bid failed to come through. This was the not the only interaction between CSN and Corus. They were partners in a Portuguese venture till early this year, when Corus sold its stake to CSN.

Competitive advantage

The main competition of CSN in Brazil are Arcelor Brazil, Metallurgica Gerdau, Companhia Siderúrgica Paulista (COSIPA), Usiminas and CST-Brazil. The primary competitive factors in the domestic market include quality, price, payment terms and customer service. Although CSN competes with other integrated Brazilian steel mills, it has not experienced significant import competition in Brazil from foreign steel companies. Several foreign steel companies, however, are significant investors in Brazilian steel mills.

CSN has these competitive advantages over its Brazilian competitors:

• Its focus on selling high margin products, such as tin plate, pre-painted, galvalume and galvanized products, in its product mix. • It owns its iron ore reserves, compared to domestic competitors who purchase their iron ore requirements (mainly from CVRD). • It has a well-developed logistics infrastructure, from the iron ore mine to its steel mill and its own ports. • It is self-sufficient in energy, through the hydroelectric plants of Itá and Igarapava, and its own thermoelectric plant inside the Volta Redonda mill. • GalvaSud, a 100% subsidiary of CSN, provides material for exposed auto parts, using hot-dip galvanized steel and laser-welded blanks, a trend in this industry. This, together with the hot-dip galvanizing process know-how of CSN, allows them to dominate the automotive segment. • CSN Paraná, another subsidiary of CSN, provides additional capacity to produce high-quality galvanized, galvalume and pre-painted steel products for the construction and home appliance industries.

CSN Future Outlook

CSN has vowed to continue with its process of internationalization, in spite of losing out on Corus. A step to be taken by the CSN in this direction is to increase its annual production of steel plates by 4.5 million tons in Itaguai in the Rio de Janeiro state. Also, CSN plans to expand its iron ore production from 16 million tons per year to 50 million tons in Volta Redonda, where the company is headquartered.

Global business concerns

Brazil is the eighth largest producer of crude steel in the world, with a production output of 32.9 million tons and a 3.1% share of total world production. It is also the fourth largest net exporter of steel after Russia, Japan and Ukraine.

CSN has positioned itself in the world market as a high margin, high demand steel producer, with products such as tin mill and galvanized. It has relatively low-cost labor available and owns high-grade iron ore reserves that more than meet production needs. These global market advantages are however, partially offset by costs of transporting steel throughout the world, usually by ship.

To maintain its competitive viability in the world steel market, CSN has maintained its product quality and customer service at a high level. CSN continuously monitors the quality of its products by measuring customer satisfaction with its steel in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Being a Brazilian company, principal competitive advantages of CSN are its abundant supply of low-cost, high-grade iron ore, low-cost labor and energy resources, and good quality of its infrastructure (railways and ports, mainly). It is also benefited from a vast internal market present in Brazil with a large growth potential. As a result of these advantages, CSN has one of the lowest steel production costs in the world.

This low production cost in Brazil is another barrier to foreign steel imports. Consequently, most of the steel sold in the Brazilian steel market is manufactured by Brazilian producers and CSN shares a big portion of this pie.


  1. ^ a b [3]
  2. ^ a b Steel the prize, The Economist, November 23, 2006
  3. ^ Arquivo Nacional (Brasil), Os Presidentes e a República: Deodoro da Fonseca a Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 2ª ed., Rio de Janeiro, 2003, pg. 189.
  4. ^ Layak, Suman, Corus postpones meeting to allow CSN time, Hindustan Times, Mumbai, November 27, 2006
  5. ^ [4], BBC, London, December 11, 2006
  • Brazil's steel maker CSN
  • Rumors of Brazilian counter-bid to Tata offer for Corus
  • Arms of iron and steel: Brazil's CSN looks to become a global iron miner while expanding its steel operations abroad

External links

  • Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional Official Site
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