What is POSCO? - Company Profile
Established in 1968, Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO) operates two integrated steel mills in South Korea and a joint venture with U.S. Steel (USS-POSCO) in California. According to the World Steel Association, POSCO was the world’s third biggest producer of crude steel in 2010 (after ArcelorMittal and Baosteel), manufacturing over 30 million tonnes.
President Tae Joon Park founded POSCO in 1968 with the stated goal of developing modern steel production in Korea. The company began manufacturing crude steel in 1973, and by 1983 POSCO's annual production was over 9 million tonnes.
During the 1970s, POSCO expanded and integrated upstream and downstream operations to include everything from iron smelting to steelmaking and manufactured steel production plants. The company also founded the Pohang University of Science and Technology, and invested in other research and development ventures.
In 1994, the first two POSCO subsidiaries were created. POSTEEL manages domestic sales and services and POSTGRADE manages international trading of products. Currently, POSCO has over 26 subsidiaries.
The company was fully privatized in 2000 and, consequently, began expanding into overseas markets and investing more in foreign automotive and appliance production.
POSCO manufactures six major types of steel products (approximate sales percentages 2010 are included in brackets):
- Cold-Rolled Steel/Galvanized Steel (40% of sales): used in automotive plates, home appliances, furniture, etc.
- Hot-Rolled Steel (24% of sales): used in pipes, beams, automotive frames/wheels, containers, etc.
- Steel Plates (15% of sales): used in ships, bridges, large structures, shipbuilding plates, etc.
- Wire Rods (6% of sales): used in bridge wire, tire cords, architectural structures, springs, etc.
- Stainless Steel (5% of sales): used in kitchenware, medical devices, buildings, chemical facilities, car parts, etc.
- Electrical Steel Plates (3% of sales): used in current transformers, motors, power generators, etc.
Financial Summary (2010):
- Revenue: Korean ₩32,582 trillion
- Operating Income: Korean ₩5,047 trillion
- Total Assets: Korean ₩48,190 trillion
POSCO employs four major steel producing technologies:
- Finex: This method produces molten iron directly from fine iron ore and coking coal. It is cheaper and results in less harmful emissions than traditional coke-based blast furnaces. Finex was first commercialized by POSCO in 2007 at their Pohang facility.
- Strip Casting: This technology produces hot-rolled flat products directly from molten iron by eliminating the slab-making process. This method lowers costs, energy consumption, pollution, and production time. A strip casting plant has been in operation at Pohang Works since 2008.
- Continuous Hot Rolling: Steel slab are produced and then rolled using a solid-state joining method. This process reduces production time and improves quality by making thinner but harder sheets of steel.
- Poscote-C: Flat steel products are coated with high performance resin and speed-dried, resulting in more durable and versatile products. The focus is on developing innovative surfacing technology to create low cost, high grade and environmentally responsible products.