Vale SA (VALE:US), the worst performer of the top three mining companies this year, plans to accelerate growth in iron-ore output to recover market share it has lost to competitors including BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Group.
The company, based in Rio de Janeiro, expects to boost output by 20 million to 25 million tons a year after it reaches 400 million metric tons in 2017, Jose Carlos Martins, head of ferrous and strategy, said at an investors conference in London today. Vale, the world’s biggest iron-ore producer, will bring new projects online and expand its share of the iron-ore market after output is forecasted to slip in 2013 for the third consecutive year.
Vale aims to “get back 6 percent of market share that we have lost in the last six years,” Martins told investors during the presentation. “We have plenty of space to recover our market share in a very profitable way.”
Vale is cutting investments, suspending projects and selling assets as demand wanes in China and Europe, the company’s two biggest markets. The company’s share of the global seaborne iron-ore market declined to about 26 percent in the first half from almost 28 percent a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. Vale has struggled with declining resources at older mines and production delays caused by heavy rains earlier this year.
Vale fell 0.3 percent to 36.59 reais at the close in Sao Paulo today. The stock is down 3.3 percent this year, compared with a 3.6 percent gain at Rio Tinto (RIO), the second-largest mining company. BHP Billiton, the biggest mining company, is flat for the year.
Vale is targeting 306 million metric tons of iron ore output next year, down 1.9 percent from an expected 312 million tons this year, it said Dec. 3. The company produced 322.6 million metric tons last year.
Separately, Vale expects to announce the sale of some of its oil and gas assets in the coming weeks, Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira told reporters during a press conference after today’s investors presentation. The company will likely announce the sale of a stake in its general cargo VLI unit in the first two months of 2013, he said.
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