Sanwa Tekko's forerunner was Chubu Amatetsu Kouzai Co., Ltd., which was established in Nagoya in 1961 with equity participation from three firms: Amagasaki Steel Co., Ltd.; Mitsubishi Corporation; and Mie Kouzai Co., Ltd. Amagasaki Steel, founded before World War II as an integrated steelmaker, was a leading steel mill in the Kansai region (possessing two blast furnaces) before Kobe Steel acquired it in 1965. The company established Chubu Amatetsu Kouzai to process and sell its steel shapes and plates in the Chubu region. Chubu Amatetsu Kouzai changed its name to Sanwa Tekko, with a nod to its three shareholders, when it joined the Kobe Steel Group in 1967. In 1968, Nissho Iwai Corporation (now Sojitz Corporation) took an equity share. Mie Kouzai, headed by President Takeshi Ito, is a venerable secondary wholesaler in the Nagoya area. When Koichi Ito was president of Mie Kouzai, he doubled as Sanwa Tekko's first president, building the firm's foundations. All subsequent presidents of Sanwa Tekko came from Kobe Steel, and the sixth president, Mitsuo Hayashi, took up his post in June of this year.
Mr. Hayashi, who served as general manager of Kobe Steel's Nagoya Branch Office for five years, spoke about the company's positioning, saying, "Sanwa Tekko is Kobe Steel's only steel processing center in the Chubu region, fulfilling an important role in processing, selling, and distributing strategically important products, such as steel plates, high-tensile automotive sheets, and wire rods."
Four divisions make up Sanwa Tekko's current business lines: (1) plate melt-cutting, (2) automotive sheet slitting, (3) medium plate and sheet leveling, and (4) wire rod warehousing and distribution. The Tobishima Plant, which is adjacent to the company's headquarters (Tobishima, Aichi Prefecture), handles medium plate and sheet leveling and wire rod warehousing and distribution, and the Inuyama Plant (Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture) handles plate melt-cutting and sheet slitting. As a unique steel processing company engaged in such broadly different business lines as plate shearing, coil center operations, and wire rod warehousing and distribution, it is highly valued as a strategic center to expand sales by supplying end users in the Chubu region with steel plates for construction use, high-tensile automotive sheets, wire rods for cold heading, and other products at which Kobe Steel excels.
Soon after becoming president, Mr. Hayashi came up with the slogan "Sanwa meets challenges energetically and enthusiastically." He himself is taking the initiative to encourage employees. "The business environment is tough," says Mr. Hayashi, "but we aim to be number one in the region in terms of quality, cost performance, delivery, and safety. I have therefore instructed our respective plants to review and improve operations." Furthermore, he plans to get through the downturn by using the company's strengths in wide-ranging business sectors, saying, "Demand for plates for construction use is still lagging, but high-tensile automotive sheets and wire rods are on the rebound."
Mr. Hayashi says, "I hope the Metal One Group will take full advantage of all of Sanwa Tekko's capabilities in its four divisions, tying this in with additional mutual growth." All past presidents of Sanwa Tekko simultaneously served as directors of the Japan Steel Plate Shearing Industrial Guild's Tokai Branch since the guild's founding in 1962, so there are high expectations for the Sanwa Tekko president in his/her role as the industry's regional coordinator.