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Introduction of Group Companies
From Value One Spring 2007 No.16
In addition to selling bar steel primarily in the Kanto area, Watex Corporation is opening up retail markets for steel products with a broad product lineup that includes steel sheets, steel pipe and stainless steel, and is expanding its branch network.
Pioneering New Steel Product Markets

The origin of Watex dates back to the Watanabe Kotetsu-ten Co., Ltd., the venerable steel wholesaler founded in 1928, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary next year. When the company's name was changed to Wataei Steel Co., Ltd. in 1982, it enjoyed strong brand recognition in the Kanto region as a major dealership affiliated with Nissho Iwai Corporation. Watex was launched based on the Wataei trademark of 2004 as part of Metal One's Post Merger Integration (PMI). In addition, branches and sales offices in Hokkaido were spun off to form Watex Hokkaido Corporation in 2005.

Koichiro Seko, a young 41-year-old, received the baton from previous president Tetsuya Onishi (now president of Kyushu Steel Corporation) and took up the post of president of Watex, a company with a long history, in January of this year.

President Seko says his goal for the company is to make it a "one-stop shop for steel products." The ideal is to stock a broad range of steel sheets and plates, steel pipe, stainless steel, and specialty steel products as required by customers, as well as to sell, as a steel product retailer, various kinds of products in small amounts with short delivery times to customers in the region, and maintain the company's strong traditional suit of handling bar steel (including wide flange beams).

In an environment in which any kind of steel product can be obtained through the Metal One Group's networks, customers can be provided with inexpensive, quick, direct services by outlets that do not have to go through small or medium-sized wholesalers. With regard to sales, Tochigi Minami Sales Office (in Tochigi City) was established at the end of last year, and there are plans to build a network of branches across the Kanto region, including areas such as the Keihin region and Tsukuba, this year.

President Seko says enthusiastically, "Wataei's brand image is that of a city bank, so to speak. However, the aim is to change this image to that of a credit union that is closely linked to the community. This is why I tell the sales staff to focus on developing new customer relations."

The company seeks to raise its overall capabilities by effectively sharing the use of its warehouses, processing facilities, transport networks, and other mutual resources with parent company Metal One Structural Steel & Resource Corporation, in addition to efficiently distributing its user bases.

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