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Nippon Metal, Nisshin Steel Say Not in Merger Discussions

Nisshin Steel Co. and Nippon Metal Industry Co. denied media reports in the Nikkei and Asahi that they are considering merging operations next year.

A merger isn’t under consideration, Isao Fujiwara, deputy manager at Nippon Metal Industry’s corporate planning department, said by telephone today. Nisshin Steel spokesman Kazuki Kiura said the company isn’t in talks with Nippon Metal.

The companies will likely combine operations as early as 2012, the Nikkei and Asahi newspapers reported today, without saying where they got the information. Nippon Metal and Nisshin Steel were suspended from trading in Tokyo after surging 13 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, following the reports.

Nippon Metal was last traded at 78 yen as of 1:46 p.m. local time, while Nisshin Steel was at 116 yen. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.1 percent.

Nisshin Steel is the largest shareholder of Nippon Metal, holding a 5.12 percent stake as of March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Japanese stainless steelmakers must consolidate to counter rising competition from global rivals, Nisshin Steel Chairman Hideo Suzuki said in February.

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