March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Industry Corp., Japan’s top steelmaker, rose the most in five weeks after the Nikkei newspaper said it will likely close a blast furnace near Tokyo to cut idled capacity.
The shares rose as much as 7.2 percent to 268 yen, headed for their biggest gain since Feb. 4. They were up 6 percent at 265 yen as of 10:34 a.m. in Tokyo trading.
The reported closure is the first measure to streamline operations at the company following its creation in October from the combination of Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. The measure will be part of a mid-term business plan to be announced this week, the Nikkei reported earlier today without saying where it got the information.
The company in November raised its cost-saving targets by 33 percent to 200 billion yen ($2.1 billion) annually after three years of integration.
Nothing has been decided about any closures, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal said today in a statement.
The steelmaker plans to close one of three blast furnaces at its Chiba mill, the company’s biggest plant, within several years, Nikkei reported. The furnace is equivalent to about 7 percent of the company’s production capacity, Nikkei said.
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