U.S. Steel Takeover: Nippon’s Rising Decarbonisation Costs
U.S. Steel Takeover: Nippon’...
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U.S. Steel Takeover: Nippon’s Rising Decarbonisation Costs

20 June 2024
2 min.
U.S. Steel Takeover: Nippon’s Rising Decarbonisation Costs

Steel Giants Merge

The proposed acquisition of U.S. Steel by Nippon Steel, a deal worth $15 billion, has stirred up worries about escalating decarbonisation expenses.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), a stakeholder holding less than 1% of Nippon Steel’s shares, cautions that incorporating U.S. Steel’s 11 blast furnaces into Nippon Steel’s operations could substantially inflate these costs. The ACCR, in collaboration with other stakeholders, is pressing Nippon Steel to evaluate the acquisition’s repercussions on its climate objectives.

Shareholder proposals have been submitted by the ACCR, Corporate Action Japan (CAJ), and Legal General Investment Management (LGIM), urging Nippon Steel to bolster its decarbonisation strategy. In response to these concerns, Nippon Steel has expressed its intention to share decarbonisation technologies, such as hydrogen injection into blast furnaces, with U.S. Steel, should the deal go through. The company is optimistic that merging the technologies developed by both entities will hasten the journey towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

The transaction is slated to be finalized by the year’s end, with Nippon Steel’s annual general meeting set for June 21. CAJ, a non-profit entity, has sought additional information on Nippon Steel’s carbon emission targets to enable investors to accurately gauge risks, including the total decarbonisation cost for the entire group.

While shareholder activism on climate change has seen a surge in Japan in recent years, it hasn’t necessarily led to policy shifts in companies with existing emissions reduction plans. Before the bid for U.S. Steel, Nippon Steel projected that decarbonisation could necessitate up to 5.5 trillion yen ($34.8 billion) in capital expenditure, encompassing research and development, by 2050, with potential offsets from state support.

The acquisition of U.S. Steel by Nippon Steel could influence its decarbonisation initiatives. The company has committed $1.4 billion towards sustainable steel production technology and is investigating hydrogen injection and carbon capture techniques to assist in decarbonisation.

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