(File pix) State Industry and Trade Committee chairman Datuk Tengku Putera Tengku Awang said the resumption of ESSB’s operations would contribute to the positive growth of the Terengganu economy. (pix by MOHD SYAFIQ RIDZUAN AMBAK)

KEMAMAN: Eastern Steel Sdn Bhd (ESSB), the largest iron and steel plant in Terengganu, will resume operations in May 2018.

State Industry and Trade Committee chairman Datuk Tengku Putera Tengku Awang said the resumption of ESSB’s operations would contribute to the positive growth of the Terengganu economy, especially in the vicinity of Kemaman Port and Teluk Kalong Industrial Estate here.

“The factory started operations in January 2015 with a total investment of RM1.2 billion and has a production capacity of 700,000 metric tons per year.

“However, as with other businesses, the iron and steel industry is also not risk-free as in 2015, the world iron and steel market prices fell and caused many factories worldwide to suffer losses, including ESSB,” he said.

Tengku Putera said the state government was happy and thanked ESSB for not retrenching their 338 employees.

“The company even paid the salaries which cost them almost RM1.5 million per month, or RM30 million, over the 20 months the factory was not operating,” he told reporters after launching an ESSB’s programme, in which the company would send its staff to China for industrial training.

Also present were State Economic Planning Unit director Rosman Roslan, ESSB chief operating officer Tee Choon Hock and ESSB chief executive officer Wang Sheng Hua.

“The state government is also pleased that ESSB is concerned with the development of their human capital, and I understand that it will send 150 more employees for the same purpose in stages,” he said.

Tengku Putera said the state government would continue to support ESSB and believed the company would continue to grow and contribute to the increase in Terengganu’s gross domestic product.

Meanwhile, Tee said ESSB expected the company to record sales of US$300 million within a year of its operation.

“We expect the current price of iron at US$500 per tonne to remain stable and the resumption of our operations will enable us to make a profit to help Terengganu’s economic growth in general.”–- BERNAMA

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