Fosun Group

Spilled molten iron kills 12 at Nanjing Iron plant

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2011, 12:00am


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Molten iron spilling from the wall of a blast furnace killed 12 workers and injured another at Nanjing Iron & Steel on Wednesday, according to Xinhua and the company's parent, Shanghai-based Fosun International, a Hong Kong-listed conglomerate.

A preliminary investigation concluded that molten iron at temperatures of 1,400 degrees Celsius had penetrated the walls of the furnace, which was being prepared for decommissioning.

Fosun said that the incident was still under investigation and that it would inform investors when there were 'material developments'.

Nanjing Iron & Steel is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Despite the deadly incident, the company said the steel producer's production and operations were in 'normal order'.

Fosun derived 388 million yuan (HK$473.4 million), or 11.4 per cent of its total net profit in the first half of the year, from steel production. Steel accounted for 74 per cent of total revenues of 25.5 billion yuan in the period.

The profit margin of Nanjing Iron slid to 8 per cent from 14.5 per cent a year earlier, as higher material prices outpaced efficiency gains and cost controls. It produced 6.8 million tonnes of crude steel last year and aimed to produce 7.1 million tonnes this year.

Fosun's spokesman could not be reached for comment.

An analyst who asked not to be identified said his concerns were whether and for how long the company's other furnaces would be shut down for safety checks, and how that might affect Nanjing Iron's output.

'The other concerns are whether it will face approval delays for any facilities upgrade and capacity expansion due to the poor safety record, and whether it will be liable for any negligence,' he said.

In May, a pipe used to remove waste mud from Nanjing Iron's sewage system onto a boat exploded, spewing 10 cubic metres of mud. It fired the contractor, Nanjing Water, and removed the mud in two days.