This year marks the 40th anniversary of Kobe Steel Ltd. (KSL) acquiring the assets of Midrex Corporation from Korf Industries, Inc. Throughout 2023, Midrex has held events to commemorate joining the Kobe Steel Group (Kobelco Group). On September 19, Kobe Steel President & CEO Mitsugu Yamaguchi, Kobe Steel USA President Kotaro Ueno, and former Midrex Presidents Winston Tennies and Jim McClaskey joined Midrex teammates for a celebratory event in Charlotte.
“Midrex and Kobe Steel have common goals and a mutual belief in each other,” Mr. Yamaguchi said. “As the market becomes more complex, this sound relationship will become more and more important.”
Mr. Yamaguchi told the group that “CO2 reduction is a major challenge to the steel industry, and Midrex and Kobe Steel already have technology to meet the needs of the Hydrogen Society.
“It is our mission to provide solutions to the needs of society by making the best use of our employees and technologies.”
Midrex CEO Stephen Montague echoed Mr. Yamaguchi’s remarks in saying, “Trust is the key to the success of Midrex,” and former Midrex President Winston Tennies thanked Kobe Steel “for taking the long-term view and placing confidence in the management and employees of Midrex.”
On June 5, when representatives of KSL and former Midrex executives joined in a Q&A session at Midrex Headquarters to share their experiences with current teammates and later visited the Midrex Research & Technology Development Center.
Shohei Manabe, former Kobe Steel executive who was instrumental in creating and nurturing the relationship between KSL and Midrex, recalled that “the purchase of Midrex was the first time Kobe Steel obtained outright ownership of a foreign company. It resulted from our first-hand experience with the MIDREX® Process in designing, building, and managing an integrated direct reduced iron-electric arc furnace (DRI-EAF) steel mill for Qatar Steel Company in 1978.
“We saw the potential for direct reduction and the leading role Midrex could take in its growth, which made the decision to acquire Midrex – the technology and the people – very easy for us.”
Midrex CEO Stephen Montague said, “Some relationships define the partners. Others are defined by the partners. In the case of Midrex and Kobe Steel, both of these statements are true,” and Midrex President & COO K.C. Woody added, “With the backing of Kobe Steel, Midrex has strengthened its commitment to innovation and continuous improvement on which the company was founded.”
In a 1st quarter 1984 Direct From Midrex interview, former Kobe Steel Vice Chairman Taisuke Mori said, “The technical excellence of the MIDREX Direct Reduction Process is testimony to the research & development and engineering capabilities of Midrex people. We see Midrex as our marketing and engineering arm in the United States.”