Toyota, Mazda, Honda say Kobe Steel aluminum parts are safe

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Materials companies including Royal DSM NA and Teijin Ltd. are to trying to marry the properties of steel and plastics by developing a new generation of hybrid products that integrate the two.Behind the scandal engulfing Kobe Steel over the falsification of data for some of the materials it supplied is a harsh reality for Japanese steel companies: the need to provide higher and higher quality metals to compete.

Shares of Kobe Steel rose, erasing earlier losses, after Toyota said aluminium plates received directly from the steelmaker and from other suppliers met both internal and statutory standards.

Toyota has used Kobe Steel's aluminum plate, including some purchased from parts makers, in hoods, doors and other components.

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The company is still confirming the safety of six other items, including aluminum extrusions, copper products, iron powder and steel wire.

Kobe Steel announced on October 8 that it had doctored data on the strength and other specifications for its aluminum parts, and that similar problems were discovered for copper components.

It later expanded the scope to include materials used in liquid crystal displays, 140 tons of iron powder, and more than 11,000 tons of steel wire and other products manufactured at home and overseas, bringing the total number of clients affected to around 500 and significantly widening the scale of the scandal. Chief Executive Officer Hiroya Kawasaki said more cases could emerge as the company continues its investigations.

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Also, it has an estimated price-earnings (P/E) multiple of 18.75 and a trailing 12-month price-earnings (P/E) multiple of 23.85. The average Wall Street analyst rating for Select Comfort Corporation is Hold, according to the average of 8 analyst scores.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has directed Kobe Steel to report on whether any of the products present a safety risk later this month.

He also said that affected automakers will likely expect compensation from Kobe, but he thinks it's unlikely that they will sue. "It's really regrettable", Mimura said. The steel maker plans to hold the second round of bidding later this year and close the transaction by March 31, they said.

"I think Kobe Steel has crossed the forbidden line as a manufacturer", Mimura Akio, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told a press conference.

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