Asian economy strengthens Vale’s bottomline – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 15, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. cmulligan@thesudburystar.com

Despite economic troubles in Europe and the United States, Vale Canada Ltd.’s chief executive officer isn’t worried about the company’s financial future. Troubles in the U.S. and abroad aren’t directly affecting the Brazil-based nickel producer, said Tito Martins in Sudbury on Wednesday.

The economy of Asia — and its demand for Vale’s product — is “still very strong,” Martins said after an event at which he presented the Sudbury Food Bank with a cheque for $500,000.

“In general, the market is doing very well and we don’t believe that we will see a major drop in the economy as we saw in 2008,” Martins told reporters. “We may see some difficulties in specific markets, but, in general, we are very optimistic about the future.”

Martins said his company is hiring people in Sudbury and in Newfoundland and Labrador, and that is a good sign.

“If I could produce more, I would love to produce more, actually,” he said.

Foreign exchange rates are affecting all commodity producers, said Martins, and “costs are escalating because of the dollar situation. But we can manage that because, in some ways, the price of the commodities” is higher, helping companies deal with rising costs.

“We are seeing increasing costs in last the last three years, but, fortunately, the prices are still at the higher level,” he said.

Martins said Vale’s $500,000 donation to the food bank had nothing to do with the yearlong strike by United Steelworkers against Vale from 2009-10, saying of the labour dispute: “The strike is behind us.

“Vale has been supporting the food bank for some years. It’s an honour for me to be the honorary chairman, and we plan to keep supporting the food bank for many years, mostly because we understand it is a very important initiative that supports one of the communities where we are,” he said.

Vale has plans to keep supporting all of the communities where its operations are located. “It’s part of our relationship with the community,” he said. 

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