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NXIL manufactures and distributes rebar for use in reinforced concrete in civil engineering projects, such as bridges, roads, canals, dams, ports, airports, wind-mill farms, water and waste treatment plants and buildings. The rebar produced by NXIL, known as NX-SCR, has a carbon steel core cladded with a stainless steel outer layer that is manufactured using a patented technology. NX-SCR exhibits all of the corrosion resistance qualities and long service life of solid stainless steel rebar (“SSSR”) but sells at prices approximately 35% lower than SSSR.
NX-SCR competes primarily in the market for corrosion resistant rebar (“CRR”), which is used where civil engineering projects are exposed to harsh marine environments or heavy use of de-icing salts in the winter to prevent the accelerated accumulation of rust, which is one of the primary causes of concrete cracking and, ultimately, structural failures.
Manufacturing of NX-SCR does not require melting and casting but instead is based on a solid-state production process that creates a metallurgical bond between its outer stainless steel cladding and its carbon steel core. This process combines the high corrosion resistant properties of stainless steel with the lower cost, superior strength, yield performance and mechanical properties of low alloy carbon steel. The solid state manufacturing process is 30-40% more energy efficient than conventional melting and casting processes. It is also a clean manufacturing process which does not generate hazardous dust or slag that must be transported and disposed of in landfills.
NXIL owns patents granted to 2020 in the USA and Canada (“North America”) for production and distribution of NX-SCR.
Neither NX-SCR nor SSSR has ever exhibited significant effects of corrosion. This is despite many years of rigorous analysis and testing, through exposure to pre-conditions for corrosion, by the US Federal Highway Authority (the “FHWA”) the Florida Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Transportation and others.
All other forms of rebar so analysed and tested did corrode. This includes the most widely used form of corrosion resistant rebar in North America, which is an ordinary rebar dipped in an epoxy coating (“Epoxy Coated Rebar ”or “ECR”). Based on its various inadequacies, both when tested and in the field, ECR is now banned for use in Florida and Virginia and is “not recommended” in several other US States including New York and Michigan.
Using NX-SCR and/or SSSR, in areas subject to corrosion (e.g. coastal areas and/or areas subject to de-icing) will extend the useful life of bridge decking to 100 years (prior to major structural deficiency). Achieving a 100 year life expectancy for major civil engineering projects is now a stated objective of the FHWA.
A “life cycle cost analysis” carried out by US structural engineers Wiss Janney Elstner Associates Inc. (www.wje.com ) confirms that NX-SCR is the most cost effective rebar available in the North America for any structure with a 100 year expected life.
NX-SCR comprises (by weight) only 22% stainless steel and 78% of carbon steel. Stainless steel costs circa $5,000 per ton. Carbon steel costs circa $500 per ton. The relative composition and associated divergent cost of these two raw material inputs, means NX-SCR is far less expensive per ton to produce than SSSR.
During North American Adaptation, NX-SCR will be available to distributors at a 35% cost discount to SSSR. This substantial discount, for an equivalent product, available to a knowledgeable market, should encourage speedy adaptation of NX-SCR in place of SSSR.
Civil engineering projects (such as bridge decking) using NX-SCR and/or SSSR as rebar, require up to 1/3 less concrete. This occurs because concrete usage is increased in order to protect ordinary rebar (and/or ECR) from corrosion. It is assumed that more concrete will results in fewer cracks, deep enough to expose the rebar to chloride and chemicals used for de-icing. Therefore more concrete is used to delay the onset of corrosion.
The New York State DOT has shown that significant “up front” cost saving for bridge decking design maybe achieved where reduced concrete usage is combined with SSSR (which does not corrode). Based on the same design principle, even greater saving is possible where NX-SCR (which also does not corrode) is substituted for SSSR. The ability to reduce cost by using less concrete in bridge decking design should encourage speedy adaptation of NX-SCR in place of SSSR and/or ECR.
In 2006 the level of application for corrosion resistant rebar in North America stood at just on 1m tons p.a. In 2006, ECR comprised more than 75% of this market and consumption of SSSR was virtually non-existent. Since 2006 the annual tonnage consumed in North America of ordinary rebar (including ECR) has fallen in parallel with a decline in general levels of economic activity. However during this period the demand for SSSR has increased.
In 2007 and 2008, NXIL shipped over 1000 tons of NX- SCR to North America from a production facility in the UK. NXIL has also developed a sales pipeline in North America for over 20,000 tons of NX-SCR. The sales pipeline is mainly for projects dependant on US Federal funding. In order to participate in US Federally funded projects NXIL must also comply with US “buy America” regulations which require that NX-SCR must be manufactured (“rolled”) in the USA. NXIL is now negotiating a “toll rolling” agreement and a “supply agreement” which will enable this.
The US Transportation Bill, which passed Congress in 2012, provides $100 billion of funding over the next 27 months, to repair functionally obsolete and structurally deficient bridges, roads and highways throughout the USA. The Obama Administration fast tracked signing. A cross party political consensus now exists in the USA in support of further US Federal allocations to address burgeoning infrastructure requirements. In Canada a similar effort to address the same problem is underway. These efforts seem certain to significantly increase consumption of corrosion resistant rebar in North America over the next 5 years.
To increase the funding available in the USA for infrastructure projects and to improve the selection processes for those projects, some analysts and US policymakers have suggested the creation of an US infrastructure bank. Financial assistance could be made available to any consortium of partners with an eligible project. For example, a group of state and local entities could apply, as could a group of nongovernmental partners. The bank could provide the subsidy amounts needed to compensate private-sector investors for benefits that accrue to the general public and the economy at large. President Obama proposed a federal infrastructure bank in his budget for 2013
NXIL also own patents granted to 2020 for manufacture and/or sale of NX-SCR in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China (PRC)), Finland, France, Germany, Hongkong, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Once NX-SCR is adapted in North America, this patent portfolio has great intrinsic value.
“…owing to rapid urbanization in the developing world, the volume of urban construction for housing, office space and transportation services over the next 40 years could roughly equal the entire volume of such construction to date in world history…”
Global Trends 2030:“Alternative Worlds” published by the National Intelligence Council p iv Megatrend 3 : Demographic Patterns (December 2012…a US Federal Government Publication).