voestalpine’s origins lie in Linz, capital of the federal state of Upper Austria and the site of today’s Group headquarters. This is where the company started out on its path to becoming a successful international steel-based technology and capital goods group. Once a state-owned enterprise, today voestalpine operates globally with around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries on all five continents.
Technological revolution was the basis for internationalization
With the development of the LD (Linz-Donawitz) process from 1949 onwards, the former “Vereinigte Österreichische Eisen- und Stahlwerke (VÖEST)” embarked upon its journey to become an international concern. This revolutionary steel production method was adopted around the world and continuously advanced over the years. One of the first LD steel mills outside Austria started operations in Rourkela, India, as early as 1960. Today around 70 percent of the world’s steel is produced using the LD method.
Focus on high-tech products
After the crisis suffered by the nationalized industry, “VOEST ALPINE STAHL AG” underwent a consistent process of restructuring and reorientation from 1986 onwards. This strategy focused on developing high-tech products using even more advanced steel grades, and expanding activities in both the East and the West. Investments in research and development led to pioneering innovations and technologies, such as the COLOFER® strip coating mill in Linz, and special head-hardened rails in lengths of up to 120 meters at former VOEST-ALPINE SCHIENEN GmbH & CO KG Donawitz.
Success as a privatized and exchange-listed company
A series of consistent cost-optimization measures and increases in efficiency culminated in the company’s listing on the stock exchange in 1995. The “VOEST ALPINE STAHL AG” strategy heralded a phase of continuous growth and expansion in many business areas from 1997 onwards. This included acquisitions such as British company METSEC plc. during this period, and the joint venture involving a stakeholding of over 90% in VAE in Zeltweg, the global market leader for turnout technology. In 2001 and 2002 voestalpine focused investment in the growing railway systems and motion (automotive) sectors, with the acquisition of Polynorm, VAE (full consolidation) and Elmsteel.
Acquisition of BÖHLER-UDDEHOLM
The largest acquisition made by voestalpine to date was that of BÖHLER-UDDEHOLM AG: voestalpine secured a majority stakeholding in 2007. In doing so, voestalpine acquired a global special steel manufacturer and processor, marking an important step in the Group’s internationalization.
Further international voestalpine investments followed in 2012: locations in China, South Africa, Romania, Germany, and Mexico were expanded. Construction of an automotive components plant also began in the US state of Georgia.
Start of a new era: direct reduction plant in Texas
In 2013 the groundwork was laid for a further major project: the decision was taken to establish a new direct reduction plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. At EUR 550 million, this is the largest foreign investment made by the Group, and any Austrian company, in the USA to date. The plant’s startup in October 2016 marked a further significant milestone in the consistent implementation of the voestalpine Group internationalization strategy.
More on the internationalization focus