VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG up to the Onset of Privatization
Against the backdrop of the ongoing crisis in the steel market, in late 1993 VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG, as the managing holding company, is divided into three divisions: flat products; long products; and with main divisional companies and subsidiaries as well as acquisitions. Processing and service sites are located in Germany, Belgium, Italy, and France. To optimize its portfolio, in 1994 the company divests itself of activities that are either unrelated to its core segments or offer too little in the way of group synergies (e.g. VOEST-ALPINE Stahl Judenburg GmbH). The next step entails concentration and specialization on high-quality niche products. A balanced customer portfolio—key customers include leading European automakers and white goods manufacturers, the construction industry, and international railway authorities—become the company’s distinguishing characteristic.
This two-year period sees the start-up at the Linz site of a new, globally unique dedusting system for Sinter Belt 5 that VOEST-ALPINE Stahl Linz GmbH developed in cooperation with VOEST-ALPINE Industrieanlagenbau GmbH as part of a two-year research project.
The opening of a mechatronics laboratory at the Linz training center and the expansion of electrolytic strip galvanizing are completed. Linz-based VOEST-ALPINE Stahl develops an apprenticeship training program in cooperation with the University of Linz that leads to qualification as a “mechatronics technician.”
The company’s R&D activities are focused on the metallic processing of thin sheets and those possessing a thin organic coating (newly developed colofer® systems). Among other things, materials for structural steels used in offshore applications are also developed.
In 1994, moreover, the following major investments are approved for the years to come: the installation of a continuous annealing line, the construction of a new continuous caster in LD Steel Plant 3, work to concentrate the company’s cold rolling mill activities in Cold Rolling Mill 2 (all in Linz) as well as investments to assure the quality of rail production (in Donawitz).
The year 1995 is dominated by the transition of VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG from a nationalized company to a public one.