VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG up to the Beginning of Privatization
After VOEST-ALPINE Technologie AG, Böhler-Uddeholm AG and VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG were created from Austrian Industries AG in 1993 with the goal of privatization, the next year VOEST-ALPINE Technologie AG was the first to make an initial public offer on the Vienna stock exchange.
Against the backdrop of an ongoing crisis in the steel market, at the end of 1993 VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG, as the managing holding company, was broken down into the three divisions of flat products, long products and trade with controlling companies and subsidiaries. Processing and service sites were located in Germany, Belgium, Italy and France.
In order to optimize the portfolio, in 1994 business segments that either lay outside core competences or possessed too little synergy potential for the group were divested (e.g., VOEST-ALPINE Stahl Judenburg GmbH). This was followed by specialization in high quality niche products. A balanced customer portfolio – notable key customers were leading European car makers and manufacturers of household appliances, the construction industry and international railway authorities – became a distinguishing characteristic.
Developments at the Linz site during these two years included the following: The start-up of a new globally unique dedusting system for Sinter Belt 5 that was developed by VOEST-ALPINE Stahl Linz GmbH in cooperation with VOEST-ALPINE Industrieanlagenbau GmbH in a two-year research project. The opening of a mechatronics laboratory in the training center and the expansion of electrolytic strip galvanizing was completed. In cooperation with the University of Linz, the apprenticeship-based trade of “mechatronics technician” was developed by VOEST-ALPINE Stahl in Linz.
The focus of R&D activities was on the metallic processing of thin sheets and those with thin organic coating (newly developed COLOFER® systems). In addition, among other things, materials for construction steel applications in offshore technology were developed.
Moreover, in 1994 major investments for the following years were approved: installation of a continuous annealing line, construction of a new continuous caster in LD Steelmaking Plant 3 and concentration of cold rolling mill activities in Cold Rolling Mill 2 (all in Linz) as well as investments to safeguard the high quality standards of rails (Donawitz).
The year of 1995 was dominated by the transition of VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG from a nationalized company to a listed one.