Despite an economic environment influenced more than usual by political events including the Brexit referendum in the UK, the US presidential election, terror and war in the Middle East, the challenges of immigration in Europe, and the global rise in trade barriers, the business year 2016/17 (April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017) was again successful for the voestalpine Group. In a year-to-year comparison the company increased its revenue by 2.0%, from EUR 11.1 billion to EUR 11.3 billion.
The completion and opening of the direct reduction plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, last year marked a milestone for the voestalpine Group in its task of securing pre-materials on a long-term basis. After finishing the six-month run-up phase, together with successful completion of all the performance tests, the plant became fully operational on April 1, 2017. As a result, starting in the business year 2017/18, the most advanced and largest plant of its kind in the world will produce two million tonnes of high-quality HBI (hot briquetted iron, or sponge iron) annually—a sophisticated pre-material used in steel production. After concluding the commissioning phase, the final project costs are now known, and amount to USD 1.012 billion. The plant has already achieved a positive result in its first month of full operation.
As one of the world’s leading suppliers to the aerospace industry, voestalpine is consistently driving its growth in this technologically sophisticated future market. As recently as last December the Group agreed on a major EUR 40 million investment in a new high-tech forging line for the production of high-quality pre-materials for aircraft components. Now a further EUR 30 million will go to the Kapfenberg site in Austria over the next two years, to finance a state-of-the-art production facility for aerostructures including highly stress-resistant engine mounts, wing and fuselage components, and landing gear parts. The fully automated facility is scheduled to commence operations as early as 2019.