In the fall of 2008, the economic slump resulting from the worldwide banking and financial crisis also affects voestalpine. While the 2009/10 business year becomes the company’s hardest since its IPO in 1995, it continues to pursue its investment programs and globalization strategy regardless. The Group has consistently pushed this strategy since the 2012/13 business year after a brief consolidation phase during the crisis itself. In 2013, it begins construction of a direct reduction plant in Texas, its largest foreign investment so far; makes its mark in the field of mobility, a key growth market, by continuing to refine the phs technology; and invests in state-of-the-art production facilities both at home and abroad. Products and innovations in the fields of e-mobility, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and aerospace underscore voestalpine’s change from a steelmaker to a technology and industrial goods group—a process that is materially enhanced by the Group-wide digitalization strategy.
The “Linz 2010” investment program; the complete privatization of voestalpine and the issuing of a convertible bond for the last 15 percent of shares still held by the state in 2003 (following the conversion of the last share, as of August 31, 2005, voestalpine is a public company); the acquisition of the Böhler-Uddeholm Group in 2007/08; and the Group’s unique success story are the cornerstones of this period.
In October 1995, 31.7 percent of the state’s equity interest in the company is sold on the stock exchange. An extensive expansion program aims to further improve the Group’s product mix. The corporate structure is changed in 2001: dividing the Group into four divisions—Steel, Motion (renamed Automotive in 2005), Railway Systems, and Profilform—serves to fully align the Group’s activities in the direction of processing (as per the slogan, “More out of Steel”); this also extends the value chain in crucial ways to high-tech companies and niche providers. Finally, the Group is renamed voestalpine AG: from this point forward, it pursues an umbrella brand strategy under the voestalpine brand.
Once Austrian Industries AG is split up in 1993 into VOEST-ALPINE Technologie AG, Böhler-Uddeholm AG, and VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG with the aim of taking these entities private, in 1994 VOEST-ALPINE Technologie AG is the first of these companies to launch a successful initial public offering (IPO).
Owing to the events of 1985, an entirely new corporate management is appointed in 1986 and the “Concept for the New VOEST-ALPINE,” which entails restructuring the company, is introduced. Österreichische Industrieholding AG (ÖIAG) is established the same year; it comprises six industry holding companies from 1988 forward. The newly founded VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG slowly finds its way back to success. Austrian Industries AG begins to manage ÖIAG’s equity interests starting in 1990. At the end of 1993, Austrian Industries AG is split up into three separate groups under the new privatization law: VA Technologie AG, Böhler-Uddeholm AG, and VOEST-ALPINE STAHL AG.
The effects of the merger already coincide with the international economic crisis, the repercussions of which also affect VÖEST-ALPINE AG from 1975 onward. The Group is reorganized, the diversification process is launched. The crisis of the nationalized industry, which has been brewing for a long time, finally comes to a head in 1985: the state-owned entity is faced with bankruptcy.
The reorganization of VÖEST, a special investment program, and the merger of VÖEST and ÖAMG into VÖEST-ALPINE AG are the hallmarks of this period.
The company’s public management is replaced by corporate bodies pursuant to securities law, and its investment activities are focused mainly on modernizing and automating industrial production.
Both the resolution of the chaos after the end of WWII and the reconstruction launch the company’s success story. The development of the Linz-Donawitz (LD) steelmaking process is an important step. Scientists in Linz achieve the breakthrough after many years of work, both at home and abroad. This process revolutionizes the production of steel from 1952 forward.
Construction of an iron and steel factory begins in Linz, Austria, in 1938 as part of the German Nazi regime’s war industry; its operations are launched incrementally starting in 1941. Thousands of foreign laborers—civil foreign laborers, forced laborers, prisoners of war, and concentration camp inmates—are deployed to build the plants and manufacture the armaments.