The investment activities of the voestalpine Group in the business year 2011/12 were significantly more dynamic than in the previous year: due to increases in all the divisions, total investment volume rose by 35.9% from EUR 422.7 million to EUR 574.6 million, of which EUR 559.9 million was spent for property, plant and equipment, EUR 12.8 million for intangible assets, and EUR 1.9 million for equity holdings, securities, and other financial assets.
The Steel Division, to which 34.4% of the Group’s investment volume is attributable (EUR 197.8 million), increased its investment expenditures by 29.6% compared to the previous year (EUR 152.6 million). The focus was the “L6” investment program at the Linz site, which has been ongoing for a number of years and which is concentrating on the long-term development of new product types and qualities. After the successful completion of the last major projects—renovation of the wide strip mill and construction of the new continuous casting facility CC7 (both were commissioned in the summer of 2011) as well as the construction of a new melting pot gas holder (spring 2012)—this investment program has now largely been completed. The completion of the last still outstanding individual project, the commissioning of the new DeNOX system at sintering band 5, is planned for December 2012; work on this system, which is necessary to optimize the energy cycle and reduce blast furnace emissions, is on schedule.
Furthermore, significant investment projects were realized on schedule in the pre-processing, Steel Service Center, and foundry segments; it is particularly noteworthy that the new Steel Service Center in Giurgiu, Romania (investment expenditure of about EUR 20 million) is nearing completion.
Compared to the previous year’s figure of EUR 87.9 million, the Special Steel Division boosted its investments by 46.4% to EUR 128.7 million, a 22.4% share of the Group’s total investment volume. This division’s investments focused mainly on removing production capacity bottlenecks and shortening throughput times in production. This included primarily the increase in capacity of facilities for the production of electro-slag remelted (ESR) grades and powder-metallurgical steels. Within the scope of a two-year investment project with a volume of around EUR 16 million at the Kapfenberg (Austria) site, a new production hall is being built, a second hot isostatic press (HIP) is being installed, and the melting and atomization capacity is being increased by installing a larger furnace vessel with a quick-change device. Additionally, investments in the sales sector were focused on the expansion of customer service. These investments particularly affect the mechanical processing of special steel, where the German market is a focal point.
The investment volume in the business year 2011/12 in the Metal Engineering Division (until March 31, 2012 Railway Systems Division) also surpassed the previous year’s figure substantially with a gain of 34.5%, going from EUR 96.1 million to EUR 129.3 million (this figure corresponds to 22.5% of the Group’s investment expenditure). The major individual investments were already successfully completed in the previous years so that the investments made in the past business year were limited to numerous smaller projects. At the same time, the preliminary work for the relining of blast furnace 4 in Donawitz (Austria) is already in full swing. This project will be implemented on schedule in the summer of the business year 2012/13.
In the Profilform Division, stage 1 (rolling mills, longitudinal slitting line, annealing systems, and grinding machines) of the investment project in Kematen, Austria, in the precision strip sector was put into operation successfully. Production in the new facilities is on track with only some optimization work necessary. The infrastructure of stage 2 (strip production, especially for tempered strips), has already been completed. The total investments of the Profilform Division in the business year 2011/12 were EUR 55.4 million; compared to the previous year (EUR 52.3 million), this corresponds to an increase of 5.9% and a 9.6% share of the Group’s total investment expenditure.
At EUR 54.4 million, the Automotive Division almost doubled its investment volume in the business year 2011/12 compared to the previous year (EUR 28.0 million), utilizing around 9.5% of the Group’s total investment resources. In addition to minor updates to machines for the manufacture of tube components, the division has now also begun to produce stamped parts in Linz (Austria). Furthermore, two servo presses and the necessary appurtenant infrastructure were put into operation in the past business year. As some of our strategic key customers moved forward quickly on globalization projects, in 2010/11 projects were started in China, the USA, and South Africa that will result in extensive investments in these countries in the next two years due to the growing trend requiring complex components based on hot forming technology.