The voestalpine Group did not make any acquisitions in the business year 2021/22. Management focused instead on strengthening the Group’s existent portfolio. However, the Steel Division initiated a significant divestment in the reporting period. After carefully analyzing, exploring, and weighing all strategic options, voestalpine decided to continue refining the business model of the direct reduction plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, in cooperation with a partner. This plant, which produces hot briquetted iron (HBI), was opened in October 2016 after a construction period of about 2.5 years and fully started up in April 2017. The investment expenditure for the plant, which has a total capacity of two million tons of HBI per year, was USD 1,012 million (about EUR 870 million at the then prevailing foreign exchange rate). In recent years, voestalpine Texas succeeded in stabilizing its business model as well as its production and customer structure. In calendar years 2019 and 2020, however, the plant had to take a total of EUR 372 million in impairment losses due to challenging market conditions. The sale (the signing took place in April 2022) of 80% of voestalpine’s stake in the plant to Arcelor-Mittal enabled voestalpine to secure an annual supply of 420,000 tons of HBI for itself pursuant to a long-term contract. This delivery commitment guarantees that voestalpine will be able to implement its plan regarding the input materials required for the initial step in the decarbonization of steel production in both Linz and Donawitz, Austria. This plan calls for using electric arc furnaces at both facilities starting in 2027 and provides for an input materials mix comprising scrap, liquid pig iron, and HBI.
As of March 31, 2022, a measurement gain of EUR 256.6 million was recognized in connection with the fair value measurement. An inflow of liquidity in the amount of about EUR 620 million (based on the forex rate of USD/EUR 1.11 as of March 31, 2022) will lower the net financial debt of the voestalpine Group in the same amount upon the transaction’s closing. Furthermore, the income from the plant up to the closing will accrue to voestalpine. The closing will likely take place about three months from the reporting date.