While modest in scope, the merger & acquisition (M&A) activity of the voestalpine Group in the business year 2022/23 was hugely important to its strategic alignment. In early July 2022, voestalpine Railway Systems and Egyptian National Railways (ENR) signed a joint venture agreement on the planned joint production of high-performance turnouts in ENR’s existing turnout factory in Cairo, Egypt. This joint venture enables voestalpine to prepare the ground for supporting the ambitious plans for the construction of a high-speed rail line in Egypt. The partnership aims to expand ENR’s existing production facility. Going forward, Egypt’s national railways could be supplied with locally produced high-performance turnouts. As part of the joint venture, voestalpine will contribute its comprehensive rail technology expertise. This production plant, too, will focus on manufacturing turnout systems that satisfy the highest quality standards. The joint venture serves to support the Group’s long-term strategy in the Railway Systems business segment that entails shifting to local turnout production. In voestalpine’s view, Egypt is an important growth area in the high-speed railway segment. The country is generally considered the railway market in Africa that is growing the fastest.
The Railway Systems business segment took an important strategic step when it acquired a 50% equity stake in Plastwil sp. z.o.o. in the Northern summer of 2022. This Poland-based company is the local market leader in fastening systems. As such, it not only supplements the product portfolio of Railway Systems, but is also taking an important step toward becoming a systems provider. From now on, Railway Systems will be able to offer solutions related to fastening systems for local and mixed traffic customer segments as well as the railway freight transportation and high speed market. It will also be able to penetrate a market that offers great potential. The Polish company has some 300 employees and was renamed “voestalpine Fastening Systems”; it has been fully consolidated since August 1, 2022.
In the fourth quarter of the business year 2022/23, voestalpine High Performance Metals Schweiz AG acquired the Swiss company Metaltec AG—a specialist for highly refined bright steel products and services. Thanks to tightest tolerances and particularly high surface quality, this precision-drawn or polished special steel meets the demands of sectors such as the Swiss watch industry, medical technology, and the automotive supplier industry. Besides supplementing its portfolio of bright steel products, this acquisition also strengthened the market position of the High Performance Metals Division in Switzerland. In calendar year 2021, Metaltec generated revenue in excess of CHF 10 million and most recently had 37 employees at the company’s headquarters in Pieterlen, Switzerland.
A significant divestment in the Steel Division was finalized at the end of June 2022 with the closing of the sale of 80% of the voestalpine Group’s equity interest in voestalpine Texas to ArcelorMittal. voestalpine decided in the past business year to continue developing the business model of the direct reduction plant in Texas, USA, jointly with a partner. This was preceded by a detailed analysis that took all strategic alternatives into account. Over and above the remaining non-controlling interest of 20%, the voestalpine Group also secured for itself an annual delivery volume of 420,000 tons of the hot briquetted iron (HBI) produced at the plant. The closing of this long-term contract supports the implementation of the first step in the decarbonization of voestalpine’s steel production in Linz and Donawitz (both in Austria). The voestalpine Texas Group was fully consolidated and shown in the item, “Income from discontinued operations,” until the transaction was closed at the end of June 2022; the income thus was posted for the first quarter of the business year 2022/23. Following the closing at the end of the first business quarter, the earnings of the ArcelorMittal Texas HBI Group were shown from the business year’s second quarter onwards in the item, “Income from entities consolidated at equity.” The transaction yielded cash proceeds of EUR 735.8 million in the reporting period.