The Plansee Group, based in Reutte, Tirol, Austria, is one of the world’s leading industrial companies in the field of Powder Metallurgy and covers the entire value added chain in molybdenum and tungsten, from the ore right through to custom-built components.
Dr Michael Schwarzkopf, Chairman of the Executive Board, stated at a recent press conference that the Plansee Group had achieved consolidated sales of €1.18 billion in its Fiscal year 2015/2016.
He said that despite a dramatic fall of up to 42% in raw materials prices, Plansee was generally able to maintain sales volumes and sales at a stable level, and that the lower sales prices resulting from the raw materials situation were largely balanced out by favourable exchange rates.
Schwarzkopf reported that €60 million, the equivalent of 5% of sales, were invested in innovation projects. Thus, for example, Plansee supplies molybdenum components for exposure equipment in semiconductor production. These devices are used to fabricate the next generation of even higher performance computer chips. The Group’s carbide specialist Ceratizit has developed a completely new cutting tool for shoulder milling. Using the new milling system, high-precision 90-degree angles can be cut significantly more economically than in the past.
At the global level, more than half of the Plansee Group’s sales were said to come from the mechanical engineering, automotive and consumer electronics sectors. Broken down into the Group’s three main sales regions, 53% of sales were achieved in Europe, 23% in America and 24% in Asia. Asia is stated to be Plansee Group’s most dynamic market.
In Greater China, the Group has eight production sites and more than 2,000 employees and the Plansee Group is also represented by three sites and 700 employees in India. The construction of a new production site was recently started in Korea.
During the last fiscal year, the Plansee Group made investments of almost €220 million. These included the construction of a new production site in India, expansions to production in Austria and Luxembourg, together with innovations at the levels of products and processes.
In addition, the Plansee Group acquired three companies. Ceratizit took over the German special toolmaker Klenk GmbH & Co. KG, which employs 120 people in Balzheim. Ceratizit also signed a purchase agreement for a majority holding in the Indian tool manufacturer Cobra Carbide Pvt. Ltd. Cobra Carbide employs 45 people in Bangalore.
The tungsten powder producer GTP acquired the Finnish company Tikomet Oy, which has a workforce of 40 employees, and thus boosted its tungsten recycling capabilities.
Schwarzkopf commented, “All these expansions and acquisitions underpin the Plansee Group’s strategy in which the high-tech materials molybdenum and tungsten play a leading role, from the processing of the ore through to the custom-built component.”