The Plansee Group, based in Reutte, Austria, has stated that in the 2013/14 fiscal year ending February 28, 2014 it increased its sales volume by 17% and achieved sales of €1.2 billion. The Group made investments of €280 million.
“Although falling raw materials prices meant that sales remained at the same level as last year, we were able to significantly increase the volume of sales,” stated Dr. Michael Schwarzkopf at the annual press conference in Reutte.
The drivers for the upturn in the company’s performance included products for the consumer electronics sector and tools for the mechanical engineering and automotive industries. Demand picked up noticeably in the second half of the year, stated the Group. Previous growth rates of China as a global economic powerhouse are lacking, stated Schwarzkopf, however for the first time China has become the third largest country for Plansee Group sales, behind the USA and Germany.
In terms of world regions, sales in Europe remained stable compared with the previous year at a level of 48%. While sales in America dropped from 31 to 28%, sales in Asia rose from 21 to 24%.
More than half of Group sales were achieved in the mechanical engineering, automotive and consumer electronics sectors and it was stated that 30% of sales were achieved with products that are less than five years old.
Mergers and acquisitions
The Plansee Group increased its share in the Chilean company Molymet from 14 to 20% last year. The most recent figures show that Molymet, which employs 1,535 staff, achieved annual sales of $890 million. “At a total value of €400 million, the share in Molymet is the largest single investment in the 90-year history of the Plansee Group,” stated Schwarzkopf. Ensuring secure supplies of raw materials globally will continue to be a key issue. Molymet is a listed company and the world’s largest processor of molybdenum ore concentrates, with a global market share of more than 35%.
Plansee’s hardmetals division, Ceratizit, acquired an 80% share in the North American tool manufacturer Promax Tools LP during this period. The company has a workforce of 70 in Rancho Cordova, California. This investment follows the acquisition of a share in German tool manufacturer Günther Wirth in the previous year. Schwarzkopf commented, “These M&A activities underscore Plansee Group’s intention to take a leading position in the world market for molybdenum and tungsten materials.”
The total number of employees in the Plansee Group rose by more than 300 to 6,060 as a result of the improved business situation. As part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen the global production network, operations at the Biel plant in Switzerland were moved to Empfingen in Germany.
The Plansee Group expects a positive business performance over the current fiscal year despite global uncertainties. “If the current economic sentiment prevails, we should be able to achieve new record figures,” said Schwarzkopf. “In the current fiscal year, we will go forward with two main objectives in mind. On one hand, we shall focus on further boosting the competitiveness of our existing production plants, and on the other, our focus will be on targeted expansion into new growth markets.”
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