German plantmaker SMS becomes sole owner of Paul Wurth

German plant manufacturer SMS has become the sole owner of Luxembourg-based engineering company Paul Wurth, a move that would expand research and development for decarbonization of the steel industry, SMS said April 21.

SMS acquired the remaining 40.8% shares from the Luxembourg state and state-owned banking organizations for the takeover. The acquisition value was not disclosed. SMS partially acquired Paul Wurth in 2012.

The companies will be working together on R&D focusing on technologies for reducing CO2-emissions in existing steel mills, hydrogen-based and CO2-free direct reduction of iron ore as well as Power-To-X technologies for producing synthetic fuels and downstream products.

As part of the transaction, a partnership was also agreed with the University of Luxembourg to strengthen scientific research and development of hydrogen technologies at the Luxembourg site.

“In the coming decades, decarbonizing technologies will replace the traditional blast furnaces and coking plants in integrated steel plants,” said Edwin Eichler, chairman of SMS. “Therefore, the energy balance at the steel plant will have to be reconsidered and reorganized.”

SMS said late last year that despite the long-term decline in plant manufacturing, the company’s service and digitalization unit has seen more stabilization and is expected to grow as companies move towards automation, while the move toward green steelmaking has opened up new opportunities.

— Laura Varriale