Plate stockist Zimmer Staal bought back from Stemcor: owner

Belgian heavy plate stockholder Zimmmer Staal has been purchased from trading house Stemcor to become fully independent again, the stockist’s founder and owner Luc Cools told S&P Global Platts in an interview.

“In 2013 problems started for Stemcor in India, which lead to the exit of the and Oppenheimer family and put Stemcor into financial problems,” he said.

After a previous sales offer had been withdrawn when the financial crisis hit, Stemcor acquired Zimmer Staal in 2011. “It was the financial injection I really needed to grow to a level in the market where I believe that Zimmer Staal will reach that level,” Cools said.

“The only reason to bring a third party in was for a financial injection, so four years after the financial problems started I asked them to sell me the company back as I see no future nor growth possibilities in this structure,” he said. Zimmer Staal became fully independent again on September 11.

The stockholding business has annual sales volumes of 115,000 mt of heavy plate and 45,000 mt on the floor, but Cools said he plans to increase sales over the next years as “current demand is very good.” “We are growing every year at least 10%. I am targeting 150,000 mt of heavy plate sales a year in the next four to five years, adding 10,000mt every year,” he said.

Zimmer Staal sources around 80% of the material from imports and 20% from EU mills. The main grades in stock are S235 and S355, while the majority of customers are based in Holland, Belgium and Germany. A smaller amount is also shipped to Scandinavia.

Laura Varriale, PLATTS