Salzgitter sees better outlook for plate than beams

Salzgitter is testing new fields of application for its heavy plate business, chief executive Gunnar Groebler said at the company’s annual press conference last week.

The company has introduced the term “Secure” for the relatively new target segment of applications in which plate products are used for defence or protection. “We are currently in the accreditation process for the national armed forces, which is quite a long process, as you can imagine,” Groebler said. Apart from such big tenders, Salzgitter is already selling its “Secure” brand to private customers.

In addition to that, the company sees new potential in wind towers, after recently achieving pre-qualification for the “Greener Tower” campaign by Siemens Energy/Gamesa, for towers produced with CO2-reduced steels.

In its annual report, the company speaks of changed order patterns, with orders coming in at short notice, with a greater degree of flexibility and shorter delivery times. Last year, demand for quarto plate kept slowing into the second half of the year. Market prices mirrored these developments with a downtrend through to the end of the third quarter. In a year-on-year comparison, quarto plate prices dropped by around 10% in 2023, depending on the grade, Salzgitter says.

For the company’s beams production, Groebler’s tone was less upbeat. “The current utilisation of the Peine mill is okay, but last year it was not,” he told Kallanish during the conference, without giving figures. He suggested that the company cannot be happy with the market prices achieved for beams, and that it wishes for “some signal for [better] prices for Peine”. Salzgitter sells beams mainly to construction, which has been in recession in Germany since last year.

Christian Koehl Germany