Voestalpine eyes March Kapfenberg plant launch after delays

Voestalpine is optimistic that the start-up of its all-new special steel plant in Kapfenberg, Austria, will take place by the end of March.

The project’s completion suffered massive delays due to delivery bottlenecks for technical equipment, partly attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic hitting during the construction period. The start-up is now coming nearer. “It was our plan to still have the plant started this fiscal year [April 2022-March 2023],” company chief executive Herbert Eibensteiner said at a press conference on Wednesday monitored by Kallanish.

The plant is a relative greenfield project, as it will replace an existing plant that will not be further modernised. According to Eibensteiner, both plants will operate in turns for a transitory period, until the new plant has ramped up to full industrial production.

The plant is part of the group’s High Performance Metal Division, formerly known as Böhler-Uddeholm. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, the division lifted its revenue year-on-year by 29% to €2.78 billion ($2.99 billion). It benefited, among other things, from a positive trend in the aerospace segment, primarily driven by increasing demand for single-aisle aircraft used in regional air traffic, Eibensteiner noted.

Meanwhile in Germany, the division’s plant in Wetzlar is facing a 15% cutback in personnel. “At the group level, we could largely hand down our increased energy costs, but we could not do it in all segments,” Eibensteiner explained. He added that the plant’s international competitiveness has suffered, and that besides cutting staff, measures taken include investment in energy efficiency.

Christian Koehl Germany