"Despite further declining raw materials prices, we have managed to stabilize sales at the same level as last year," said Plansee Group Chairman of the Executive Board Dr. Michael Schwarzkopf at the press conference held in Reutte to present the company's financial results. Sales volumes and market share showed continued growth in all regions.
Broken down by region, 52 percent of sales were achieved in Europe and 24 percent in both America and Asia. The Group benefited from the strength of the German export industry, above all the automotive and mechanical engineering industries. There was also growth in the aerospace industry and in the field of alternative power generation (fuel cells).
Following the launch of the long-term fitness program "Marathon" across the group two years ago, all Group companies have further improved their competitiveness. "Ongoing optimization, cost management and organizational adjustments have enabled us to significantly improve our business processes and operating result", Schwarzkopf was pleased to report.
Continued global expansion
Over the past fiscal year, the Plansee Group has continued to systematically internationalize its activities. A total of 180 million euros was invested globally. Highlights included construction of a new production and sales site in Korea, site expansions in India, China and Germany, and the acquisition of the tool manufacturers Best Carbide in the USA and Becker Diamantwerkzeuge in Germany. Both companies were acquired by the joint venture Ceratizit, in which the Group has a 50 percent holding. "Especially in Ceratizit's carbide and tool business, we still see potential for acquisitions to boost growth beyond the levels already achieved by strong, organic growth," Schwarzkopf explains.
New products make up 33 percent of sales
As in previous years, the Plansee Group invested more than 60 million euros (5 percent of sales) in the development of new products and in improved processes. The share of sales with new products (products less than 5 years old) remains above 30 percent. "Innovative products made from our metals tungsten and molybdenum for new applications in high-tech industries are the key to us continuing to be an attractive partner for our customers," Schwarzkopf stressed.
First digital business model due to be implemented
Furthermore, last year saw the launch of a large number of initiatives in the area of Industry 4.0. The first digital business model is expected to be ready for the market launch in the current 2017/18 fiscal year.
The industry portfolio
The Plansee Group has constantly expanded its industry portfolio over the past ten years. Taken together, all companies in which the Group has a holding achieved sales of 2.14 billion euros in the 2016/17 fiscal year. Production sales at Breitenwang/Reutte reached 570 million euros. All Group companies have a global workforce of 12,000. 2,275 people were employed in Austria in the past fiscal year.
The Plansee Group has had a good start to the new fiscal year. Demand in the first quarter was significantly higher than in the previous year and exceeded expectations. But Schwarzkopf remains cautious about the future, as the economic and political conditions are uncertain. Nevertheless, investment at least matching that of the previous year is planned for this year, and some acquisitions are currently being evaluated.
About the Plansee Group
With its divisions Plansee High Performance Materials and Global Tungsten & Powders (each at 100 percent), the joint venture Ceratizit (50 percent) and its holding in Molymet (20.7 percent), the Plansee Group is one of the world's leading industrial groups in the field of powder metallurgy and covers the entire value-added chain in molybdenum and tungsten, from the ore concentrate right through to customer-specific components. In fiscal year 2016/17, the Plansee Group, with its 6,396 employees, achieved consolidated sales of 1.17 billion euros.
The fiscal year closes on the last day of February.