Efficient solutions through expertise and innovation

Luxembourg, 8 May 2018. Under the chairmanship of Michel Wurth, the Ordinary General Meeting of shareholders of Société Anonyme Paul WURTH was held on 8 May 2018 to approve amongst others the financial statements of the year 2017.

While the steel industry still evolves in a challenging business climate, Paul Wurth is strengthening its position as a reliable technology partner and offers its customers appropriate solutions based on both long-lasting know-how and innovative, future-oriented products, especially with regard to digitalisation.

Economic climate and new order intake

Although output in the steel industry increased globally in 2017, there was still little activity in plant construction during the year under review, with new construction projects and upgrades being shelved until the economy has sustainably picked up. Moreover, in 2017 there was a lot of activity around mergers and takeovers in the steel sector. Because of this repositioning of major players in the steel industry and, above all, the lengthy negotiations involved, major investment decisions were deferred. The customers‘ cautious approach had a direct effect on the Paul Wurth Group’s projects. Despite the lack of any significant large-scale orders for new installations, as in the previous year, the total amount of new orders still reached 311 million euros in the financial year 2017.

From a geographic perspective, order intake from Western Europe secured again a strong share of the Group’s new business (25.3%), followed by India (17.9%) and Russia (14.6%). Even if blast furnace business accounted for the major part of orders won in 2017, the cokemaking business unit could win over, with Russia and China, new markets for its industry-leading technologies.

Operational activity

In terms of project execution activities, two challenging projects were completed to the full satisfaction of the customers: the commissioning of a new blast furnace at Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd. in Rengali, India, and the restart of a completely revamped blast furnace at Imetal Sider El-Hadjar in Algeria. Russian steelmaker NLMK, as well, was satisfied with Paul Wurth’s pulverised coal injection plants commissioned at two blast furnaces in Lipetsk and was pleased to report that this resource-saving technology “will permit a 30 per cent decrease in the consumption of expensive coke and a 50-80 per cent reduction in the consumption of natural gas, thereby reducing the cost of hot metal production by approximately 5 per cent”. Business development in the first months of 2018 also shows that the Russian market continues to offer great potential for Paul Wurth in terms of upgrades and capacity expansion.

In cokemaking, coking coal producers in Japan, in particular, were increasingly opting for solutions that Paul Wurth, in close cooperation with its local joint venture Paul Wurth IHI Co., Ltd, is offering for modernising their plants. For example, the first of two newly-installed coke oven batteries was commissioned at JFE Steel’s Kurashiki site. The start-up of further coke oven batteries in India (Bhushan Power & Steel) and China (Shandong Rizhao Iron & Steel) helped to consolidate Paul Wurth’s worldwide position in this field.

Paul Wurth Geprolux / Paul Wurth Energy

For Paul Wurth Geprolux and the project and site management activities in the field of construction and infrastructure projects, there were major milestones in December 2017 with the opening of the first section of the new tram in Luxembourg-Kirchberg and the Pfaffenthal train stop plus funicular coming into public service.

Another important event in 2017 was the setting up of the Italian subsidiary Paul Wurth Energy, expanding  the Group’s competences towards small, decentralised biomass-to-energy and waste-to-energy plants. First orders could be secured in this sector, too.

Results for the financial year 2017

Turnover for the year was 391.5 million euros, up by 8.1% from the level reported in 2016. This progress in sales is in part attributable to the strong order intake in 2016 and in part attributable to the steady progression of servicing activities. Paul Wurth closed the financial year 2017 with earnings before taxes of 10.0 million euros and a net profit of 3.4 million euros. The General Meeting approved the payment of a gross dividend of 52.5 euros per share on account of the 2017 financial year.

Industry 4.0

Paul Wurth sees considerable potential for expanding its product range and improving its competitiveness in the digitalisation of industrial production, which is now taking off in the steel industry, as well as elsewhere. The Group would like to take advantage of its plant and process expertise to offer customers personalised digital solutions through innovative business models. In 2017, close cooperation with plant operators to determine customer needs enabled the company to speed up the development of a range of digital products that can be used both in customers’ operations and in services, as well as for exchanging information with the customer.

Paul Wurth InCub

Finally, Paul Wurth’s business incubation programme, Paul Wurth InCub, is a valuable asset in the Group’s innovation culture. The platform is today already an integral part of the Luxembourg start-up ecosystem and the daily exchange with young, motivated entrepreneurs in the field of #InduTech really inspires the own employees. By the end of 2017, ten membership agreements were signed with start-ups, which are active in various areas of technology, such as robotics, 3D printing, internet of things, space mining, smart sensors, virtual reality, etc. 

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