Voestalpine Group Sets Steel Sights on India, Other Emerging Markets

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India’s welding consumable industry is seeing the emergence of a new player.

Only late last month, Austria-based Voestalpine Group had acquired a New Delhi-based company, Maruti Weld Pvt Ltd. But the real news is that this group is eyeing at least a 10 percent share, if not more, of the welding products market in India in the next five years.

Voestalpine Bohler Welding, a part of the metal engineering division of the Group, was the one that bought Maruti Weld Pvt Ltd, which had revenues of about 6.7 million euros in 2012. With this acquisition, the Group claimed it was once again extending its value chain down to the end customer.

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It “was absolutely necessary to have a local production presence in order to have a competitive product portfolio and to be able to develop as a one-stop provider on the welding consumables market,” according to Franz Kainersdorfer, management board member of Voestalpine AG and head of its Metal Engineering Division.

The Group manufactures consumable welding products like premium steel strips, electrical steel strips, heavy plates, cast products, tool steel, forged parts, rails, wires among other products. It has a presence in 28 countries.

Voestalpine Bohler Welding’s Global CEO Gunter Neureiter told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that his company was planning to grab 10 percent of the market share of welding consumables in India in the next four to five years. After the acquisition of Maruti Weld, whose manufacturing plant is located in Bhiwadi in Rajasthan in central India, its current market share was about 5 percent.

As of now, there are about 80 players in this segment in India, vying for a chunk of the estimated 400-million-euro business. The annual growth is somewhere around 9 percent.

The Voestalpine Group is interested in the railway, automotive and energy sectors in India, for these are the core customer segments it serves anyway. In 2012-13, the Metal Engineering Division and its Steel, Rail Technology, Wire Technology, Tubulars, Turnout Systems, and Welding Consumables business units had generated revenue of more than 2.9 billion euros, of which 40 percent was generated outside of Europe.

Electrodes and Flux-Cored Wires

But for Neureiter, the company’s top priority for India was to achieve a total production capacity of 20,000 tons of high quality electrodes and flux-cored wires production. The new India acquisition, he told PTI, was part of the global expansion plan of Voestalpine Bohler Welding, which aimed to become a “one-stop provider” in the welding consumables market.

The Indian base will also provide the Group a natural basecamp of operations for the Middle East and Africa markets. Besides India, the Group has lately invested in a plant in China and doubled production capacity at Jakarta facility.

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