Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific/China

 

Bekaert in Asia Pacific 

Combined sales:                                                  € 1 141 million
Capital expenditures
(PP&E):                                                                       € 165 million
Total assets:                                                          € 1 655 million
Employees:                                                                          12 433

China: the paradox of growth

Measures for more controlled growth, mainly under the form of access to credit and financial resources, led to an overall weaker economic activity in China in 2011. Moreover, the global economic crisis made China’s export growth drop, making several sectors suffer from manufacturing overcapacity. China’s GDP growth is expected to total about 9% in 2011.

COLUMN-BREAK

A different perspective on growth

Bekaert’s activities in China came under pressure due to increased competition in the country and reduced demand from customers that mainly serve export markets. The most sudden and material impact was felt in the sawing wire business. Reduced fiscal stimulus packages in European end-markets for solar energy, aggressive competition from Chinese sawing wire producers, and enormous inventories throughout the supply chain of the photovoltaic sector, combined to produce, as from mid-2011, a standstill of the previously strong market growth. Determined to defend its market share, Bekaert reduced its prices drastically and has started implementing measures to align its manufacturing footprint in China with the new business reality.

In tire cord as well, Bekaert experienced increased pressure on margins as a result of fierce competition and lower demand from Chinese tire producers targeting export markets. Truck tire customers in particular suffered from limited access to credit resources and less export business, while Chinese passenger car tire makers are still preparing to comply with international tire label regulations.

The growing relevance of tire labeling on an international scale brings about opportunities for technologically advanced manufacturers. Bekaert organized a forum for the Chief Technology Officers of the Chinese tire companies who actively invest in improvement programs aiming at lower rolling resistance and better wet grip, in line with EU tire label requirements. Specific technological cooperation programs have been set up between Bekaert and the Chinese tire makers to ensure the development and production of high-quality tires.

A representative of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology declared at the Lanxess Rubber day in Beijing early December 2011: "China's tire industry is highly dependent on exports, and for this reason we stipulate that the tire manufacturers should step up to the challenge of adhering to guidelines such as those in place in the EU – research being one of the pillars to make this possible".

TABLE-BREAK

The many faces of growth

Growth through innovation

On 28 April Bekaert inaugurated its new engineering plant in Jiangyin (Jiangsu province). Bekaert's in-house engineering division designs, assembles and installs production machines and plant infrastructure for the Bekaert manufacturing units worldwide. As a result of Bekaert's strong organic growth, notably in Asia, the Bekaert China Technology & Engineering Center (BTEC) had outgrown its existing premises in Jiangyin. The relocation to a new, spacious building coincided with the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the entity.

The relocation to a new, spacious building coincided with the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the engineering entity.

Growth in partnership

Bekaert granted the ‘Bekaert Rod Supplier Award China’ to its wire rod supplier Xingcheng Steel (Jiangyin, Jiangsu province). This award is presented to the Chinese supplier who has shown the greatest improvement in the quality of its wire rod supply – Bekaert’s most important raw material.
Jiangyin Xingcheng Special Steel Co., Ltd is a company jointly set up by Hong Kong CITIC Pacific Ltd and Jiangyin Steel Works. The Jiangyin-based Xingcheng plant is a state-of-the-art steel mill facility which has quickly developed into a high quality wire rod producer. Xingcheng Steel has been supplying Bekaert since 2008.

Bekaert and Xingcheng Steel have in common that we continuously raise the bar of excellence to realize our ambitions. We appreciate Xingcheng Steel's commitment to make those ambitions come true, together with Bekaert.

COLUMN-BREAK

Growth through acquisition

In September we expanded our wire business in China by concluding an agreement with Hankuk Steel Wire Co. Ltd (South Korea) for the acquisition of the Qingdao Hansun steel wire plant in Qingdao (Shandong province). The modern plant is equipped to produce steel wire products for a wide range of applications in sectors such as the construction business, the paper industry and mining. The plant is located near the Qingdao sea port, the world's 9th busiest container port, and employs 220 people. The integration of this entity strengthens Bekaert’s position in the Asian steel wire market and adds sizable capacity to Bekaert's current Wire platform in China.

In December Bekaert and Xinyu Iron & Steel Co., Ltd (Xinsteel), a Xinyu-based (Jiangxi province) iron and steel company, announced the successful closing of their partnership transaction by which Bekaert acquires 50% of the spring wire and Aluclad activities of Xinsteel in Xinyu. These activities represent an annual turnover of approximately CNY 500 million.
The partnership includes high carbon steel wire activities as well as Aluclad wire and strand production. The high carbon steel wire platform covers two manufacturing plants in Xinyu which mainly produce spring wires for the automotive, motorcycle and engineering sectors. The Aluclad unit serves markets for overhead conductor networks and data communication from one production plant in Xinyu.

India and Indonesia

India

Tight monetary conditions and a cloudy global outlook combined to reduce manufacturing output and investment initiatives in India. Inflation was high and the Indian rupee tumbled to a record low against the USD in 2011. India’s GDP growth was around 7.5%.

Maintaining a steady growth course

Our production platforms in India achieved strong growth. In order to meet increased demand, we continued to expand our capacity in Ranjangaon and Lonand near Pune and started up sample production in Chennai.

Bekaert’s steel cord activities continued to perform well in 2011 and achieved record sales during the last months of the year. Our plant in Ranjangaon retained the quality self-clarification status with major customers like JK, Goodyear and Gates and gained this important status from Parker India. This status, earned as a result of constant stringent quality standards on defined parameters, allows customers to directly use Bekaert products in their manufacturing plants without the need for incoming material inspection. This serves as proof of our dedication to quality and operational excellence.

In August at the Ranjangaon campus, Bekaert inaugurated the new flat & shaped wire factory .

The inauguration of the flat and shaped wire factory took place in the presence of Bert De Graeve, CEO, and key customers.

In June we started construction of a new high carbon wire drawing facility which will come online in the first quarter of 2012. Our advanced filtration business gained significant orders for disc filters and candle filters thanks to a breakthrough in quality and productivity.

A brand new social building was constructed and began to be used at the same campus. The new social building provides improved common facilities for our employees.

Bekaert Mukand Wire Industries which manufactures stainless steel wire in Lonand near Pune continued to grow both in domestic and export markets and obtained the ISO/TS 16949 certification, a quality standard used in the automotive industry.

To facilitate further growth of Bekaert Carding Solutions in Pune, work has started on a new larger factory which will be operational by April 2012.

Building products in India won orders for some prestigious construction works, especially in large industrial and seismic-resistant flooring projects.

Indonesia

In spite of the economic uncertainty that characterized much of 2011, Indonesia’s GDP growth (6.5%) has solidified the country’s reputation as one of the world’s most important emerging markets.

Solidifying its strategic position

Bekaert’s Indonesian operations recorded solid growth in 2011, both in the wire and steel cord activities.

Bekaert continued to seize upon growth opportunities in South East Asia, which has become a fast growing industrial region. Bekaert’s continued investments and the entity’s strategic location, strong operational performance and excellent customer service, allowed the Bekaert plant in Karawang to become a high performing plant and a major export platform serving customers in Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas.

Bert De Graeve, CEO, visited the Bekaert plant in Karawang which recorded solid growth in 2011.


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