North America

 

Bekaert in North America 

Combined sales:                                                  € 657 million
Capital expenditures
(PP&E):                                                                       € 13 million
Total assets:                                                           € 271 million
Employees:                                                                          1 558

Expanding moderately

From a continued discouraging housing market to an aggravated debt level and a downgraded credit rating, the US economy continued to be under pressure in 2011. However, the US economy ended 2011 on the upside, resulting in a total GDP growth for the year of 1.5%. The automotive industry outperformed the greater economy in 2011 with solid sales increases, job growth and product innovations. The energy and utility markets benefited from ongoing investments to build a better electric grid.

Back to the core

Bekaert divested the Bekaert Specialty Films business in September 2011 by selling it to Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, an Ohio, US-based corporation of the Saint-Gobain group.

The division accounted for about 3% of Bekaert's consolidated sales, mainly on the account of North America, and had a profitability level in line with Bekaert’s long-term profitability guidance. Bekaert acquired the Specialty Films business in 2001 and developed it into a global market leader. While business continued to grow successfully, technological synergies proved to be limited over time.

Bekaert’s activity platforms performed well in North America in 2011, but the strong nominal sales growth was to a large extent offset by unfavorable exchange rates. The automotive and energy related markets especially accounted for increased sales, while agriculture and construction markets remained sluggish.

Driven by a solid demand in automotive and energy-related markets, the Bekaert plants of Rogers (Arkansas), Rome (Georgia), Orville (Ohio) and Van Buren (Arkansas) performed well throughout 2011. Very strong activity in the US power cable industry boosted demand for Bekaert Van Buren’s ACSR (aluminum conductor steel reinforced) cable and strand business. Bekaert Orrville achieved strong output thanks to continued product innovation and recovery within the US automotive industry.

Overhead powerlines are reinforced with our super high tensile steel wires & strands.

Bekaert increased its market share in the tire cord business and continued the production of more “higher added value” products such as super tensile and ultra tensile products. 

Construction markets remained sluggish in the US. The weak demand mainly impacted the performance of our Shelbyville (Kentucky) production facility.

Hose wire production continued to operate outstandingly, especially in heavier construction applications (mining, earth moving equipment) and in larger hydraulic hoses.

The North American plants continued to pursue innovations in quality, safety and performance. This led to a series of product innovations, closer cooperation with customers to improve processing performance at their sites, excellent customer audit reports and a continued good safety performance.

Performance at our wire plant in Vancouver (Canada) remained below expectations. Structural improvements were implemented to enhance sustainable return generation and better operational performance. Bekaert Wire Rope Industries in Pointe-Claire (Canada) delivered excellent results driven by continued strong demand in the oil & gas and mining sectors.
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