Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific/China

Asia Combined sales per quarter 2013 

Combined sales: € 998 million
Consolidated sales(*): € 945 million
Capital expenditures (PP&E)(*): € 48 million
Total assets(*): € 1 359 million
Employees: 11 800
(*) Consolidated entities

China: economy in transition

After a long period of double-digit growth rates, China’s GDP growth ended below 8% in 2012, further down from 9% the year before. Investments in the country have slowed down as a result of measures for more controlled growth, while the global economic crisis tempered China’s export growth. Combined with a maturing domestic demand in certain sectors, this led to manufacturing overcapacity and fierce competition in several industrial markets. 

Bekaert’s activities in China came under pressure due to these developments. The most sudden and tangible impact was felt in the sawing wire business as of the second half of 2011. The price levels of sawing wire further declined significantly in 2012 as a result of the huge manufacturing overcapacity that had been built up in a very short time. Bekaert realigned its manufacturing footprint in China with the new business reality through a drastic restructuring and considerable asset impairments.

In automotive markets too, Bekaert experienced increased competition and maturing demand from Chinese tire producers targeting export markets. Truck tire customers in particular suffered from less export business. Bekaert defended its rubber reinforcement markets and succeeded in obtaining modest growth in sales volumes compared to 2011, while price and margin levels were under pressure due to the highly competitive environment and declining raw materials prices.

Continued growth through acquisition

Bekaert acquired the Qingdao Hansun steel wire plant in Qingdao (Shandong Province) from Hankuk Steel Wire Co. Ltd (South Korea) in September 2011. The operations were fully integrated in the Bekaert China manufacturing platform during 2012. Bekaert (Qingdao) Wire Products Co., Ltd produces a wide range of wires and ropes serving construction and mining markets as well as the hoisting equipment and paper industry.

 

In December of 2011 Bekaert and Xinyu Iron & Steel Co. Ltd (Xinsteel) announced the closing of their partnership transaction by which Bekaert acquired 50% of the spring wire and Aluclad activities of Xinsteel in Xinyu (Jiangxi Province). The results of the joint venture have been included in Bekaert’s financial records under the equity accounting method as from 1 December 2011. In 2012, the ground works for the construction of a new plant, Bekaert (Xinyu) New Materials Co., Ltd, were started. The new building will house the spring wire manufacturing activities which are now located in two separate factories. The new plant is expected to come into operation in the second half of 2013, and will serve domestic customers mainly, with spring wires for various applications.

Bekaert and Xinsteel broke ground for a new production plant in Xinyu.

South-East Asia and India

South-East Asia: solidifying a strategic position

The global economic downturn has affected Bekaert’s export oriented activities in Indonesia. Reduced demand from export markets and increased competition in the region impacted the business climate for automotive markets in particular.

Bekaert however strengthened its position in the region by establishing a joint venture, 55% owned by Bekaert, with Southern Steel Berhad (SSB), a leading Malaysian Steel Group. Bekaert Southern Wire Pte Ltd has its registered office in Singapore and serves customers in the southeast Asian markets with steel wires and ropes. SSB brought in its interests in the Malaysian wire activities based in Shah Alam and Ipoh, while Bekaert added its galvanized wire platform located in Karawang, Indonesia.
The financial statements of the joint venture have been integrated in Bekaert’s consolidated statements as of 1 September 2012.

Early in September an integration day took place at the two plants in Ipoh and Shah Alam, to welcome the Malaysian employees to the Bekaert community.

Unpredictable India

Both a subdued global demand and a slowdown of domestic growth affected the industrial performance and investment initiatives in India. GDP growth expectations for 2012 were lowered several times throughout the year.

Bekaert achieved strong sales growth in automotive markets in the first half of the year, but saw demand tone down in the second half as a result of weakening activity with truck tire customers. Bekaert’s strong market position in the country was maintained, while margins were weighed down by competitive imports and increased energy prices.

Bekaert’s export-driven activities in India, such as the stainless specialty wires, operated in a market context of global demand slowdown.

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