Consolidated group sales increased by 22% in the last fiscal year (ended February 29, 2012) to reach €1.52 billion euros.

Plansee says this was due in part to the robust US economy and Germany's export strength. Strong growth was also achieved in China and India. The company’s sales outside of Europe slightly increased to 52% of the group total (America 32%, Asia 20% and Europe 48%). More than half of group sales were achieved in three market sectors mechanical engineering, automotive and consumer electronics.

“Despite the global uncertainties caused by government debts, euro and banking crises, we were able to successfully continue our worldwide expansion during 2011,” said Plansee Group’s executive chairman, Dr Michael Schwarzkopf. “Business developed satisfactorily in all divisions and in all important regions for Plansee. Increased sales volumes and raw material prices, acquisitions and changes within the group portfolio had a significant impact on sales growth.”

Plansee’s strategy is now focused on two molybdenum and tungsten, following the acquisition of a 10% share in the Chilean company Molibdenos y Metales (Molymet) in March of last year and the sale of the sintered parts manufacturer PMG at the end of 2011. “We will continue expanding our global market position in this business field,” explained Schwarzkopf.

Due to the sale of PMG which employed 1,150 people worldwide, the group’s workforce was down from 6,730 to 6,120 employees at year-end.

Last year, Plansee made investments of over €300 million, including new production capacities (€95 million) and improvements to the group’s global market position through acquisitions such as the shareholding in Molymet (approximately €200 million), the closing of the joint venture with CB Carbide in Taiwan/China and the takeover of the Korean company TCB. €31 million were spent on product and process innovations.

“During the fiscal year 2012/13 we will continue to expand in the targeted areas. We are planning significant expansions to our production capabilities at a number of sites including Austria, Luxembourg, China and India,” said Schwarzkopf. A new plant of the Plansee High Performance Materials division is scheduled to come on stream in the greater area of Shanghai in late 2012.

According to Schwarzkopf, there is considerable uncertainty on the markets and customers are evaluating carefully before placing new orders. This makes forecasts for the months to come difficult. Schwarzkopf: “It is not possible to predict how current problems of national debts and the financial markets will impact the real economy.”