“We recovered from the downturn that was caused by the financial crisis more quickly than expected and performed very well in the 2010/11 fiscal year – from both an operational and a strategic point of view,” said Plansee Group CEO Michael Schwarzkopf at the annual press conference in Reutte, Austria. “All four Group divisions performed well,” he added.

Some 50% of the Group’s total sales were accounted for by Europe, followed by the Americas with 31% and Asia with 19%. The USA was once again the company’s biggest single market, followed by Germany and Japan. The Plansee Group achieved well over 50% of its sales in automotive, mechanical engineering and consumer electronics.

However, Schwarzkopf said he remained cautious because the ongoing critical situation of countries’ national budgets and global capital markets makes business downturns possible at any time. Overall, the Plansee Group is expecting to achieve lower growth figures this year than in the last fiscal year. “We have learnt a lot from the crisis. Cost flexibility remains a major issue,” he said.

In the last fiscal year, Plansee also invested 62 million, and 29 million in innovation projects. It built a first production line for components used in high-temperature fuel cells (SOFC) in Towanda, Pennsylvania, USA. It also increased its presence in China and India and secured the long-term supply of raw materials. According to Schwarzkopf, the Group is planning further expansion in Asia. A production facility for Plansee HPM division products near Shanghai is scheduled to start operation in 2012.

In future, the Group has decided to divest its PMG division. “We want to concentrate on further developing our molybdenum and tungsten activities globally and cover every stage of the value chain, by starting with processing the ore and offering powders, semi-finished products and ready-to-use components that are tailored to our customers’ needs,” said Schwarzkopf. An investment bank has been commissioned to look for a new owner for PMG.

Plansee also intends to make investments in the coming years in order to improve the competitiveness of its European production sites, globally expand its core activities and further increase the security of its raw material supply.