The Minister of Economy and Industry Pierre Yves-Jeholet was visiting NLMK in La Louvière Friday, February 23 in the company of SOGEPA, 49% shareholder of NLMK Belgium Holdings (NBH).
When the company was faced with major difficulties, the Walloon Government first took a capital stake in the NBH in 2013, followed by a second loan and capital loan in 2015.
Today in Belgium, the NLMK La Louvière, Clabecq and Manage sites employ around 1,200 people in Wallonia.
The Waloon Minister of Economy has seen the transformation of the site and the changes made during the last years that allow today NLMK La Louvière to return to better perspectives.
Indeed, as part of its strategic plan 2012 - 2017, NLMK La Louvière has recorded a significant improvement in its results in the areas of security, costs and operational performance. It has also increased its sales volume by 30%. NLMK Europe Strip Products Division demonstrates positive EBITDA second year in a row.
"We have gone through a complete transformation of our business based on an operational efficiency program," says Renaud Moretti, CEO of NLMK Europe - Strip Products. "Operational efficiency is in our DNA. It is the strategy that has guided us in our transformations and allows us today to continue our development. The improvement of the European economic market should contribute to the future growth of the company in the coming years ".
The NLMK Group is now developing the next phase of its strategic plan, which will take the group even further by 2022. "In this context, NLMK La Louvière confirmed to us that it has planned € 10 million over the next few years for development projects, modernization of the hot rolling mill, including an upgrade of automation, and projects focused on the expansion of its product range, "said Minister Pierre-Yves Jeholet.
The NLMK Group has created a project management office in Europe to support the development axes for the years to come.
Ben de Vos, CEO of NLMK International B.V., today announced that an R&D center, which supports the development of new products and manufacturing processes, has just been set up on the La Louvière site. He states that "this team is specialized in the deployment of new tools such as digital modeling".
"These two announcements delight us because they contribute to the long-term anchoring of the NLMK Group in Wallonia, whose steel industry is a source of many jobs," concludes Minister Jeholet.