On Monday, March 13 2017, it was exactly 30 years since the Jesenice company SIJ Acroni started up the new Steel Plant 2 and cast the first batch of steel. Since then, the Jesenice plant has produced some 8.7 million tonnes of steel. Today, exactly 30 years and a day since the plant's start-up, SIJ Acroni reached another milestone: the casting of the 90,000th charge.
While the steel plant is now an indispensable part of SIJ Acroni, its construction 30 years ago was anything but an obvious choice, as the steel industry was in a crisis. A number of steel plants in Europe and across the world even shut down. Building a new steel plant in Jesenice was an important milestone in the development of the steel industry in Slovenia and the former Yugoslavia. Along with the Germany company Mannesmann DEMAG, the Jesenice plant was actually the first in the world to develop a new technological process for making stainless steel.
"We should be extremely grateful to the person who gave the green light for the construction of Steel Plant 2 back then. I am confident that, without that investment, there would be no steel industry in Jesenice today," said Emil Šubelj, Head of Technology at the steel plant.
The preparations for the project of building Steel Plant 2 started in 1977, and construction began seven years later, on October 8 1984. After three years of construction and installations, the work was completed in January 1987. Before the plant was ready for start-up, the equipment for alloy transport, the new electric arc furnace, the dust extraction device, the pump room and the media input all had to be tested. The first batch came out of the electric furnace in Steel Plant 2 on Friday, March 13 1987, at 17.17. It contained 73 tonnes of melt for the production of plain structural steel.
Today, the SIJ Acroni Steel Plant produces some 4000 batches or 350,000 tonnes of melt for the production of stainless steel quarto plates and quarto plates made from high-strength, wear-resistant and tool steels, and other special steels. "The Steel Plant is the heart of SIJ Acroni. With that in mind, it is all the more important to continue the process of constant investments and improvements. High-quality niche products are the only way for us to remain at the top of the European and global steel industry," stressed Leon Vidic, the former Steel Plant Manager who is now overseeing the largest current investment, an AOD furnace. To further demonstrate that SIJ Acroni is a development-oriented company, a total of EUR 140 million has been spent on investments in the last six years.
The 30th anniversary of the Steel Plant happens to coincide with the start-up of this year's largest investment. This spring will see the start-up of a new AOD (argon oxygen decarburization) furnace costing EUR 30 million, which will make it cheaper to produce highly special stainless steel in the secondary metallurgy segment, thus further strengthening the company's position on the market.
SIJ Acroni is a leading global manufacturer of stainless steel quarto plates and quarto plates made from high-strength, wear-resistant and tool steels, and other special steels. In addition to quarto plates, the production range also includes non-oriented electrical sheet metal and hot- and cold-rolled special steel strips. Today, the SIJ Acroni steel is used in the energy sector, the chemical and pharmaceutic industry, construction, agriculture, transport and the automotive industry, where demand has grown considerably thanks to the development of electric mobility. The key markets in which sales growth is planned include Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic in Europe and the US, Canada, India and the Middle East in the rest of the world.
The SIJ Group is the largest Slovenian vertically integrated metal-processing group, ranked among the top market positions in the European and world niche steel markets. In addition to metal-processing (its core business), the SIJ Group is also involved in the food industry (investment in Perutnina Ptuj) and employs a total of around 7,200 people in Slovenia and abroad. With products available on over 80 markets worldwide, the SIJ Group is one of Slovenia's largest employers and exporters.
In 2016, the SIJ Group generated EUR 842.7 million in sales revenue (an increase of 26.8% compared to the same period last year), and achieved an EBITDA in the amount of EUR 127.1 million (double the amount for the same period in the previous year), and a net profit of EUR 51.3 million.
For more information contact:
Jože Špiljak, Corporate Communications Specialist
M: 030 465 756, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org