The last 18 months have been the best in recent decades for steelmakers, with the USA as front runners. This has brought substantial profits that are and will be partly invested in revampings and new plants, with positive effects on the order backlog of steelmaking plant constructors.
However, as is well known, an economic upcycle is generally followed by a downcycle, with a reduction of liquidity on the financial market that also will impact investments.
The economic downcycle will have fewer consequences for the Plantmaking segment of Danieli, thanks to the plant engineering innovations of recent years that are increasingly successful on the market. Its impact will be less also for ABS, thanks to the recent investments aimed at expanding its range of products and improving its service to the customer.
But, as of now, the energy cost in Europe will negatively influence steel consumption and not only that.
The direct rolling plants developed in the last 10-15 years are gaining momentum for both flat and long products. These unique technologies are recognized as such by the front-runner customers that purchased them even for more than one plant, as Nucor and CMC in the USA have done. It should be underlined that these innovative plants, called MIDA QLP and QSP-DUE, were conceived with a view to diminishing CapEx and OpEx, and they have achieved this target with the utmost satisfaction.
There is also an indirect result which had not been considered initially: the reduction of CO2 emissions. In fact, today the cost of steel production is calculated as CapEx/ ton + OpEx/ton + CO2 tax/ton.
Therefore, we can state that, according to our recent experience, when CapEx and OpEx are reduced for steelmaking plants, CO2 emissions are automatically reduced too.
Another innovation very well received by the market is the DigiMelter, which is going to replace traditional electric arc furnaces. Among the advantages provided by the DigiMelter, in addition to savings in energy and consumables, there is the possibility of powering it with sustainable solar and wind energies.
Two DigiMelter plants in the USA will be the first in the world to melt steel by using also the solar energy.
In conclusion, besides being competitive in economic terms, our MIDA QLP and QSP-DUE plants are competitive also in relation to their environmental impact. This is highly appreciated not only in classic markets such as the USA and China but also in developing countries, such as Bangladesh, Egypt and others to follow. Also, customers in India and Europe are showing the first signs of interest in these new possibilities.
In addition to the technological pluses mentioned above there is Energiron direct reduction ¬–the DRI process technology jointly developed by Tenova and Danieli–¬ able to be fueled by up to 95% hydrogen!
Taken together, all these innovations already well-tested can reach the targets of both economic competitiveness and of green steel production, thanks to:
— Energiron Direct Reduction process using natural gas as reduction agent but ready to replace it with hydrogen for up to 95%.
— 600°C hot DRI charged into the DigiMelter, which can directly utilize sustainable solar or wind energy for melting.
— The liquid steel continuously cast directly feeds the rolling mills, including endless processes, with savings in energy and CO2 emissions.
In short, a meltshop designed with the above-mentioned innovations can produce green steel with lower investments, less production costs and net-to-zero environmental impact.
Therefore, we believe that these products will be the drivers for our order intake in the coming years.
Finally, with our subsidiary FATA specialized in solar power production plants, we are setting up solar fields and steam heat recovery systems for energy production specifically tailored to steelmaking facilities.
In conclusion, it is important to emphasize that the existing technological advantages, most of which are patented, and the related know-how should make it easier for us to maintain a good level of orders even in the next economic downcycle, so that we can remain front runners in Europe for projects aimed at reducing the number of blast furnaces in the coal-based steel industry.
And it is thanks to such innovative ideas industrialized with investments in research that we have exceeded the forecast order backlog and profits, despite substantial extra costs caused by the dramatic increase in the cost of transport, energy and raw materials.
ABS / STEELMAKING
ABS has benefited not only from the market upcycle but also from the expansion of its product range, thanks to the new QWRM which is confirming itself as the leading technology to produce top quality long products, with consequent success on the market.
A high-quality, ore grinding balls production plant also has been started successfully and its learning curve should be completed by the end of 2022.
ABS will manufacture its own ore grinding balls and produce its steel as raw material will make it easier to adjust the quality of the grinding balls to the types of ore to be ground.
The overall target of ABS is to produce 2.3 Mtpy of high-quality steel grades produced in a green way. To achieve it, the construction for a new steel plant including a DigiMelter for zero CO2 emissions started, along with a new series of investments totaling 650 million Euro, aimed at increasing production capacity and cutting production costs.
Further targets to be pursued include the expansion of downstream facilities and service centers, and investments in scrap-collection businesses.
ABS being a high energy-consuming company, the actual situation characterized by rising energy costs will affect the months to come.
The internationalization of our service centers and manufacturing facilities contributes, together with innovaction, to even out the ups and downs of the global and regional markets and so maintain a good average of sales and profits. Believing this to be the way forward, it follows that we will continue strengthening the international structure of the Plantmaking and
Steelmaking segments and to invest in innovation, hoping that even more new ideas and technologies will emerge.
Our core business remains focused on the engineering and manufacturing of steelmaking plants and in the production of quality steels. No diversifications are foreseen unless they are strongly synergistic and ameliorative of our core business.
— Based on such considerations and prospects, the targets of
the Danieli Group for F.Y. 2022-23 are:
Revenue 3,500 / 3,700 M Euro,
EBITDA 320 / 340 M Euro,
Order Book 5,400 / 5,700 M Euro.
SOCIAL ASPECTS AND EDUCATION/EMPLOYMENT
The priority is given to education, in particular of young technicians and engineers.
The activity of the Educational Hub Zerotredici is well-established and this initiative is much appreciated not only by the Danieli team families but also by the local communities neighboring our headquarters, both for the high level of education and the time flexibility which is of great help to families where both parents work.
Also, the activity of the MITS Academy intended for the education of mechatronic engineers, with study programmes based on A.I. with Industry 4.0 technologies and robotics, plus other disciplines, is well underway and counting up toward the final target of 600 students.
The activity of restoring historic buildings and works of art in our region Friuli-Venezia Giulia also continues. Moreover, we have started the construction of a new complex in the city center of Udine, which will be the seat of the MITS Academy for 600 students, and in addition will contain libraries, restaurants and meeting areas, all intended mainly for students.
Before concluding, we wish to thank our shareholders who have allowed us to invest 85-90% of our profits back into the company. This is perceived as an expression of the shareholders’ trust and esteem for the Danieli team, which we intend to honor to the best of our abilities.
It is a trust which, in any case, has been repaid by the fact that the acquisition of Danieli shares has been confirmed to be a good, long-term investment.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and of the shareholders, special thanks go to the Danieli Group Team who, with passion and professionalism, are strongly committed to achieving the agreed objectives for our company’s continuing improvement, and to honor the motto “Danieli, the reliable and innovative partner to be a step ahead in CapEx and OpEx”, for the satisfaction of our business partners. And last, but not least, we express thanks for their efforts in bringing about the cultural change that today’s technological and social trends call for, which is essential to maintaining market shares and competitiveness in a highly challenging global economy with constantly evolving quality requirements.
Chairman of the Board of Directors