Calcutta, Nov. 12: The Stollberg group, the German multinational dealing with mould flux—a raw material required in the steel industry—has charted out long-term investment plans for India to produce several import substitutes.
The group, which has a 42 per cent share of the global mould flux market, plans to set up two manufacturing units for products like synthetic slags and heat insulators.
Several top executives including managing directors of group companies are expected to arrive in India to look into the investment prospects in this country. Sources said the global steel industry is on the way to recovery after a long bout of recession. “This will help the mould flux industry grow at a much faster rate,” they added.
Incidentally, the group is already setting up a fully computerised plant through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Stollberg India, to make mould flux at Durgapur in Bengal. This is, in fact, its first 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the state. A senior Stollberg official said the company plans to set up various manufacturing units in the country as the steel industry here has enormous potential for growth.
“Stollberg’s association with the Indian steel industry started in 1988. With the industry increasingly changing to the continuous casting route at a rapid pace, there has been a growing demand for quality mould flux as a critical input,” the official said, adding, “the increased product demand encouraged Stollberg to set up a manufacturing base in India.”
India currently imports its entire requirement of mould flux because of the absence of any domestic producer. “Stollberg will be able to fulfil the entire domestic requirement once its plant is fully operational,” the official said.
The Rs 353.6-crore Stollberg underwent a rigorous restructuring process since 2000. Initially, the company was part of the VIAG AG large conglomerate, which had interests in energy, packaging, chemicals and logistics across the globe.
VIAG merged with another diversified company—VEBA AG—towards the middle of 2000. The chemical division of both these groups, however restructured to form a company called Degussa.
In order to streamline the chemical business, a new company—SKW Mettallurgie AG—was born for all metallurgical activities, leaving other chemicals to SKW, both operating under Degussa.
Stollberg, which has now five subsidiaries across the globe, was set up as an SKW subsidiary. SKW, which deals with other chemical businesses, already has a joint venture with Tata Steel for producing de-sulphurisation compound from carbide.