Jesenice, 27 May (STA) - Steel maker Acroni launched officially on Monday a new steel rolling machine worth EUR 42.6m. The investment will enable Acroni to broaden its product range, allowing the Russian-owned company to penetrate new markets. The device will replace the old steel rolling machine, which had been in use for 46 years.
Acroni boss Slavko Kanalec told the press ahead of the opening that the old rolling machine was outdated. With the new machine, Acroni will be able to roll 2.5 metres wide steel, which is half a metre wider than before.
Apart from allowing the company that employs 1,185 people to introduce new products, the machine will also reduce waste material. It was launched officially today by Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek, who was accompanied to the launch by Economic Development Minister Stanko Stepišnik.
The acquisition of the new rolling machine was launched in 2011 and the device was installed in December 2012. The machine was launched in January. The acquisition will be completed in the summer, after the machine undergoes several tests.
The process of replacing the rolling machine affected Acroni's business results in 2012, as the company had to shut down production at its hot rolling mill.
Nonetheless, Acroni managed to increase production in 2012, selling nearly 316,000 tonnes of products. The company's revenues were however somewhat lower than the year before at EUR 432m.
Kanalec believes that the new machine will enable the company, which is party of the Slovenian Steel Group (SIJ),to boost the number of products with high added value this year.
The Acroni boss moreover said that the company recorded positive results in the first quarter of 2013, however problems on the market are preventing the company from meeting the planned figures in sales revenues. However, rival companies have even bigger problems, he said.
"We expect 2013 to be a very demanding year. Not only due to the economic situation in Slovenia but also in Europe," said Kanalec. He added that the company was recording good results in America and India. The company is also getting ready to enter demanding Asian markets.