H.C. Starck GmbH, Munich, Germany, has announced its financial results for the full year 2017. The company reported total sales of €767.3 million for the full year, an 11% increase compared to 2016. It stated that this improvement was driven by the recovery of important core markets and by the successful implementation of a series of initiatives aimed at boosting sales and profitability.
The year saw the successful sale of the company’s Surface Technology & Ceramic Powders (STC) and H.C. Starck Tantalum and Niobium (Tantalum/Niobium) divisions. H.C. Starck stated that strategic further development of the STC division will continue under the leadership of Höganäs AB, while JX Nippon Mining & Metals will continue the future development of Tantalum/Niobium. “We are delighted to have reached a deal with JX and Höganäs, both of which are buyers that bring with them the industry expertise and experience to lead these two divisions into a successful future,” stated Jens Knöll, Managing Director of H.C. Starck.
The Tungsten Division of H.C. Starck posted significantly increased sales and results in 2017 compared with the previous year, along with a noteworthy increase in capacity utilisation. This was said to apply in particular to the division’s plant in Goslar, joint ventures in Vietnam and China, and to the plant in Sarnia, Canada.
The division’s strategic realignment, which includes programmes to boost efficiency and reduce costs and efforts to intensify sales and purchasing initiatives, was said to have been key in bringing about this positive development. The company’s positive sales results were also said to have been aided by market factors such as increased demand from the hard metals industry and a favourable market environment for ammonium paratungstate (APT).
H.C. Starck Tantalum and Niobium was said to have benefited from strong demand for tantalum for sputter targets and capacitor applications in 2017, continuing its upward trend from 2016 while also strengthening its leadership in important market segments. The development of new products in cooperation with customers and partners was said to have been an important factor in the company’s success, with one key example being AMPERTEC, an alloy for the metal Additive Manufacturing patient-specific medical implants. The sale of the Ta/Nb Division to JX Nippon Mining and Metals Corporation was expected to enable new development potential.
The STC division saw sales a rise in sales year-on-year with particularly strong growth being reported in the Industrial Applications and Oil & Gas/Welding segments. In August 2017, H.C. Starck launched its AMPERPRINT range of metal powders for Additive Manufacturing through this division.
H.C. Starck Fabricated Products (FPR) saw sales stabilised in the 2017 fiscal year, in what the company stated was a tough market environment. Sales in medical technology and for the electronics industry saw positive development, for example in the sputtering targets product segment with applications in semiconductor manufacturing.
Significant steps were said to have been taken to strengthen customer focus along a new organisational structure, making it possible to achieve positive development in business figures in important market segments FPR is currently said to be developing and refining its range of products for applications in fields such as electronics and the aviation industry.
For H.C. Starck’s Advanced Ceramic Components division, the focus for 2017 was on further technological developments aimed at shifting the portfolio toward product applications in the semiconductor industry. These measures were said to have brought solid growth and positive order intake. The new H.C. Starck Ceramics plant hall in Selb, occupying 2,000 m², went into operation in October 2017, featuring state-of-the-art milling and grinding technology.
H.C. Starck stated that the Ceramics division’s goal in coming years will be to strengthen its position as a world market leader in the area of high-precision large-scale components and to consistently optimise and restructure the base business in the area of technical ceramics.