Construction of the voestalpine direct reduction plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is the largest foreign investment made by the Group or an Austrian company in the USA to date, is reaching its final stages. The last phase of plant assembly, including implementation of the process and control engineering, is taking place in parallel with test runs on selected equipment and systems. From today’s perspective, it can therefore be expected that the plant will go into operation largely as planned during summer 2016. From the beginning of the next business year the new plant will produce two million tonnes of high quality HBI (hot briquetted iron, or “sponge iron”) annually, a sophisticated pre-material for steel production. This represents another important step in voestalpine’s expansion in the NAFTA region. The voestalpine Group already has 64 sites and around 3,000 employees in the region and generated revenue of around EUR 1 billion during the past business year.
For the financing of the Texas project, voestalpine closed already several financing transactions, including a USD 100mn SSD in 2014 were Erste Group acted as Co-Lead Arranger. End of 2015 / beginning of 2016, voestalpine concluded an OeKB facility, with the financing volume of USD 150mn provided by Erste Group.