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Company News, 2012-01-10, 01:26 PM

ThyssenKrupp Nirosta files permit application for plant expansion in Krefeld

ThyssenKrupp Nirosta has now submitted a permit application in connection with the relocation of the Düsseldorf-Benrath cold rolling mill to Krefeld. In December 2010 the stainless steel manufacturer announced it intended to develop and optimize its sites in order to strengthen its international competitiveness. A key part of the strategy is the step-by-step relocation of production from Benrath to Krefeld by the year 2016. This measure is associated with a three-digit million investment at the Krefeld site, among other things to modernize equipment. “The filing of the permit application is a major milestone in the implementation of this enormously important project for Nirosta,” said Dr. Ulrich Albrecht-Früh, Chief Operating Officer of ThyssenKrupp Nirosta. “The consolidation of our sites is essential to secure the viability of the entire Nirosta group and the long-term future of stainless steel production in Germany.” The application had been comprehensively prepared and ThyssenKrupp Nirosta was confident of obtaining the permit by summer 2012, said Dr. Albrecht-Früh.

The filing of the application was preceded by intensive discussions with the Düsseldorf district authority, the North Rhine-Westphalia state agency for nature, environment and consumer protection, and the state ministry for climate protection, environment, agriculture, nature and consumer protection of North Rhine-Westphalia. An extensive environmental impact assessment was prepared, including measurements and forecasts of air quality in the vicinity of the plant. In the early stages of planning the company presented the project to neighbors as part of a community dialogue. In addition, the permit procedure involves participation of the public. Citizens of Krefeld will therefore be able to study the project and the permit documents in detail, probably in spring 2012. The preparatory measures include the demolition of a building complex in the southwest section of the site. As the soil investigations revealed no contamination, the demolition work was able to commence in November 2011 and is due for completion in summer 2012.

The “NIFO” (Nirosta Ferritic Optimization) project is focused on expanding production capacities for ferritic stainless steels. Demand for these nickel-free materials, e. g. for the manufacture of washing machine drums and water pipes, and for elevator construction, has risen significantly. The production structure is to be adapted to more closely reflect customer interest. The combination of the two product lines in Krefeld will reduce processing costs and allow faster and more flexible tuning of production to market requirements. Another reason for integrating the Benrath cold rolling mill into the Krefeld site is the complex logistics within the Nirosta group and its four production plants. The relocation will bring significant cost advantages in the future.

As part of the NIFO project, equipment will be extensively revamped and modernized. The measures include the relocation of a skin pass mill and annealing furnace from Benrath to Krefeld. In Krefeld a new annealing/pickling line and cold rolling stand will be installed and an existing annealing/pickling line will be converted into a bright annealing line. Some outdated equipment will be shut down.

Extensive commitments have been made regarding the future of the roughly 550 employees in Benrath. Key points have been set out in an agreement with the works council called “Pro Future Nirosta”. There will be no compulsory redundancies. Employees who do not take early or partial retirement will be given acceptable employment in the Krefeld plant or elsewhere within a similar distance. The majority of the Benrath employees will be employed on the new and relocated facilities in Krefeld. The expansion of ferritics production at the Krefeld site will create up to 200 new jobs.

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