Tungsten: H.C. Starck posts 23 % sales rise in FY 2018

Germany-headquartered tungsten refiner and fabricator H.C. Starck announced a 23% rise in sales to € 581.7 M (US$ 647.7 M) for FY 2018. Sales were adjusted to reflect the sale of the Tantalum & Niobium Division to Japan’s JX Group, and the sale of the STC Division to Sweden’s Höganäs Group, during the course of the year. H.C. Starck noted that Tungsten Division sales increased following the market success of its nanocrystalline tungsten carbide varieties, in addition to the ramp-up of capacity at its Chinese JV plant in Ganzhou, which produces APT, oxide, metal powders and tungsten carbide.

The group also commented that the “utilisation of worldwide plant capacities was further optimised”. Sales also rose in the Advanced Ceramic Components Division, following an expansion of production capacity at Selb. A further capacity expansion, aimed at serving the semiconductor sector, will be undertaken in 2019. Starck noted that the division was sold to Japan’s Kyocera Group on 12 April 2019. Elsewhere, the Fabricated Products Division also performed well, despite price increases for raw materials during the course of the year. The group plans to invest further in the division in 2019, noting that it would increase capacity in spiral roller bearing production for medical technology at Hermsdorf and expand powder production at the Coldwater, Michigan facility. The division is developing new applications in additive manufacturing using refractory powders, notably in medicine, and aviation and aerospace.

The sale of Starck’s Tantalum & Niobium, STC, and more recently, Advanced Ceramic Components divisions, plus its creation of Chemitas and ChemiLytics independent service units, raises the question of whether a buyer will also be found for its Tungsten Division. Starck is a major player in the global tungsten market, with facilities in Germany, Canada and China, accounting for a large portion of worldwide refined capacity. Any company acquiring these assets would be propelled into a leading position in the refined tungsten market. (Roskill Information Services, July 26, 2019)