Steel industry

Smelting into the Background

But will he still be working in Austria in ten years' time?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The rising cost of the E.U.’s emissions permits are eating into steel makers profits and restricting growth at a time of heightened competition from Asia.

  • Facts


    • Austria’s Voestalpine is one of Europe’s biggest steel producers, with revenues of €11.2 billion, or $12.4 billion, in 2013/14.
    • Europe’s steel makers must buy emissions permits at a cost of about €15 per ton of CO2.
    • The industry argues that technology to lower its carbon emissions is still a long way off.
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Wolfgang Eder has been boss of the Austrian steel producer Voestalpine since 2004. The group operates in more than 50 companies and employs almost 50,000 people, generating revenues of €11.2 billion ($12.4 billion) in 2013/14. It is one of the leading suppliers to the automotive and gas and oil industry.

Mr. Eder is also chairman of the World Steel Association, which represents 85 percent of world steel producers. The industry in Europe is under pressure at the moment as the European Union introduces ever tougher restrictions on pollution, and forces big emitters of carbon dioxide, such as steel producers, to buy emissions permits.


Mr. Eder, the European Commission (the E.U.’s executive arm) wants to make emissions permits more expensive. When will you close down your blast furnaces in Austria?

We are assuming that the fundamental decisions in the European Union concerning environment, climate and energy policies will be made in the next two to three years. We are using this period to make our own decisions about production sites.

That sounds like a threat.

There can be no talk of threats. We’ll do everything possible to keep as much capacity as possible in Austria. Our employees and their know-how are our crucial capital. But if the political establishment creates framework conditions that rob us of our competitiveness and force us to leave, then we have to react accordingly.

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