The SGL Group has announced a$26M investment in its Ozark, Arkansas facility in USA to build a new state-of-the-art graphitization plant for the manufacture of graphite electrodes for EAFs.

The investment is intended to provide cleaner technology, reduce energy consumption by approximately 20% and have a considerable impact on the competitive position of SGL Group.

Ozark currently has 90 employees and is the only facility within SGL Group’s global network to produce the full range of electrode sizes, 14 inch to 32 inch, with feedstock coming from SGL Group’s Hickman, KY facility. The production of graphite electrodes servicing the steel industry began in Ozark in 1981 and the facility has significantly grown its portfolio over the years.

As last year’s winner of the Arkansas Environmental Federation Diamond Award, the Ozark facility has proven that it exhibits action and resourceful management in environmental affairs. In 2012, the facility also celebrated a milestone in safe production – achieving 10 years without a Lost Time Accident (LTA).

Lowering forecasts

Elsewhere, SGL warned that its results for H1 2013 are expected to be 20-30% lower than in H1 2012 as a result of a slow start to the year particularly in the Business Areas Graphite Materials & Systems (GMS) and Carbon Fibres & Composites (CFC).

As a result, SGL expects Q1/2013 EBITDA to reach only €32-35M. Additionally, due to the increasing uncertainty about the business recovery in H2/2013, SGL Group now expects EBITDA to be 20-25% lower in 2013 compared to 2012 (2012: €240M before write-offs) and the earlier expectation of 10-15% reduction.

The report on the first quarter 2013 and details on the new outlook will be published on April 26, 2013.