Annual Report 2014 - Our Strategy

Our Strategy

Who we are

Bekaert is a world market and technology leader in steel wire transformation and coating technologies. We pursue to be the preferred supplier for our steel wire products and solutions by continuously delivering superior value to our customers worldwide. Bekaert (Euronext Brussels: BEKB) was established in 1880 and is a global company with 30 000 employees worldwide, headquarters in Belgium and € 4 billion in annual revenue.

What we do

Bekaert employs unique metal treatment technologies to deliver a quality portfolio of drawn steel wire products and coating solutions on a global scale. We purchase approximately 3  million tons of wire rod per year as our basic material.

Depending on our customers’ requirements, we draw wire from it in different diameters and strengths, even as thin as ultrafine fibers of one micron. We group the wires into cords, ropes and strands, weave or knit them into fabric or process them into an end product. Our products reduce friction, improve corrosion resistance, or enhance adhesion with other materials.

How we work

better together sums up the unique cooperation between Bekaert and its business partners. We create value for our customers by co-creating and delivering a quality portfolio of steel wire solutions and by offering customized services in all continents. We believe in lasting relationships with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders and are committed to delivering long-term value to all of them. We are convinced that the resilience, trust and integrity that bring our 30 000 employees worldwide together as one team, form the fundamentals of sustainable and successful partnerships, wherever we do business.

Our strategy

Our strategy is aimed at consistently driving value creation for our shareholders by cost effectively creating superior value for customers.

Our newly defined vision and core strategies form the foundation of a transformation of our business toward higher level performance. They are the basis of the company’s priorities and actions for the coming years. 

Our vision

Our vision


Our Core Strategies

Five core strategies form the basis of Bekaert’s priorities and decision making process toward to drive value and growth. These strategies put the company’s vision into practice and reflect the direction and priorities:

  1. bring the customer into the heart of our business
  2. drive growth by providing superior customer value
  3. accelerate Bekaert’s technology leadership and speed-to-market in target products and processes
  4. leverage our scale to greater effect, and reduce our complexity to facilitate this
  5. deliver the value proposition we want to offer the customer, at the lowest total cost

Over the course of the past 12 months, the Bekaert management has been defining the blueprint of this strategic renewal and has integrated the transformation priorities into its planning processes. The company has set the course of direction toward a higher level of performance, and has already started actions in 2014 that are expected to come to their full potential in the coming years:

Growth through acquisitions and expansions
  • The purchase of the global Pirelli steel cord activities is the largest acquisition in the history of Bekaert. This acquisition strengthens Bekaert’s status as a preferred supplier to the tire industry and increases our global market share in steel cord for tires to approximately 30%. The integration of the five Pirelli steel cord plants within the Bekaert group will positively impact the product mix as of the beginning of 2015.
  • Bekaert continued to invest in Dramix® steel fibers for concrete reinforcement, with new manufacturing plants in Costa Rica, India and Russia. These expansions confirm the company’s belief in the growth potential of advanced steel wire solutions for construction and infrastructure markets.
  • Bekaert further strengthened its partnerships with other global players, such as with ArcelorMittal in Costa Rica and Ecuador, with Maccaferri in a global selling and distribution network for underground infrastructure works, and with Bekaert’s Chilean partners in establishing a global Bekaert Rope Group.
  • Bekaert acquired, after balance sheet date, Arrium’s wire rope business in Australia. This enables the company to accelerate the growth strategy in steel rope markets which was also illustrated by the 2014 acquisition in Texas, US and the purchase of the remaining shares of CIMAF in Brazil. Bekaert’s ropes business serves a very broad range of applications, with strong emphasis on the mining, oil & gas and hoisting equipment sectors. The integration of the Australian entities will make Bekaert a global market leader in mining ropes.
Acceleration of Bekaert’s technology leadership and speed-to-market in target products and processes
  •  Bekaert has engaged all employees in an innovation competition in 2014. After several jury rounds, the FastForward  game brought about three winners out of a large number of new ideas. These winning ideas were rewarded with the resources needed to bring the innovations into reality.
  • Bekaert has launched a revolutionary new coating on tire cord, TAWI or ‘Ternary Alloy Wire coating’. This new Cu-Zn-Co coating reduces the amount of cobalt salts in tires by 80%. Early 2015, the patent-pending invention was nominated for the prestigious Tire Technology of the Year 2015 award.
  • Bekaert remodeled the innovation strategy in order to speed up R&D in co-creation with customers. The purpose is to make our R&D processes and priorities much more customer-driven. Our focus will be oriented toward fewer projects, to faster and better innovation results, and to opportunities with bigger impact.
Leveraging scale and reducing complexity
  • Bekaert is implementing changes in the organization and in the activity processes in order to reduce complexity, create greater standardization of methodology, free up more capacity, and define a more focused portfolio of products.
Excellence at the lowest total cost
  • Bekaert strives for excellence in all processes. We are rolling out best-in-class process methodologies worldwide. These will help enhance a consistent level of quality, delivery, safety, and cost leadership for the value offered, and provide greater service to our customers.
  • In co-creating new steel wire solutions with and for our customers, we increasingly sharpen our focus on the total value chain and consider disruptive innovations that envision the lowest total cost of ownership in our target markets.
  • Furthermore, our in-house engineering department has focused on developing machines and equipment that ensure sustainable production processes, sensor-equipped micro-tolerance quality assurance, and cost-effective installations driven by the company’s pursuit of global competitiveness.
Driving the customer into the heart of our business
  • We want to deliver superior value for our customers by co-creating the best solutions at the lowest total cost. We want to be the preferred supplier to our customers by understanding and delivering upon their expectations and needs. We do not just deliver products; we want to provide outstanding solutions and service. In 2015, Bekaert will increasingly engage its customers in co-development and value creation initiatives.