The year in brief

Jan - Jul

January

On 20 January 2010 Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, and three Deputy Prime Ministers visit the new Bekaert steel cord plant at the Lipetsk Special Economic Zone (SEZ). They are welcomed by Bert De Graeve, Chief Executive Officer of Bekaert. On the same day the Bekaert Management organizes an inauguration event to which it invites its main customers and suppliers in the region.

February

To strengthen Bekaert's position in the tire cord market, Bekaert and Bridgestone sign on 1 February 2010 an agreement for the purchase by Bekaert of BMI, Sardinia (Italy) and BSSH, Huizhou (Guangdong Province, China). The share deal includes all the personnel and assets of the two manufacturing sites. As part of this transaction, Bekaert and Bridgestone enter into a long-term supply agreement of tire cord to Bridgestone.

Bekaert’s 2009 annual results show sustained profitability. Bekaert has demonstrated that its solid strategy also proves effective in a difficult economic environment.

March

On 24 March 2010, Bekaert celebrates the opening of its new technical center in Ranjangaon, near Pune (India). The Bekaert India Technical Center will support Bekaert’s customers in India with enhanced technical services in the form of product quality testing, technical assessments and related dedicated assistance. The official inauguration ceremony takes place in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium.

Bekaert launches a global fund-raising initiative throughout the company to help its Chilean employees whose houses have been damaged by the violent earthquake of 27 February 2010. The initiative to help finance the reconstruction and refurbishing of the employees’ houses is later expanded to support Indonesian colleagues affected by the devastating floods in the Karawang area. Overall, € 550 000 was collected, enough to cover all the costs incurred by the 267 affected employees. A true illustration of what better together stands for.

On 24 March 2010 Their Royal Highnesses Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium inaugurated the new Bekaert Technical center in Ranjangaon (India).

April

On 20 April 2010 Bekaert opens the new Bekaert Asia Research and Development Center in Jiangyin, Jiangsu Province (China). Next to the Technology Center in Belgium, it is Bekaert’s second R&D Center in the world. The new eight-story, state-of-the-art facility employs over 350 researchers and laboratory technicians. It is equipped to provide fast and appropriate support to Bekaert's customers and operations in a wide range of activities.

At the opening ceremony of the new Bekaert Asia Research and Development Center, the local government of Jiangyin city conveyed its appreciation for Bekaert’s R&D investments.

 

May

On 29 May 2010 Baron Velge, Honorary Chairman of Bekaert, passes away at the age of 80. The late Jean-Charles Velge, grandson of Bekaert founder Leo Leander Bekaert, joined Bekaert in 1957 to take on various operational responsibilities. He held the positions of President and Chief Executive Officer from 1985 until 1997. Baron Velge was highly respected and esteemed in Belgium and abroad.

June

Bekaert welcomes its Board members, customers, suppliers and other key business partners at the Bekaert Day in the Belgian Pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo.

July

The Bekaert 2010 half year results show a record performance in volatile markets, reflecting strong volume growth in all regions. In the first half of 2010, Bekaert achieved consolidated sales of
€ 1.5 billion and combined sales of € 2.1 billion, a year-on-year increase of 27.9% and 30.8% respectively. Bekaert believes it can raise the EBIT margin target to 10% or higher for the next three years. The Board announces the decision to propose the distribution of an intermediate dividend of € 2 per share (pre-split) and a three-for-one share split.

August - Dec

August

Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico ranks Belgo Bekaert Nordeste (BBN) as the top company in Brazil in the metallurgical/steelmaking industry. Organized every year, the ‘Valor 1000’ award grades the thousand largest companies in Brazil per industry, based on seven criteria: sustainable growth, net revenue, value generation, profitability, margin, current liquidity and asset turnover. This is the second time BBN is the winner in its industry, the first time in 2005.

September

Bekaert starts the procedure for taking a participation in the spring wire and overhead conductor business of Xinyu Iron & Steel Co Ltd in Xinyu, Jiangxi Province (China).

The Board of Directors of Bekaert visits the company’s operations in Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

October

On 7 October 2010 a Special General Meeting approves the distribution of a gross intermediate dividend of € 2 per share (pre-split), as proposed by the Board of Directors. An Extraordinary General Meeting approves a three-for-one share split, as proposed by the Board of Directors.

On 8 October 2010 Bekaert inaugurates its newly expanded steel cord plant in Shenyang, Liaoning Province (China). The expansion project adds another 25 000 tons of tire cord capacity, bringing the total annual tire cord capacity of Bekaert in China to 450 000 tons by year-end. In the expansion works Bekaert has deployed the newest technologies for optimized energy conservation, reduced environmental impact and enhanced workspace comfort, making it Bekaert’s greenest steel cord plant ever.

November

On 13 November, the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce celebrates Belgian Entrepreneurship in the United States and honors Baron Buysse, Chairman of Bekaert, with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.

December

Bekaert issues 8-year bonds for the total amount of € 100 million in the form of a public offering in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The net proceeds of the bond issue will be used to fund important capital investments in emerging countries and to refund certain bank indebtedness.

Bert De Graeve, CEO of Bekaert, is honored with the Shanghai Honorable Citizenship Award, the highest award acknowledging extraordinary contributions made by expatriates to the city of Shanghai. The Mayor of Shanghai put this nomination forward to pay tribute to Bert De Graeve’s active participation in and constructive suggestions to the International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council, of which he is a member.


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