1968-1973. At Feralpi, Carlo Pasini’s intuition becomes reality
The Feralpi Group was set up in 1968 by the intuitive Carlo Pasini who, together with other partners, decided to build a new steel mill in Lonato, near Brescia, to expand the original family business in Val Sabbia, where metal working is an age-old tradition. The first smelting of steel dates back to 1969, after the inauguration of the 500,000 m2 plant, which had a production capacity of 25 tonnes of steel per hour. The steelworks were soon equipped with a 130,000V substation, a cooling water network with a 100m well and a 150,000-litre 30-metre high-hanging tank. The process of technological innovation during the very first years of the establishment of Feralpi. In 1970 a rolling mill for medium-large rod was installed downstream of the steel mill. It was a technologically advanced plant with a high degree of automation, often visited by engineers from abroad for this very reason. A second furnace came into operation in 1971, and this brought the output of medium-large rebar to 74,530 tonnes in the following year. Logistics also became a strategic asset. A 2,000m railway sidetrack was installed at the steel mill. In 1973 the new continuous billet casting machine was commissioned, which represented a further step in terms of construction engineering.
1973-1982. Feralpi continues to grow with Acciaierie di Calvisano
In 1973 Feralpi partners joined forces with local investors to build a new steel mill in Calvisano, to the south of Brescia, which was equipped with a 50-tonne furnace to produce steel billets for the rolling mill, while the Lonato plant continued to grow. In 1974 another 30-tonne furnace and a new 3-line continuous billet casting machine were installed. The output at the steel mill reached 203,750 tonnes and 188,450 tonnes at the rolling mill. Environmental awareness was translated into the installation of an offgas purification system and a third furnace with its own purification system. As part of the plant engineering policy, a second continuous casting machine was installed to make billets for the internal rolling mill. In 1975 a car shredding plant was built upstream of the mill in order to improve the quality of the scrap on which the efficiency of the whole production cycle depends. In the two following years, a second rolling mill was commissioned for the production of small rebar and, subsequently, reinforcing steel in coils and wire rod.
1983-1990. Despite the early death of Carlo Pasini, Feralpi develops further
1983 saw the premature death of Carlo Pasini, the founder of Feralpi. His wife Camilla, sons Giuseppe, Giovanni and Cesare and the other partners, took over the running of the business and developed it further in terms of technology and size over the following years. Research activities focusing on obtaining an increasingly well-performing product were launched during those years, and in 1988 the company became one of the first in Italy to obtain a patent for the production of rebar using the Tempcore process, which guarantees a superior-quality end product. The continuous production process improvement policy achieved a big step in 1990 when a scrap press/shearing machine was installed to optimize the scrap iron treatment process. A new entrance with two weighbridges was built and the railway link to all the production bays was completed.
1991-2003. Feralpi Group approaches internationalisation
The 1990s go down in history as a period of major reorganisation in the Italian iron and steel industry, which was faced with a difficult economic situation. Feralpi tackled the challenge by making, as in previous years, major investments in advanced technology. In 1997, the company replaced all its existing three furnaces with a single high-capacity furnace, and single five-line continuous casting system. An offgas purification system was installed to reduce emissions. Feralpi combined new technology with development on foreign markets. 1992 marked the beginning of the internationalization process that was destined to make the Feralpi Group one of Europe’s leading producers of steel for the construction industry. The collapse of the Soviet regime led to major changes in the European steel market and provided the opportunity for setting up sales and production units in Hungary (Ozd and Budapest) and the Czech Republic (Kralupy). The keystone in the internationalization process was the foundation in 1992 of ESF Elbe Stahlwerke Feralpi in Riesa, Saxony, in the former East Germany. Here Feralpi invested heavily in renovating a large steel mill of ancient tradition, which was revived and experienced new momentum and a competitive edge. In 1999, Feralpi entered the Romanian market, acquiring a 50% equity interest in Ductil Steel Sa, a company manufacturing wire rod, rebar and downstream processed products. Feralpi Siderurgica continued to invest in Italy as well, and in 2001 it began producing reinforcing steel in coils and wire rod, as well as installing a new recoiling system.
2004-2008 Feralpi Holding was founded, to manage an increasingly developing and diversified European group
The rapid and intense development of the structure of a Group that had several operating units in five European countries called for the establishment of a new entity for coordinated control of the various operations. So in 2004 Feralpi Holding S.p.A. came into being with the tasks of managing and administrating the Group’s human resources, finance and accounting, treasury, general technical management, procurement, sales in Italy and abroad, and data processing. As a result of this reorganization, in 2007 the group sold its stake in Ductil Steel Sa. With its new configuration, the Feralpi Group continued its tradition of manufacturing steel for the construction industry and diversified its operations in the areas of the environment, energy, fish-farming and finance. Feralpi Holding controls steel-making operations through Feralpi Siderurgica S.p.A.
2009-2015. After internationalisation, it’s time for verticalisation
After extending its range of action in Europe, the Feralpi Group also set its sights on business verticalisation. In 2009 the Group took over DE.FI.M., later named Nuova Defim S.p.A., a company based in Alzate Brianza, near Como, which produces electrowelded mesh for building construction and industrial use, and wire fencing and gates for numerous other applications. In 2011 a highly innovative smelting furnace was installed at the Lonato del Garda mill for enhanced operator safety. As part of its policy to invest in ever more environmentally friendly systems, the Lonato-based company completed the installation of one of the most extensive photovoltaic arrays in the province of Brescia. In order to further strengthen its verticalisation process, in 2012 Feralpi acquired Orsogril, a subsidiary of Nuova Defim, which produces steel gratings for application in building and architectural projects, thus creating a unique entity in Europe offering fencing solutions made of wire and grating. Attentive to seize business opportunities outside Italy, the Group set up Feralpi Algérie in 2013, a company based in Oran, to serve the increasingly growing North African market. In 2014 Feralpi Siderurgica also entered the market of steel of a higher added value by acquiring a 50% interest in Caleotto S.p.A. (former Lucchini), an important rolling mill for the production of top-grade wire rod for use in numerous applications – from the most traditional to the most innovative ones. The latest transaction confirming the Group’s strong propensity to verticalise its structure dates back to January 2015, when Feralpi acquired a 48% interest in Presider and Metallurgica Piemontese Lavorazioni, specializing in pre-processing and on-site installation of rebar and steel beams, respectively. 2015 was also the year of the EXPO Milan World Fair. For this occasion, the Feralpi Group joined the Orgoglio Brescia consortium, which designed and erected the Tree of Life, and contributed with its steel to give life to what was to become the international symbol of the event.