Metals in Southeast Europe

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EU member state Bulgaria, traditionally a strong producer and exporter of metals, had nine companies represented in the ranking of the top 20 metals enterprises. This ranking was led by Romanian steel plant Arcelor Mittal Galati with annual revenue of 2.23 billion euro in 2008, up 5.5% on the year. The ArcelorMittal steel group has four plants in Romania,located in Roman, Iasi, Hunedoara and Galati. The plant in Hunedoara ranked 17th, while another company belonging to the same group occupied the eighth place - ArcelorMittald.o.o. Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bulgarian copper smelter Aurubis was the second largest company with revenue of 1.3 billion euro in 2008, but it ended the year with a net loss of 86.4 million euro.

Despite the global economic downturn and shrinking industrial production, most of the metals companies in the sub-ranking either raised their revenues compared to 2007 or in the worst case registered a minor decline. Four of them ended 2008 with a loss, the same number as in 2007.


SEE Industry at a Glance represents a series of sub-rankings of the 20 biggest companies by total revenue within the top five industries in SEE TOP 100: Petroleum/Natural Gas, Electricity,Wholesale/Retail, Telecommunications and Metals. In order to make the ranking more comprehensive, we have looked beyond the 100 companies in our flagship ranking and expanded the scope to the entire pool of over 1,000 enterprises.

Company name Country Total revenue
Total revenue
1 Arcelormittal Galati SA Romania 2,234.03 2,117.22 151.78 89.96
2 Aurubis Bulgaria AD Bulgaria 1,308.50 1,128.27 -86.44 26.76
3 U.S. Steel Serbia DOO* Serbia 967.06 907.05 4.91 28.16
4 Alro SA Romania 614.92 626.85 62.04 120.84
5 Stomana Industry AD Bulgaria 577.21 448.18 48.94 46.88
6 IMPOL d.o.o. Slovenia 522.79 495.20 5.50 4.49
7 Acroni d.o.o. Slovenia 445.24 469.91 20.81 32.43
8 Arcelormittal d.o.o. Zenica** B and H 366.58 236.20 N/A 32.31
9 Sofia Med AD Bulgaria 316.48 353.97 -28.76 -1.29
10 TALUM d.d. Slovenia 310.00 361.95 0.36 9.16
11 Mechel Targoviste SA Romania 304.13 230.56 26.68 7.23
12 Kremikovtzi AD Bulgaria 285.07 683.54 -498.77 -23.34
13 KCM AD Bulgaria 238.14 330.11 N/A 21.84
14 Mechel Campia Turzii SA Romania 198.42 140.46 12.21 -7.75
15 Assarel Medet AD Bulgaria 188.34 265.76 109.27 106.66
16 Tvornica Lakih Metala - TLM d.d. Croatia 179.70 132.77 -5.14 70.46
17 Arcelormittal Hunedoara SA Romania 164.49 212.19 0.55 -14.36
18 Hus OOD Bulgaria 151.49 109.96 10.14 8.32
19 Alcomet AD Bulgaria 113.59 128.79 0.57 1.92
20 Ekometal Engineering EOOD Bulgaria 105.20 34.14 28.30 17.88

in millions of euro
(*) denotes net sales revenue
(**) denotes net sales revenue for 2007

The metals sector in Southeastern Europe (SEE) went through the turbulence of restructuring in the post-Communist era in the 1990s and some of the largest metal oremines and smelters found prosperity under foreign investors. The sector flourished until 2007, before the global economic downturn began.

Steel and Base Metals

SEE countries produce mainly steel, zinc, lead, copper and aluminium. The region’s biggeststeel works, smelters and refine ries are located in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.Bosnia’s metal industry has been picking up pace over the last five years.

Production of Metals by Country (in metric tonnes)

Country Year
Albania 2007 2006
Chromium 323570 210120
Copper - 10000
Steel (crude) 100,000* 100000
Steel (rolled) 115,000* 114000
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2007 2006
Aluminium (Metal, ingot, primary and secondary) 147193 136190
Steel (crude) 513867 469122
Pig Iron 60000 60000
Lead (metal, smelter, primary, secondary) 1 33
Bulgaria  2007  2006
Aluminium (Metal, ingot, primary and secondary) 12,800* 12825
Copper (ore gross weight) 29674000 29572000
Copper (smelter) 229100 238500
Copper (refined) 69900 65500
Steel (crude) 2,050* 2124
Pig Iron 1069 1147
Lead (metal, refined, primary, secondary) 86956 76028
Zinc (metal, refined, primary, secondary) 99992 95341
Croatia 2007 2006
Aluminium (Metal, ingot, secondary) 2,500* 2457
Steel (crude) 75,000* 80516
Macedonia 2006  
Aluminium (Metal, ingot, primary and secondary) 4000  
Copper (ore gross weight) 4132000  
Steel (crude) 326484  
Nickel 10900  
Montenegro 2007 2006
Aluminium (Metal, ingot, primary) 135151 121762
Steel (crude) 173849 163165
Moldova 2005  
Steel (crude) 1000000  
Romania 2006  
Aluminium (Metal, ingot, primary and secondary) 265000  
Copper (ore gross weight) 12200  
Copper (smelter) 10  
Copper (refined) 23581  
Steel (crude) 6318000  
Pig Iron 3966  
Lead (metal, refined, primary, secondary) 33100  
Zinc (metal, refined, primary, secondary) 43705  
Serbia 2007 2006
Copper (ore gross weight) 6867000 5775000
Steel (crude) 1478000 1837000
Pig Iron 1377478 1529177
Lead (metal, refined, primary, secondary) 700 700
Zinc (refined) - 15000
Slovenia 2007 2006
Aluminium (Metal, ingot, primary) 111016  118100 
Steel (crude) 638000 627000
Zinc (refined, secondary) 15000 15000

*Estimated figures
Source: United States Geological Survey Mineral Resources Program

Map: Concentration of Metals by Country

Country Type of Metal
Albania Cromium, Nickel
Bosnia and Herzegovina Aluminium, Iron/Steel
Bulgaria Lead/ Zinc, Copper
Croatia Aluminium, Steel
Macedonia Copper, Lead/Zinc, Nickel
Montenegro Aluminium
Moldova Steel, Copper
Serbia Aluminium, Copper, Lead/Zinc, Iron/Steel
Romania Aluminium, Copper, Lead/Zinc, Iron/Steel
Slovenia Aluminium,Lead/Zinc, Steel

Crisis Deters Investment

Falling prices of metals on international markets, suspended or delayed investment projects, and staff cuts dominated the sector at the end of 2008. Montenegrin aluminium giant KAP and Bulgarian steel mill Kremikovtzi amassed fresh debt and were headed for a closure. Serbia failed to find a buyer for its troubled copper mining and smelting company RTB Bor and in November it called on all creditors of the company to claim debt owed to them, totalling some USD 400 mln. Although most metal companies in SEE either halted or deeply cut production and laid off employees in the closing quarter of 2008, some allocated money to investment last year. They invested mainly in upgrades of their outdated equipment and in environmental projects.

Announced Investments in the SEE Metals Sector in 2008

Company Project EUR
Stomana Industry AD (Bulgaria) Production line  79.40
U.S. Steel Serbia DOO (Serbia) Galvanization line 69.00
ArcelorMittal Zenica d.o.o. (Bosnia andHerzegovina) Blast furnace modernisation 63.00
Aluminij d.d. Mostar (Bosnia andHerzegovina) Anode factory 41.00
Alro SA Capacity upgrades 41.00
Kurum International Sh.P.k. (Albania) Installation of shredder 20.00
Kremikovtzi AD (Bulgaria) Rehabilitation of convector and electric furnace 8.00
Gorubso-Madan AD (Bulgaria) Capacity modernisations over 5 years 0.04

In Private Ownership

Once pillars of the centrally planned Communist economies of SEE, nearly all leading metal companies in the region are in private ownership today. Governments throughout SEE have sought strategic partners for the privatisation of smelting and mining companies. The model used in the privatisation process was either a sale to a powerful foreign investor or an acquisition through management-employee buyout schemes, as was the case of Bulgaria’s KCM 2000 and Slovenia’s Impol 2000 d.d. Foreign investors had a significant role in the recovery of former state-owned enterprises in the SEE metals sector. Some of the world’s largest metal companies such as Duferco, Vimetco, U.S. Steel Corporation, Arcelor Mittal and Norddeutsche Affinerie AG, have already entered the SEE market, replacing its outdated technologies with up-to-date know-how and equipment.

Majority Owners of SEE Metal Companies

Company Country Majority Owner Stake
Olovno-Tzinkov Kompleks (OTZK)AD Bulgaria Intertrust Holding BG AD 89.86%
Makstil AD Macedonia Duferco Skop Investment Ltd. 62.00%
Acroni d.o.o. Slovenia SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla d.d. 100.00%
MTL - Tvornica Lakih Metala d.d. Croatia Concortium, led by Dalekovod d.d. 80.00%
Alro SA Romania Vimetco N.V. 84.19%
U.S. Steel Serbia DOO Serbia U.S. Steel Corporation 100.00%
Impol d.o.o. Slovenia Impol 2000 d.d. 97.50%
Talum d.d. Slovenia Elektro Slovenija d.o.o. 80.00%
Sofia Med AD Bulgaria Halcor SA Metal Works 99.90%
Rudarsko-topionicarski basen Bor(RTB) d.o.o. Serbia Serbian government 100.00%
Stomana Industry AD Bulgaria Sidenor Steel Products ManufacturingCompany SA 100.00%
Jelsingrad Livar Livnica Celika AD B and H Livar d.d. 65.00%
Aluminij d.d. Mostar B and H Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina 100.00%
Kremikovtzi AD Bulgaria Global Steel Holdings Ltd. 71.00%
Kombinat za Cvetni Metali (KCM)AD Bulgaria KCM 200 AD 94.50%
ArcelorMittal Zenica d.o.o. B and H ArcelorMittal 92.00%
Kurum International Sh.P.k. Albania Kurum Demir Sanayi ve TicaretMetalenerji AS 100.00%
Aurubis Bulgaria AD (formerlyknown as Cumerio Med AD) Bulgaria Aurubis AG (formerlyNorddeutscheAffinerie AG) 99.77%
Albanian Chrome Company (ACR)Sh.P.k Albania A joint venture of Austrian-based tradingcompany DCM DECOmetal GmbH andRussian firm OOO Terwingo 100.00%
Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica(KAP) AD Montenegro Central European Aluminium Company(CEAC) Ltd. 58.73%

Selling in Europe

All major SEE smelters and foundries export their output to European destinations. Germany, Austria, Italy, France and the Balkans are key markets for SEE metal companies, which generate a large part of their sales revenue.

Long-term trade contracts and proximity to the Western European market are crucial for the choice of export destinations by metal companies in SEE.

Global Metal Companies in SEE

The privatisations and the subsequent restructuring in the SEE metals sector opened the way for an inflow of foreign investment much needed for the modernisation of outdate dequipment and production technologies in SEE factories.

Big regional companies like Sidenor Steel Products Manufacturing Company SA (Greece),Halcor SA Metal Works (Greece), SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla d.d. (Slovenia) and KurumDemir Sanayi ve Ticaret Metalenerji AS (Turkey) also bought metal production plants in SEEto strengthen their positions.

Global and Big Regional Metal Companies Operating in SEE

Company Operates in
Duferco SA (Belgium) Macedonia
Vimetco NV (the Netherlands) Romania
ArcelorMittal SA (Luxembourg) Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania
Aurubis AG (Germany) Bulgaria
U.S. Steel Corporation (the USA) Serbia
Sidenor Steel Products ManufacturingCompany SA (Greece) Bulgaria, Macedonia
Halcor SA Metal Works (Greece) Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia
Kurum Demir Sanayi ve TicaretMetalenerji AS (Turkey) Albania
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla d.d.(Slovenia) Slovenia

Note: Merar hosts database of investment opportunities Bulgaria from all sectors of the economy including metals.

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