Our strategy

Company profile

Bekaert - company profile

Bekaert is a global technological leader in advanced metal transformation and advanced materials and coatings, and a market leader in drawn wire products and applications. Bekaert (Euronext Brussels: BEKB) has its headquarters in Belgium and employs 23 000 people worldwide. Serving customers in 120 countries, Bekaert pursues sustainable profitable growth in all its activities and generated combined sales of € 3.34 billion in 2009.

Bekaert employs unique metal treatment technology to deliver, on a global scale, a quality portfolio of drawn steel wire products and coating solutions. As our raw material we purchase more than 2.5 million tons of wire rod per year. Depending on our customers’ requirements, we draw wire from it in different diameters and strengths, even as thin as ultrafine fibers of 1 micron. We group the wires into cords; weave or knit them into fabric; or process them into an end product.

bekaert profile
Bekaert is unique for its combination of metal transformation and coating technology, which has brought forth a wide variety of products, tailored to the client’s needs.

Our strategy: underpinned by global market and technological leadership

In 2009 we successfully pursued our strategy by:

  • Global market leadership: investing further in emerging markets: China (Jiangyin, Chongqing), India (Lonand, Ranjangaon), Indonesia (Karawang); Russian Federation (Lipetsk) and Latin America (new holding Bekaert Ideal, Brazil);
  • Technological leadership and innovation: keeping our R&D budgets high despite the economically challenging times: our R&D expenditure in 2009 totaled € 63 million;
  • Operational excellence: immediately issuing coordinated measures to counter the effects of the crisis, thus proving our resilience.

Bekaert has a long-term strategy oriented towards reaching our objective of sustainable, profitable growth. The two main drivers in accomplishing our strategic goal are global market leadership and technological leadership. At Bekaert we continually invest in strengthening these drivers. Our focus on operational excellence is crucial in realizing our strategy: we aim to be an efficient organization and deliver the highest quality and the best possible service to our customers in all markets where we are present.

The Bekaert Way

The strategy of sustainable profitable growth and our better together philosophy are further expanded today in ‘The Bekaert Way’. This determines the building blocks: the way in which the entire company, the various entities and the many employees work toward sustainable profitable growth.


Sustainable Profitable Growth

Our vision is reflected in our baseline: better together for growth, for profitability, for sustainability.

Corporate Social Responsibility

People / Environment / Society

We want to achieve growth in a responsible manner, with respect for our employees. That is why health and safety on the work floor remain the most important Key Performance Indicators.

We strive to have as little impact as possible on the environment with our products and our production activities. We implement an integrated environmental policy worldwide in our operations.

Total Quality Management

Preferred Supplier / Committed Employees / Operational Excellence

We are also continuing to work in our long tradition of Total Quality Management. We want our customers to acknowledge us as a preferred supplier. That aspiration requires the passion and dedication of our staff around the world. Our operational excellence is the binding agent between our employees’ top performance and our satisfied customers.

Way of working

Customer Focus / Innovation / Result Driven / Self Management / Talent Focus

All of this requires a structured approach to work. And it also requires that all employees have specific skills: customer focus; focus on innovation, the key to our long-term success; being result-driven; self-management and a focus on talent.
Because Bekaert’s ambitions will only reach as far as our talents dare to aspire.


Resilience / Trust / Integrity

Our 3 basic values grow in importance as we continue aggressive growth and have more and more employees from the most diverse countries and cultures.

  • Resilience is synonymous with versatility, flexibility and adaptability: qualities that have allowed us to build on 130 years of success.
  • Confidence – that of our co-workers, our shareholders, our society – we have to earn it every day anew.
  • And the integrity of the professional, of the team player who is loyal to Bekaert, is an essential building block of our success.

The three values are not only a basis, but also a guideline for the way in which decisions and choices are made at Bekaert.

bekaert way
go to the interactive version of our Bekaert Way

Global market leadership

Global market leader

Bekaert has a long history of investing in emerging markets. More than half a century ago, we were actively pioneering in the Latin American markets as we started building up our customer portfolio there. In Asia as well, we were one of the first companies to recognize the vast opportunities the growing Chinese economy has to offer. When demand grew in Central Europe, we directed our focus to that region too. As for today, we are vigorously developing our production platforms in Russia, China, South-East Asia, India and Brazil.

We aim to be present in regions that invest in infrastructure, since this creates the core demand for our products. Typically, this is the case for emerging markets. This is why we are experiencing rapid growth in Latin America and in China, and why – most probably – we will be seeing similar effects in India, Indonesia and Russia in the near future. Our combined sales in these emerging markets exceeded those of the mature markets in 2005 already.

It is no coincidence that the emerging markets were the first to recover from the financial crisis. When economic hard times set in in these regions, local governments tried to counter the adverse effects by launching specific stimulus programs, notably in civil infrastructure works and consumer spending. Because of our strong presence in these regions, Bekaert is benefiting from the upturn and is able to offset the lower activity levels in the mature markets

As for Western Europe and North America, our customers strive to achieve growth by introducing new products and new functionalities. These need to be better, stronger, more durable and more eco-friendly. They are launched, initially, in the mature markets and will, in time, find their way to the emerging markets. This is already the case for China, a market with a very high demand for new and innovative products.

Initially, in a first wave, the more traditional products represent the majority of our sales in the emerging markets. This is why, in Latin America, our fencing products and our traditional building products, such as nails and mesh, are a great success. Our focused strategy of global market leadership allows us to maintain our resilience and to successfully surf the growth waves in specific markets and segments, as and when they arise.

Technological leadership

Technological leadership

Innovation has always been an important growth engine for Bekaert. We conduct research and development in close cooperation with business partners and customers, both at the Bekaert Technology Center in Deerlijk (Belgium) and at the Bekaert Asia R&D center in Jiangyin (China), but also in the many development labs elsewhere in the world. A high level of customer-driven innovation is what distinguishes us from the competition. For each application, we give our advanced wires, cords and other materials specific properties using hi-tech coatings, thereby creating added value for our customers.

We continued to innovate in 2009 and we even accelerated our development programs for next generations of existing products as well as new products and production processes. Examples of this are Bezinal®3000, the next generation of our corrosion-resistant coating for high-carbon wires and – for the photovoltaics industry – new AZO rotatable sputter targets and window film backsheet technology. True to our strategy of technological leadership, we allocated a budget of € 63 million or about 3% of the consolidated sales to technology and innovation.

The continued efforts we make in the fields of technology and innovation allow us to play a market-shaping role worldwide and drive our business on the mature markets. Mobility, sufficient and clean raw materials and energy, and growing demand for materials with new properties are at the center of our R&D focus.

Our strategy of technological leadership drives our innovation program to sectors that display opportunities for growth. For example, in the petroleum & gas industry natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. This has fueled the need to extract oil or gas from ever deeper wells. Bekaert has risen to this challenge and developed ultra-strong, corrosion-resistant and high-pressure withstanding wires, ropes, and steel cord reinforced strips.

We also responded to a growing need for alternative energy sources by offering a range of dedicated products for the photovoltaics and wind energy markets. Examples of this are sawing wire to slice polysilicon ingots into ultra-thin wafers, thin film coatings, back sheets for the overall design of solar crystalline photovoltaic modules, and steel cord reinforced belts for wind turbine applications. Likewise, we cater to the current trend in the building industry towards safe, green and time-saving solutions with, among others, our advanced concrete reinforcement solutions.

Bekaert also has its own, in-house engineering department which designs, assembles and installs production lines, and which globalizes spare parts asset management.

By constantly striving for technological leadership we successfully innovate in all sectors in which we are present. This results in steady growth in our product offering, in both mature and emerging markets.

technological leadership

Striving for technological leadership is part of our DNA. Our technological centers host multi-disciplinary teams of different nationalities, academic background and gender. In 2009 we allocated about 3% of the consolidated sales to technology and innovation.

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