The year in brief

Jan-July

January

Bekaert further consolidates its activities in Latin America by establishing together with its Ecuadorian partners a holding company, Bekaert Ideal, which includes both partners’ interests in Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Bekaert is the principal shareholder in this new holding company.

February

Bekaert launches www.bekaert.com, a new global corporate website that replaces more than 30 former websites worldwide. This global gateway to the Bekaert world focuses on providing uniform and consistent information in order to strengthen the Bekaert brand and its online presence.

March

Through NV Bekaert SA, Bekaert issues bonds for a total amount of € 300 million in the form of a public offering in Belgium and Luxembourg. As both tranches were fully subscribed in less than an hour, investors clearly expressed their confidence in our strategy and our long-term profitability. The issue fits in a debt restructuring plan aimed at ensuring a better balance between short- and long-term debts.

After the Chinese New Year, the economy revives in China. Bekaert’s activities there return to growth mode and display the first signs of record-breaking sales volumes.

April

On 8 April 2009 Ansteel, a Chinese steel industry leader, and Bekaert officially open a new production plant for steel cord products in Chongqing (China), which, at the start of operations, employs a staff of 130. The 50/50 joint venture is named Bekaert Ansteel Tire Cord (Chongqing) Co., Ltd. Ansteel and Bekaert will invest a total of € 150 million in the new facility, which will take place in phases. The plant is geared to future growth in line with market demand.

Bekaert continues to improve its online presence by launching its mobile site www.bekaert.mobi. Real-time information on Bekaert’s share price, news updates, and events is provided to the mobile phone users browsing and searching the Net.

year in brief 2

Ribbon cutting ceremony of the new plant in Chongqing (China) in the presence of Liu Weidong, Deputy Director of Chongqing Economic & IT Commission, Baron Buysse, Chairman of Bekaert, and Huang Qifan, Mayor of Chongqing Municipal People's Government



May

The General Meeting of Shareholders of 13 May 2009 approves the distribution of a gross dividend of € 2.80 per share, corresponding to a net dividend per share of € 2.10. At the same meeting, Manfred Wennemer is appointed as Director for a term of three years. Manfred Wennemer was Chief Executive Officer of Continental AG from 2001 until August 2008.

June

Just like the sales figures, Bekaert’s presence in China continues to grow. Bekaert Jiangyin Wire Products integrates activities of the former joint venture Fasten-Bekaert Optical Cable, to advance its market position. The brand new building of the Bekaert Asia Research and Development Center (BARDEC) in Jiangyin reaches completion. And the third steel cord plant in Jiangyin, Bekaert Binjiang Advanced Products, is brought into operation.

July

Bekaert's half-year results for 2009 show strong performance in Asia-Pacific. Bekaert was ready to immediately seize new business opportunities the moment the Chinese economy revived. Consolidated sales in Latin America were almost doubled, driven by a consolidation of operations into the holding company Bekaert Ideal. The weak demand in mature markets persisted and led to a decline in most activities in Europe and North America.

August-Dec

August

Bekaert further realigns its production platforms in North America so as to adapt to the changing market demand.

September

Geert Roelens, Bekaert Group Executive Vice President Steelcord and Member of the Bekaert Group Executive, is granted the ‘2009 State Friendship Award’ by the China State Council. The State Friendship Award is the highest award in China for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social progress.

Bekaert grants the ‘Bekaert Rod Supplier Award’ to its wire rod supplier Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel (Colorado, U.S.). Once every two years, this award is presented to the supplier who has shown the greatest improvement in the quality of its wire rod supply – Bekaert’s main raw material.

year in brief 1
Jacques Anckaert, Investor Relations Manager, and Bruno Humblet, Chief Financial Officer, take delivery of the Award for Best Financial Information.

October

Bekaert wins the Award for Best Financial Information granted by the Belgian Association of Financial Analysts (BAFA). As the overall winner, Bekaert scores well in all categories relating to financial communication: investor relations, press releases, website and annual report. Bekaert also wins the Award for Best Annual Report.

year in brief 4

At Europalia, one of Europe’s leading art festivals held in Belgium once every two years, Bekaert is one of the main event sponsors. The guest country for this 40th anniversary edition is China. Bekaert sponsors the main exhibition ‘Son of Heaven’ which – by exhibiting 250 masterpieces from China’s most prestigious museums – depicts a fascinating history from the Neolithic elites (circa 3500 BC) to the emperors of the last dynasty, the Qing (1644-1912).

year in brief 3

CEO Bert De Graeve and Chairman Baron Paul Buysse at the opening of Europalia, in the presence of Xi Jinping, Vice President of China and HRH Albert II King of Belgium.



November

In its third quarter results Bekaert shows a further improvement in performance. Increased market demand, mainly in Asia-Pacific, drives sales volumes higher than in the same period last year. The effect of fluctuations in raw material prices and currencies becomes insignificant.

year in brief 6

Bert De Graeve, CEO of Bekaert, is nominated for the title Manager of the Year 2009, a key annual event for Belgium’s business world. On 6 January 2010 it is announced that he came out the winner. In the jury’s report Bert De Graeve is praised for his strong leadership skills with which he guided Bekaert through a crisis year and his pro-active management and entrepreneurship which added to the company’s resilience.

December

Bekaert successfully completes all required approval procedures leading to the formal commissioning of Bekaert Lipetsk, the new Bekaert steel cord plant in Russia, located about 400 kilometers south of Moscow. Bekaert Lipetsk will thus be able to start the commercial production of steel cord for tire reinforcement as from early 2010. End of 2009 the new plant employed 90 employees. Another 320 jobs will be created along with the continued investments planned as from now through 2013.

year in brief 5

Bert De Graeve hosted President Medvedev of the Russian Federation during his visit to the new plant in Lipetsk.

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