Schmolz + Bickenbach is a leading European producer of special long products. These include engineering steel (SBQ, or special bar qualities), stainless steel long products and tool steels.
The timeline below covers the history of the firm.
1919: Business founded under name of Dorrenberg Stahlgesellschaft.
1922: Company renamed as SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH.
1929: Takeover by S+B of Speemann & Vollmann Zieherei (bright bar).
2003: Acquisition of Swiss Steel AG in Switzerland (including Steeltec).
2004: Purchase of German steel producers Edelstahlwerke Südwestfalen.
2005: Acquisition of Edelstahl Witten-Krefeld.
2006: Acquisition of Ugitech in Italy (incl Trafilerie Bedini).
2006: Acquisition of Chicago based Finkl (specialty steel forging).
2006: Sale of 65% equity in Stahl Gerlafingen AG.
2007: Reprimand from Swiss Stock Exchange (see notes).
2013: Sale of 25% of S+B equity to Renova Group.
2015: Sale of steel distribution companies to Jacquet Metal Service.
2015: Relocation of Group headquarters from Dusseldorf to Lucerne.
2018: Purchase of French engineering steel producer Ascometal.
2019: Reaches out-of-court settlement with German Federal Cartel Office.
2019: Control struggle between Liwet Holding and BigPoint Holding.
2020: Martin Haefner increases S+B ownership stake to 49.6%.
2020: Reports dramatic slump in Q2 shipments as a result of Covid pandemic.
2020: EGM in September 2020 approves S+B change of name to Swiss Steel Group.
2021: Proposal approved for Euro 200m increase of share capital.
Business when founded was originally based in Dusseldorf
2006: Primary activity of Finkl & Sons was production of tool steel. (Finkl previously purchased Sorel Forge in 2004).
2007: The reprimand issued by SWX Swiss Exchange concerned an absence of disclosures in S+B's 2005 annual report.
2007: Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH was created from the merger of Edelstahl Witten-Krefeld and Edelstahlwerke Südwestfalen. These businesses were sold to S+B when Thyssen and Krupp decided to exit engineering steel production.
2013: Renova Group is a Russian conglomerate with interests in aluminium, oil, energy, telecoms and other sectors. Renova is controlled by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg who founded the company in 1990.
2015 sale to JMS was of S+B steel distribution companies in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria.
2018: Ascometal's assets at this point included melt shops at Hagondange and Fos-sur-Mer plus downstream plants at Les Dunes, Custines and Le Marais in France. Other Ascometal assets (not sold to S+B) included Ascoval, a producer of continuous cast rounds, which remained jointly owned by Asco Industries and Vallourec until its sale to British Steel in 2019.
2019: It is understood that this matter related to alleged anticompetitive practices in the fixing of alloy surcharges by S+B's German subsidiary Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH.
2019: November and December 2019 saw a fairly public struggle over the control of SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH, between its two largest shareholders Liwet Holding (controlled by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg) and BigPoint Holding (the ownershiip vehicle of Swiss billionaire Martin Haefner).
2020: Haefner stake in S+B ownership was increased to 49.6% in early 2020 when BigPoint Holding AG (fully owned by Martin Haefner) acquired the 10.09% ownership stake (pre-capital increase ; 4.7% after recent capital increase) of SCHMOLZ + BICKENBACH Beteiligungs GmbH.
2020: The company reported a ~38% year-on-year decrease in Q2 sales to 301,000 tonnes. The firm's decline in business activity was most pronounced for quality and engineering steel, whose shipments fell ~42% on the back of a sharp decline in demand from the automotive industry.
2021: The plan for the capital increase was apparently put forward by Martin Haefner, lead shareholder in the Group. Swiss Steel's second-largest stakeholder, Liwet Holding (belonging to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg) reportedly tried to block the capital increase at the regional commercial register office, but was unsuccessful in doing so.