Robusteel to acquire remaining assets of Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium

The transaction, which is set to create at least 900 jobs and result in the upskilling of local labour, will be funded from local and international sources.

The remaining assets of Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium, once the second-largest South African steel producer before it went into business rescue four years ago after years of losses, will be acquired by Highveld Robusteel in a US$105 million (R1.65 billion) deal that is set to boost economic activity in Witbank, Mpumalanga.

The $105 million is made up of the asset acquisition, as well as the restart and upgrade of the plant, Robusteel said in a statement. It is a special purpose vehicle jointly held by black-owned Bonheur Ventures and Amplico Resource Management.

Highveld Robusteel will be acquiring the remaining iron and steelmaking assets of Evraz Highveld Steel & Vanadium, business rescue practitioner (BRP) Piers Marsden confirmed.

The transaction is the first of Robusteel’s strategic acquisitions in the steel, mining, minerals beneficiation and infrastructure sectors within the Southern African Development Community, with financial support garnered from several major international and local funders.

Selaelo Ramusi, the chief executive officer of Bonheur and Robusteel said: “This acquisition underpins inclusive economic growth and transformation through local beneficiation of resources by a black-owned entity in the heavy industrial sector. Given the nature of the assets acquired, this is an important step towards the re-industrialisation of the economy and the establishment of a competitive steel and manufacturing facility in South Africa. Our acquisition is in-line with the recently-published Steel Master Plan.”

“Given the nature of the assets acquired, this is an important step towards the reindustrialisation of the economy and the establishment of a competitive steel and manufacturing facility in South Africa. Our acquisition is in line with the recently published Steel Master Plan,” he added.

The assets comprising the transaction include four ironmaking furnaces and ten rotary pre-reduction kilns housed across two separate smelter plants, a steel plant facility including two basic oxygen furnaces, a ladle furnace, a continuous casting machine and a plate mill facility, reinforcing Robusteel’s commitment to restart steelmaking at this renowned location.

The assets are situated within the Highveld Industrial Park, a major industrial hub in Mpumalanga, South Africa, which will support this transaction through the supply of a full suite of shared services including logistics and waste facilities.

With the support of both the government and private sector, the assets will be restarted in a three-phase approach across a corresponding number of years by a core engineering team retained by the BRP to ensure the ongoing maintenance and viability thereof.

This multi-disciplinary engineering team, comprising of individuals with multiple years of service with Highveld, has been contractually engaged by Robusteel and will be supported by expert external consultants and design engineers.

At full production, Robusteel will produce vanadium bearing pig-iron, various flat steel products, vanadium pentoxide slag and structural blooms supported by an ore offtake agreement with the historically linked Mapoch’s mine.

The implementation of this acquisition will contribute significantly towards the local economy of Witbank, Mpumalanga, through the employment of about 900 individuals, the upskilling of local labour, artisanal and engineering personnel and also providing localised supplier development opportunities.

The transaction will further boost the national economy by supporting the national fiscus and the South African government’s initiatives relating to black industrialisation, the Steel Master Plan and the National Development Plan.

Witbank (eMalahleni) still feels the shockwaves after the announcement in 2016 that the steel giants’ doors were closing after subsidised steel imports from China crippled the market and saw the company go into business rescue. Its closure meant that 1 800 permanent jobs were lost and many contractors lost millions as there was not a cent left to pay creditors.