The investment banking company Hefestos Capital (Belgrade, Serbia) has become the new owner of the Romanian company.
According to market sources, the sale of Artrom was probably caused by the pressure of the Romanian government to separate the country's industrial enterprises from the Russian business community.
Artrom Steel Tubes (formerly TMK-Artrom) has a foundry with a capacity of 450,000 tons per year in Rešica in western Romania and a pipe rolling plant with a capacity of 200,000 tons per year in Slatin in the southwest of the country.
In March 2022, shortly after the European Union imposed sanctions on the then owner of TMK Dmytro Pumpiansky, the Romanian tax authorities blocked TMK-Artrom's bank accounts, disrupting the company's sales. This caused a protest of the trade unions of the Slatina and Recita factories.
Adrian Popescu, the new chairman of the company's board of directors, stated that Artrom will be able to continue the development programs postponed due to the crisis of the last three years, the pandemic and the subsequent war in Ukraine.
The latest Artrom capacity increase project was announced by TMK in 2019. Accordingly, the rolling capacity of the plant should increase by 60%, up to 320,000 tons. The completion of the works is planned for the year 2024.
The sanctions imposed by the European Union on the Russian Federation have reduced Russian steel exports. In 2022, local producers diverted some production volumes to Asian markets, focused on the domestic market and worked through third-party companies to circumvent restrictions.
In addition, the sales portfolio of Russian products has also changed. The sharp decrease in exports of rolled products was compensated by an increase in the supply of semi-finished products and pig iron. The future of Russian exports remained dependent on sanctions and on markets, to which the Russian Federation still has access.
In addition, the European Commission is working on a plan to block steel products made from Russian plates in countries outside the EU. This will lead to certain changes in the market, especially since many moving companies outside the EU have already started looking for semi-finished products from other suppliers.