The investment, it says, will help it realise its growth potential as a supplier of coated strip products for the automotive industry.
“Automotive is an important segment for us and one where we see clear potential for growth. The investments in Hämeenlinna will now support that strategy further,” says Olavi Huhtala, the head of SSAB Europe.
The steel maker also estimates that the investment will secure the stability and long-term future of the production of coated strip products in the nearly 70,000-resident city located less than a one-hour train ride away from Helsinki and Tampere.
“It's definitely a positive thing,” comments Ari Räsänen, a director at Linna Business Development.
Räsänen believes the investment will promote the preservation and development of jobs not only at the steel mill but also throughout its network of local suppliers and sub-contractors. “The investment may not directly create new jobs, but it'll improve our future competitiveness and possibilities,” he says. Hämeenlinna, he points out, has identified industrial construction as a key part of its industrial strategy.
“Our campus has a centre of excellence in steel construction. The investment will promote the development of the sector, make sure that progress is made, and facilitate more and better co-operation in the future,” views Räsänen. SSAB's commitment will hopefully also pave the way for future investments, he adds.
“More investments like this are needed,” he admits. “This will build and stir up interest on a broader scale and draw attention to our vibrancy, not only for a single company or sector but on a much broader scale.”
“We should be proud of our location and operations in the current market environment.”
The investment is part of a previously announced development programme that will see the steel maker also invest SEK156 million – approximately €16 million – in securing the stability of the production and improving the energy-efficiency at its steel mill in Luleå, Sweden. Both of the development projects are to start by year-end.