Yves Kerstens became CEO of Bekaert on 1 September 2023

Yves Kerstens, who was already a member of the Bekaert Group Executive and the Divisional CEO of Specialty Businesses, was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in succession of Oswald Schmid. 

In further refining the strategy and moving its implementation faster, the CEO and his Executive team have determined where to play, how to win, and which capabilities to develop, so that we continue to deliver on our ambitious commitments, both in terms of financial and ESG-related targets.

Positioning for growth in green hydrogen technologies

Bekaert connects a wide area of expertise in green hydrogen technologies through participation in industry consortia, collaboration with research institutes, and investing in business partnerships with technology leaders. The most recent partnerships include an investment in Ionomr Innovations, a leader in advanced proton and anion exchange membranes, and a strategic cooperation agreement with Toshiba Energy Systems and Solutions Corporation. This partnership will couple Toshiba's iridium-saving MEA (Membrane Electrode Assemblies) technology with Bekaert's leading expertise in PTL (Porous Transport Layers) for electrolyzers.

Anchoring our leadership in floating offshore wind

Bekaert’s mooring solutions are used in 12 floating offshore wind demonstrator projects across the globe. This illustrates our strong position in a market that is set to grow significantly. We extend our offering through innovation – in-house and through acquisitions and partnerships – and provide fully integrated mooring solutions, anchoring the turbine installations from the seabed to the floater.

We offer the most reliable and effective total mooring solution: Bekaert synthetic MoorLine rope equipped with Applied Fiber termination sockets, TFI Marine SeaSpring, and Flintstone connectors and tensioners.

Strong results and increased shareholder returns

Bekaert delivered strong cash generation and improved margins in 2023. The margin performance was driven by a better product mix, good pricing discipline, and continued cost efficiencies. The resilient financial performance enabled the company to increase shareholder returns over the past years, both under the form of share buybacks and of progressively growing dividends. 

At the Capital Markets Day in December 2023, the CEO, CFO, and other members of the leadership team outlined the Bekaert strategy and the financial objectives for the coming years.

Tangible progress in contributing to a cleaner environment

Bekaert stepped up its performance in all key areas that contribute to a cleaner environment: we reduced our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by more than 15% compared with baseline year 2019. We reduced Scope 3 emissions from purchased wire rod by more than 5% versus last year. We invested in on-site renewable energy generation like the solar farm on our factory grounds in Spain.  Moreover, we significantly reduced the water consumption in our processes. 

We actively contribute to a circular economy, both upstream and downstream, by using recycled materials, reusing packaging materials and water, and by producing products with high recycled steel content. We conducted 100 LCAs in 2023 and raised the share of our revenue from sustainable solutions (in line with EU Taxonomy Alignment principles) to 42%.

Transformational portfolio management

Alongside our growth ambitions in sustainable markets globally, we are constantly reviewing our current portfolio and footprint for competitiveness and future opportunities. As part of our transformational portfolio review, we have divested, in 2023, the steel wire solutions activities in Chile and Peru. This divestment reduces Bekaert’s exposure to more cyclical and commoditized markets. We sold our share to the local partners, who co-owned the business from the start.

Caring for people and society

We conducted a global survey to gauge employee engagement across all levels and locations of the organization. A very high participation rate led to valuable results and outcomes, so we can implement further improvements an help our employees unlock their full potential. Our 24 000 employees from 74 different nationalities are a true reflection of what diversity and inclusion is.

In 2023 we donated € 620 000 to more than 80 programs supporting education, social conditions, and the environment, particularly in the communities where we are active.

Celebrating 2023

Many team achievements were celebrated in 2023.

Our proud teams share their enthusiasm and spirit!