Stability for the future – 20 years of Montan-Stiftung-Saar
17 September 2021
The Montan-Stiftung-Saar foundation was established on 7 September 2001 as part of the “Saarland iron and steelworks solution”. The aim of the foundation was to reorganize the ownership structure of the steel industry in Saarland in order to secure the long-term sustainability of the companies and jobs in the industry. The foundation has been a guarantor for the stability of the Saarland steel industry since 2001. In line with the purpose of the foundation, it has also become an integral part of the Saarland university landscape as a supporter of education and science.
In a market characterized by overcapacity, structural problems, cheap imports and uncertain framework conditions, the foundation model continues to provide companies with a security envied by many other companies in the industry. It was also from this position that the acquisition could be realized by SHS – Stahl-Holding-Saar and its subsidiary Saarstahl of the rail works in Hayange (Saarstahl Rail S.A.S.) and of the Ascoval steel plant in St. Saulve (Saarstahl Ascoval S.A.S.). Both plants are an important addition to the portfolio of Saarland steel companies with respect to the mobility transformation and the production of low-carbon steel. The acquisition fits seamlessly into the strategy of Saarstahl and Dillinger for strengthening competitiveness and structural transformation.
To ensure it can continue to guarantee the future viability of steel companies in Saarland, the foundation itself is breaking new ground: "Our aim is to open up new markets with new business models so that the foundation can remain the stable anchor in the future for our steel industry in the Saar region. This is the only way we can truly live up to our responsibility,” said Reinhard Störmer, Chairman of the Foundation's Board of Trustees, explaining the Foundation’s approach to further development.
The foundation is opening up new fields of business and wants to become an innovative trailblazer. It has already taken decisive steps to this end. Two new companies have been established and one existing company has been integrated into the foundation. Montan-Ventures-Saar GmbH (formerly SHS-Ventures-Saar GmbH) invests in start-ups with the aim of guiding them to economic success. Montan-Innovation-Lab-Saar GmbH has now been established as a “preliminary stage” for this. The company seeks out ideas and idea generators and helps them achieve their goals, build networks and enact other measures so they can turn their ideas into business models and, in the best cases, successful startups. Montan-Beteiligungsgesellschaft Saar GmbH, on the other hand, invests primarily in small and medium-sized companies that are already successfully established in the market and want to continue growing. The company’s mission also includes developing and marketing real estate.
Reinhard Störmer said: "The Foundation’s Board of Trustees believes that innovation is the basis for an economically successful future. We are now in the process of establishing an Industry 4.0 innovation cluster with the best research institutes in Saarland.” The Foundation will introduce the Montan-Innovation-Lab-Saar and the Montan-Ventures-Saar here in order to transform innovative research results into marketable products, Störmer added.
The two companies Dillinger and Saarstahl will also especially profit from this. If the cluster succeeds in finding and developing new business models, the two steel companies will be the first to benefit from the results. Beyond this, SHS – Stahl-Holding-Saar and its subsidiaries gain new access to the research institutes and the skilled workers of tomorrow. “We want to bring a new spirit of openness to new ideas and approaches to the steel companies. I see this as a key opportunity for our future,” said Reinhard Störmer, explaining the reasons for the realignment.
The foundation’s outlook is now focused on the next 10 to 20 years and seeks to continue improving from a stable base. The aim is to solidify the status of Montan-Stiftung-Saar sustainably and long-term as the most important industrial foundation in the country. This is an essential part of securing the future of the steel industry in the Saar region.