Brandenburger Elektrostahlwerke GmbH (B.E.S.) is a company rich in tradition that has significantly contributed to the history of the German steel industry. The works were founded more than one century ago (1912) by the Dortmund based industrialist Rudolf Weber about 50 km West from Berlin in the federal state of Brandenburg. In the middle of the 1930s it was bought by the steel baron Friedrich Flick, who wanted to benefit from the closeness to the German Reich´s capital and to the economically vibrant Eastern regions. After the Fall of the Berlin wall, in March 1992, the Riva Group bought the industrial plants directly from the Treuhandanstalt (public privatization agency) as a result of the public tender and until now has invested about 300 million Euro in its refurbishment and renovation, in particular in work safety, environmental protection and production.
The works has a work force of about 860 employees and is equipped with two modern EAF-furnaces in dog-houses, ladle furnaces, continuous casting machines, a 4-strand wire rod rolling mill, various drawing machines, welding machines for wire mesh and stretching machines. Moreover B.E.S. has implemented an integrated management system (quality, environment, energy, sustainability, work safety) and is provided with the newest European and international system - and product certificates.
1. From the establishment until World War II. After the establishment in 1912 the steel mill and rolling mill began production in May 1914 with 4 Siemens-Martin 60 ton furnaces and a rolling mill for heavy plates and corrugated sheets.
In 1917 Rudolf Weber sold the plants to Deutsch-Luxemburgische Bergwerks-und Hütten AG. At the beginning of the 1920s, the “Weber-Werk”, as the Brandenburg plant was called, had 1.350 employees and produced 70.000 tons of steel per year. At the time the Stahl- und Walzwerk Brandenburg was the most important industrial site in the city of Brandenburg.
In 1926 the plant was split from the remaining property and bought by Friedrich Flick, the biggest steel producer at the time in Germany and founder of Mitteldeutsche Stahlwerke AG, which comprised many production sites.
After the incorporation in the Flick group that, as of 1937, signed under the name Mitteldeutsche Stahl- und Walzwerke Friedrich Flick Kommanditgesellschaft, the Brandenburg site witnessed a period of great growth, also due to the rearmament policy and to the boost in military equipment production. The production was kept running until April 1945. Following the ceasefire agreement the plant was dismantled and shipped to the Soviet Union.
2. The time of the GDR. After the foundation of the German Democratic Republic in 1949 the decision was taken to rebuild the Brandenburg plant on its old site.
On the 15th of February 1950 the foundation stone was laid for the first Siemens-Martin furnace. Just a few months later, on the 20th of July, the first cast was tapped. With a total of 12 Siemens-Martin furnaces, the state-owned VEB Stahl- und Walzwerk Brandeburg soon developed to becoming the leading steel producer of the German Democratic Republic.
In 1969, when the GDR re-organised its steel industry into the so-called Kombinate (industrial conglomerates with similar production under one chief establishment), the plant was allocated to the “VEB Qualitäts-und Edelstahl Kombinat”, and in 1979 to its chief establishment. In 1977 the construction works for a new electrical steel mill with a yearly production capacity of 600.000 ton began.
The new steel mill was equipped with two 150 ton EAF furnaces and two 8-strand continuous casters, which - according to the wish of the Italian supplier Danieli, were to be started up with the participation and the know-how of Riva. In this way the name Riva was known and esteemed for the first time in Brandenburg. After the integration with a continuous wire rod rolling mill, the plant started production in 1980 and was modernized in 1988.
3. The take-over by the Riva Group. After the Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the “Kombinate” were liquidated.
On the 1st of May 1990 the Brandenburg plant was transferred to the Treuhandanstalt (the state-owned privatization agency) and transformed into a stock company with limited liability. After the splitting of the old parts of the plant, in March 1992 the electrical steel mill and the continuous wire rod rolling mill were taken over by BES Brandenburger Elektrostahlwerke GmbH, the company Riva had established for the purpose.
4. The production site today. B.E.S. possesses its own rail connection and a port, located directly on the Silokanal.
The overseas ports of Szczecin and Hamburg can be reached via the Oder-Havelkanal and the Elbe-Havelkanal. The company site covers an area of about 2,57 km2 and offers enough space for the electrical steel mill, the rolling mill (continuous wire rod mill), the plants for the production of wire mesh and straightened steel and for the company dump site. Built-on surface amounts to about 146.700 m2, the company street and rail net develops over a length of about 10 and 60 km.
Billets from the continuous caster are produced in the size 130x130 mm in lengths of 9 to 12 m. They are then rolled in the rolling mill into ribbed or smooth wire rod coils weighing 1.500 kg. Moreover, standard wire mesh is produced in packages weighing about 2,5 tons, and reinforcement steel in coils weighing from 2,5 to 5 tons.
Besides the German market, B.E.S. sells its products to the European Union (among others Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden), to overseas countries (USA, Central America) and Africa (Algeria, Nigeria).