GrafTech is a leading global manufacturer of graphite electrodes, which are crucial for the production of electric arc furnace steel. Brookfield's acquisition of the steel industry supplier led to an award-winning turnaround and significant value creation.
In an electric arc furnace, graphite electrodes conduct ultra-high-voltage electric current to melt steel scrap at temperatures near 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Electric arc furnace steel production is faster, more resilient and friendlier to the environment than steel production via blast furnaces. It is the fastest-growing segment of the steel industry today.
Acquired for $1.25 billion in 2015, GrafTech was struggling with poor earnings and facing a severe downturn in the steel industry. During due diligence, Brookfield identified specific production improvements and strategic positioning opportunities—not least of these was GrafTech's ownership of Seadrift Coke, a producer and leading supplier of petroleum needle coke, essential to graphite electrode manufacturing.