RHI helps its customers beat the heat. The company is the world's leading manufacturer of heat-resistant refractory products. RHI's refractories are used in high-temperature industrial processes such as steelmaking, copper and aluminum smelting, and glass production, and in the construction of industrial kilns. Most of the company's refractory product sales (about 60%) are used in steelmaking. RHI has manufacturing and sales operations on five continents. Accounting for more than a third of sales, Western Europe is the company's largest market, but RHI has been working to spread out its production and its sales to other regions.
In June 2009 RHI and ImmunoVaccine Technologies (IVT) signed a binding term sheet to merge their companies. IVT is a privately-held vaccine development company which is based in Nova Scotia.
The company has been looking to focus solely on its refractories business, so it has gone through a major reorganization over the past few years. At the start of the decade, RHI divested its non-core US operations and sold off its engineering division in Europe. Along with the reorganization came a shift in focus on growth in markets, including Central and Eastern Europe, China, and India. The list continued to grow with more emerging countries being added; in 2010 RHI started eyeing acquisitions in Brazil, Turkey and Russia.
In 2006, for example, the company acquired Slovenian stone-wool manufacturer Eurovek, and in India RHI bought a 51% stake in Clasil Refractories Ltd., the largest Indian importer of refractories. Clasil has also broken ground on a new refractories plant in Andhra Pradesh. In China, the group has opened new refractory operations and is investing additional capital to development in the region.
RHI became the world's only producer of fused cast refractory products in North America in 2007 when it acquired Monofrax. That acquisition made RHI the leading supplier of refractory products to the glass industry.
The company continued its global expansion in 2008 when it acquired two more refractory plants, one in Scotland and one in the US, previously owned by the Cookson Group. The plants make isostatically pressed ceramic refratory (ISO) products, which are used in steel manufacturing, and will augment RHI's ISO plants in China and Austria. – less