Duferco was established in 1979 by Bruno Bolfo, Chairman of the Board, and a group of other steel professionals to exploit the advantages of “emerging markets” in steel production. At its inception, Duferco was based in New York and Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Company, through its relationship with local steel producers, quickly became the leading independent exporter of Brazilian steel throughout the world. Duferco’s growth and profitability was based upon a close relationship with key Brazilian producers (Cosipa/CSN/CST/Acominas and Usiminas) and the establishment of a small sales network, predominately in the US and in the Far East (Duferco’s first office in the Far East was opened in Thailandin 1980).
In the early 1980s, using its success in Brazil as a springboard, Duferco began to source steel products in other countries. First, Duferco concentrated on other South American countries, with its largest success in Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico. Leveraging on that success, Duferco began to develop purchasing operations in North America and Europe, with its first European office opening in London in 1981. Duferco then proceeded to open a chain of offices in the Pacific Rim that came on line in the late 1980s. After Thailand, the Company opened offices in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and South Korea.
In the mid-1990s, the Company opened a large number of offices in Eastern Europe, putting in place an infrastructure in anticipation of the growth of the area as an export market. Duferco also launched ancillary trading operations in the field of raw materials primarily related to the steel industry, such as coke, coal, iron ore, scrap, pig iron, D.R.I. and related products, maximizing its contacts with steel producers throughout the world.
Two occurrences in the mid-1990s in Europe presented an opportunity to Duferco. The first was the beginning of a consolidation in European steel, which caused severe financial hardship to smaller European mills. This presented opportunities for Duferco in Italy (Duferdofin), Belgique and Eastern Europe. The second was the restructuring of the Italian steel industry which caused many steel professionals to opt for retirement at an early age (50). This permitted Duferco to create an experienced industrial team to manage its properties.
Duferco’s acquisition of all assets from Ferdofin Siderurgica in receivership (now Duferdofin) was the first step in 1996, followed by many other opportunistic participations/acquisitions such as Duferco Clabecq (1997), Makstil Skopje (1998), Duferco Farrell Corp. (1999), Duferco La Louvière (1999) and various distribution centres in Europe.
Duferco considers new projects that are in line with its culture and strategy for low-cost production, as well as being niche market providers of steel. Joint Ventures with major global steel players like NLMK (Russian Federation), ISD (Ukraine) were finalized in the course of several years. The JV with Nucor (USA) is nowadays alive in Italy. The last important partnership was finalized in mid 2013 with Tangshan Iron and Steel Group Co. Ltd., one of the largest steel manufacturing state-owned enterprises in China.
As a truly global Company, the Group has entered a number of Diversification Activities in sectors such as Energy, Environment, Shipping and Logistics. These initiatives are now developing very positively and are also being applied to other fields, including engineering services and real estate.
Today Duferco intends to keep focussing on the highest global level of service to its suppliers and customers wherever located in the world.