The birthday of Liepājas Metalurgs — 28th September 1882. According to the historical documents exactly in this day by the initiative of 1st guild merchantman Adolf Beker the construction started of the puddling, iron-rolling, wire-drawing and wire-and-nail factory Beker and Co. During 130 years the company changed its name nine times.
Adolf Beker came to Russia from Westphalia where in the town of Shalke (now Gelzenkirchen) his father owned a big steel mill. The first small wire-and-nail factory was built by Beker in Vileika of Vilen guberniya but later he decided to considerably expand the production and move it to the port town of Libava — the end point of Libava-Romen railway line.
The first production facilities started operation in February 1883 with 260 people employed. The factory grew fast: in 1891 first Siemens-Martin furnace was put into operation, in 1895 the products of the company were rewarded the Golden Medal at the All-Russian industrial trade fair in the Nizhny Novgorod; the number of workmen in 1900 reached 1300 people.
The first 17 years the factory was a small affiliate of the large German company within the territory of Russian empire. In 1899 the Saint-Petersburg Private commercial bank paid to Beker 1.5 million roubles and the factory became Russian. In November 1904 Liepāja machine-building works Vesuv with 360 workers was purchased and since then the company is located on two sides of Brīvības street.
In the middle of 1912 the factory became one of the biggest combined companies in Russian empire. However by the end of the World War I only the main works in Liepāja remained out of six large production sites in Liepāja, Rīga and Tallinn, including two big navy shipbuilding yards.
For the independent Latvian Republic the new production facilities that were built just before the war were one of the most important supports for the national industry. A lot of products were produced here for the national economy — nails, wire, files, pitchforks, spades, etc., up to railway rails. In August 1933 the government bought out the bankrupt factory and it became the state-owned company.
During the World War II the factory did not suspend its production activity but in autumn 1944 it stopped due to consequences of the bombardment. After the war it turned out to be of no need and only due to heroic action of director Mr. Pēteris Zvaigzne the reconstruction of the factory began. From 1950 the sheet rolling mill received from Germany under reparations started the production of the roofing sheet steel, which became an important step in the development. However the reconstruction of the factory that started in 1958 was stopped due to serious miscalculations in the project.
In 1960 a decision was taken to considerably increase the production facilities and to start specializing in production of reinforcing bars. In the same year the first mechanized rolling mill was commissioned. In December 1965 the first steel was produced in the new experimental Siemens-Martin melt shop — the ecologically cleanest in the country and the last constructed Siemens-Martin melt shop in the Soviet Union. In 1970 the first in the world continuous casting machine — that produced the billets for the rolling mill — started its operation under its roof; in one year the second continuous casting machine of the same type was commissioned. Liepāja cast billets in 70’s had the lowest production cost in the country. During all 45 years of its existence the Siemens-Martin melt shop was a testing ground for experimental metallurgical technologies of the all-union level.
By 1976 all three Siemens-Martin furnaces were revamped and the annual production capacity of the melt shop reached 550 thousand tons. The completion of the construction of the second rolling mill as well as revamping of both rolling mills in 1978 allowed bringing the capacity of the steel rolling production facilities up to 700–800 thousand tons per year. During these years the company implemented a wide-scale social programs: the hospital, the culture center, about fifty blocks of flats were built at that time.
During the 80’s the company was preparing to transfer to electric arc furnace technology of steel production however political and social changes that put the company at the edge of survival destroyed those plans. In 90’s the company was successfully redirected to the world sales market. The privatization of 1997 gave a powerful impulse for the upgrading of the production facilities.
In august 2004 it was decided to start modernization of the steel making process. The first stage was completed in 2006 — a new high capacity continuous billet casting machine was built and commissioned with the company’s own funds. For the second stage, which was completed during 2011, the construction of 100-tons electric arc furnace, the ladle furnace and the necessary infrastructure — it was required to take a credit in Italy for 86 million Euro for the period of 10 years. The first electric steel was produced on 17th August 2011; from December 2011 the production is implemented with a unique, the newest technology — in the electric arc furnace with a shaft for pre-heating of scrap. By the end of 2012 the new electric arc furnace production reached the designed parameters — around 850 thousand tons per year.