LONDON, May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Fortescue Metals Group Limited took top billing, winning two of the most prestigious titles at the 2014 Platts Global Metals Awards . The Australian iron ore producer and mining giant won "Rising Star" and "Metals Company of the Year" honors Wednesday night for its ascension from industry newcomer to the world's fourth largest iron ore producer in less than a decade.
The Platts Global Metals Awards, which recognize exemplary performance in a dozen categories across the steel, metals and mining complex, were presented at a black-tie gala in London, attended by more than 200 industry executives. Program host Platts and event emcee CNBC's Karen Tso bestowed ten additional awards on companies and individuals hailing from four continents.
"We congratulate the winners and finalists for their notable achievements and contributions to the industry during the past year," said Larry Neal, president of Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture information provider. "Tonight's winners have navigated a challenging financial environment, and their accomplishments are a clear indication that the metals sector is poised for growth in the coming years."
In its selection of Fortescue for the "Rising Star Award," the Platts Global Metals Awards' independent panel of judges lauded the Perth-based company for forging its own path, swiftly rising in the sector and becoming one of Australia's corporate success stories. Founded in 2003, the up-and-comer entered an iron ore market already dominated by multinational companies. Employing innovative techniques to decades-old maps, the company discovered huge iron ore-rich deposits in Western Australia, and 10 years later, achieved record iron ore production of 80.9 million tons. Today, Fortescue operates four iron ore mines, boasts the world's most efficient iron ore transportation methods, enjoys global customer relationships and has large untapped resources.Fortescue's many accomplishments within a short period of time also inspired the program's judges to unanimously select it from the entire list of Global Metals Awards finalists as winner of "Metals Company of the Year." Judges highlighted the company's powerful comeback from financial difficulties in 2012 and its proven track record of job creation in Western Australia among key factors that led to its dual win. Awards Acknowledge Exceptional Executives' Achievements Amid Challenging Environment Two standout leaders – Klaus Kleinfeld of Alcoa Inc. and Chandra Shekhar Verma of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) – tied for the hotly contested "CEO of the Year," a top title that honors chief executives who demonstrate strong leadership and clarity of vision and judgment. Judges were impressed that both CEOs solidified their companies' respective leadership in the aluminum and steel sectors despite difficult operating environments. In selection of Alcoa Inc.'s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld for the "CEO of the Year" title, judges pointed to his decisive leadership during the recent global economic recession. Kleinfeld took the reins of the 126-year-old American aluminum giant in 2007 and employed an ambitious strategy which called for growing the company's value-add business while curtailing smelting costs. Despite the challenging market and economic conditions, Alcoa's value-add business accounted for 57 percent of its revenues in 2013, and the company delivered a total shareholder return 45 percent better than its industry peers.