MUNICH, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- H.C. Starck, one of the leading manufacturers of customer-specific powders and components made from technology metals and advanced ceramics, has sustained its position in 2012 despite a more difficult market environment. The company achieved 862.9 million euros in sales, after 883.2 million euros in the extraordinary strong growth year 2011. As of December 31, 2012, the company had 2,926 employees (2011: 2,816). "After a very strong fiscal year 2011, growth has slowed down in 2012. Especially in the second half of the year, global economy cooled down and our customers were somehow reluctant to place new orders. Nevertheless, H.C. Starck was able expand its market position in all major industries, maintain its sales at the level of the previous year despite falling metal prices, and achieve the second best result in the last ten years," said Andreas Meier, Chairman of the H.C. Starck Executive Board. "Our key success factors were the successful implementation of flexibility measures in the past, and our unique expertise in the production of technology metals." 2012: Strengthening market position in the powder business, entering the LED market, growing local production footprint in Asia In 2012, H.C. Starck was able to strengthen its powder business by gaining market share for high capacity tantalum powders and expanding its niobium business significantly. In the business segment of fabricated products and components, H.C. Starck has successfully responded to strong demand from the semiconductor industry and the chemical processing industry. Also, the company successfully expanded into the rapidly growing market of high temperature furnaces with the production of highly complex heat shields and crucibles made of molybdenum and tungsten for sapphire furnaces used in LED production.