In line with global mega trends of electrification, urbanization, sustainability and digital transformation, we have bolstered our plans for rapid growth based on new applications in the steel industry and diversifying into new markets. To achieve this, in 2021 we invested further in the strategy targeting new business segments, seeking to expedite the introduction of applied Niobium technologies into the global market, especially in the batteries segment.
Within the strategy of accelerating growth via new business operations, last year alone we invested in two start-ups - the UK's Echion and the US’ Battery Streak. The investments aim to accelerate the development of new materials for lithium ion batteries. In 2021, the volume of ferroniobium equivalent sales for use in batteries amounted to 50 metric tons, a figure which is expected to rise to 500 metric tons in 2022.
Investment in the Technology Program also grew, amounting to R$ 195 million in 2021. Investments in research, development and new technologies are expected to grow by more than 40% for 2022, to R$ 278 million.
The combination of investments made and the global economic recovery following the worst phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the steel and aeronautical sectors, translated into a 64% increase in the Company’s net revenue in 2021 compared with 2020, amounting to R$ 11.4 billion. Net income was R$ 4.5 billion, 78% more than last year.
Throughout the year, our priority remained protecting the health and well-being of our employees and despite the substantial vaccine roll-out we continued adopting prevention measures in our industrial complex and offices worldwide, always in line with guidelines issued by national and international health agencies and bodies. From 2022 we will begin safely returning to our offices in a hybrid format.
We are also proud to track the evolution of our Organizational Culture. Our commitment informs our everyday actions and conduct. We are convinced that this mindset and our long-term growth plan will take the Company further and further.
Enjoy the report!Eduardo A. Ayroza Galvão Ribeiro