The overall stable development of the voestalpine Group—particularly in comparison to traditional steel companies—in the economic environment of the business year 2013/14, which has remained challenging, is due to the Company’s business model. Once again, the Metal Engineering and Metal Forming Divisions, with their portfolio that is oriented toward downstream manufacturing, have ensured a high degree of consistency in business performance. Begun 15 years ago, this strategy of extending the value chain, i.e., production of entire high-tech components for defined core industries, while maintaining the highest degree of expertise in the production of steel itself, has proven its effectiveness.
In the business year 2013/14, the Metal Engineering Division was once again the best division in the Group with regard to the key figures EBITDA and EBIT margin and ROCE, which are relevant for the voestalpine Group internally. The results have already been at a stable and high level for a number of business years and the division’s broad-based positioning ensures the continuation of this development. In the past business year, practically all of the division’s business segments performed consistently at a high level.
In the period under review, the Metal Forming Division’s markets were relatively calm, with a high demand especially for automobile parts and components. In the business year 2013/14, the special sections segment also performed largely stably; however, due to the situation in the European construction and construction supply industry that continues to be subdued, at a generally lower margin level.
The Steel and Special Steel Divisions, which are somewhat more cyclical, were more strongly affected by the intermittently difficult market environment in Europe than the downstream divisions. While the Special Steel Division was partly able to compensate for the weaknesses in Europe by means of its international business activities as a result of its global presence, the Steel Division suffered not only due to its geographic focus on Europe, with its generally difficult macroeconomic environment, but also because of the continuing structural overcapacity in the European steel industry which limits the ability to set prices, even in the top quality segment.