The Metal Engineering Division’s business activities continued to evolve at a very high level in the first quarter of the business year 2013/14. Results in the immediately preceding quarter (fourth quarter of the business year 2012/13) were remarkably positive due to outstanding achievements in individual projects, and the first quarter of 2013/14 was a seamless continuation of the development in the previous quarters, reflecting the division’s ongoing excellent performance under “normal” conditions as well.
The Rail business segment had an outstanding first quarter, driven by stable demand in the project business, especially in non-European regions; this factor enabled this segment to compensate the currently weak development in Europe. This is not expected to change in the course of the business year 2013/14. The global presence of the Turnout business segment contributed to the stability of the Metal Engineering Division’s results. While demand in Europe remains subdued, especially in the Mediterranean countries, the continuing favorable development in the other global regions has enabled the segment to compensate this weaker area. Demand from Asia, the USA, and South Africa has been quite robust, and South America is also sending positive signals. New projects for turnout systems in the Middle East and Turkey are also contributing to the very good performance of this business segment.
Performance of the Wire business segment continues to be positive in contrast to the general market trend. Although raw materials prices, which have been trending downward, have to some degree resulted in declining sales prices as well, profitability was not adversely affected because high demand ensured almost complete capacity utilization.
Stable performance has also distinguished the Welding Technology business segment, where weak markets in Europe have been compensated by increasing demand that has come mainly from the power plant construction segment in India, China, and Southeast Asia.
Slightly falling orders from the USA in the Seamless Tube business segment have been offset by higher sales in other markets (Australia, Russia) so that the segment has maintained its outstanding performance.