In the third quarter of 2013/14, the Metal Forming Division continued the stable performance of the previous periods. In the Automotive Body Parts business segment, there was a slight pick-up—albeit beginning at a very depressed level—with more call-offs from customers in the sub-compact and compact car segments. Business development in the premium automobile segment varied depending on the manufacturer and the model policies, however, overall, it remained at a very good level, not least because it was driven by continuing strong demand from China and the USA. The upward trend was enhanced by the fact that the automobile industry had shorter than usual production closures around the turn of the year.
The Tubes and Sections business segment had a steady performance due to the stabilization of the construction industry in the past months. The commercial vehicle industry has been consistently solid. The introduction of the Euro 6 environmental standard, which is binding for all newly registered trucks in the European Union from January 1, 2014, had a positive impact on sales figures. In the construction and agricultural machinery industries, cab construction, in particular, has been at a consistently good level, and the aerospace industry continues to have high sales volumes.
Apart from Europe, viewed regionally the market situation was satisfactory in the USA, and in Brazil, where it was also favorable, due primarily to high demand for agricultural machinery, which compensated for the somewhat weaker level of orders in other sectors.
From a regional perspective, the Precision Strip business segment experienced a somewhat improved order situation in the USA. As far as Europe is concerned, most recently, the development in Germany has been positive, while in Scandinavia, the economic environment has remained subdued. In this segment, the market situation in China has remained difficult. The Material Handling business segment has reported an overall excellent order situation, with order books filled well into the next business year. This is primarily a result of continuing growth in online retail sales, which is expected to prolong this trend.