Revenue during the first nine months of 2013/14 declined by 5.7% from EUR 2,064.8 million in the previous year to EUR 1,947.1 million in the reporting period. The reasons were several. Prices for scrap and key alloys fell in comparison to the previous business year and, together with not fully utilized capacity by competitors, triggered a downtrend with regard to sales prices. Furthermore, production volumes also fell. Earnings declined at a similar rate, with the operating result (EBITDA) dropping by 7.3% from EUR 273.8 million to EUR 253.8 million and profit from operations (EBIT) going down by 6.6% from EUR 165.4 million to EUR 154.5 million. Because revenue and earnings declined at a similar rate, both the EBITDA margin at 13.0% (previous year: 13.3%) and the EBIT margin at 7.9% (previous year: 8.0%) remained largely at the same level as in the first three quarters of 2012/13.
When comparing the figures to the immediately preceding quarter, the picture is more highly differentiated. While revenue fell by 3.4%, from EUR 643.1 million in the second quarter to EUR 621.2 million in the third quarter, the operating result in the third quarter remained stable despite substantial seasonal effects in December, which in turn resulted in slightly lower delivery volumes. At EUR 77.5 million, EBITDA remained practically identical to the immediately preceding quarter (EUR 77.8 million) and, in the third quarter of 2013/14, EBIT of EUR 44.7 million also matched the figure in the immediately preceding quarter (EUR 44.8 million). The profit margins even rose slightly, with the EBITDA margin increasing from 12.1% to 12.5% and the EBIT margin showing a gain from 7.0% to 7.2%.
As of December 31, 2013, the Special Steel Division had 12,884 employees (FTE), an increase of 6.1% compared to the same date in the previous business year (12,144 FTE) or 1.3% more than as of the end of the previous business year (12,721 FTE), due primarily to acquisitions.