Revenue of the voestalpine Group
In millions of euros
The substantial increase in revenue in the business year 2017/18 signifies a turnaround from several years of a largely negative trend in the development of revenue thanks to the voestalpine Group’s ability to capitalize both on the sustained positive macroeconomic climate and the investments it had made in the previous years. The Steel Division posted the largest increase in percentage terms, benefiting from significantly improved prices in the face of almost stable volume growth. But significantly higher delivery volumes from the HBI facility in Texas, USA, which has been fully operational since the start of the business year 2017/18, also contributed to this outcome. The higher revenue of the High Performance Metals Division reflects not only the overall improvement in the economic climate but also the gradual recovery of the oil and gas sector. Likewise, substantially higher delivery volumes in this energy segment account for the growth in the Metal Engineering Division’s revenue, whereas the revenue from the division’s core segment (railway systems) remained more or less at the previous year’s level. In terms of revenue development, the Metal Forming Division profited from both the continual expansion of its international activities in the automotive segment and the stable, positive environment in its other three business segments. Given the strong performance of all four divisions, the voestalpine Group boosted its revenue by 14.2% year over year, from EUR 11,294.5 million to EUR 12,897.8 million—an all-time high.
The operating result (EBITDA) for the business year 2017/18 signifies not just a dramatic increase compared with the previous year, but also a level that the Group was unable to achieve even in the boom years preceding the financial crisis. This development is all the more remarkable in that individual economic regions (e.g. South America) but also customer segments (incl. railway infrastructure and the oil and gas industry) still have upward potential, economically speaking. The record result also underscores, however, that the Group made the right investment decisions in the past ten years and that its efforts in connection with the consistent implementation of measures aimed at cutting costs and boosting efficiency paid off. This applies not only, but especially to the Steel Division’s outstanding performance. After years of major investments and continuous internal optimization measures, this division has been key to improving the Group’s EBITDA by 26.8% to EUR 1,954.1 million in the business year 2017/18 (previous year: EUR 1,540.7 million). In turn, this pushed the EBITDA margin from 13.6% in the previous year to 15.2% in the current business year. The Steel Division capitalized on the positive economic climate by expanding its gross margin even though its delivery volumes remained the same compared with the previous year’s high level despite the build-up of pre-materials for the planned general overhaul of blast furnace A in the summer of 2018. The High Performance Metals Division also succeeded in improving its results thanks to both the expansion of its sales volume and the increase in its base prices. For its part, the Metal Engineering Division succeeded in capitalizing on the increasingly positive market environment in the oil and gas sector (seamless tubes) to more than merely offset the price pressure in the rail segment and thus in improving its operating result. The same goes for the Metal Forming Division, whose increase in reporting categories was driven by excellent market developments in general and the outstanding performance of the Precision Strip business segment in particular. A year-over-year comparison by quarter shows not only that the summer and autumn quarters are usually subject to seasonal influences but also that the year’s final quarter was the strongest yet again in terms of the result achieved. Historically, this was the second-best quarterly operating result of the Group since the second quarter of 2008/09.
The profit from operations (EBIT) in the business year 2017/18 also presented a positive picture: at EUR 1,180.0 million (margin of 9.1%), it surpassed the previous year’s level (EUR 823.3 million, margin of 7.3%) by 43.3%. Due to higher depreciation in the past business year, in absolute terms the EBIT increase is not as strong as that of EBITDA. The increase in depreciation is due, for one, to the commissioning of new facilities and, for another, to EUR 15 million in write-downs on investments in the ultra high-strength fine wire product segment (Metal Engineering Division) as well as EUR 10 million in write-downs on investments in Villares Metals, Sumaré, Brazil (High Performance Metals Division).