This report is a translation of the original report in German, which is solely valid.
Even after the close of the first quarter, there is nothing to add to the that was published a little over two months ago for the new business year starting on April 01, 2017, in connection with the . In particular, for 2017/18 this means that we may anticipate a substantial increase in revenue compared with the previous year due, for one, to the start-up of several new facilities and, for another, to the full utilization of production capacities across the entire corporate value chain that has already been secured to a large extent. This positive expectation is reinforced by the most recent macroeconomic growth forecasts, particularly for the European Union and China. Against this backdrop, any adverse effects of current U.S. economic policies, which are difficult to gauge, will remain tightly circumscribed, at least from our current perspective.
In terms of earnings, following the excellent first quarter we expect the second quarter to be characterized by continued strong demand as well as by seasonal effects (production cutbacks due to regular summer plant closures). Individual industries traditionally try to put pressure on the margins during this period even though demand remains solid. Contrary to the summer months in years past, this should not have a fundamental effect on the positive earnings in the first six months of 2017/18, given the current market environment which is seeing substantial growth, but it does not allow for reliable forecasts on the development of the year’s second half before the end of the second quarter—especially with respect to the ongoing volatility of raw materials prices. Irrespective thereof, based on the figures for the first quarter the substantially positive development in both revenue and earnings that is expected for the business year 2017/18 compared to the previous year seems to be secure.