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Metal Forming Division

This report is a translation of the original report in German, which is solely valid.

Market environment and business development

The weakening momentum in the key customer segments of the Metal Forming Division, which began in the fall of 2018, continued at the start of the business year 2019/20. While demand in the automotive sector has recovered a little bit from the problems that arose when the new WLTP emissions testing procedure was introduced in September of last year, in Europe both new vehicle registrations and manufacturers’ production figures are lower than a year ago. Developments in China’s automotive market during the same period were much more dramatic: There, sales figures have plunged by double digit percentages. The performance of the German premium producers, who are key to voestalpine in this market, was all the more remarkable in that they continued to generate stable sales on the whole.

In North America too, automotive sales peaked in the previous year and now are in a slight downward trajectory. Yet this market development barely affects the launch of voestalpine’s automotive component plant in Cartersville, Georgia, USA—its biggest outside of Europe. The facility is still in the start-up phase. Some of the measures that were put in place due to substantially higher start-up costs are still in the process of being implemented. The processes have already been improved, but the negative impact on earnings will continue through the current business year.

Demand in the Tubes & Sections business segment—specifically, the construction as well as the construction & agricultural machinery segments—has remained stable. By contrast, specialty tubes and sections for the automotive industry that are used for passive safety—such as components for airbag and safety belt tensioner systems—were affected by the automotive market’s generally slowing momentum.

Following the boom in recent years, the Precision Strip business segment, which produces ultrathin and precise strip steel for cutting tools and saws, for example, had to contend with the dampening of demand in both Europe and North America during the first quarter of the current business year. While demand in China followed a somewhat stable trajectory, the competitive pressure from Chinese manufacturers in this market has clearly intensified.

The Warehouse & Rack Solutions business segment, which specializes in engineering and manufacturing high-bay warehouses, continues to deliver solid performance. The unbroken trend toward online purchases continues to drive demand for efficient storage systems, thus assuring good capacity utilization in this segment until the close of the calendar year.

Development of the key figures

Quarterly development of the Metal Forming Division

In millions of euros


Q1 2018/19


Q1 2019/20









in %






















EBITDA margin














EBIT margin







Employees (full-time equivalent)







The Metal Forming Division had to contend with dramatic declines in key earnings figures despite the largely stable development of revenue. At EUR 737.6 million, therefore, the revenue for the first quarter of the business year 2019/20 was just 1.4% under the revenue of EUR 748.0 million recorded for the first quarter of the business year 2018/19. Just as the division on the whole, the individual business segments did not post any significant year-over-year deviations in external sales either. As far as earnings are concerned, the minus is due mainly to the Automotive Components business segment. The impact of the high start-up costs at the Cartersville plant has been compounded by the weakening of the automotive market, with correspondingly negative effects on capacity utilization. The Precision Strip business segment also posted a slight decline in profitability, whereas Tubes & Sections as well as Warehouse & Rack Solutions were stable. On the whole, the EBITDA of the Metal Forming Division plunged year over year by 30.8%, from EUR 84.4 million to EUR 58.4 million, and the EBITDA margin dropped from 11.3% to 7.9%.

About voestalpine

In its business segments, voestalpine is a globally leading technology group with a unique combination of materials and processing expertise. With its top-quality products and system solutions using steel and other metals, it is a leading partner of the automotive and consumer goods industries as well as of the aerospace and oil & gas industries. voestalpine is also the world market leader in complete railway systems as well as in tool steel and special sections.


50 Countries on all 5 continents
500 Group companies and locations
52,000 Employees worldwide

Earnings FY 2018/19

€ 13.6 Billion


€ 1.6 Billion


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