Metal Forming Division

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

Market environment and business development

Given its focus on the automotive industry, which had to contend with a significant downturn in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metal Forming Division was confronted with an extremely difficult market environment in the first quarter of the business year 2020/21. All of the division’s sites that were substantially affected by the downturn in orders responded by cutting capacity and registering their employees for short time work.

Plummeting car sales in Europe resulting from the COVID-19 crisis had a devastating impact on the Automotive Components business segment. Starting in mid-March 2020, automakers shut down production across the board. The United States also saw nation-wide production stoppages. Following several weeks of shutdowns in Europe, the first production plants started up again between late April and the middle of May. Subsequently, the step-by-step increase in production capacity on the part of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) boosted order levels at voestalpine’s European automotive component plants. The premium segment—which is key to the Automotive Components business segment—recovered more quickly than the large-volume segment. While the division’s most important automotive customers in the U.S. remained closed for a bit longer than their counterparts in Europe, their ramp-up curve was steeper. Supply chain difficulties were a key reason for the extended shutdowns. voestalpine’s automotive plants in China returned to good capacity utilization at the start of the current business year. There, demand for cars, particularly premium segment vehicles, recovered sooner because the country’s lockdown had preceded all others.

Tubes & Sections also had to contend with difficulties at the start of the current business year. Declines in orders mainly affected the commercial vehicle and automotive industries. While the construction industry, for its part, also faced project stoppages due to COVID-19, deliveries of tubes & sections for high-bay warehouses benefited from the e-commerce boom. Regionally, the diviion’s sites in Europe had to contend with plummeting demand. Market conditions in Great Britain were extremely challenging on account of both COVID-19 and the Brexit. In North America, the market environment remained largely stable during the first quarter of the business year 2020/21. While the economic impact of COVID-19 in Brazil made itself felt later than elsewhere owing to the absence of any crisis management from the government, it is to be expected that the pandemic will negatively affect the country over a longer term.

Orders in the Precision Strip segment in Europe were also marked by a downward trend. In North America, by contrast, the economic environment in this segment remained good at a stable level, similar to developments in Tubes & Sections. China saw a slight recovery from a relatively low level during the first quarter of the business year 2020/21.

By contrast, the momentum in the Warehouse & Rack Solutions business segment intensified despite the spread of COVID-19, bucking the general trend. This is due to the shift toward online commerce, which continues unabated and gained additional momentum during the current crisis, thus causing greater demand for storage systems.

Development of the key figures

Quarterly development of the Metal Forming Division

In millions of euros


Q 1 2019/20


Q 1 2020/21









in %






















EBITDA margin


7.9 %


3.2 %










EBIT margin


3.3 %


–4.5 %



Employees (full-time equivalent), end of period







Owing to its strong orientation toward the automotive industry, in revenue terms the Metal Forming Division posted the biggest decline within the voestalpine Group. This also means that the division’s Automotive Components business segment was affected the most by falling revenue in the first quarter of the business year 2020/21. By contrast, the division’s two smaller business segments—Precision Strip and Warehouse & Rack Solutions—posted solid revenue growth year over year. In sum, the revenue of the Metal Forming Division fell by 38.2%, from EUR 737.6 million in the first quarter of the business year 2019/20 to EUR 456.0 million in the first quarter of 2020/21. The division’s earnings performance is in keeping with this development. Here, too, Automotive Components delivered the weakest performance within the division on account of the distortions in the automotive sector. Temporary capacity cutbacks that were put in place immediately in response to the automotive industry’s production shutdowns helped to reduce the negative impact on costs. By contrast, the Precision Strip and Warehouse & Rack Solutions business segments followed a satisfactory trajectory. Overall, the EBITDA of the Metal Forming Division plummeted by 75.0% year over year, from EUR 58.4 million (margin of 7.9%) in the first quarter of 2019/20 to EUR 14.6 million (margin of 3.2%) in the first quarter of 2020/21. At –20.7 million (margin of –4.5%), the division’s EBIT for the reporting period is in negative territory, compared with EBIT of 24.3 million (margin of 3.3%) in the same period of the previous business year.

Year over year, the number of employees (full-time equivalents, FTE) in the Metal Forming Division as of June 30, 2020, fell by 12.3% to 10,854 (June 30, 2019: 12,374). This decrease reflects adjustments in human resources to the deterioration in the economic environment.

About voestalpine

In its business segments, voestalpine is a globally leading steel and technology group with a unique combination of materials and processing expertise. voestalpine, which operates globally, has around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries on all five continents. It has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1995. With its top-quality products and system solutions, it is a leading partner to the automotive and consumer goods industries as well as the aerospace and oil & gas industries, and is also the world market leader in railway systems, tool steel, and special sections. voestalpine is fully committed to the global climate goals and is working intensively to develop technologies which will allow it to decarbonize and reduce its CO2 emissions over the long term. In the business year 2019/20, the Group generated revenue of EUR 12.7 billion, with an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 1.2 billion; it had about 49,000 employees worldwide.


50 Countries on all 5 continents
500 Group companies and locations
49,000 Employees worldwide

Earnings FY 2019/20

€ 12.7 Billion


€ 1.2 Billion


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