Metal Forming Division

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

Market environment and business development

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the performance of the Metal Forming Division in the first three quarters of the business year 2020/21, but conditions gradually improved from the very difficult scenario at the beginning of the business year. Besides implementing measures to optimize costs, the division initially responded to the volatile conditions by registering employees for short time work and taking other steps similar to such programs at numerous facilities.

The unsettling economic developments in the Automotive Components business segment were particularly pronounced. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) shut down production for several weeks as part of the comprehensive lockdowns enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, directly affecting order call-ups as a result. Once the automakers incrementally restarted production at their European plants in late April 2020, capacity utilization within Automotive Components steadily recovered as well. voestalpine’s automotive component plants in North America faced developments mirroring those in Europe. In some cases, the slight timewise staggering of the OEMs’ production ramp-ups was offset by steeper ramp-up curves. Lockdowns of this nature had already been enacted in China several weeks earlier, enabling demand for passenger cars to rebound substantially in that country while automotive plants in both Europe and North America were still shut down. In turn, this allowed voestalpine’s plants in China to achieve solid capacity utilization at the start of the current business year.

The Tubes & Sections business segment also showed considerable upward trends in the first three quarters of the business year 2020/21. Following an already very hesitant start, here, too, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a meltdown in demand. In Europe, the rebound especially of the automotive, commercial vehicle, and agricultural machine industries contributed continually to the improvement in orders over the course of the business year. The storage technology customer segment delivered satisfactory performance as well. Orders improved not only in Continental Europe, but also in Great Britain. Thanks mainly to the boom in storage technology as well as solid developments in the solar industry, the business volume at voestalpine’s U.S. plants rose substantially despite the sharp downturn in orders from the aerospace industry. Brazil presented a satisfactory economic environment in spite of high COVID-19 infection rates. voestalpine’s facilities in this market (its largest one in South America) succeeded in leveraging both this environment and efficiency-boosting measures into a highly positive performance.

The upward trend in the Precision Strip business segment also continued unabated during the reporting period. While capacity utilization during the current business year’s third quarter almost reached the level prevailing prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the upturn failed to materialize for bi-metal strip used in industrial saws. The economic environment in Europe improved subsequent to the hesitant start into the new business year. Orders on hand reached good levels in North America also. China saw a rebound as early as in the first business quarter.

In contrast to prevailing economic trends brought on by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the momentum in the Warehouse & Rack Solutions business segment continued to improve year over year throughout the first three quarters of the business year 2020/21. In the fall, the segment posted new records with respect to orders received in its core markets: Europe and North America. As a result, full production capacity utilization has already been secured far beyond the close of the current business year. What’s driving this boom is the ever-increasing trend toward e-commerce, which has accelerated in the wake of COVID-19.

Financial key performance indicators

Quarterly development of the Metal Forming Division

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Q 1 – Q 3





Q 1


Q 2


Q 3






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Employees (full- time equivalent), end of period













The significant downturn in the business volume of the Metal Forming Division reflected its very difficult market environment at the start of the business year 2020/21. Revenue for the business year’s first three quarters dropped by 17.0% to EUR 1,758.7 million (Q 1 – Q 3 2019/20: EUR 2,120.0 million). The division’s two large business segments—Automotive Components and Tubes & Sections—had to contend with sharp declines. Following the lockdowns in both Europe and North America as well as the meltdown in sales, especially in the first quarter, delivery volumes gradually rose again over the course of the business year. In the third quarter, revenue finally reached the level reported for the same quarter the previous business year.

Year over year, the division succeeded in boosting its earnings-related key performance indicators (KPIs). Any analysis of the previous year’s figures must consider non-recurring effects entailing impairment losses and/or restructuring expenses, particularly in the Automotive Components segment, which impacted the 2019/20 EBITDA to the tune of some EUR 20 million and EBIT to the tune of some EUR 60 million. Based on the figures for the reporting period, EBITDA for the first three quarters of the business year 2020/21 rose to EUR 149.8 million (Q 1 – Q 3 2019/20: EUR 138.9 million). Automotive Components accounted for most of this growth, which resulted from the previous business year’s non-recurring effects. Both the Tubes & Sections and the Precision Strip business segments generated slightly lower EBITDA, whereas Warehouse & Rack Solutions remained on a steady trajectory. The EBITDA margin improved year over year, from 6.6% a year earlier to 8.5% in the reporting period. The division’s EBIT rose during the same period from negative territory (EUR –5.8 million, with a margin of –0.3%) to substantially positive territory (EUR 44.3 million, margin of 2.5%).

The quarter-on-quarter comparison (QoQ) of the second and third quarters of the current business year shows a slight upward trend in the KPIs. Revenue rose by 4.7%, from EUR 636.5 million to EUR 666.2 million. This increase stems from an expansion of the business volume in Automotive Components. The division’s other business segments followed a largely stable trend QoQ. It also recorded a slight improvement in EBITDA, which climbed 6.4% in the third quarter to EUR 69.7 million (Q 2: EUR 65.5 million). The business segments, Tubes & Sections and Precision Strip, posted slightly higher earnings. At 10.5% for the third business quarter, the EBITDA margin remained largely constant quarter on quarter (Q 2: 10.3%). EBIT increased during the same period by 12.4% to EUR 34.4 million (margin of 5.2%), up from EUR 30.6 million (margin of 4.8%) in the second quarter.

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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