The number of COVID-19 infections rose dramatically yet again in most of the world during the third quarter of the business year 2020/21. Individual states in Europe reacted yet again with lockdowns; even in the United States restrictions were imposed on public life.
Given the circumstances, so far none of these measures have had material adverse effects on the economic recovery of those markets that are relevant to the voestalpine Group. However, the uncertainties about economic developments going forward have risen sharply. It is completely unclear to date how the expansion of limitations on commerce will affect the consumption of European products. The risk of downtimes in production or of interruptions in essential supply chains owing to the pandemic cannot be predicted at this time.
In no small part, this is why voestalpine’s management continues to focus on cost management and earnings stabilization. Its efforts with respect to working capital management and curtailment of investments in order to buttress both cash flow and the Group’s asset and capital structure will continue as well.
Several positive developments occurred after the end of the reporting period above and beyond central banks’ clearly supportive monetary policies in the world’s major economic regions.
- First and foremost, the medicines regulatory authorities (MRAs) of many countries have licensed vaccines against the COVID-19 virus, and campaigns to immunize the public have been launched.
- The U.S. Administration announced an economic stimulus package of historic proportions.
With the exception of the oil and natural gas sector as well as the aerospace industry, we can say from today’s vantage point that the economic rebound of the voestalpine Group’s main markets is more probable than not.
Assuming that there will be no new major restrictions on economic activity and/or state-ordered measures owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Management Board currently forecasts EBITDA of about EUR 1 billion for the entire business year 2020/21 and thus an amount at the upper end of the previously communicated range.