Market environment and business development

      The development of the Metal Forming Division in the business year 2023/24 was characterized by diverging trends in individual industries. In general, the environment in Europe was relatively challenging, whereas Asia and, to some extent, North and South America recorded good growth rates.

      In the Automotive Components business segment, production and sales figures remained largely stable. Production and sales of new vehicles increased slightly in the business year 2023/24 compared to the previous year, albeit from a low level. The Automotive Components business segment has adjusted its production capacities accordingly and reorganized the business unit. Against this backdrop, impairment losses were recognized in the fourth quarter of 2023/24 due to the adjustment of planning assumptions and underutilized plants, primarily in Germany. The sale of voestalpine Automotive Components Nagold also took place in the third quarter of 2023/24.

      The locations in North America were well utilized in the past reporting year. The Chinese automotive market developed very dynamically in the business year 2023/24, albeit with high growth rates on the part of Chinese car manufacturers. By contrast, the Chinese branches of European OEMs, which form the customer base of the voestalpine Automotive Components plants, remained largely stable at a good level. This resulted in continued good capacity utilization at the Chinese plants of the Automotive Components business segment.

      The Tubes & Sections business segment recorded increased demand in the photovoltaic segment in Europe, partially offsetting the weak demand figures from the construction industry and the commercial business. The truck business also performed very well, and demand in the cabin construction segment was also very good.

      Extremely positive developments in warehouse technology and in some areas of the aircraft industry were reported in North America. In South America, especially in Brazil, the boom in the photovoltaic industry continued for much of the business year 2023/24, which was reflected in the good performance of the sites in the region. In China, the Tubes & Sections business segment can also look back on a good overall performance in the reporting period. The weakness of the Chinese construction industry was offset by demand for special tube components for air suspension systems in the automotive sector.

      In the Precision Strip business segment, the business year 2023/24 was characterized by a noticeable decline in demand. In addition to the overall economic downturn, destocking within the value chain led to a significant decrease in orders. At a regional level, demand was massively subdued, particularly in Europe, especially in the areas of band saw steel and cutting lines for the packaging industry. Only modest figures for band saw steel were also reported from the USA. The market environment in China improved somewhat, but the European voestalpine sites continue to be confronted with unfavorable conditions for exports due to high energy costs.

      The Warehouse & Rack Solutions business segment posted positive results, continuing the good performance of previous years. High order backlogs from previous periods also led to a good overall performance in the business year 2023/24 and offset the reduced project awards due to high interest rates in Europe and the USA. The reduction in input material costs and the significant easing on the logistics side also had a positive effect. The expansion and commissioning of a new production hall in Louisville, Kentucky, with three production facilities further strengthened the market in the USA. Technological expertise and market share were also further expanded in Europe with the acquisition of Torri S.R.L. in Vicenza, Italy.

      Takeover or purchase of companies or of interests in companies.