Voestalpine maintains downstream ambitions

In the long run, voestalpine group intends to make more products “…made of steel than steel itself”, its chief executive, Herbert Eibensteiner, said during a conference call on Tuesday attended by Kallanish.

Eibensteiner thus confirmed a course that was already taken by his predecessor, Wolfgang Eder. As a most recent example, voestalpine massively boosted its sales of high-bay warehouses, often to online commerce companies, which have been clear winners of the coronavirus crisis. Its major markets for this product are Europe and the USA, but the Austrian company also sells warehouses to China, the ceo noted.

Future investments will likely go in the direction of processing and technology, although no clear targets were named at the conference. Eibensteiner said the level of investment is bound to increase once the main trough of the Covid-19 period is over, and a certain clarity returns. In the first nine months of the business year 2020/21, or April to December 2020, the investment level of €450 million (544m) was well below the company’s long-term average.

Eibensteiner noted that the group has fared comparably well during the Covid-19 crisis, with revenue in the first nine months down only -17% year-on-year to €8 billion. “Given the continuous improvement in order levels over the reporting period, revenue for the third business quarter was only slightly lower year over year,” he noted. At €683m, Ebida for the first three quarters was -18% less on-year.