Even after the end of the first quarter the outlook for the current business year, as published a little over two months ago at the presentation of the Annual Report 2016/17, remains unchanged. For 2017/18 this means that we may anticipate a substantial increase in revenue compared with the previous year, due to the start-up of a series of new facilities including the HBI plant in Texas, USA and the new wire mill in Leoben, Donawitz in Austria, and several downstream investments in the High Performance Metals and Metal Forming divisions in Europe, the USA and China, as well as the result of having largely secured full utilization of production capacities across the entire corporate value chain. “This positive expectation is reinforced by the most recent macroeconomic growth forecasts, particularly for the European Union and China. Against this backdrop, any possible negative effects resulting from today's highly unpredictable US economic policies will remain within strict limits, at least from our current perspective,” says Wolfgang Eder.
In terms of earnings, following the excellent first quarter we expect the second quarter to be characterized by continued strong demand although also by seasonal effects (production cutbacks due to regular summer plant closures). Contrary to the summer months in years past, due to current strong market growth this should not have a fundamental effect on the overall positive earnings performance in the first six months of 2017/18. However, this does not allow for reliable forecasts on the development of the year’s second half before the end of the second quarter, especially with respect to the ongoing volatility of raw materials prices.