Subject to the approval of the Annual General Meeting of voestalpine AG, which will take place on July 1, 2020, a dividend of EUR 0.20 per share will be paid to the company’s shareholders. Relative to the previous year’s dividend of EUR 1.10 per share, the reduction in this year’s dividend stems from the company’s negative earnings performance in the business year 2019/20, the tense economic environment associated with the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the decline in the price of voestalpine’s share. Relative to voestalpine’s average share price of EUR 23.38 in the reporting period, the dividend yield for the business year ended is 0.9% (previous year: 3.1%).
At 67%, the gearing ratio (net financial debt as a percentage of equity) as of March 31, 2020, rose significantly (previous year: 47%). Besides the negative earnings performance, this development was largely due to accounting rules as well as the redemption of the EUR 500 million hybrid bond as of October 31, 2019. Net financial debt rose due to the change in accounting standards (IFRS 16) by EUR 436 million and the redemption of the hybrid bond in the amount of EUR 500 million; the final amount as of March 31, 2020, is EUR 3.8 billion (previous year: EUR 3.1 billion). Equity fell by 16.3% from EUR 6.7 billion as of March 31, 2019, to EUR 5.6 billion as of March 31, 2020. In addition to the Group’s earnings performance, this decline stems from the redemption of the hybrid bond, which had been reported in equity, as well as the dividend payments made in the course of the business year 2019/20.
Year over year, cash flows from operating activities rose by 11.8%, from EUR 1.2 billion to EUR 1.3 billion. Working capital declined by EUR 434 million in the same period. As of March 31, 2020, the voestalpine Group had about 49,700 employees (FTE), which equates to a year-over-year reduction by 4.3% (2,225 FTE).