Although the economy recovered incrementally from the economic meltdown at the start of the reporting period, both revenue and earnings for the first half of the business year 2020/21 fell far short of those for the same period the previous year. The decrease in revenue by 21.9% from EUR 6.5 billion to EUR 5.1 billion stems from smaller delivery volumes and lower prices. On the earnings side, voestalpine succeeded in generating a substantially positive operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 395 million in the business year’s first half despite extremely difficult market conditions. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, EBITDA dropped 40.6%, down from EUR 666 million in the same period the previous year. In turn, this pushed the EBITDA margin from 10.2% a year earlier to 7.7% in the current reporting period. The decline in EBIT was much more pronounced: Apart from the pure operating performance, it was due especially to some EUR 200 million in impairment losses on assets at voestalpine Texas and voestalpine Tubulars owing to global market changes that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In sum, EBIT dropped from EUR 230 million in the first half of the business year 2019/20 to EUR –215 million in the first half of the business year 2020/21. Profit before tax fell year over year from EUR 163 million to EUR –268 million, and profit after tax from EUR 115 million to EUR –276 million. Thanks to intensive measures aimed at cost and earnings optimization as well as lower investments of EUR 245 million, during the business year’s first half voestalpine generated substantially higher operating cash flow of EUR 563 million and free cash flow of EUR 281 million.
The gearing ratio (net financial debt as a percentage of equity) improved from 75.1% a year earlier to 66.2% as of September 30, 2020. Equity declined year over year from EUR 6.0 billion to currently EUR 5.3 billion due not only to the company’s operating performance but also to the impairment losses. Net financial debt decreased from EUR 4.5 billion to EUR 3.5 billion thanks to good cash flow.
Year over year, the number of employees (FTE) in the voestalpine Group fell by 6.5% to 47,917. In October 2020, about 2,500 employees in Austria, about 1,200 in Germany, and about 1,800 internationally had been registered for short time work or similar models (particularly Brazil, Sweden, South Africa, France, Great Britain).