Capital market-relevant press releases, 2001-03-02, 01:00 AM
Encouraging performance in first quarter of 2000/2001 - First signs of weakening in evidence: earnings expected to match prior year
At its Annual Stockholders` Meeting today the ThyssenKrupp Group also commented on its performance in the first quarter of fiscal year 2000/2001 and the outlook for the rest of the year. In the first three months (October to December 2000) ThyssenKrupp`s order intake rose 6% to euro9.5 billion and sales climbed 13% to euro9.2 billion. Pre-tax income was well up on the prior-year quarter, increasing by some euro0.2 billion to around euro0.3 billion. All segments made a contribution to this result, which also includes revenue from the disposal of the Krupp Werner & Pfleiderer group. Compared with the preceding quarter, i.e. July to September 2000, the encouraging trend initially continued, but the first signs of weakening are now in evidence.
The situation in the individual segments in the first three months of the current fiscal year:
- Sales at Steel rose 12% to euro3.1 billion. Orders were 9% down at euro3 billion.
- Automotive achieved a 10% improvement in orders and sales to euro1.6 billion and euro1.5 billion, respectively.
- Elevators saw its sales rise 24% to euro0.8 billion, while orders climbed 16% to euro0.9 billion.
- The new Technologies segment returned sales of euro1.3 billion, 8% up on the prior-year period. Order intake grew 14% to euro1.5 billion.
- Sales in the Materials segment rose 11% to euro2.6 billion, while orders at just under euro2.6 billion showed a 9% improvement.
- In percentage terms, the biggest sales increase was achieved by Serv - up 59% to euro0.6 billion. The previous year´s acquisitions had an impact here. Orders increased by 36% to euro0.6 billion.
As regards economic prospects for the rest of the year, the news is increasingly negative - both for individual regions and for specific sectors. Although most indicators are still pointing upward, economic growth continues to slow. Following 4.2% last year, forecasts for 2001 are for the world economy to grow by up to 3%. The highest rates are expected in the emerging markets of Southeast Asia and Latin America. Japan has yet to show signs of a real recovery. In the euro zone, the economic fundamentals remain favorable on the whole, although here too the pace of growth is falling. Growth forecasts for Germany range from an optimistic 2.8% predicted by the government to a more cautious 2.4% expected by economists. In contrast, the US economy is cooling down, with growing speculation that there will be a "hard landing". Of key importance here is that a negative trend is expected in manufacturing in the USA, and growth will be generated primarily in the service sector. Many economic expectations will therefore not be met this year. After the slowing down in the first half, many people hope that economic growth will pick up again in the second half of 2001, especially in the USA.
Having started well in the first quarter, ThyssenKrupp - like all other companies - is suffering the effects of the world economic downturn, in particular in the steel and automotive sectors. Current estimates for steel price developments and negative trends in the automobile industry, above all in the USA, are being reflected in our Group - especially in the Steel, Automotive and Materials segments - in lower earnings compared with the previous year. However, positive effects emanating mainly from Production Systems and Corporate should help compensate to a certain extent. The way the US dollar/euro exchange rate develops could also have a considerable impact on earnings. Against this background the Group no longer expects to increase its earnings this fiscal year. This has become increasingly clear in recent weeks and has probably also been reflected in the share price. Despite the deteriorating economy, however, ThyssenKrupp will make every effort to deliver another good earnings figure, the aim being to match last year´s results.
More information on the current business situation will be provided on May 30, when the first-half report for 2000/2001 will be published including more details on the first-quarter figures. The report on the third quarter and the first nine months of the year will be published on August 28, 2001. By introducing quarterly reporting ThyssenKrupp aims to provide more transparency and greater openness in its financial communication. Following the changeover to US GAAP and the expansion of segment reporting, the Group is now adapting its reporting system further to international standards.