For several decades now, Treibacher Industrie AG's company's figures have shown the company to be a consistent top performer.
The economic environment deteriorated as early as the Q4 2019 and led to significantly lower prices for alloys, particularly ferrovanadium. While sales volumes were still
satisfactory in the first months, COVID-19 caused declines in volumes in the Q2 and Q3.
Materials for the aerospace industry were particularly affected, as were our intermediates for the steel and automotive industries in Europe. Fortunately, increased sales activities in Asia compensated for part of the decline in sales in the EU. This enabled at least partially satisfactory capacity utilization and the avoidance of short-time work at Treibacher Industrie AG.
Once again, our broad product portfolio and the high flexibility of our employees proved their worth.
Despite some problems with the supply of auxiliary and operating materials and although part of the workforce switched to the home office from one day to the next, it was possible to ensure proper production and on-time delivery to our customers. In addition, tight security measures succeeded very well in isolating the Corona infections brought in from outside and preventing clustering within the company.
More than 85% of the year-on-year decline in sales was due to lower selling prices - above all in the alloy business.
While our subsidiary Tribotecc GmbH, a supplier to the automotive industry, suffered from weak sales in the spring and summer, our joint venture Evonik Treibacher GmbH benefited from high demand for detergents and cleaning agents.
Our affiliate Leuchtstoffwerk Breitungen GmbH also held up well in this harsh economic environment.
Demand for our products has already improved in Q4 2020 and utilization of our production facilities in Q1 2021 is good.
This is due to the replenishment of strategic inventories by our customers and a global improvement in industrial production. This improvement is based on the growing confidence that a normalization of public and economic life will happen again from Q3 onwards due to the progressing COVID-19 vaccinations.
At the same time, we expect a full-scale economic recovery through catch-up effects in consumer goods and business investment, which will be massively supported by central bank monetary policy and government incentive schemes.
We therefore expect business to develop positively in 2021.