Owing to its exceptionally solid financial position and sound strategic alignment, Salzgitter AG is well equipped to meet the challenges ahead. Consolidated external sales rose by EUR 2.14 billion to EUR 9.64 billion (+ 29 %; 9M/2007: EUR 7.50 billion). Along with the higher selling prices of steel products, mainly the companies of Klöckner-Werke AG, which are part of the Technology Division, together with other companies which, in the previous year´s period, did not yet belong to the group of consolidated companies, contributed EUR 1.02 billion to revenue growth. The Group´s pre-tax profit of EUR 1.01 billion, generated in the first three quarters of 2008, was marginally higher in a year-on-year comparison (9M/2007: EUR 980 million). This increase was attributable, on the one hand, to better selling prices, which had a considerable impact on the tubes business and also led to a temporary widening of margins in the steel stockholding companies of the Trading Division, and on the other hand, to the profit contribution of the Technology Division which was more than EUR 25 million higher as against the year-earlier figure. Profit after tax, which came in at EUR 689.0 million, exceeded the figure posted in the first nine months of 2007 (EUR 594.9 million) by 16 %, mainly due to the lower domestic corporate tax rate. Earnings per share stood at EUR 12.30. Return on capital employed (ROCE) from industrial business posted 31.4 % and, taking account of cash funds of more than one billion euros, ROCE came to 28 % (9M/2007: 29.0 %).
Provided that the conditions in the environment do not change beyond what is currently known and expected up until the end of the year, Salzgitter AG will generate a consolidated pre-tax profit of almost EUR 1.2 billion in the financial year 2008. Even after contingent accounting measures as part of the annual accounts process, pre-tax profit will range within the previous forecast for the financial year of more than one billion euros. Express reference is made to the fact that, given the current volatility in the financial and real economy, currently unforeseeable trends in sales prices, input materials and capacity level developments, as well as changes in the currency parity, may affect performance in the course of the fourth quarter of 2008.