SALZGITTER (dpa-AFX) - Following its profit warning in September, steel group Salzgitter is also cutting its sales forecast for the current year. In view of the weak economic development in Germany and the "extremely volatile environment," sales are likely to reach only around 11 billion euros instead of 11.5 to 12 billion, the SDax-listed company surprisingly announced in Salzgitter on Wednesday. Management is sticking to its capped profit targets for 2023 after the third quarter figures exceeded market expectations. The Salzgitter share initially rose after the news in the afternoon, but turned into the red shortly afterwards.

According to preliminary figures, Salzgitter generated sales of 8.4 billion euros in the first nine months, compared with 9.8 billion a year earlier. Before taxes, the Group was left with a profit of 254 million euros, a slump of 78 percent. According to the figures, 20 million of the pre-tax profit came from the investment in the Aurubis copper group, compared with 116 million a year earlier. According to the information provided, Salzgitter nevertheless performed better than analysts had expected on average.

For the year as a whole, the Executive Board continues to expect a pre-tax profit of between 200 and 250 million euros. However, raw material costs, the price of precious metals and exchange rate fluctuations could "still have a significant impact" on the result, it added. In September, Aurubis and its major shareholder Salzgitter had initially withdrawn their profit forecasts and subsequently set them significantly lower. The reason was suspected fraud by individual scrap suppliers at Aurubis. Salzgitter intends to publish the final figures for the third quarter as planned on November 13./stw/he