Promotion - entgeltliche Einschaltung

General Overview of the Development of the Forestry Sector and other Areas of Relevance to ÖBf

9. Juni 2010, 13:53

Fiscal 2009 was characterized by the repercussions of the global economic crisis.
This was especially evident in the first half of 2009 when the Austrian timber industry sharply reduced its production. This impacted the planned liquidation of ÖBf AG’s wet storage sites in the first quarter of 2009. Österreichische Bundesforste AG had approximately 300,000 cubic meters of windthrow from 2007/2008 in storage. Due to the severe winter and low prices usage in private forests was sharply curtailed. As a result, there was very little timber on the market which ultimately meant that the wet storage sites could be dismantled quickly. In this situation, we were able to reap the full benefits of market and price stabilization as well as our ability to guarantee supplies for our customers even in extreme situations.

The second half of the year was characterized by a high ratio of wood damaged by bark beetles as a consequence of the storms Kyrill in 2007 and Paul and Emma in 2008.

The devastating earthquake that struck central Italy in early April also had an impact on the Austrian lumber market. Subsequent reconstruction efforts were directed at providing winter-proof accommodation for the countless people who had been made homeless and the Austrian timber industry was able to make a significant contribution to the construction of these new homes. The Levant countries were an important and highly competitive market for the sale of lumber products. In the fourth quarter, a renewed shortage of raw materials led to an upturn on the timber market that was also reflected in higher prices.

Due to production cutbacks in the sawmill industry and the slight improvement in the economic situation demand for paper and pulpwood products was satisfactory. Prices in this segment remained stable.

The renewable energy segment was also of great importance for Österreichische Bundesforste AG. The harvesting of forest biomass made an important contribution to forest hygiene by rapidly removing potential breeding material for bark beetles from the forest while its thermal utilization meant that it also had a meaningful economic use. Furthermore, activities in the small hydroelectric power plant segment were pushed forward with construction of the Kainischtraun power plant and the commissioning of the Dientenbach power plant.

The Austrian Federal Forests is also very active in the field of renewable energy, both as a supplier of raw materials and via investments as a plant constructor and operator. It is making massive efforts both at an international and domestic level to promote the use of renewable energy sources. At the EU Climate Summit at the end of 2008, Austria agreed to increase the proportion of renewable energy sources in gross domestic consumption to 34% by 2020. In addition to reducing consumption, this target is to be achieved by rapidly expanding biomass, water, wind and solar power plants.
ÖBf’s business was not noticeably affected by the global real estate crisis, which brought weaker demand and lower prices to both the purchase and rental segment in Austria albeit in an attenuated form and for only a short period. This is essentially because most of the marketable properties in ÖBf’s leasing and rental unit are let on long-term tenancies and a further stage of expansion was reached in terms of winter and summer tourism. Fortunately, sales volume was also maintained in the mining unit despite the general slowdown in construction activity

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