In ROW, volume improved in the third quarter of 2012 as previously delayed aerial transmission projects in Brazil and high voltage projects for export from Thailand were shipped. The Company also benefited from electrical infrastructure investment and construction activity in Latin America as well as the ongoing recovery of demand patterns in Thailand following the severe flooding experienced in the fourth quarter of 2011. Also, order rates for rod mill OEM customers and electrical distributors normalized as metal prices settled and began rising over the latter part of the quarter. As a result, overall volume for the third quarter was slightly better than expected.
In North America overall, volume was consistent with expectations across most business units in North America as seasonal demand patterns in the Company’s utility businesses following a strong second quarter, coupled with an industrial slowdown broadly reduced demand for wire and cable products during the third quarter of 2012 as compared to the second quarter of 2012. Demand for electrical infrastructure products including industrial and specialty cables, particularly those used in natural resource extraction and transit applications, remains relatively stable year over year.
In Europe and Mediterranean, increased submarine and land based turnkey project activity in the third quarter of 2012 as compared to the second quarter of 2012 was more than offset by the very weak domestic demand environment in Iberia coupled with seasonal demand patterns including the August summer holiday period throughout much of Europe. In addition, the second quarter of 2012 reflected strong demand for medium voltage cables in France and aluminum based electric utility products in the Mediterranean. Overall, volume was below expectations as demand in Spain weakened further in all domestic market sectors. The Company’s backlog was around $650 million for submarine and land-based turnkey cable projects at the end of the third quarter.