SOGEFI (CIR GROUP): 2019 REVENUES € 1,519.2M, -2.2% AT CONSTANT EXCHANGE RATES (MARKET -5.8%)
EBITDA at € 174.3 million, 11.5% of revenues
Profitability in line with 2018 but improved during 2019
EBIT at € 39.6 million after significant start-up costs for new production sites and write-down of assets
Milan, February 24 2020 – The Board of Directors of Sogefi S.p.A., which met today under the chairmanship of Monica Mondardini, has approved the proposed financial statements for the year 2019. Sogefi, a company of the CIR Group, is one of the main global producers of automotive components in three sectors: Air and Cooling, Filtration and Suspensions.
Mauro Fenzi, Chief Executive of Sogefi, made the following statement:
“Sogefi in a difficult year succeeded in outperforming the market and keeping its margins substantially stable. Indeed margins improved in the fourth quarter and in Europe they improved over the whole year. The management team and the employees of a company with a great tradition like Sogefi, which has a consolidated relationship with its customers, will continue in their effort to meet the challenges of a market that is profoundly evolving”.
In 2019, the world car market reported a decline in production of 5.8% compared to 2018: -4.7% in Europe, -3.9% in North America, -8.9% in Asia and -4% in South America. In the fourth quarter the decline was 5.4%, with Europe and NAFTA very weak (-6.3% and -8.9% respectively).
Sogefi reported revenues of € 1,519.2 million, down by 3.3% from 2018 at historical exchange rates and down by 2.2% at constant exchange rates.
Revenues at constant exchange rates were down by 1.7% in Europe, by 6.3% in North America and by 8.2% in Asia, while in South America they were up by 8.1%. The overall decline was more limited than that reported by the market (-5.8%) thanks to the performance of revenues in Europe which held up compared to the market (-1.7%, versus -4.7% for the market).
Even in the last quarter of the year Sogefi confirmed a sales performance that was better than the market (-3.5% at current exchange rates and 2.2% at constant exchange rates compared to the market’s -5.4%), with Europe at -1.8% and growth in China and India.
By business sector, Filtration with growth of 2.7% (+1.7% at current exchange rates) bucked the market trend, Air and Cooling reported a more limited decline that the market (-3.5% at constant exchange rates and -1.7% at current exchange rates) while the revenues of Suspensions reported a decline of 5.6% (-8.8% at current exchange rates).
Operating results and net income
EBITDA for 2019 came in at € 174.3 million (of which € 12.4 million from the application of IFRS 16), and profitability (EBITDA / Revenues %), despite the lower volumes, came to 11.5%, a value in line with that of the previous year on a like-for-like basis and excluding in 2018 the non-recurring income of € 6.6 million from the settlement of the quality claims in Systèmes Moteurs S.A.S..
In the fourth quarter, profitability (11.8%) was in line with the number for the third quarter of the year and confirms the recovery that took place in the year (10.6% and 11.6% in the first and second quarters respectively). Moreover, profitability in the fourth quarter was higher than the figure reported in fourth quarter 2018 and was 9.7% with the same accounting standards.
EBIT was € 39.6 million versus € 60.1 million in 2018 (€ 53.5 million without considering the above-mentioned item of non-recurring income of € 6.6 million); profitability (EBIT / Revenues %) came to 2.6%, compared to 3.4% in 2018. The decline in EBIT was due partly to the lower EBITDA in absolute terms, linked to the fall in revenues, and partly to the start-up costs of the plants in Morocco and Romania and lastly to a write-off of business activities for € 10.7 million.
Operating results showed healthy growth in Europe, thanks to the action taken in the period, while a negative impact came from various circumstances affecting the North American businesses of the group and from the unfavourable performance of the Chinese and South American markets.
Income before taxes came to € 15.9 million (€ 36.2 million in 2018) after financial expenses of € 23.7 million (€ 19.5 million before application of IFRS 16), versus € 23.9 million in 2018.
Net income came in at € 3.2 million compared to € 14.0 million in 2018, after tax charges of € 13.7 million, down from € 20.0 million in the previous year. The greater impact of taxes reflects the composition of the result, with some geographical area posting significant earnings and others where the decision was made not to recognize deferred tax assets offsetting losses linked to the start-up of business activities or continuing critical market conditions. The net result includes income of € 4.0 million from the sale of the Fraize plant (included in the item “Discontinued operations”), which compares with net income of € 1.1 million from the same business in 2018.
Free Cash Flow for 2019 was a positive € 8.4 million, up from € 2.9 million in 2018, which included the disbursement for the acquisition of minority interests in the Indian subsidiary (€ 16.7 million).
Net debt before IFRS 16 stood at € 256.2 million at December 31 2019, which was slightly lower than the figure of € 260.5 million at the close 2018. Including the sum of € 62.7 million from the application of IFRS 16, the net debt figure at December 31 2019 would have been € 318.9 million.
At December 31 2019 Shareholders’ equity, excluding minority interests, stood at € 188.7 million (€ 192.9 million at December 31 2018).
The Sogefi Group had 6,818 employees at December 31 2019 versus 6,967 at December 31 2018. The reduction was due both to the decline in business activity and to the sale in 2019 of the Fraize plant (127 employees at December 31 2018).
Results of the parent company Sogefi S.p.A.
The parent company Sogefi S.p.A. reported net income of € 7.7 million in 2019 compared to a net loss of € 13.7 million in the same period of the previous year. The increase was due mainly to the greater flow of dividends distributed by the subsidiaries and to lower financial expense.
Outlook for the year 2020
Sector sources expect 2020 global car production to decline slightly, with Europe at -1.4%; for the first quarter of 2020, the trend should be a major decline, mainly in China, with a recovery in the following quarters. It should be highlighted that the market outlook remains highly uncertain and the visibility low.
Taking into account its contracts portfolio, Sogefi expects sales substantially in line with 2019 and slightly better than the market.
A stable profitability in Europe is expected, thanks to the actions taken particularly in the Suspensions business, and a margin recovery is expected in North America, thanks to the new Air & Cooling contracts acquired.
The current year will be key for the development of the new Suspensions plant in Romania which will contribute to strengthen the EMEA business from 2022 onwards.
These perspectives do not incorporate the effects of Coronavirus; considering the relatively limited exposure of Sogefi to the Chinese market, the main risk is represented by the impact on the world economy and on the car production worldwide.
The Board of Directors will propose to the Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders that no dividend be distributed.
Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders
The Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders of Sogefi has been called for April 20 2020 at the first call and for April 21 2020 at the second call.
- The Board of Directors has voted to put the following proposals before the ordinary session of the AGM: The cancellation and renewal of the power assigned to the same Board of Directors, taking into account current legislation and regulations in force, Consob Resolution no. 20876 of April 3 2019 and Consob Guidelines of July 2019, for a period of 18 months to buy back a maximum of 10 million own shares (including 2,212,478 own shares held today, corresponding to 1.8419% of the share capital) at a unit price that must not be more than 10% higher or lower than the benchmark price recorded by the shares in the stock exchange trading session preceding each single buyback transaction or the date on which the price is fixed and in any case, when the purchases are made on a regulated market, at a price that is no higher than the higher of the price of the last independent transaction and the current independent bid price in the same market, in accordance with what is stipulated in EU Delegated Regulation no. 2016/1052. The main reasons for renewing this authorization are the following: to fulfil obligations resulting from any stock option plans or other forms of assignation of the Company’s shares to employees or members of the Board of Directors of Sogefi or its affiliated companies; to fulfil obligations that may derive from debt instruments that can be converted into or exchanged for shares; to have a portfolio of own shares to use as consideration in any extraordinary transactions, possibly involving an exchange of shareholding interests, with other parties within the scope of transactions of interest to the Company (a so-called “stock of shares”); to be able to increase the liquidity of the shares in the market; to be able to take any opportunities for creating value as well as investing liquidity efficiently in relation to the trend of the market; for any other purpose that the competent Authorities should qualify as permitted market practice as per the terms of the European and domestic rules applicable, and following the procedures established therein;
- The approval of a stock grant plan for 2020 aimed at employees of the Company and its subsidiaries for a maximum of 1,000,000 conditional rights, each of which will give the beneficiaries the right to be assigned 1 Sogefi share free of charge. The shares thus assigned will be made available from the stock of own shares held by the company. The plan has the aim of rewarding loyalty in the relationship between the beneficiaries and the companies of the Group, giving them an incentive to increase their commitment to improving the performance of the companies.
The Annual General Meeting will also be called upon to pass a resolution for the appointment of a Director and the proposal is that Mr Mauro Fenzi (Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Company) should be confirmed after being co-opted by the Board as per the terms of Art. 2386 of the Civil Code on December 9 2019.