THIRD QUARTER 2020 SHOWS PROFIT
Higher revenues, greater margin and lower fixed costs
RESULTS FOR FIRST NINE MONTHS NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY FIRST HALF
Revenues at € 860.6 million, -21.9% at constant exchange rates (car market -23.2%)
EBITDA margin in line with 2019: € 94.7million, 11% of revenues
(11.4% in first nine months of 2019)
EBIT: -€ 3.2 million as effect of lower volumes
EBIT for the whole year 2020 expected to be positive (excluding restructuring costs)
Milan, October 23 2020 – The Board of Directors of Sogefi S.p.A., which met today under the chairmanship of Monica Mondardini, has approved the Interim Financial Report of the group as of September 30 2020. Sogefi, a company of the CIR group, is one of the main producers worldwide of components for motor vehicles in three sectors: Air and Cooling, Filtration and Suspensions.
After the first half of 2020 in which world car production suffered an unprecedented decline (-33.2%) due to the effects of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the third quarter the market reported a strong recovery compared to the previous quarter (+60.7%), with volumes just 3.5% below those of the same period of 2019 (after a second quarter at -42.9%). The recovery affected all markets: China, where production was greater than that of the third quarter of the previous year (+10.7%), NAFTA with volumes equivalent to those of third quarter 2019 (+0.5%), the EU with volumes gradually rising, although lower in the third quarter than in 2019 (-10.7%). In South America the situation was still decidedly critical (-20.9%).
Despite the recovery in the third quarter, the first nine months of 2020 as a whole again posted very significant declines: -23.2% for world car production compared to the first nine months of 2019, -31.3% in the EU, -26.5% in North America, -8.9 % in China and -40.4% in South America.
During the first half of the year the Group’s priority was the safety of its workforce. From the moment when news of the Covid-19 phenomenon in China was received, action was taken immediately to reduce the risk of contagion. In the second quarter almost all activity in the factories and other workplaces was suspended in compliance with the instructions issued by the various local authorities or at the decision of the company, which had recourse everywhere to working from home whenever possible. All measures recommended for health and safety in the workplace were adopted and production processes were reviewed in all geographical areas with the formulation and implementation of new safety protocols including social distancing and the use of systems for individual protection. In the current phase, the new wave of contagion is leading to the adoption of further restrictive measures to limit the number of people present in the workplace with the adoption of flexible working.
At the same time, incisive measures were put in place to mitigate the impact of the crisis and the consequent contraction in sales and these made it possible to achieve a positive result in the third quarter. In particular, this result was due to the following:
- The increase in the contribution margin to 31%, up from 30.3% in the third quarter of 2019 and 29.5% in the second quarter;
- The 20.2% reduction in fixed costs with their ratio to revenues falling from 17% in third quarter 2019 to 14.8% in 2020.
Despite the situation of the first nine months, since the beginning of the year Sogefi has obtained new contracts for a total amount estimated to be in line with previous years and with the objectives of maintaining/growing its market share.
More specifically, Air and Cooling obtained an important contract (€ 100 million) to supply air intake manifolds in aluminium to a prime German OEM. This material to all extents and purposes introduces a new product line in a date 25% of the value of orders received in the first nine months of the year were for components for cooling hybrid or full-electric vehicles, which forms a basis for the division to achieve an excellent positioning in the markets in future.
The Suspensions division received an order from a prime North American producer of full-electric vehicles and thus, at global level, orders for hybrid and full-electric applications reached 35% of the total orders for the 9-month period. This growth was obtained partly thanks to the new product developed specifically to meet the demand for lightweight parts and rapid time-to-market for electric vehicles. The division has in fact engineered a conical progressive rate spring suspension for this type of application.
KEY RESULTS FOR THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2020
Third quarter revenues showed a significant recovery compared to the previous period and were more or less in line with the third quarter of 2019 at constant exchange rates (-8.1% at current exchange rates).
The results were positive thanks to the recovery of revenues and to the measures adopted, which led to a slight increase in the contribution margin and a significant reduction of fixed costs.
EBITDA was 14% compared to 12% in the same period of 2019.
EBIT was positive for € 15.6 million, which was higher than the figure for 2019 of € 13.1 million; the ratio of EBIT to sales rose from 3.5% to 4.6%.
In the period the Group reported net income of € 5.6 million versus € 1.4 million in 2019.
Free Cash Flow before IFRS 16 was positive for € 28.0 million versus € 2.8 million in 2019.
KEY RESULTS FOR THE FIRST NINE MONTHS OF 2020
In the first nine months of 2020, Sogefi’s revenues came in at € 860.6 million, posting a decline compared with the same period of 2019 of 25.1% at historical exchange rates and of 21.9% at constant exchange rates.
Looking back at the trend of revenues during the year, after the first two months of the year when sales were in line with 2019, in March the first effects of the pandemic were recorded (-29.5% on 2019), which then became seriously worse in the months of April (-79.5%) and May (-64.5%); in June the recovery began (with a more limited fall in revenues compared to 2019, -24.9 %), continuing then in July (-18%), August (-7.5%) and September, when revenues showed slight growth compared to 2019 (+0.8%).
The performance of revenues at constant exchange rates in the first nine months was better than the market in all the main geographical areas: -24.6% in Europe versus the market’s -31.3%, -17.9% in NAFTA versus -26.5%, +12.6% in China versus -8.9%.
By business sector, Filtration (with a fall in revenues of 16.2% at constant exchange rates) and Air and Cooling (-17.8% at constant exchange rates) reported a distinctly less unfavourable performance than the market thanks, for Filtration, to the greater resilience of the OES and Aftermarket channels and, for Air and Cooling, to the development of the contract portfolio particularly in North America. The impact of the crisis was greater for Suspensions, where revenues fell by 30.6% at constant exchange rates, reflecting the greater concentration of the business in Europe and South America and the particularly unfavourable performance of the sector in these areas.
OPERATING RESULT AND NET RESULT
In the nine month period the fall in revenues had significant effects on the economic results of the group, despite the positive impact of the mitigation measures adopted.
EBITDA for the first nine months came in at € 94.7 million, down from € 130.7 million in the same period of 2019; it should be noted that profitability (EBITDA / Revenues %) came to 11%, which was substantially in line with the same period of 2019 (11.4%).
The contribution margin of the first nine months of the year was slightly better than that of 2019, rising from 29.7% to 30.3%; the impact of the cost of raw materials was lower thanks partly to market phenomena and partly to the plans put in place as from last year to optimize the purchase prices of steel for the production of suspension systems and this offset the impact of the inevitable production inefficiencies caused by the shutdown and subsequent return to production and the low volumes. The ratio of fixed costs to sales in the first nine months was substantially unchanged from the same period of 2019, thanks to the reductions obtained, part of which were temporary while part were destined to become structural.
EBIT was a negative € 3.2 million, which compared to a positive result of € 37.4 million in the first nine months of 2019. The lower EBIT reflects the fall in revenues and the non-recurring charges incurred as a result of the situation: restructuring charges of € 14.2 million (€ 5.7 million in the first nine months of 2019) and the write-down of fixed assets for € 8.2 million (€ 2.2 million in the same period of the previous year).
The group’s net result was a loss of € 23.2 million compared to net income of € 8.3 million in 2019, after financial expense that was substantially in line with that of the previous year and tax expense of € 2.8 million versus € 12.6 million last year.
Regarding Free Cash Flow, in the first nine months of 2020, before IFRS 16, absorption of € 42.8 million was reported (versus -€ 0.5 million in the first nine months of 2019), most of which was due to the evolution of working capital caused by the particular circumstances that arose during the year. As is generally the case in the sector, amounts due from customers are received more promptly compared to the payment terms of suppliers, thanks partly to the use of factoring. The decline in sales resulted in lower cash receipts, while payments to suppliers continued to be made. This imbalance is gradually being re-absorbed as business recovers. Free Cash Flow including IFRS 16 payables amounted to -€ 55.6 million compared to -€ 4.3 million in the first nine months of 2019.
Net debt before IFRS 16 stood at € 299.0 million at September 30 2020, higher than at the end of 2019 (€ 256.2 million), but significantly lower than the figure at June 30 2020 (when the net debt amounted to € 327 million).
Including the financial payables for rights of use, as per IFRS 16, net debt at September 30 2020 totalled € 374.5 million, up from € 318.9 million at December 31 2019 and € 330.0 million at September 30 2019. It should be noted that in 2020 the group has been developing a new site for the production of suspensions in Romania, which will increase the group’s competitiveness in the sector. In the third quarter the signing of the lease contract for the new facility led to the recognition of an IFRS 16 payable of approximately € 19.0 million.
As is known, as of June 30 the covenants of the loan agreements in force were being complied with and to the best of our knowledge at present and based on our forecasts, no breaches of contract are expected to emerge by December 31 2020.
At September 30 2020 the group had committed credit lines € 220.0 million in excess of its requirements.
At September 30 2020 shareholders’ equity, excluding minority interests, amounted to € 146.6 million (€ 188.7 million at December 31 2019).
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE BUSINESS
Following the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sogefi first suspended production in China and then in the second half of March production at almost all of its sites. Business started to resume everywhere, first in China and then from May onwards in all the other countries in which the group operates, albeit with production volumes that were until August significantly lower than those of the previous year and those forecast.
As for the evaluation of the impact that the pandemic is having on the group, the pre Covid-19 forecasts had envisaged that sales revenues for 2020 would be substantially in line with 2019 and in the first two months of the year the Company did in fact report volumes equivalent to or higher than those expected. However, during subsequent months there was an extremely significant decline with a recovery only from June onwards. Consequently Sogefi reported revenues of € 860.6 million, down by 25.1% compared to the same period of last year. This reduction was almost entirely attributable to the effects of the circumstances generated by the pandemic. The contraction in volumes, even though partly offset by the reduction in fixed costs, nonetheless had a negative impact that can be estimated at € 42.0 million on EBIT and of € 27.0 million on the net result. It also led to a significant rise in debt.
The Company has been taking action to reduce the impact of the crisis since March but in addition to this it is now working to adapt itself structurally to the changed market circumstances and to rapidly regain economic and financial stability, albeit in a context of lower volumes which are today forecast even for the fourth quarter of 2020 and for 2021.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE SINCE SEPTEMBER 30 3020
In October the group obtained new medium-term loan agreements for a total amount of € 134.5 million granted by prime Italian and French banks.
OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR
Visibility as to the evolution of the market in the coming months remains limited despite the improvement in volumes seen in the third quarter.
With regard to the pandemic, in Europe the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 appears to be materializing with recent figures showing that it is spreading at higher levels than during the lockdown phase. In North and South America the evolution of the pandemic remains most concerning and it is difficult, therefore, to predict what measures will be taken by the authorities. The adoption in coming months of new measures limiting production and private business cannot be ruled out. It is also extremely uncertain as to what impact the current circumstances will have on demand in the automotive sector.
After a third quarter 2020 that was better than expected, for the fourth quarter of 2020 IHS expects that world production could come in at -2.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. The year 2020 could therefore close with a market downturn of 17.9% on the whole year.
In this uncertain scenario Sogefi has factored into its projections for the fourth quarter the assumption that the market will be around -10%, in which it expects that it will be able to achieve a positive EBIT for the whole year, excluding restructuring charges.
STOCK GRANT PLAN
On the strength of the authorization given to it by the Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders on April 20 2020, the Board of Directors implemented Stock Grant Plan 2020 by assigning 790,000 rights.