Sogefi: results for first half 2021

RESULTS SHOW STRONG GROWTH IN FIRST HALF OF 2021

Revenues rise significantly to € 682.5 million (+38.5% at constant exchange rates) outperforming the market in all geographical areas

EBITDA at 16.1% of revenues, up from H1 2020 (10.3%) and H1 2019 (11.7%)

Net income at € 21.4 million after a loss in H1 2020 (€ -28.8 million) and higher than in H1 2019 (€ 6.9 million)

Free Cash Flow positive for € 33.1 million compared to absorption of € 64.0 million in H1 2020 and € 8.8 million in H1 2019

Milan, July 23 2021 – The Board of Directors of Sogefi S.p.A., which met today under the chairmanship of Monica Mondardini, has approved the Semi-Annual Financial Report of the group as of June 30 2021 presented by Chief Executive Officer Frédéric Sipahi.

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.

In the first half of 2021 world car production grew by 29.2% compared to the first half of 2020, +15.5% in the first quarter and +48.6% in the second quarter. In 2020 there had been an unprecedented fall in production as an effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The recovery was seen in all of the main geographical areas. In Europe, NAFTA and Asia production rose by around 30% (28%, 32% and 31.6% respectively) and in Mercosur it was up by 63.3%.

In all geographical areas production volumes are still significantly lower than those prior to the spread of the pandemic with the exception of China. Indeed, compared to the first half of 2019, world production stood at -12.6% in the first half of 2021 with Europe posting -23.5%, NAFTA -19.7%, Mercosur -19.5% and China +1.6%.

During the first half of 2021, the Group kept in place all the health and safety rules for the workplace with the aim of reducing the risk of contagion. These rules involve social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment, and measures to limit the presence of personnel in the workplace by resorting to working from home.

The Group reported a significant recovery of revenues, which were up by +34.9% on the first half of 2020; compared to the first half of 2019, revenues posted -9%, compared to -12.6% for car production worldwide.

The recovery of revenues and the action taken to counter the impact of the crisis made it possible to close the first half with net income of € 21.4 million (versus a loss of € 28.8 million in the first half of 2020), positive free cash flow of € 33.1 million (a negative € 64.0 million in first half 2020) and net debt before IFRS 16 of € 261.4 million, lower than the figure at December 31 2020 (€ 291.3 million).

Commercial activity was positive during the first six months.

The Air and Cooling division has concluded important contracts in Europe, NAFTA and China for the supply of Thermal Management products for electric mobility (products for E-Thermal Management today represent approximately 50% of the ongoing requests for quotations).

Filtration has been awarded a significant number of contracts for the supply of Air Purification Filters and two important contracts in NAFTA for Transmission Filters. For the two product categories in question, numerous requests for quotations are in progress, confirming the validity of the strategy pursued by the Group, of developing new applications, to face the decline of diesel engines.

The company has continued to focus on the development of products for electric mobility and air purification and today it has in its portfolio a wide variety of Thermal Management products for electric mobility, which enable it to be ready to meet the new market demands potential applications.

REVENUES

In the first half of 2021 Sogefi’s revenues came in at € 682.5 million, posting growth compared to the same period of 2020 of 34.9% at historical and 38.5% at constant exchange rates (+ 9.3% in the first quarter and + 96% in the second quarter); revenues were, however, still 9% lower than in the first half of 2019.

Performance of revenues by geographical area

Revenues at constant exchange rates rose by 30.4% in Europe, by 40.3% in North America (+32.7% at current exchange rates) and by 36.3% in China, outperforming the market both in North America and in China.

Performance of revenues by Business Unit

The Air and Cooling and Filtration sectors reported a stronger recovery from 2020 than that of the market with revenues almost in line with those of the same period of 2019.

The growth of Air and Cooling compared to first half 2020 (+39.9% at constant exchange rates, +37.4% at current exchange rates) was due not only to the market recovery but also to the development of its contract portfolio particularly in China, where revenues at constant exchange rates rose by 43.6% compared to the previous year.

The increase in Filtration revenues compared to first half 2020 (+36.2% at constant exchange rates, +31.6% at current exchange rates) reflects the strong recovery in India as well as the trend of the market.

Lastly, Suspensions reported 39.8% growth in revenues at constant exchange rates (+36.3% at current rates), but business has remained significantly lower than the level seen in the same period of 2019 (-19.4% at current exchange rates).

OPERATING RESULT AND NET RESULT

EBITDA came in at € 110.0 million, up from € 52.1 million in the first half of 2020 and € 87.9 million in the first half of 2019; gross profitability (EBITDA / Revenues %) went up to 16.1% (versus 11.7% in first half 2019 and 10.3% in the same period of 2020).

The increase in profitability was due to the higher contribution margin of 31.3% (29.6% in the first half of 2019 and 30.2% in the same period of 2020), despite the tension in the market over the availability and the prices of raw materials, and to the ratio of fixed costs to revenues which declined to 16.4% (17.4% and 19.2% in first half 2019 and first half 2020). It should be noted that compared to the first half of 2019 fixed costs fell by 14.2%.

The positive effect of exchange rates also contributed to the increase in EBITDA (€1.3 million in 2021 versus € -1.4 million in the first half of 2020) as did the recognition of € 5.3 million of non-operating income.

EBIT came to € 48.9 million, compared to € -12.0 million in the same period of 2020 and € 27.9 million in the first half of 2019.

Financial expense, which totalled € 10.6 million, was in line with that of the same period of 2020 (€ 10.4 million), tax expense came to € 13.5 million, compared to tax income of € 1.0 million in the previous year, and the net result of discontinued operations and those held for sale was a negative € 3.3 million (€ -8.0 million in the first half of 2020). This last result includes the best estimate of the capital loss on the sale of the Argentinian subsidiary in the filtration division which at June 30 2021 was classified in “Assets held for sale” since, in the light of the negotiations in progress, a sale is highly probable to be completed within a year.

The Group reported net income of € 21.4 million versus a loss of € 28.8 million in the first half of 2020 and earnings of € 6.9 million in the first half of 2019.

DEBT AND EQUITY

Free Cash Flow was a positive € 33.1 million, which compares with an absorption of € 64.0 million in the first half of 2020, the performance of which was of course anomalous because of the sharp contraction of business activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Net financial debt before IFRS 16 amounted to € 261.4 million at June 30 2021, which was lower than the figure at the close of 2020 (€ 291.3 million), at June 30 2020 (€ 327 million) and at June 30 2019 (€ 267.3 million).

Including the financial payables for rights of use, as per IFRS 16, the net debt figure at June 30 2021 totalled € 327.5 million, down from € 358.1 million at December 31 2020 and € 382.9 million at June 30 2020.

At June 30 2021 the Group had committed credit facilities in excess of its requirements of € 276.0 million (after repaying its convertible bond of € 100.0 million in May of this year).

At June 30 2021 shareholders’ equity, excluding minority interests, stood at € 168.9 million (€ 133.0 million at December 31 2020). The increase in equity of € 35.9 million, was higher than the net income for the period (€ 21.4 million) mainly because of the recognition of actuarial gains on the valuation of pension funds.

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE BUSINESS

In the first six months of 2021, despite the continuing pandemic crisis, the effects on the market in which the Company operates were less severe than those recorded for the first half of 2020 and consisted of a general weakness in demand, which was still lower than in the same period of 2019 especially in Europe and NAFTA (-20% approximately), and the need to continue to apply measures giving a high level of protection.

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE SINCE JUNE 30 2021

Since the beginning of July negotiations have been underway for the sale of the Argentinian branch of Filtration. This sale is part of the strategy of refocusing the group’s Filtration business, which aims, on the one hand, to consolidate its position in Europe while at the same time pursuing growth in NAFTA, China and India.

The sale would generate a capital loss, estimated today at € 2.8 million, which is already included in the results at June 30 2021 in accordance with IFRS 5.

If the sale is completed it will have a negative impact of approximately € 21.0 million on the income statement for purely accounting reasons (with no cash impact), resulting from the reclassification from shareholders’ equity to the result for the period of the exchange rate differences of the subsidiary.

OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR

Visibility as to the market trend in the next few months remains low, due to uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic and macroeconomic and sectorial developments. There are also specific critical issues relating to the generalized increase in the main prices of raw materials and the availability of the latter, as well as logistic difficulties involving transport and sourcing from Asian markets.

For the second half of 2021, IHS expects world production to show a limited overall decline (-3.4%) compared to the second half of 2020: Europe -5.3%, NAFTA -0.5%, China -7% (an area that in the second half of 2020 had recorded an earlier and higher recovery than the other geographical areas). Therefore, for the full year 2021, IHS is forecasting growth of 10%, with a partial recovery of the fall seen in 2020, thus coming in at -7.8% on 2019. 

For the second half of 2021, pressure on commodity prices (steel, plastic and paper) is expected to continue. 

The group has launched resourcing activities and commercial actions to mitigate the negative effect that the evolution of raw material prices could have on the group’s contribution margin. 

Provided there are no extraordinary circumstances or events that are not at present foreseeable, Sogefi confirms the view it expressed in the publication of its results for first quarter 2021, i.e. for the full year it expects to achieve an operating result at least equal to that reported for 2019.

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Sogefi: AGM approves Financial Statements for 2020

SOGEFI: AGM APPROVES FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR 2020

BOARD OF STATUTORY AUDITORS APPOINTED FOR THREE YEARS 2021-2023

SIPAHI CONFIRMED AS CEO

Milan, April 23 2021 – The Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders of Sogefi S.p.A. was held today under the chairmanship of Monica Mondardini.

As per the terms of Art. 106, paragraph 4, of Decree Law no. 18 of March 17 2020, the Shareholders were able to attend only through the designated representative, appointed in accordance with Art. 135-undecies of D.Lgs no. 58 of February 24 1998 (TUF) and identified as Studio Segre S.r.l., to whom proxies/sub-proxies were also assigned as per Art. 135-novies of the TUF, in waiver of Art. 135-undecies, paragraph 4, of the TUF.

Approval of the Financial Statements for 2020

The Shareholders approved the Financial Statements for the year 2020. Sogefi closed the year with consolidated revenues of € 1,203.2 million (€ 1,463.8 million in 2019), EBITDA of € 137.6 million (€ 177.4 million in 2019) and a net result of ongoing operations posting a negative result of € 19.6 million (net income of € 11.1 million in 2019). The parent company of the group Sogefi S.p.A. reported a loss of € 6.2 million (net income of € 7.7 million in 2019).

The Shareholders’ Meeting adopted the proposal put forward by the Board of Directors that no dividends be distributed.

Compensation Policy and Stock Grant Plan

The AGM approved the first section of the Report on Compensation and remuneration paid and expressed a vote in favour of the second section of the same Report.

The Shareholders also approved the stock grant plan for 2021 aimed at employees of the Group holding strategically important roles for a maximum of 1,000,000 conditional rights, each of which will give the beneficiaries the right to be assigned free of charge 1 Sogefi share. The shares thus assigned will be made available from the own shares held by the Company. The plan aims to align the interests of management with the objective of creating value for the Group and its Shareholders over a medium-long term time horizon, stimulating the commitment to achieving common objectives at Group level and encouraging those who hold important positions to remain with the Group.

Authorization to buy back own shares

The Shareholders renewed for a period of 18 months its authorization of the Board of Directors to buy back a maximum of 10 million of its own shares (including 2,094,831 own shares being held today, equal to 1.744% 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 individual buyback transaction or the date on which the price is fixed an, in any case, when the purchases are made in the regulated market the price cannot be higher than the higher of the price of the last independent transaction and the highest current independent bid price in the same market, in compliance with the terms set out in EU Delegated Regulation no. 2016/1052.

The main reasons why this authorization is being renewed are the following: to fulfil obligations resulting from possible stock option plans or other awards of shares of the Company to employees or members of the Board of Directors of Sogefi or associated companies; to fulfil obligations resulting from any debt instruments convertible into or exchangeable with equity instruments; to support market liquidity of the shares within the limits of current rules; to take advantage of opportunities for creating value, and invest liquidity efficiently in relation to market trends; for any other purpose qualified by the competent Authorities as admitted market practice in accordance with applicable European and domestic rules and with the procedures established therein.

Appointment of a director and of the Board of Statutory Auditors

The Shareholders’ Meeting appointed Frédéric Sipahi – co-opted by the Board, as per the terms of Art. 2386 of the Civil Code, on February 26 2021 – as a director of the Company.

The Shareholders also appointed the members of the Board of Statutory Auditors of the Company for the three years 2021-2023. The auditors in office are Daniela Delfrate (Chairman of the Board of Statutory Auditors), Giovanni Barbara and Rita Rolli. The alternate auditors are Maria Pia Maspes, Luca Del Pico and Anna Maria Allievi. The auditors were drawn from the list presented by the majority Shareholder CIR S.p.A., with the exception of the Chairman Daniela Delfrate and alternate auditor Maria Pia Maspes, who were selected from the minority list presented by YODA Società Semplice.

Board of Directors Meeting

The Board of Directors, which met after the AGM, confirmed Frédéric Sipahi as Chief Executive Officer of Sogefi. Since March 1 2021 he has also held the position of General Manager. His curriculum vitae is available on the website www.sogefigroup.com.

The Board verified the presence of the requisites for the independence of the directors who have attested that they are independent, Patrizia Canziani, Roberta Di Vieto, Mauro Melis, Ervino Riccobon and Christian Georges Streiff. Five directors out of a total of eight are therefore independent. The Board of Statutory Auditors in its turn verified the presence of the requisites for the independence of its members; the curricula vitae of the auditors are available on the website sogefigroup.com. All the independent directors and the members of the Board of Statutory Auditors are therefore in possession of the requisites established by law and by the Code of Corporate Governance adopted by the Company.

Lastly, the Board of Directors, on the strength of the authorization granted by the AGM, proceeded to implement Stock Grant Plan 2021 by assigning 897,500 rights.

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Sogefi: results for first quarter 2021

RESULTS FOR FIRST QUARTER 2021

REVENUES RECOVER AND PROFITABILITY IMPROVES

Revenues significantly higher at € 356.6 million (+9.3% at constant exchange rates) outperforming the market in all geographical areas

EBITDA margin at 15.4% of revenues up from Q1 2020 (11.3%) and Q1 2019 (11%)

Net income € 11.8 million (loss of € 5.6 million in first quarter 2020 and earnings of € 1.6 million in first quarter 2019)

Free Cash Flow positive for € 32.4 million versus € 5.4 million in Q1 2020

Milan, April 23 2021 – 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 March 31 2021, presented by Chief Executive Officer Frederic Sipahi.
Sogefi, a company of the CIR Group, is one of the main global producers of automotive components for three sectors: Air and Cooling, Filtration and Suspensions.

In the first quarter of 2021 world car production reported growth of 14% compared to first quarter 2020 with the month of March posting +34.7% compared to the previous year. The recovery in the first quarter of 2021 was mainly attributable to China, the first country to be hit by the pandemic in 2020, where production rose by 78.2% compared to the first quarter of the previous year. India and Mercosur also saw a recovery in the market (+22.8% and +4.6% respectively), while the EU and NAFTA reported volumes below those of first quarter 2020 (-0.9% and -4.5% respectively).

However, world production was still below pre-Covid levels: more specifically, compared to the first quarter of 2019, it was -11.3%, with Europe at -20%, NAFTA at -14.7% and China at -4.2%.

During first quarter 2021, the Group’s priority continued to be the safety of its employees; all measures for health and safety in the workplace were kept in place to reduce the risk of contagion, with social distancing, the use of individual protective equipment and measures to limit the presence of people in the workplace with employees working from home.

The Group reported a significant recovery in revenues: +5% at historical exchange rates and +9.3% at constant exchange rates; compared to the first quarter of 2019, revenues came in at -5.2%, versus the -11.3% of world production.

The recovery in revenues together with the action plan put in place to counter the impact of the crisis, enabled the group to close the first quarter with earnings of € 11.8 million (a loss of € 5.6 million in the first quarter of 2020) and a positive free cash flow of € 32.4 million (€ 5.4 million in the first quarter of 2020).

Moreover, in the period Sogefi acquired new contracts worth more than those of the same period of previous years and in line with the objectives of increasing its market share, and a significant part of these new orders were for hybrid or full electric vehicles, thus positioning itself in the markets of the future.

More specifically, the Air and Cooling division closed an important contract (Lifetime Value: € 260 million) to supply new generation air aspiration manifolds for a prime North American OEM. More new orders were also acquired from Chinese and North American producers, of which around 40% of their value was for parts for cooling hybrid or full electric vehicles.

The Filtration division also obtained important orders from North American and European customers for traditional components (especially oil filters), which will be produced in the US and Moroccan plants, and signed new contracts for the production of air filters for interiors.

As for the Suspensions division, 35% of the value of the orders acquired was for hybrid or full electric vehicles. In the first quarter of the year new orders were also acquired for light commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles, market segments with good prospects for the coming years.

REVENUES

In the first quarter of 2021 Sogefi’s sales revenues came in at € 356.6 million, and were higher than those of the same period of 2020 by 5% at historical exchange rates and 9.3% at constant exchange rates; sales were down by 5.2% on first quarter 2019. After the first two months with revenues at historical exchange rates down by 8.7%, in March, the month in 2020 when the effects of the pandemic started to be evident (with a fall of 30%), there was a strong recovery (+42.1%), with volumes substantially in line with those of 2019.

Performance of revenues by geographical area

The performance of revenues at constant exchange rates was better than that of the market in all geographical areas: +1.9% in Europe compared to the market’s -0.9%, +3.3% in North America versus -4.5%, and +104.5% in China versus the market’s +78.2%. The lower growth of the Group’s total revenues (+9.3%) compared to those of global markets (+14%) was due to the fact that China, which was the area of the world in which there was most growth in the first quarter, accounts for 6.7% of the Group’s sales, whereas at market level it accounts for 28.1%.

Performance of revenues by Business Unit

In terms of the business sectors, Air and Cooling reported good growth (+15.2% at constant exchange rates) thanks to the development of the contract portfolio especially in China, where revenues doubled compared to the previous year; revenues at current exchange rates were 2.6% higher than those of first quarter 2019.

Filtration reported more moderate growth (+4.2% at constant exchange rates), following a decline in 2020 that was decidedly more limited than that of the market thanks to the After Market business. In the first quarter of 2021 sales were slightly higher (+2.1% at current exchange rates) than those of first quarter 2019.

Lastly, Suspensions reported revenue growth of 9.7% at constant exchange rates, due to the good performance in China and South America, but business remains significantly below the level of the corresponding period of 2019 (-16.9% at current exchange rates).

OPERATING RESULT AND NET RESULT

EBITDA came in at € 54.8 million and was higher than the figure reported for the first quarter of 2020 (€ 38.2 million) and 2019 (€ 41.4 million); gross profitability (EBITDA / Revenues %) rose to 15.4%, from around 11% in the first quarters of 2019 and 2020.

The contribution margin improved from 30.3% to 30.7%, despite the tension in the market over the availability and pricing of raw materials.

The rationalization measures adopted in 2020 which continued through the early months of 2021 led to a reduction of 5.5% in fixed costs compared to first quarter 2020, which, combined with the recovery of the business, gave rise to a reduction in the ratio of fixed costs to revenues which declined from 18% in the first quarter of 2020 to 16.1% in the same period of 2021. It should be noted that, compared to first quarter 2019, fixed costs fell by 13.8%.

Lastly, the increase in EBITDA had a further boost from the positive effect of exchange rates (€ +1.7 million in 2021 versus € -3.4 million in first quarter 2020) and from the recognition of a non-operating gain of € 2.4 million.

EBIT came to € 25.9 million, up from € 7.9 million in the same period of 2020 and from € 12.5 million in the first quarter of 2019. Financial expense, amounting to € 6.2 million, was in line with the corresponding period of 2020, tax expense came to € 6.1 million, versus € 2.5 million in the previous year, and the net result of “discontinued operations” was a negative € 0.8 million, versus € -4.9 million in first quarter 2020.

The Group reported net income of € 11.8 million compared to a loss of € 5.6 million in first quarter 2020 and earnings of € 1.6 million in first quarter 2019.

DEBT AND EQUITY

Free Cash Flow was a positive € 32.4 million (€ 5.4 million in first quarter 2020), thanks to the higher EBITDA and the favourable performance of working capital.

Net debt before IFRS16 stood at € 261.1 million at March 31 2021, down from the end of 2020 (€ 291.3 million) and substantially unchanged from March 31 2020 (€ 256.7 million). The Group managed to keep its debt level stable despite the dramatic effects of the pandemic on the business during the last 12 months.

Including financial payables for rights of use as per IFRS 16, net debt at March 31 2021 stood at € 328.4 million, which compares with € 358.1 million at December 31 2020 and € 313.4 at March 31 2020.

As of March 31 2021 the Group had committed credit lines in excess of its borrowing requirement of € 362 million (of which € 100 million is needed to repay its convertible bond maturing in May 2021).

At March 31 2021 Shareholders’ equity, excluding minority interests, amounted to € 150.6 million (€ 133.0 million at December 31 2020).

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE BUSINESS

In the early months of 2021, although the pandemic crisis is still continuing, its effects on the market in which the Company operates were less traumatic than those experienced in March 2020 and the following months. However, as shown in the data for vehicle production in the period, business remains very weak especially in Europe and NAFTA.

In addition to having taken action as from March 2020 to reduce the impact of the crisis, the Group has been working and will continue to work on a process of structural adaptation to the changed circumstances of the market in a context that is still uncertain.

OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR

In addition to there being at present little visibility as to the direction of the market in the next few months as this will depend on the evolution of the pandemic, there is also uncertainty regarding the trend of raw material prices (mainly steel), their availability (semiconductors) and logistics issues involving transport and sourcing from Asian markets.

For the second quarter of 2021, IHS expects that world production will rebound by 58% compared to the second quarter of 2020 (the period that saw the maximum negative effect of the pandemic worldwide with the sole exception of China), while remaining 10% lower than in Q2 2019.

For full year 2021 the market is expected to grow by 11.9% but to remain at lower levels than those of 2019 with the recovery of a good part of the collapse recorded in 2020, reaching -6.2% compared to 2019.

Sogefi confirms the view it expressed on the publication of its results for 2020, i.e. that in a market scenario such as that explained above, incorporating the effects of the decisive action taken in 2020 and ongoing in 2021 to reduce the impact of fixed costs and to improve profitability structurally, it expects to return to a positive result for full year 2021 and to be able to achieve a ratio of EBIT to sales at least on a par with what was reported for 2019.

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Sogefi: consolidated results for 2020. New CEO appointed

FOURTH QUARTER 2020
Revenues and results higher than in Q4 2019

RESULTS FOR THE YEAR 2020 
The group showed resilience in a totally exceptional year

Revenues: € 1,203.2 million, -14.2% at constant exchange rates (car market -16.2%) 
Outperformed market in all geographical areas
In Q4, revenues higher (+8.9% at constant exchange rates)

EBITDA margin, excluding non-recurring charges, was higher reaching 13% of revenues (12.1% in 2019)

Net result before non-recurring charges and result of operations for disposal close to break-even (€ -3.4 million)

Net non-recurring charges for rationalization actions came to € 16.2 million (€ 4.3 million in 2019)

THE BOARD APPOINTED AS NEW GROUP CEO FREDERIC SIPAHI, LEADER OF THE AIR & COOLING BUSINESS UNIT TURNAROUND AND SINCE 2019 ALSO MANAGER OF THE FILTRATION BU

Milan, February 26 2021 – 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 2020, presented by Mr Mauro Fenzi.

The Board of Directors appointed the current General Manager of the Air & Cooling and Filtration Business Units, Mr. Frederic Sipahi, as new group CEO, in substitution of Mr. Mauro Fenzi.

Frederic Sipahi, aged 40, has a business education and has spent his entire career in the automotive sector, initially in PSA, then in Faurecia and since 2012 in Sogefi.

Since 2015 he has led the Air & Cooling division, achieving a significant improvement in performance, both in terms of increased profitability and cash generation; he also achieved positive results in 2020, despite the extraordinary context. He also reoriented the division’s product strategy, by effectively positioning it towards new technologies.

Since 2019 he has also led the Filtration division, where he launched major rationalisation and efficiency enhancement programs.
Mr. Fenzi said: “After a year of intense work, my managerial role at Sogefi comes to an end for personal reasons. Sogefi has an extremely motivated and competent management team, that is well equipped to face with the right determination the challenges of the next few years. I take this opportunity to thank my collaborators for their professional and decisive contribution and the members of the Board of Directors for their continuous support”. The Board of Directors thanked him for the work done.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS FOR 2020

After the first half of 2020 in which world car production suffered a dramatic and unprecedented fall (-33.2%) due to the effects of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the second half of the year the market reported a definite recovery compared to the previous half (+44%), with volumes substantially unchanged compared to the same period of 2019 thanks to the growth reported in the last quarter of 2020 (+2.5%). The recovery in the fourth quarter was seen in all markets: China, where production was up by 5.9% on the fourth quarter of the previous year, NAFTA, the EU and South America, with volumes substantially equivalent to those of the fourth quarter of 2019 (+0.5%, +1.4% and +1.3% respectively).

Despite the recovery in the second half, the results for the whole year reported an extraordinarily significant downturn compared to 2019: -16.2% for world car production,  -23.3% in the EU, -20.1% in North America, -4.2 % in China and -30.7% in South America.

In 2020 the Group’s priority was the safety of its employees; from the moment when news came of the Covid-19 phenomenon in China, action was immediately taken to reduce the risk of contagion and then all the measures recommended for health and safety in the workplace were adopted, reviewing the production processes and implementing new safety protocols, which involve physical distancing and the use of individual protection systems. Currently it has been decided to maintain the measures to limit the presence of personnel in the workplace, with staff working from home.

At the same time radical action was taken to mitigate the impact of the crisis, and of the consequent contraction in sales, on results and on the capital solidity of the Group. The measures put in place made it possible to obtain the following:

  • An increase in the contribution margin to 30.8% from 30.2% in 2019;
  • A 19.1% reduction in fixed costs with an unchanged ratio to sales of 17%, which was down in 4Q 2020 (15.8% versus 17.1% in 4Q 2019).

Moreover, in 2020 Sogefi obtained new contracts for a value in line with previous years and consistent with the objectives of maintaining/increasing its market share, with a significant portion of the new orders being for hybrid or full electric vehicles, positioning itself in the markets of the future.

More specifically, 25% of the value of the orders acquired in 2020 by the Air and Cooling division is destined for cooling hybrid or full electric vehicles; the division also obtained an important contract (Life Time Value: € 100 million) to supply air-intake manifolds in aluminium to a prime German OEM,  launching a new product line in a sector in which the division is already market leader.

Similarly, 35% of the value of the orders received by the Suspensions division is for hybrid or full electric vehicles, thanks to the new product developed to meet the light-weight and time-to-market requirements of electric vehicles and to the receipt of an order from a prime North American producer of full electric vehicles.

REVENUES

In 2020, Sogefi’s revenues totalled € 1,203.2 million and were down by 17.8% on 2019 at historical exchange rates and by 14.2% at constant exchange rates.

An examination of the performance of revenues throughout the year shows that in the first quarter revenues fell by 9.6%, because of the spread worldwide of the pandemic as from March; in the second quarter they fell by 55.6%, in a phase of substantial lockdown in the main markets; during the third quarter there was a gradual recovery (-6.6% on 2019), which led to growth of 2% in the fourth quarter (+8.9% at constant exchange rates) compared to the same period of 2019.

Performance of revenues by geographical area

The performance of revenues at constant exchange rates was better than the market in all the main geographical areas; the decline in Europe was 18.1% versus the market’s -23.3%, and in North America it was 9.8% versus -20.1%; in Asia revenues rose, while the market reported -7%, thanks particularly to the good performance of China (+15.8% versus the market’s -4.2%).

Performance of revenues by Business Unit

Filtration (with an 8.1% decline in revenues at constant exchange rates) and Air and Cooling (-10.7% at constant exchange rates) reported a much less negative result than the market thanks, for Filtration, to the fact that the OES and Aftermarket channels held up better and for Air and Cooling to the development of the portfolio of contracts particularly in China and North America. The impact of the crisis was greater for Suspensions, which suffered a fall in revenues of 22.7% at constant exchange rates, reflecting the greater concentration of the business in Europe and South America and the particularly bad performance of the sector in these areas.

OPERATING RESULT AND NET RESULT

The results of the group were affected by the fall in revenues and the non-recurring charges linked to the launch of plans for reducing fixed costs, particularly in Europe, and for rationalizing the Group’s footprint (sale and closure of two production sites in Europe) as well as its geographical presence (sale of the filtration business in Brazil).

EBITDA came in at € 137.6 million compared to € 177.4 million in 2019. Excluding the rationalization charges as above, EBITDA declined from € 177.4 million to € 156.9 million with profitability (EBITDA / Revenues %) of 13%, which was higher than the figure for 2019 (12.1%).

The contribution margin for 2020 was slightly better than that of 2019, rising from 30.2% to 30.8% and the ratio of fixed costs to sales remained unchanged, despite the lower revenues, thanks to the cost-cutting measures taken, which were partly temporary and partly destined to become structural.

EBIT came to € 7.2 million, versus € 48.4 million in 2019.  The lower EBIT reflects the fall in revenues, the gross non-recurring charges of € 20 million (€ 4.3 million in 2019) and further write-downs of fixed assets for € 12.9 million (€ 4.9 million in 2019), resulting from the action taken by the company to counter the crisis.

The Group reported a net loss from businesses destined to continue of € 19.6 million, mainly because of € 16.2 million of non-recurring rationalization charge (versus earnings of € 11.1 million in 2019). The operations sold between the end of 2020 and the beginning of this year (the Brazilian subsidiary and the Spanish subsidiary of the Filtration business unit) gave rise to a loss of € 15.5 million, which compares with a loss of € 7.9 million in 2019.

DEBT AND EQUITY

Regarding Free Cash Flow, in 2020 an amount of € 38.2 million was absorbed (versus cash generation of € 8.4 million in 2019), mainly as a result of the evolution of working capital due to the particular circumstances that arose during the year.

Net financial debt before IFRS16 stood at € 291.3 million at December 31 2020 (€ 256.2 million at the close of 2019), but was lower than at September 30 2020 (when net debt was € 299 million).

Including the financial payables for rights of use, as per IFRS 16, the net debt amounted to € 358.1 million at December 31 2020, up from € 318.9 million at December 31 2019. It should be noted that in 2020 the Group invested in the development of a new suspension production site in Romania, with the aim of increasing the group’s competitiveness in the sector, and signed the lease agreement for the new site, which led to the recognition of an IFRS 16 payable of approximately € 19 million.

At December 31 2020 the covenants contained in the loan agreements were being complied with.

At December 31 2020 the Group had committed credit lines in excess of its requirements for € 340.1 million (of which € 100 million earmarked for the repayment of the convertible bond maturing in May 2021); in 2020  new medium-term loan agreements were signed for a total amount of € 134.5 million, including a loan of € 80 million (signed in October 2020) granted by prime Italian banks and guaranteed by SACE, and new credit facilities with French banks for a total of € 54.5 million, most of which are also guaranteed by the French state.

At December 31 2020 shareholders’ equity, excluding minority interests, amounted to € 133.0 million (€ 188.7 million at December 31 2019).

SUMMARY OF RESULTS OF FOURTH QUARTER 2020

The revenues for fourth quarter 2020 rose by 2% at historical exchange rates and by 8.9% at constant exchange rates compared to the same period of 2019.

EBITDA, excluding the charges for the rationalization action, came in at 14.5% versus 12.3% in 2019.

For operations destined to continue the Group reported a net loss of € 4.4 million caused by non-recurring rationalization charges of € 11.9 million (versus a loss of € 0.9 million in the same period of 2019). The businesses sold between the end of 2020 and the beginning of this year (the Brazilian subsidiary and the Spanish subsidiary of the Filtration business unit) generated a loss of € 7.6 million, which compares with a loss of € 4.2 million reported by the same subsidiaries in 2019.

Free Cash Flow before IFRS 16 was a positive € 8.7 million, in line with the same period of 2019.

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON BUSINESS

Following the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sogefi first suspended production in China and then in the second half of March suspended activity in almost all of its production sites. Business started to resume 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 of expectations.

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. Because of this, in 2020 Sogefi reported revenues of € 1,203.2 million, 17.8% lower than those of 2019 at historical exchange rates; this reduction was almost entirely attributable to the effects of the circumstances brought about by the pandemic. The contraction in volumes, although partly offset by the reduction in fixed costs, nonetheless involved an estimated negative impact on EBIT of € 34 million and of € 21 million on the net result, with a consequent increase in debt.

As well as having reacted promptly to reduce the impact of the crisis from March until today, the Company has also adopted a plan to adapt its structure to the changed market circumstances and this plan is already being implemented.

RESULTS OF THE PARENT COMPANY OF THE GROUP SOGEFI S.P.A.

For 2020 the parent company of the group Sogefi S.p.A. reported a net loss of € 6.2 million compared to net income of € 7.7 million in 2019. The decline was due mainly to the lower flow of dividends distributed by the subsidiaries and to higher financial expense.

OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR

Given the continuing uncertainty regarding the evolution of the pandemic, there is very little clarity as to how the market will perform in coming months.

There is also uncertainty about the trend of commodity prices (particularly those of steel) and their availability (semiconductors), as well as logistical difficulties involving transport and sourcing from Asian markets.

For the year 2021, IHS is forecasting a recovery in world production of 13.7% compared to 2020, but this will still be lower than in 2019 (-4.8%).

In this scenario, thanks to the effects of the drastic action taken in 2020 to reduce the impact of fixed costs and to bring about a structural improvement of its profitability, Sogefi expects to return to profit for the full year 2021.

TERMINATION OF THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH MR. FENZI

No amount has been paid in relation to the resignation of Mr. Fenzi from the position of Chief Executive Office and no payment is provided in relation to the termination of the employment relationship, in addition to the mandatory payments required by law. Based on the information available, Mr. Fenzi does not own shares in Sogefi.

PROPOSED DIVIDEND

The Board of Directors will put forward the proposal to the Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders that no dividends be distributed.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders of Sogefi will be held at the first call on April 23 2021 and at the second call on April 26 2021.

The Board of Directors has voted to put the following proposals before the Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders:

  • In the light of the current legislative and regulatory rules, Consob Resolution no. 20876 of April 3 2019, Consob Guidelines of July 2019 and Consob Resolution no. 21318 of April 7 2020, the cancellation and renewal of the authorization of the same Board of Directors, for a period of 18 months, to buy back a maximum of 10 million own shares (including 2,102,588 shares, equal to 1.75% of the share capital) at a unit price that cannot be more than 10% higher or lower than the benchmark price recorded by the shares on regulated markets on the trading day preceding each single buyback transaction or the date on which the price is fixed. In any case, when the shares are bought back in the regulated market, the price must not be higher than the higher of the price of the last independent transaction and the highest current independent bid price on the same market, in compliance with what is set out in EU Delegated Regulation no. 2016/1052.
    The main reasons why this authorization is being renewed are: to fulfil the obligations resulting from possible stock option plans or other awards of shares of the Company to employees or members of the Board of Directors of Sogefi or its affiliated companies; to fulfil any obligations resulting from debt instruments that are convertible into or exchangeable with equity instruments; to support market liquidity of the shares; to take advantage of opportunities for creating value, as well as investing liquidity efficiently in relation to the market trend; for any other purpose qualified by the competent Authorities as admitted market practice in accordance with applicable European or domestic rules, and with the procedures established therein.
  • The approval of a Stock Grant Plan for 2021 aimed at employees of the Company and its subsidiaries, in the terms to be defined by the Board of Directors and notified to the market in sufficient time for any legal obligations to be carried out. The Stock Grant Plan has the aim of rewarding the loyalty of the beneficiaries to the companies of the Group, giving them an incentive to increase their commitment to improving the performance of their Company.

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Sogefi: results for first nine months of 2020

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

REVENUES

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. 

DEBT AND EQUITY

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.

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