Imerys posts strong results, doubles net income in first half 2021
- Revenue up 13.6% at €2,158 million: robust organic growth at +17% (+29% in Q2), driven by good commercial performance and global economic recovery
- Accelerating price/mix: + 2.6% in Q2 vs. + 0.5% in Q1
- Substantial improvement in profitability reflecting good costs control in inflationary environment: current EBITDA margin at 18.6% (15.2% in H1 2020), above 2019 fiscal year level (17.6%)
- Net income from current operations more than doubled to €158 million in H1
- Good cash generation with net current free operating cash flow of €122 million in H1
Alessandro Dazza, Chief Executive Officer, said:
“Imerys significantly improved its financial performance in the first half of the year, supported by strong commercial momentum and the global recovery of underlying markets in all geographies. Continued focus on cost savings and pricing discipline contributed to increased profitability even in the current inflationary environment.
We are confident that demand for the Group’s specialty minerals solutions will continue at a good pace throughout the year, driven by the prospect of continued economic recovery worldwide. In this context, Imerys aims to reach revenue of €4.2 billion for the year 2021, with current EBITDA margin close to 18%, above the 2019 level, assuming constant exchange rates and no deterioration in the macro-economic environment.“
The limited review procedures on the half-year financial statements have been performed. The limited review report is being issued.
Expansion of carbon black production capacity to serve the fast-growing market of Lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles
As part of its growth strategy, Imerys will invest €60 million over the next two years to expand carbon black production capacity at its plant in Willebroek, Belgium, in order to support the fast-growing market of Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. With a unique portfolio of natural and synthetic graphite powders, conductive carbon blacks and tailor-made dispersions, Imerys will continue to develop innovative materials for safer and higher-performing batteries in close cooperation with the leading Lithium-ion battery producers in the world.
Successful issue of a €300 million Sustainability-Linked Bond
On May 14, Imerys successfully issued its first sustainability-linked bond for a principal of €300 million, with an annual coupon of 1% maturing in 2031. With this bond, the Group confirms it is fully committed to achieving its broad sustainability ambitions and to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 36.0% in 2030 relative to revenue (tCO2/M€) from a 2018 base year.
Imerys is rated B by CDP, above the industry average (C), Platinum by Ecovadis and AA by MSCI.
Agreement to sell the US kaolin assets serving the paper and board market in North America
On July 24, Imerys signed an agreement to sell to Thiele Kaolin Company, one of the world's leading producers of processed kaolin clay, certain assets and mining resources supplying hydrous kaolin to the paper & packaging markets. These assets, which are part of Imerys’ Performance Minerals Americas business segment, posted revenue of approximately $76 million in 2020 with 109 employees. This transaction is expected to be completed in the second part of the year.
Imerys expects to generate this year net proceeds of ca. €100 million from the sale of these assets and other recent disposals (i.e. Imerys’ stake in Fiberlean Technologies, related production facilities, other minor non-strategic assets).
Assuming constant exchange rates and no deterioration in the macro-economic environment, Imerys aims to reach revenue of €4.2 billion for the year 2021, with current EBITDA margin close to 18%, above 2019 level (17.6%).
This outlook reflects the Group’s confidence in continued, sustained demand for its specialty minerals solutions across all segments and its ability to deliver on cost savings and positive price-mix in the current inflationary environment. Imerys is ideally positioned to capitalize on the global recovery that is gathering pace.
Imerys North American talc entities’ Plan of reorganization continues to progress towards final approval
In April, the Plan of reorganization jointly proposed by Imerys and the representatives of current and future potential claimants reached the required 75% approval threshold from the relevant voting creditors and claimants. The relevant US District Court of Delaware recently rescheduled the confirmation hearing on the proposed Plan to mid-November, resulting in a delay to the beginning of 2022 of the potential final judicial approval of the Plan and closure of the Chapter 11 process.
COMMENTARY ON THE FIRST HALF 2021 RESULTS
Revenue for the first half of 2021 was €2,158.3 million, up 16.7% year-on-year at constant scope and exchange rates, including an exceptional growth of 28.9% in the second quarter. Group sales volumes were up 15.2%, in the first half as the recovery across all underlying markets continued to gain traction.
In a context of high inflation, Imerys’ price mix accelerated in Q2 (+2.6%), averaging 1,5% for the first half versus the prior year.
Revenue included a significant, negative currency effect of €82.5 million (-4.3%), primarily as a result of the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the euro.
The scope effect was €37.6 million for the first half, related mostly to the positive contribution of recent bolt-on acquisitions (Haznedar group, Cornerstone, Sunward Refractories and Hysil) and the divestiture of the kaolin operations in Australia.
Current EBITDA reached €400.4 million for the first half of 2021, a 38.3% increase vs. H1 2020. Current EBITDA margin improved by 340 basis points to 18.6% versus the first half of 2020.
It benefitted from positive volume contribution (€138.7 million), strong price mix (€11.9 million) and good cost control. Variable costs were stable (+€0.7 million), as inflation was offset by savings related to purchasing initiatives and the I-Cube industrial excellence program. Fixed costs and overheads were up €36.1 million vs last year, following increased activity at all production sites.
The currency effect was negative at €21.8 million.
Current operating income reached €245.0 million for the first half of 2021, an 85.5% increase compared to the first half of last year.
Net income from current operations
Net income from current operations, Group share, totaled €158.3 million, up 117.4% vs. 2020. Net financial result was negative at -€18.0 million. The income tax expense of €61.3 million corresponds to an effective tax rate of 27.0%, compared with 28.0% in the first half of 2020. Net income from current operations, Group share, per share, was up 104.2% to €1.87.
Net income, Group share, totaled €141.8 million in the first half of 2021, after -€16.5 million of other income and expenses, after tax.
Net current free operating cash flow
Imerys generated a solid net current free operating cash flow of €122.2 million in the first half of 2021, thanks primarily to disciplined working capital management. This figure includes:
- €142.7 million in paid capital expenditures; booked capital expenditures amounted to €116.0 million.
- Increase in operating working capital (€62.7 million) compared to last year, driven by a significant increase in activity.
As of June 30, 2021, net financial debt totaled €1,547.6 million, which corresponds to a net financial debt to current EBITDA ratio of 2.1 x, improving vs last year.
The Group's financial structure is solid, as evidenced by the "investment grade" ratings confirmed by Standard and Poor's (September 14, 2020, BBB-, stable outlook) and Moody's (March 31, 2021, Baa3, stable outlook).
COMMENTARY BY SEGMENT
Performance Minerals (56% of consolidated revenue)
Revenue generated by the Performance Minerals segment was up 16.6% like-for-like in the first half of 2021. On a reported basis, revenue was up 11.2% after a negative currency effect of €50.4 million (-4.6%) and a positive scope effect of €1.9 million (+0.2%).
Revenue in the Americas was up 10.1% at constant scope and exchange rates in the first half of 2021, of which +20.5% in the second quarter, despite persisting logistic issues which created a significant order backlog. The overall rebound in activity was supported by sales of paints, rubber, polymers and ceramic products in the construction industry and a better performance of filtration and agriculture markets in the consumer goods sector.
Revenue in Europe, Middle East and Africa increased by 17.9% at constant scope and exchange rates in the first half of 2021. During the second quarter (+33.7%), the Group benefited from a dynamic construction sector (paints, coatings, rubber and ceramic applications) and better consumer goods market (filtration and life science applications), which returned to pre-crisis levels. Despite a strong upturn, automotive - which continued to suffer from global chip availability issues - and paper markets remained below their 2019 levels.
Revenue in Asia-Pacific was up 26.6% at constant scope and exchange rates in the first half of 2021 (+27.3% in the second quarter) thanks to the rebound of all end markets and geographies, in particular in Graphite & Carbon for mobile energy.
High Temperature Materials & Solutions (44% of consolidated revenue)
Revenue generated by the High Temperature Materials and Solutions segment was up 16.0% in the first half of 2021 at constant scope and exchange rates. On a reported basis, revenue increased by 16.5% with a positive scope effect of €35.7 million (+4.3%) and a negative currency effect of €27.2 million (-3.3%).
Revenue in High Temperature Solutions, which is serving the iron & steel, thermal and foundry markets, increased by 18.0% year-on-year at constant scope and exchange rates in the first half of 2021, posting growth of 30.8% growth in the second quarter. The business continued to benefit from the strong underlying markets recovery, particularly in the US and Asia, and to a lesser extent in Europe, currently lagging behind in the recovery cycle. The rebound was supported by the dynamism of the construction sector and by the automotive market, which however has not yet fully recovered to its pre-crisis level mainly as a consequence of the global chip shortage. Last year’s bolt-on acquisitions (Haznedar in Turkey, Sunward in Taiwan and Hysil in India) are performing above expectations.
Revenue in the Refractory, Abrasives & Construction business area was up 16.4% at constant scope and exchange rates in the first half of 2021, driven by an increase in volumes in all market segments, thanks to a strong global rebound in demand for industrial equipment, especially in the second quarter, and further growth in building and infrastructure (specialty binders). In India, where the recovery was particularly strong in the first half despite the Covid-19, the new greenfield plant in Vizag continued its ramp up to serve the dynamic domestic refractory and construction markets.
First half 2021 results webcast
The press release is available on the Group’s website www.imerys.com. The Group will hold a live webcast to discuss the first half 2021 results at 6.30 PM (CET) on July 27, 2021, which can be accessed on the Group’s website www.imerys.com.
These dates are subject to change and may be updated on the Group’s website https://www.Imerys.com/finance.
Annexes are available in the PDF version