Results improved in Q3. High resilience of the Energy business. Positive performance of Renewables and On-shore Wind in North America
Margins improved in Q3, thanks to the business mix and cost containment. Positive performance of the Energy business in Q3, with margin recovery of the Submarine business
Net Financial Debt continued to improve, thanks to the strong cash generation: €617M Free Cash Flow over the past 12 months Confidence in the FY 2020 guidance updated following the Covid-19 pandemic:
Adjusted EBITDA expected in the range of €800-850M
Free Cash Flow expected in the range of €200-300M
The Board of Directors of Prysmian S.p.A. has approved today the Group's consolidated results for the first nine months of 2020.
Sales at €7,488M, -9.4% organic change compared to the same period 2019 (excluding the Projects segment). The organic sales performance for Q3 2020 shows a sequential improving trend (-5.2% compared to Q3 2019, excluding the Projects segment), which confirms the resilience and solidity of the organisation and the valid measures taken to contrast the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Adjusted EBITDA at €647M (€773M in the first nine months of 2019), with an essential resilience of margins (ratio of adjusted EBITDA to Sales at 8.6% vs 8.9%). Profitability improved in Q3, with a ratio of Adjusted EBITDA to Sales of 9.1% compared to 9.0% in Q3 2019.
Net Financial Debt at €2,669 million, improving thanks to the strong cash generation capacity, with LTM Free Cash Flow at €617 million in the 12 months from October 2019 to September 2020.
'Our results for the first nine months of 2020 confirm Prysmian Group's resilience in response to the extremely negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,' commented Chief Executive Officer Valerio Battista. 'Particular mention should be made of the recovery of the organic sales trend in the third quarter across almost all business areas, but especially in Energy. The results at the level of profitability show even greater resilience, with stable margins even in the comparison between the first nine months of 2020 and 2019 and with improvement in the third quarter. The integration with General Cable, which we regard as completed, and which has given rise to a Group with a more balanced geographical presence and an integrated product portfolio, generating synergies of €175 million, contributed to the stability of the business and the company's financial solidity. The situation remains critical in all geographical areas, yet on the basis of the results at 30 September we can confirm, with confidence, our targets for the entire year as updated following the outbreak of the pandemic.'
Group sales amounted to €7,488 million, with a -9.4% organic change (excluding the Projects segment), confirming the Group's resilience in a difficult macroeconomic and market context due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The sequential improvement of organic sales in Q3 (-5.2% in Q3, excluding Projects) shows the good resilience of the Group, which thanks to the reactivity and organisational flexibility of the supply chain was able to grasp the recovery opportunities that emerged. In particular, the Energy segment proved highly resilient (Q3 organic growth for the first nine months was -4.2%), thanks to the improved product and geographical mix, the supply chain's flexibility, and the effective cost management. A positive performance was recorded in both the Renewables (organic growth for the first nine months was +10.3%) and On-shore Wind markets in North America (organic growth for the first nine months was +7.3%). In Q3, also the Telecom business recovered (in North America), with an improvement of the change of organic sales. The Projects segment recorded a recovery of organic sales in High Voltage Underground in Q3, which had been more affected by the impact of the pandemic on production and installation.
Adjusted EBITDA was €647 million (€773 million in the first nine months of 2019), reflecting the reduction in sales. Profitability was well sustained by the cost containment measures taken and the improvement of the business mix, with a ratio of Adjusted EBITDA to Sales essentially stable in the first nine months (8.6% compared to 8.9% for the first nine months of 2019), recovering in Q3 (9.1% compared to 9.0% for Q3 2019). The Energy segment showed a significant improvement in Power Distribution profitability, driven by the performance of On-shore Wind in North America and Renewables. Projects showed stable profitability, recovering in Q3, thanks to the good execution of Submarine projects and the ability to overcome some of the inefficiencies caused by Covid-19 to the High Voltage Underground segment. Telecom's margins stabilised, especially thanks to effective cost-containment measures which contrasted price pressures and volume reduction.
EBITDA amounted to 601 million (€711 million in the first 9 months of 2019), including net expenses for company reorganisation, net non-recurring expenses and other net non-operating expenses totalling €46 million (€62 million in the first 9 months 2019).
Operating income amounted to €294 million (€479 million in the first nine months of 2019), also due to the partial write-down of the assets in the South Europe region, amounting to €43 million.
Net profit was €140 million (€271 million for the first 9 months of 2019).
Net Financial Debt decreased to €2,669 million at 30 September 2020 (€3,027 million at 30 September 2019; €2,140 million at 31 December 2019). The deleverage was particularly supported by the company's cash generation capacity, with Free Cash Flow for the 12 months from September 2019 to September 2020 amounting to €617 million. The main factors that influenced Net Financial Debt in the past 12 months were:
net cash flows of operating activities (before changes in working capital) amounting to €811 million;
cash absorption of €73 million due to restructuring and integration costs;
a decrease in net working capital amounting to €369 million;
net operating investments totalling €279 million;
net financial charges paid in the amount of €85 million;
taxes paid amounting to €117 million;
dividends distributed amounting to €71 million;
effects of the application of IFRS16 on debt amounting to € 106 million;
other effects amounting to €82 million, including due to exchange rate devaluation;
Profitability improved slightly thanks to a good execution of the Submarine projects
In Q3 recovery started for High Voltage Underground
Record order book at € 3,830M. Technological innovation and new cable-laying vessel 'Leonardo da Vinci' are competition drivers for the energy transition
Sales for the first nine months of 2020 of the Projects segment amounted to €1,056 million (-13.9% organic change compared to the first nine months of 2019), with Adjusted EBITDA at €130 million (€152 million in the first nine months of 2019). Slight margin improvement with the ratio of Adjusted EBITDA to Sales at 12.3% compared to 12.2% in the first nine months of 2019.
Within the High Voltage Energy Submarine Systems and Cables business, the good execution of projects, despite the complex situation caused by the pandemic, led to a profitability improvement. Among the main orders for which execution continued was the link between Norway and Great Britain (NSL Link), the link between France and Great Britain (IFA2), the interconnections in Bahrain, Greece (the island of Crete and the Peloponnese region) and the Viking Link, in addition to the Offshore Wind grid connection project in France.
Within the High Voltage Underground Cables and Systems business, the sales reduction is attributable mostly to the APAC region. In Q3 recovery started after a strong slowdown of production and installation activities in the second quarter due to the pandemic.
The Group reached a historic milestone by securing of three large contracts for the development of the German Corridors, for an overall amount of €1.8 billion, equal to about 50% of the total amount of contracts awarded. Following the contracts secured for the development of the German Corridors, the order book achieved a record value of €3,830 million (at 30 September 2020), of which €1,800 million regarding submarine projects and €2,030 million referring to high-voltage underground projects.
Intense tendering activity continued. Technological innovation and development of assets and project execution capacity put the Group in a competitive position enabling it to grasp any opportunities arising on investments in network infrastructures to support the energy transition.
Prysmian's most recent technological innovations include the P-Laser cable systems ensuring greater transmission capacity, high performance and environmental sustainability (100% recyclable material and -40% CO2 emissions), cables for installation in HVDC links in long lengths, Aramid-armoured cables for record-depth installation, grid monitoring and management technology. The launch of the new vessel 'Leonardo da Vinci', the world's best performing and most capable cable layer, has also been confirmed and it will enter into operation in July 2021.
Moreover, the Group is preparing to improve the flexibility of the production system and adjust the technological equipment of the plant in Arco Felice (Naples), where a research and testing laboratory will be set up, with an approved investment of about €60 million.
Good resilience and reactivity; improved profitability
Positive performance of Power Distribution, driven by North America (On-shore Wind)
Gradual improvement of Industrial & Network Components in Q3, driven by the Renewables market
Sales of the Energy segment in the first nine months of 2020 amounted to €5,385 million, confirming the strong resilience and reactivity of the organisation. The organic decrease was -7.8% in the first nine months, with a -4.2% improvement in Q3 compared to the same period of 2019. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to €355 million compared to €391 million, and margins slightly improved. The ratio of Adjusted EBITDA to Sales was 6.6% (6.4% in the first nine months of 2019).
Energy & Infrastructure
The Energy & Infrastructure business also showed a recovery trend in Q3 of 2020, with sales amounting to €3,559 million, and an organic change of -8.6% compared to the first nine months of 2019, or -4.4% in Q3 2020. Adjusted EBITDA in the first nine months stood at €224 million (€238 million in the first nine months of 2019), with a ratio to Sales improving at 6.3% compared to 5.9% in the first nine months of 2019.
Trade & Installers results showed a higher resilience in North America, Central and Eastern Europe and Northern Europe. The strong impact of the pandemic reported in Q2 lessened in Q3, which witnessed signs of recovery.
Power Distribution reported a good performance both in terms of sales, in particular thanks to the contribution of On-shore Wind in North America, and of profitability, owing to a good geographical mix and industrial efficiencies.
Overhead lines reported a good sales performance and margin improvement in Latin America and North America.
Industrial & Network Components
Industrial & Network Components sales amounted to €1,673 million, with a -7.0% organic change compared to the first nine months of 2019 (improving in Q3, which recorded a -4.1% organic change in sales). Adjusted EBITDA stood at €130 million, compared to €150 million in 2019. Margins also remained stable, with a 7.8% ratio to Sales, compared to 8.0% in the first nine months of 2019. The Renewables and Railways markets showed a positive performance, whereas the Mining, Aviation and Automotive businesses reported a less positive performance. Elevators showed good resilience, with stable profitability despite the decline in volumes due to the effects of the pandemic. The sharp decline of Automotive in Q2 slowed in Q3 with a recovery in volumes.
Partly expected decline in the telecom business results, worsened by the effects of the pandemic. Improvement in Q3 in North America
Cost containment measures partly offset the volume reduction and price pressures (Europe)
Broadband and 5G supporting digitalisation as a medium-term growth driver
Sales of the Telecom segment amounted to €1,047 million, with an organic decrease compared to the first nine months of 2019 (-16.9%), substantially in line with expectations. Signs of recovery were reported in Q3 thanks to the uptrend in North America (-10.0% organic change of sales in Q3). Adjusted EBITDA stood at €162 million compared to €230 million in the first nine months of 2019, with a 15.5% ratio to Sales compared to 17.8% in 2019.
The decline reported in the Optical Fiber Cables, partly expected and although worsened by the effects of the pandemic, is attributable to lower volumes and price pressures, whose effects were partially mitigated by cost efficiency measures.
The decrease in Multimedia Solutions reported in Q2 due to the effects of the pandemic lessened in Q3.
Long-term growth drivers are confirmed also in the current scenario, where the need of broadband telecommunications infrastructures has even increased, as they are necessary to support the irreversible digitalisation processes and the development of 5G.
Commitment to technological innovation continued. In the Netherlands, Prysmian supported the phone operator KPN within a project to develop a broadband network made of 90% recycled optic fibres.
Performance by geographical area: excellent performance of Energy & Infrastructures in North America driven by On-shore Wind
Sales of the EMEA area in the first nine months of 2020 amounted to €4,010 million, with a -10.3%* organic change, due to the negative performance mainly recorded in Q2 in South Europe, Great Britain and MEAT. Sequential improvement in Q3 in Energy & Infrastructures. The Industrial business was driven by the Renewables market. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to €273 million compared to €372 million in the same period of 2019, with an 6.8% ratio to Sales, compared to 8.1% in the first nine months of 2019.
The positive performance reported by Power Distribution and the whole Energy & Infrastructures business, thanks in particular to the contribution of On-shore Wind, accelerated by the approaching expiry of current incentives, supported sales in North America, while limiting the decline due to the pandemic. Revenues amounted to €2,355 million, with a -6.1%* organic change compared to 2019. Adjusted EBITDA grew to €293 million compared to €285 million in the same period of 2019, with an improvement of margins thanks to the business mix and the cost containment measures taken. Ratio to Sales improved to 12.5%, compared to 10.9% in the first nine months of 2019. .
Sales of the Central-South America Region for the first nine months of 2020 amounted to €531 million, with an organic change of -14.4%* mainly attributable to the effects of the pandemic in Q2. Significant recovery of results in Q3. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to €44 million, down compared to €69 million in the same period of 2019, with a 8.2% ratio to Sales, compared to 10.1% in the first nine months of 2019.
In the first nine months of 2020, sales in Asia Pacific amounted to €592 million, with an organic change of -12.7%*. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to €37 million compared to €47 million in the same period of 2019, with an essentially stable ratio to Sales (6.3% compared to 6.4% in the first nine months of 2019). The decline of Adjusted EBITDA is chiefly attributable to the impact of Covid-19. The Industrial business (OEM & Renewables) reported a positive performance. Q3 results benefitted from the carry over of the results that YOFC reported in Q2.
The macroeconomic scenario deteriorated rapidly in the first nine months of 2020 due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic at the global level. In response to this health emergency, nearly all countries took containment measures such as restrictions on movement, quarantines and other public emergency initiatives, with severe repercussions on global economic activity and the entire economy.
In response to this crisis, the International Monetary Fund, among the major financial institutions, significantly reduced its economic growth estimates for 2020. According to the forecasts updated in October 2020, the global economy is expected to contract by 4.4% in 2020, compared with the expected growth of 3.3% forecast in early January. In any event, these forecasts incorporate a high degree of uncertainty, given the lack of visibility relating to various factors, including, for example, the duration of the pandemic, the intensity and efficacy of the containment measures, progress in the health situation, the speed of the recovery of demand and, above all, the second wave of the pandemic that is currently underway in many countries.
The extraordinary impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic also affected Prysmian Group's results, initially in China, where production and market demand were severely affected throughout the first quarter, followed by a recovery beginning in the second quarter. In mid-March the impact also extended to the other geographical areas affected by the pandemic (Europe, the Middle East and North and South America), above all in businesses connected to the construction sector (e.g., Trade & Installers) and those with significant installation activities. During the third quarter, there was a progressive resumption of activities in most countries, although levels remained lower than in the previous year. This resumption, accompanied by timely cost management and a flexible supply chain, allowed the management to protect the Group's results and restore the Group's consolidated margins to levels in line with the previous year.
Prysmian Group's long-term growth drivers, mainly relating to the energy transition to renewable sources, upgrading of telecommunications networks (digitalisation) and the electrification process, were confirmed. The Group may also count on extensive diversification by business and geographical areas, a sound financial structure, an efficient, flexible supply chain and a lean organisation - all factors that are permitting a confident response to the emergency.
IIn light of the above considerations, the Group confirms the 2020 guidance previously released to the market on 30 July with confidence. In 2020, unless there are significant shifts in the course of the health emergency and thus further discontinuities and slowdowns in global economic activities, the Group expects to achieve an adjusted EBITDA of €800-€850 million and to generate cash flows of €200-€300 million (free cash flow before acquisitions, disposals and dividends). These forecasts are based on the Company's current business scope, assume exchange rates in line with the average for financial year 2019 and do not include impacts on cash flow relating to antitrust decisions and the related follow-on cases.
AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS
Today the Board of Directors of Prysmian S.p.A. amended its By-laws to comply with Consob Resolution No. 21359 of 13 May 2020 regarding gender balance within company bodies, according to the procedures set out in Article 2365, paragraph 2, of the Italian Civil Code, and Article 17, paragraph 3, of the By-laws.
More specifically, the amendments to the By-laws, specifically to Articles 14 (Board of Directors) and 21 (Board of Statutory Auditors), aligned the provisions of the By-laws regarding the composition of lists for the presentation of candidates for the renewal of company bodies with the legislation currently in force. The By-laws thus amended will be available on the Company's website at the address www.prysmiangroup.com (in the section Company/Governance), on the website of Borsa Italiana S.p.A. at the address www.borsaitaliana.it and from the authorised storage facility at the address www.emarketstorage.com, as soon as registration of the document with the Companies Register is completed.
Prysmian Group's Financial Report at 30 September 2020, approved by the Board of Directors today, will be made available to the public by 14 November 2020 at the Company's registered office in Via Chiese 6, Milan, and at Borsa Italiana S.p.A. It will also be available on the corporate website at www.prysmiangroup.com and in the authorised central storage mechanism used by the Company at www.emarketstorage.com. This document may contain forward-looking statements relating to future events and future operating, economic and financial results of Prysmian Group. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they depend on the occurrence of future events and circumstances. Therefore, actual results may differ materially from those reflected in forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors. The managers responsible for preparing corporate accounting documents (Carlo Soprano and Alessandro Brunetti) hereby declare, pursuant to Article 154-bis, paragraph 2 of Italy's Unified Financial Act, that the accounting information contained in this press release corresponds to the underlying documents, accounting books and records.
The results at 30 September 2020 will be presented to the financial community during a conference call to be held today at 4:00 pm CET, a recording of which will be subsequently made available on the Group's website: www.prysmiangroup.com. The documentation used during the presentation will be available today in the Investor Relations section of the Prysmian website at www.prysmiangroup.com and can be viewed on the Borsa Italiana website www.borsaitaliana.it and in the central storage mechanism at www.emarketstorage.com.