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Arkema to announce first-quarter 2020 results

The Group’s results are in line with expectations, in a first quarter marked by the coronavirus outbreak in Asia and its spread to Europe in March. Stripping out the coronavirus impact, the Group’s performance, in a less favorable economic environment than in 2019, was supported by the resilience of Specialty Materials and, in particular, strong growth of the Adhesive Solutions segment. Moreover, the balance sheet and liquidity levels remain very solid.

  • Sales at €2.1 billion, down 5.7% year on year, marked by the impact of Covid-19
  • EBITDA of €300 million, down 19% on first-quarter 2019, mainly impacted by the effects of Covid-19 which amounted to around €45 million
  • EBITDA stable in Specialty Materials, excluding the impact of Covid-19,
  • supported by the significant increase in Adhesive Solutions, with an EBITDA increase of 11%,
  • marked by the decline in the transportation, oil & gas, and electronics markets, overshadowing the growth in the packaging and nutrition markets
  • Intermediates segment mainly impacted by Covid-19 and less favorable market conditions in Fluorogases
  • Adjusted net income of €100 million, representing €1.31 per share
  • Close-to-balance free cash flow, of negative €38 million, reflecting the seasonal increase in working capital
  • Net debt tightly controlled at €2,481 million (including €1 billion in hybrid bonds), up €150 million on 31 December 2019 (€2,331 million including hybrid bonds), of which over half relating to the acquisition of the Danish company LIP in adhesives
  • Liquidity levels at €1.5 billion at end-March, confirming the Group’s financial solidity
  • €100 million reduction in capital expenditure compared to the level originally planned for 2020, and fixed costs to decline by €50 million in 2020 versus 2019, to adapt to the Covid-19 context

Following Arkema’s Board of Directors’ meeting, held on 5 May 2020 to review the Group’s consolidated financial information for the first quarter of 2020, Chairman and CEO Thierry Le Hénaff said:

“Confronted with the Covid-19 health crisis, our priority is first and foremost to protect the health and safety of the Group’s women and men. I would like to sincerely thank them for their commitment and responsiveness during this period, which requires us to continuously adapt our operating procedures. The continuity of our operations has been largely preserved, allowing us to carry on serving our customers.

The first-quarter financial performance, which was down year on year, was significantly marked by the initial impacts of the pandemic, but nevertheless allowed the Group to maintain a very solid financial structure, thanks in particular to the contribution of Specialty Materials. Sales in the second quarter will be strongly affected by the sharp drop in global demand resulting from the extensive lockdown measures put in place by governments in many countries. The Group is adjusting to this situation by taking decisive measures to adapt its costs and investments and should also benefit from the diversity of its end markets and its balanced geographical footprint. 

Building on the strength of these elements, and while remaining attentive to the evolution of the global context, I am confident in Arkema’s ability to manage this highly complex period and emerge from it well positioned for the future. On this basis, we intend to continue implementing the ambitious transformation strategy presented to the market on 2 April 2020, with the aim of making Arkema a pure Specialty Materials player by 2024”.

Outlook for 2020

As of today, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, and the evolution of the situation as well as its impact on the global economy remain uncertain. In this context, the Group previously announced that the 2020 guidance published with its 2019 results was no longer relevant.

Global demand is expected to slow significantly in the second quarter of the year, due to the lockdown measures enforced across the different regions of the world that are impacting many sectors of the economy. Construction in Europe and the United States is one market that will be particularly affected in the second quarter and this will impact specifically the performance of the Adhesive Solutions and Coating Solutions segments. While remaining attentive as to how the situation develops, the Group will draw on its strengths to best manage the current situation and mitigate the impacts of the crisis. These include its balanced geographical footprint, the diversity of its end markets, and its capacity for innovation, particularly in certain niche applications that are essential in combating the virus, such as disinfection, medical equipment and protective barriers and masks.

Looking beyond the current quarter, the prospects of an improvement in the economic environment will depend on how the pandemic evolves, which is still too uncertain to make sufficiently reliable estimates as to the impact of the crisis on Arkema’s full-year 2020 results, although the Group anticipates a gradual improvement in global demand from mid-year onwards.

In order to limit the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis, the Group intends to reduce its capital expenditure by €100 million in 2020, compared to the level originally planned, and to reduce its fixed costs by €50 million compared to 2019.

Thanks to those initiatives, the positioning of its product lines, its moderate indebtedness and strong liquidity level, Arkema confirms its confidence in its ability to deal with this unprecedented crisis and to be well positioned when the recovery materializes.

Finally, the Group continues to progress with its reflections about its development and long-term evolution, in line with its ambition presented during the 2 April 2020 Strategy Update to become a pure Specialty Materials player by 2024.

Source: Arkema

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