Clariant delivered strong growth in Q4 2021 and record profitability in FY 2021
AD HOC ANNOUNCEMENT PURSUANT TO ART. 53 LR
- Independent investigation concluded – Full Year 2020 (restated) and 2021 audited
- Fourth Quarter 2021: Sales from continuing operations grew by 23 % in local currency to CHF 1.242 billion driven by strong pricing and volume expansion
- Fourth Quarter 2021: EBITDA margin increased to 16.3 % from 16.1 % supported by operating leverage and continued higher pricing, which diminished ongoing raw material, energy, and logistics cost inflation
- Full Year 2021: Sales from continuing operations increased by 15 % in local currency to CHF 4.372 billion
- Full Year 2021: EBITDA margin increased to 16.2 % from 15.5 % in a supportive demand environment – highest EBITDA margin since 1999
- Full Year 2021: Net result for total Group at CHF 373 million
- Full Year 2021: Strong operating cash flow of CHF 363 million despite higher growth-related net working capital and restructuring cash-out
- Distribution of CHF 0.40 per share proposed to AGM on 24 June 2022
- Outlook 2022: Strong local currency growth for the Group with the aim to improve year-on-year Group EBITDA margin level in a challenging geopolitical environment
“Clariant concluded the independent investigation and today presented its audited full year 2021 financials. We are pleased to announce markedly higher organic sales growth and a record profitability level in 2021 which is also well above 2019 pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. We were able to successfully manage the challenges from unprecedented developments in raw materials, as well as energy and logistics cost. These results positively reflect the attractiveness of the Group’s higher-value specialty portfolio and provide tangible proof of the continued effective execution of cost discipline and our performance improvement programs,” said Conrad Keijzer, CEO of Clariant. “In 2022, we will continue to execute Clariant’s strategy to deliver profitable growth, guided by our new purpose: Greater Chemistry – between people and planet. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our people for their dedication and hard work, which is reflected by these strong 2021 results, as well as our customers and suppliers for placing their trust in Clariant.”
Fourth Quarter 2021 – Strong growth with higher profitability
MUTTENZ, MAY 19, 2022 – Clariant, a focused, sustainable, and innovative specialty chemical company, today announced its Fourth Quarter 2021 and audited Full Year 2021 results. Following the independent investigation, the 2020 Full Year and quarterly results have been restated and the quarters of 2021 have been corrected accordingly. The restatements in the 2020 Annual Financial Statement resulted in an EBITDA increase of CHF 19 million and CHF 14 million in net result from continuing operations. The fourth quarter continuing operations sales were CHF 1.242 billion, compared to CHF 1.022 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020. This corresponds to an increase of 23 % in local currency and 22 % in Swiss francs. Both pricing, which addressed continued cost inflation, and volume growth had a positive impact on the Group of 14 % and 9 %, respectively. Care Chemicals and Natural Resources grew sales strongly, which more than compensated for the expected development in Catalysis.
All geographic regions contributed to the sales expansion in the fourth quarter of 2021, reflecting both a demand recovery as well as shortages in supply chains. In Europe, the lofty 25 % local currency growth was underpinned by strong expansion in Care Chemicals. The 12 % growth in Asia-Pacific was driven by 17 % expansion in China while sales in North America increased by 17 %. The 30 % sales growth in Latin America and 76 % expansion in the Middle East & Africa, the smallest region, were underpinned by all Business Areas.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Care Chemicals increased sales by 39 % in local currency. This was supported by organic double-digit expansion in Industrial Applications and Consumer Care, Crop Solutions, and Aviation in particular, in addition to the consolidation of the acquired majority share in Clariant IGL Specialty Chemicals (CISC) and the result of acquiring the remaining shares in Beraca, whose sales contributions exceeded expectations. Catalysis sales remained unchanged in local currency, primarily due to the expansion in Syngas, Specialty Catalysts, and the emission-control businesses, which largely counterbalanced the weakness in parts of Petrochemicals. Natural Resources sales increased by a notable 25 % in local currency with growth attributable to all three Business Units, Additives in particular.
The continuing operations EBITDA increased to CHF 203 million and a corresponding margin of 16.3 %, slightly exceeding the 16.1 % reported in the fourth quarter of the previous year. The development was underpinned by higher sales, operating leverage, pricing measures largely offsetting raw material price increases, and the ongoing execution of Clariant’s performance programs, which contributed additional cost savings of CHF 13 million, including the efficiency programs, in the fourth quarter of 2021. The absolute profitability almost matched the high CHF 208 million pre-pandemic level generated in the fourth quarter of 2019 despite negative currency effects.
Full Year 2021 – Specialty chemicals portfolio delivered further sales and profitability improvement
In the full year 2021, continuing operations sales were CHF 4.372 billion, compared to CHF 3.860 billion in full year 2020. This corresponds to an increase of 15 % in local currency and 13 % in Swiss francs. Both pricing and volume growth had a positive impact on the Group of 8 % and 7 %, respectively.
In the full year 2021, sales rose in almost all geographic regions. The developments in Europe, the Middle East & Africa, Asia-Pacific, including China, and Latin America were particularly robust with sales expansion in the range of 16 % to 20 %. The sales gap in North America continued to dwindle and the region ended the year unchanged versus the previous year levels due to the ongoing recovery in Oil and Mining Services.
Care Chemicals sales rose by 22 % in local currency in the full year 2021 with a double-digit organic sales increase in both Industrial Applications and Consumer Care. In Catalysis, the top-line was up by 5 % in local currency, supported by Syngas, Specialty Catalysts, and emission-control catalyst demand. Oil and Mining Services, Functional Minerals, and particularly Additives all contributed to the 14 % local currency sales growth reported in Natural Resources.
The continuing operations EBITDA increased to CHF 708 million as the Group improved profitability on the back of notable sales expansion, operating leverage together with the continued successful pricing measures largely offsetting raw material price increases of approximately 21 %, and the execution of the performance improvement programs, which resulted in additional cost savings of CHF 41 million in the full year 2021. Clariant recognized a CHF 33 million net VAT-related credit over the full year 2021, which was offset by exceptional cost, largely related to the performance improvement programs. The EBITDA margin increased to 16.2 % from 15.5 % in the previous year due to the profitability improvement in Care Chemicals and Natural Resources and the continued cost discipline across the Group.
In 2021, the total Group net result was CHF 373 million versus CHF 825 million in the previous year, CHF 102 million excluding the gain on the Masterbatches disposals. The 2021 net result was positively affected by the strong business performance of the continuing operations and the corresponding margin improvement. In 2020, the gain on the disposal of the Masterbatches business of CHF 723 million and the partial reversal of CHF 50 million of the EU fine provision had an extraordinary positive impact on the result.
Operating cash flow for the total Group was CHF 363 million, just slightly below the previous year level of CHF 369 million, despite a growth-driven cash outflow in net working capital of CHF 221 million, which resulted from the marked sales increase as well as supply chain uncertainties. The restructuring cash payments of CHF 38 million also negatively impacted the cash flow development.
Net debt for the total Group increased to CHF 1.535 billion versus CHF 1.040 billion recorded at the end of 2020. This development is attributable to a growth-driven increase in working capital, higher investments into property, plant, and equipment as well as acquisitions.
The Board of Directors recommends a regular distribution of CHF 0.40 per share to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 24 June 2022 based on the strong performance in 2021. This distribution represents an attractive pay-out ratio of 49 % of continuing operations earnings per share (EPS: CHF 0.81) and is proposed to be made through capital reduction by way of par value reduction.
The Board of Directors proposes the reelection of Günter von Au as Chairman. The following Board of Directors members will not stand for reelection at the 2022 AGM: Abdullah Mohammed Alissa, Nader Ibrahim Alwehibi, and Calum MacLean. The Board of Directors thanks them for their contribution to Clariant and therefore proposes the election of the following individuals: Ahmed Mohamed Alumar, Saudi Arabian Citizen; Roberto César Gualdoni, German and Italian Citizen; Naveena Shastri, US Citizen.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Pigments sales increased by 21 % in local currency and by 20 % in Swiss francs. In the full year 2021, on a like-for-like basis, excluding Masterbatches sales from the first half of 2020, Pigments sales in discontinued operations rose by 15 % in local currency and by 14 % in Swiss francs due to the improved economic environment.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, the EBITDA margin in discontinued operations increased to 8.8 % due to the higher sales levels, the corresponding operating leverage improvement in Pigments, the execution of the efficiency program, as well as effects from other discontinued operations.
In the full year 2021, the EBITDA margin in discontinued operations was 12.5 %.
Outlook – Full Year 2022
Clariant aims to grow above the market to achieve higher profitability through sustainability and innovation. The Group has concluded its significant portfolio transformation program by divesting Healthcare Packaging in 2019, Masterbatches in 2020, and Pigments in January of 2022. Clariant is now a truly specialty chemical company and confirms its 2025 ambition to deliver profitable growth (4 – 6 % CAGR), a Group EBITDA margin between 19 – 21 % and a free cash flow conversion of around 40 %.
In the first quarter of 2022, Clariant expects to generate continued strong sales growth in local currency versus the prior year, underpinned by expansion in Care Chemicals and Natural Resources despite a normalizing growth environment. Clariant is aiming to sustain its corrected year-on-year margin levels in the first quarter of 2022 via volume growth, continuing pricing actions, and cost discipline to diminish continued inflation in raw materials, logistics, labor, and energy cost.
For the full year 2022, Clariant expects strong growth in local currency for the Group driven by a particularly strong first half of 2022. The current high level of uncertainty as a result of the geopolitical conflicts, suspension of business in Russia and the resurgence of COVID-19 in China are expected to impact global economic growth and consumer demand in the second half of the year. Clariant expects the high inflationary environment with regard to raw material, energy and logistic cost as well as supply chain challenges to persist in the second half of 2022. Clariant aims to improve its year-on-year Group EBITDA margin levels via solid volume growth, continued cost discipline, and pricing in an overall increasingly challenging economic environment.
Clariant intends to publish its Integrated Report 2021 on 2 June 2022 and the First Quarter 2022 results on 15 June 2022. The virtual Annual General Meeting 2022 is scheduled for 24 June 2022.
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