Record net income and free cash flow

27 February 2020
 

• Net sales up 3.1% like-for-like with an over-proportional Recurring EBITDAgrowth of 6.5% like-for-like

• Record net income2 of CHF 2,072 million (+32%), EPS3 up 29%

• Record free cash flow1 of CHF 3,047 million (+79%)

• Cash conversion1 at 49.5% (28.3% in 2018)

• Net debt1  reduced from CHF 13.5 billion to CHF 8.8 billion (-35%); Net debt to Recurring EBITDA at 1.4x1

• All 2019 targets achieved

• Strengthening leadership in sustainability


 

PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW

Group Full Year (in million CHF) 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales 26,722 27,466 -2.7 3.1
Recurring EBITDA (pre-IFRS16) 6,153 6,016 2.3 6.5
Recurring EBITDA (pre-IFRS16) margin (%) 23.0 21.9    
Operation profit (EBIT) 3,833 3,312 15.7  
Net income, group share 2,246 1,502 49.5  
Net income before impairment & divestments (pre-IFRS16)4 2,072 1,569 32.1  
EPS in CHF/share 3.69 2.52 46.3  
EPS before impairment & divestments in CHF/share (pre-IFRS 16) 3.40 2.63 29.1  
Free Cash Flow (pre-IFRS 16) 3,047 1,703 79.0  
Net financial debt (pre-IFRS 16) 8,811 13,518    

Jan Jenisch, CEO: “2019 was a very successful year for us and we achieved record results in Operating profit, Net income, EPS and Free Cash Flow. Our sharp decrease in net debt has significantly strengthened our balance sheet. We have achieved all our targets for 2019 and have moved our company to a new level of performance.

On top of these record financial results, we strengthened our leadership in sustainability by setting more ambitious targets for carbon emissions and by joining the Science-Based Target initiative. We introduced our first carbon-neutral concrete in key markets and will further focus on expanding our range of low-carbon building solutions.

I congratulate all our employees and teams on these impressive results and would like to thank them for their dedication and efforts in making this possible. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in our Chinese operations and in our joint venture Huaxin in view of the current coronavirus crisis. We are taking all necessary measures to protect the health of our employees and their families.”

 

A RECORD PERFORMANCE

Midway through Strategy 2022 “Building for Growth” LafargeHolcim has achieved almost all 2022 targets. The company significantly strengthened its balance sheet and is now well positioned to continue growing profitably with strong market positions in all regions. On top, eight bolt-on acquisitions in the attractive Ready-Mix and Aggregates markets have been accomplished in 2019.

Net sales of CHF 26,722 million grew 3.1% on a like-for-like basis compared to the prior year, driven by good growth in Europe and North America, good price dynamics across all business segments and higher prices in most markets.

Recurring EBITDA1 reached CHF 6,153 million, up 6.5% like-for-like for the full year, driven by good pricing, improvement in efficiencies and our CHF 400 million SG&A cost savings program. The Recurring EBITDA margin1 increased from 21.9% in 2018 to 23% in 2019.

Record Net income2 of CHF 2,072 million increased by 32% compared to 2018 (CHF 1,569 million), driven by less restructuring costs, lower financial expenses as well as a decrease in the tax rate.

Earnings per Share3 were up by 29% accordingly to reach CHF 3.40 for the full year 2019 versus CHF 2.63 for 2018.

Record Free Cash Flow1 generation of CHF 3,047 million (+79%) and strong improvement of cash conversion1 reaching 49.5%, well above the target of 40%, as defined in Strategy 2022 - “Building for Growth”. This achievement reflects reduced cash paid for tax, financial and restructuring costs as well as improved net working capital.

Net debt1 was substantially reduced by CHF 4.7 billion (-35%) to CHF 8.8 billion at year-end 2019, reflecting the strong Free Cash Flow and the positive impact following the sale of Indonesia and Malaysia. This resulted in a significant deleveraging with a ratio of Net debt to Recurring EBITDA of 1.4x1  (2.2x in 2018).   

Return on Invested Capital1 (ROIC) was a strong 7.6% for 2019, close to the 2022 target of above 8% and compared to 6.5% in the previous year. ROIC is now above cost of capital thanks to higher profitability, lower tax rate and disciplined Capex.

In 2019, LafargeHolcim delivered a record performance and reached a new level of financial strength which puts the company in a perfect position for further profitable growth for the second half of Strategy 2022 and beyond.

 

STRENGTHENING LEADERSHIP IN SUSTAINABILITY

In 2019, LafargeHolcim made significant progress in reducing its carbon footprint. Compared to 2018 the company reduced its net CO2 scope 1 emissions per ton of cementitious material by 1.4%5 to 561 kg/ton in 2019, nearly meeting its 2022 target of 560 kg/ton.

Given this strong progress, the company has revised its 2022 target to 550 kg/ton as it moves to reduce its carbon footprint to 520 kg/ton by 2030. In 2019, the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has validated the targets to reduce the company’s global carbon footprint as adequate and consistent with the effort to keep temperatures below the ‘2°C’ threshold agreed at the COP21 world climate conference in Paris.

Compared to 1990, the company had already reduced its directly attributable (‘scope 1’) net CO2 emissions per ton of cementitious material by 27%, by far the leader among international cement groups.

In October 2019, Chief Sustainability Officer Magali Anderson was appointed as a member of the Group Executive Committee, underlining LafargeHolcim’s industry leadership in regard to social and ecological responsibility.

Recently LafargeHolcim introduced its first fully carbon-neutral concrete6 in Switzerland and Germany, demonstrating the company’s move toward building a global family of carbon-neutral products.

To keep up this momentum, the company has also revised its incentive scheme so that one-third of the Executive Committee’s performance share rewards is based on progress in carbon emissions, waste recycling and freshwater withdrawal. The health and safety component of the annual incentive scheme will also include a scorecard including both leading and lagging performance metrics. Both changes to the incentives scheme begin in 2020.

 

OUTLOOK 2020

For 2020, LafargeHolcim anticipates a continued solid market environment:

  • Continued market growth in North America
  • Improving market conditions in Latin America
  • Continued demand growth across most countries in Europe
  • Challenging market conditions in Middle East Africa
  • Demand growth in India, challenging environment in China. This outlook doesn't take into account the impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) might have on the operating results in China

 

Based on the above trends and the successful execution of Strategy 2022, we are confident to achieve the following targets for 2020:

  • Net sales growth of 3 to 5% on a like-for-like basis
  • Recurring EBIT* growth of at least 7%7 on a like-for-like basis
  • Ratio of Net debt to Recurring EBITDA below 2 times by the end of 2020
  • Cash conversion of 40%
  • Capex and bolt-on acquisitions of less than CHF 2 billion

 

For the 2019 financial year, the Board of Directors is proposing a cash dividend of CHF 2.00 per registered share, subject to approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 12 May 2020. The dividend will be fully paid out of the foreign capital contribution reserve and is not subject to Swiss withholding tax.

 

* LafargeHolcim announces Recurring EBIT as its new key performance indicator starting in 2020, replacing Recurring EBITDA. The new indicator provides full transparency and accountability under IFRS 16 as it fully captures operational achievements and better reflects financial discipline on investments. The key performance indicator changes from the previously used Recurring EBITDA growth of at least 5% like-for-like to Recurring EBIT growth of at least 7% like-for-like.

 

KEY GROUP FIGURES 2019

Group Q4 (in million CHF) 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales 6,521 6,831 -4.5 0.6
Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 1,610 1,665 -3.3 0.1
Recurring EBITDA margin pre- IFRS 16 (%) 24.7 24.4    
Group Full Year (in million CHF) 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Net sales 26,722 27,466 -2.7 3.1
Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 6,153 6,016 2.3 6.5
Recurring EBITDA margin pre-IFRS 16 (%) 23.0 21.9    
Operating profit (EBIT) 3,833 3,312 15.7  
Net income, group share 2,246 1,502 49.5  
Net Income before impairment & divestments (pre-IFRS 16) group share 2,072 1,569 32.1  
EPS before impairment & divestments (pre-IFRS 16) 3.40 2.63 29.1  
Cash flow from operating activities 4,825 2,988 61.5  
Free Cash Flow pre-IFRS 16 3,047 1,703 79.0  
Net financial debt pre-IFRS 16 8,811 13,518 -34.8  
Group Results by Segment Full Year 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of Cement (mt) 207.9 221.9 -6.3 0.5
Net sales of Cement (CHFm) 17,498 18,052 -3.1 4.0
Recurring EBITDA of Cement pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 4,759 4,688 1.5 6.1
Recurring EBITDA margin of Cement pre-IFRS 16 (%) 27.2 26.0    
 
Sales of Aggregates (mt) 269.9 273.8 -1.4 -0.3
Net sales of Aggregates (CHFm) 4,125 4,091 0.8 3.5
Recurring EBITDA of Aggregates pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 902 893 1.0 3.0
Recurring EBITDA margin of Aggregates pre-IFRS 16 (%) 21.9 21.8    
 
Sales of Ready-Mix-Concrete (m m3) 47.7 50.9 -6.3 -2.0
Net sales of Ready-Mix-Concrete (CHFm) 5,289 5,481 -3.5 -0.2
Recurring EBITDA of Ready-Mix-Concrete pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 276 232 18.9 18.0
Recurring EBITDA margin of Ready-Mix-Concrete pre-IFRS 16 (%) 5.2 4.2    
         
Net sales of Solutions & Products (CHFm) 2,248 2,396 -6.2 0.2
Recurring EBITDA of Solutions & Products pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 217 203 7.1 20.0
Recurring EBITDA margin of Solutions & Products pre-IFRS 16 (%) 9.7 8.5    


 

Regional performance
 

Asia Pacific

The Asia Pacific region continued to generate strong Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 growth. Overall there was a strong over-proportional improvement of Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 in India. The turnaround initiatives in Australia offset the current market slowdown. The contribution from China continued to be solid.

Asia Pacific Full Year 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 73.5 89.7 -18.1 -0.3
Sales of aggregates (mt) 27.3 31.4 -13.0 -0.5
Sales of ready-mix concrete (m m3) 9.6 12.5 -23.3 -0.4
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 6,491 7,446 -12.8 2.5
Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 1,694 1,609 5.3 14.2
Recurring EBITDA margin pre-IFRS 16 (%) 26.1 21.5    

 

Europe

2019 was another excellent year for the Europe region with a very strong over-proportional growth in Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16. Eastern and Central European markets were especially robust with ongoing public infrastructure spending across Europe. Successful price increases were implemented in all segments and for instance in the key markets of France, Germany, Poland and Russia. The strong margin improvement was supported by operational efficiencies and effective price management in all business segments.

Europe Full Year 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 46.3 45.3 2.3 2.3
Sales of aggregates (mt) 118.7 120.4 -1.4 -1.8
Sales of ready-mix concrete (m m3) 19.3  19.3 -0.1 -0.4
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 7,670 7,554 1.5 4.9
Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 1,596 1,499 6.5 10.2
Recurring EBITDA margin pre-IFRS 16 (%) 20.5 19.5    

 

Latin America

In 2019, the Latin America region continued to see soft but stabilizing cement demand. Markets in Mexico and Ecuador were weaker, while Colombia delivered a good performance. Cement demand recovered in Brazil. Effective cost and price management across the region partially mitigated the challenges in key markets such as Mexico and provided for an overall resilient regional performance.

Latin America Full Year 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 24.7 25.1 -1.5 -1.5
Sales of aggregates (mt) 4.1 3.6 14.6 14.6
Sales of ready-mix concrete (m m3) 4.9 5.5 -10.7 -10.7
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 2,620 2,731 -4.1 3.6
Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 887 959 -7.5 -1.7
Recurring EBITDA margin pre-IFRS 16 (%) 33.7 35.0    

 

Middle East Africa

Market conditions in the Middle East Africa region remained challenging in 2019, albeit with further progress towards stabilization. Price pressure continued in oversupplied markets such as Algeria and Nigeria. The good progress in turnaround initiatives partially offset challenging conditions in these key markets. Robust cement demand in Iraq and several countries in Eastern Africa helped to further mitigate these challenges. Overall cement volumes remained stable across the region, matching the prior-year level. 

Middle East Africa Full Year 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 35.6 35.9 -0.8 -0.8
Sales of aggregates (mt) 6.3 8.7 -28.1 -28.1
Sales of ready-mix concrete (m m3) 3.8 4.2 -10.1 -10.1
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 2,903 3,080 -5.8 -0.8
Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 656 734 -10.7 -5.1
Recurring EBITDA margin pre-IFRS 16 (%) 22.3 23.5    

 

North America

The macroeconomic environment remained favorable in the US and Eastern Canada with a strong order backlog and several large projects already captured. Western Canada experienced some challenges triggered by the economic downturn in the oil and gas dependent provinces of the Prairies. Overall, North America delivered a solid performance with an over-proportional Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 growth in Q4 2019.

North America Full Year 2019 2018 ±% ±% LfL
Sales of cement (mt) 20.8 19.8 5.3 5.3
Sales of aggregates (mt) 113.5 109.6 3.6 3.0
Sales of ready-mix concrete (m m3) 10.2 9.4 7.6 1.6
Net sales to external customers (CHFm) 6,311 5,875 7.4 4.9
Recurring EBITDA pre-IFRS 16 (CHFm) 1,621 1,523 6.4 4.4
Recurring EBITDA margin pre-IFRS 16 (%) 25.7 25.9    

 

OTHER PROFIT & LOSS ITEMS

Depreciation and amortization pre-IFRS 16 stood at CHF 2,096 million versus CHF 2,235 million in 2018, reflecting the divestment in South East Asia and discipline in Capex.

Restructuring, litigation, implementation and other non-recurring costs stood at CHF 190 million, compared to CHF 476 million in 2018 and CHF 461 million in 2017. 2019 restructuring costs amounted to CHF 101 million, reflecting the completion of the implementation of the SG&A savings program.

Profit and Loss on disposals and other non-operating items amounted to CHF 186 million, reflecting mainly the capital gain on the Indonesia and Malaysia divestments.

Net financial expenses pre-IFRS 16 for 2019 amounted to CHF 638 million versus CHF 886 million in the prior year, a strong improvement by CHF 248 million. This was driven by refinancing actions and deleverage.

The income tax rate pre-IFRS 16 excluding impairment and divestments was 26%, 1.7 percentage points lower than in 2018.

Reflecting all the above, 2019 Net income group share amounted to CHF 2,246 million.

Excluding impairment and divestments, EPS pre-IFRS 16 was up 29.1% to CHF 3.40 for 2019. On a reported basis, EPS was CHF 3.69 for 2019.

Net capital expenditure for 2019 was CHF 1,396 million. Free Cash Flow pre-IFRS 16 stood at CHF 3,047 million, up 79.0% compared to 2018. This led to a ratio of cash conversion pre-IFRS 16, defined as Free Cash Flow relative to Recurring EBITDA, of 49.5% in 2019.

 

RECONCILIATION TO GROUP ACCOUNTS

Reconciliation of IFRS 16 impacts in Statement of income with the Consolidated Financial Statements

Group Full Year (in million CHF) 2019
post-IFRS 16
IFRS 16
impact
2019
pre-IFRS 16
2018
Net sales 26,722   26,722 27,466
Recurring costs excluding SG&A (18,678) 364 (19,042) (19,511)
Recurring SG&A (2,011) 64 (2,075) (2,441)
Share of profit of joint ventures 548   548 502
Recurring EBITDA 6,581 428 6,153 6,016
Depreciation and amortization (2,479) (383) (2,096) (2,235)
Recurring EBIT 4,102 45 4,057 3,781
Impairment of operating assets (80)   (80) 6
Restructuring, litigation, implementation and other non-recurring costs (190)   (190) (476)
Operating profit (EBIT) 3,833 45 3,787 3,312
Profit (loss) on disposal and other non-operating items 186 4 182 (73)
Net financial expenses (712) (74) (638) (886)
Share of profit of associates 12   12 22
Net Profit before tax 3,319 (25) 3,344 2,375
Income tax (806) 7 (813) (656)
Net income  2,513 (18) 2,531 1,719


Reconciliation of Net Income before impairment and divestments with the Consolidated Financial Statements

Group Full Year (in million CHF) 2019
post-IFRS 16
IFRS 16
impact
2019
pre-IFRS 16
2018
Net income 2,513 (18) 2,531 1,719
Impairment (66)   (66) 22
Profit (loss) on divestments 255   255 (74)
Net income before impairment and divestments  2,323 (18) 2,341 1,772
Net income before impairment and divestments Group share     2,072 1,569

Adjustments disclosed net of taxation
 

Reconciliation of Free Cash Flow with the Consolidated Financial Statements

Group Full Year (in million CHF) 2019
post-IFRS 16
IFRS 16
impact
2019
pre-IFRS 16
2018
Cash flow from operating activities 4,825 381 4,444 2,988
Purchase of property, plant and equipment (1,534)   (1,534) (1,411)
Disposal of property, plant and equipment 137   137 126
Repayment of long-term lease liabilities (409) (409)    
Free Cash Flow 3,019 (28) 3,047 1,703


Reconciliation of Net financial debt with the Consolidated Financial Statements

Group Full Year (in million CHF) 2019
post-IFRS 16
IFRS 16
impact
2019
pre-IFRS 16
2018
Current financial liabilities 2,089 304 1,785 3,063
Long-term financial liabilities 12,202 995 11,207 13,061
Cash and cash equivalents 4,148   4,148 2,515
Short-term derivative assets 28   28 66
Long-term derivative assets 5   5 26
Net financial debt 10,110 1,299 8,811 13,518


NON-GAAP DEFINITIONS

Some non-GAAP measures are used in this release to help describe the performance of LafargeHolcim. A full set of these non-GAAP definitions can be found at the link above.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Moving towards Integrated Annual Reporting

For its 2019 annual report, LafargeHolcim applies the principles of Integrated Reporting. Besides the financial results, the report includes more information on our sustainability performance. Sustainability is central to the strategy and principles of our company.

 

The Integrated Annual Report 2019 and the analyst presentation of the results are available on www.lafargeholcim.com A summary report is available in English and German; the full report is available in English.

 

The financial statements are based on IFRS can be found on the LafargeHolcim Group website.

About LafargeHolcim

LafargeHolcim is the global leader in building materials and solutions and active in four business segments: Cement, Aggregates, Ready-Mix Concrete and Solutions & Products. Its ambition is to lead the industry in reducing carbon emissions and shifting towards low-carbon construction. With the strongest R&D organization in the industry, the company seeks to constantly introduce and promote high-quality and sustainable building materials and solutions to its customers worldwide - whether individual homebuilders or developers of major infrastructure projects. LafargeHolcim employs over 70,000 employees in over 70 countries and has a portfolio that is equally balanced between developing and mature markets.

 

Important disclaimer - forward-looking statements:

This document contains forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements do not constitute forecasts regarding results or any other performance indicator, but rather trends or targets, as the case may be, including with respect to plans, initiatives, events, products, solutions and services, their development and potential. Although LafargeHolcim believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions as at the time of publishing this document, investors are cautioned that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of LafargeHolcim, including but not limited to the risks described in the LafargeHolcim's annual report available on its website (www.lafargeholcim.com) and uncertainties related to the market conditions and the implementation of our plans. Accordingly, we caution you against relying on forward-looking statements. LafargeHolcim does not undertake to provide updates of these forward-looking statements.

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Pre-IFRS 16

2 Pre-IFRS 16, before impairment & divestments, group share

3 Pre-IFRS 16, before impairment & divestments

4 group share
5 At constant 2019 scope
6 To achieve climate neutrality, the CO2 load remaining on cement that is already carbon-reduced will be fully offset through recognized, certified climate projects

7  Target doesn't take into account the impact that the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) might have on the operating results in China

 

Documents

  • Media release - English (pdf, 136.87 KB)
  • Media release - German (pdf, 203.62 KB)
  • 2019 Full Year Results Analysts’ Presentation (pdf, 2.27 MB)
  • Integrated Annual Report 2019 - Full English (pdf, 11.89 MB)
  • Integrated Annual Report 2019 summary - English (pdf, 9.29 MB)
  • Integrated Annual Report 2019 summary - German (pdf, 9.33 MB)
  • Materiality Review 2019 (pdf, 1.25 MB)
  • Sustainability performance report 2019 (pdf, 1.4 MB)
 

Full Year Results 2019 Analyst Conference