08 Feb 2019
Umicore reaches Horizon 2020 targets two years ahead of schedule and reaffirms upside potential
Record results in 2018
- Revenues of € 3.3 billion (+17%*)
- Recurring EBITDA of € 720 million (+23%*)
- Recurring EBIT of € 514 million (+29%*)
- ROCE of 15.4% (versus 15.1% in 2017) in a period of intense investments
- Recurring net profit (Group share) of € 326 million (+22%) and recurring EPS of € 1.36 (+12%)
- Net debt at € 861 million (up from € 840 million) partly driven by temporary factors
- Capital expenditures of € 478 million (versus € 365 million in 2017)
- Proposed gross annual dividend of € 0.75 per share up from € 0.70 in 2017
*Excluding discontinued operations
Umicore is delivering on its strategy to be the undisputed leader in clean mobility materials and recycling, with its offering of product and process technologies, combined with its closed loop approach and sustainable supply. As part of this strategy, Umicore has won significant new business in the latter half of 2018, which will accelerate its growth in the coming years. For instance, in Automotive Catalysts, Umicore won the largest share of the gasoline platforms requiring particulate filters in Europe and China. In Rechargeable Battery Materials Umicore continued to secure major xEV platforms with OEMs globally. In addition, Umicore continued to step up its R&D efforts, which is reflected in a 56% increase in the number of patent family filings compared to the previous year.
Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore, said: "I am really pleased to see that our strategic choices and recent investments are paying off. We have reached the original Horizon 2020 objectives two years ahead of schedule and are on track to achieve our raised ambitions notwithstanding a less favorable macro-economic environment in 2019. Umicore is uniquely positioned to respond to societal trends and regulatory demands for cleaner mobility and recycling. We have the technologies and are expanding our capacity to ensure that we continue to grow and meet the rising demand for our products and services. I am also proud that Umicore is a pioneer in providing customers in the rechargeable battery value chain with materials of a certified clean and ethical origin."
Progress on our growth investments
In order to meet continued fast-growing customer demand for its cathode materials used in rechargeable batteries for automotive applications, Umicore is rapidly expanding its production capacity. The investment program of € 460 million in China and Korea was completed in 2018, on an accelerated schedule.
In February 2018 Umicore announced an additional investment programme of € 660 million in greenfield production sites in China and Europe. The new production lines in China will start to come on stream in the second half of this year, while construction of the European plant is expected to start in spring this year. The investments in the new Process Competence Center in Olen, Belgium, are expected to be commissioned in late 2019.
On the back of its high rate of business wins, in particular in gasoline particulate filters, Umicore is expanding its automotive catalyst production capacity in Poland and China with new production lines due to come on stream in the second part of 2019.
Major environmental investments in the Hoboken plant aimed at revamping the lead refinery were completed with an immediate and significant reduction in emissions.
The long-term fundamentals of our business are strong and we are excited about our prospects, notwithstanding current challenges in the macro economic environment impacting in particular the automotive sector. We remain on track to capture the upside potential of some 35% to 45% over and above the original Horizon 2020 ambitions while maintaining the 15%+ ROCE target at Group level.
We will make further progress in the execution of our growth strategy through 2019. However, we expect that REBIT growth in 2019 will be tempered by the present subdued demand in the automotive and consumer electronics sectors, combined with increased depreciation charges, R&D and startup costs as well as the timing of new capacity. In Catalysis, new capacity will come on stream in China and Europe towards the end of the year to accommodate for recent platform wins compliant with new legislations. In Energy & Surface Technologies, the introduction of new xEV models and the start-up of greenfield capacity in the second part of the year will drive growth in Rechargeable Battery Materials. We do not expect a recurrence of the exceptional profitability from which we benefitted in the first half of 2018 in Cobalt & Specialty Materials. In Recycling, we will combine the regular maintenance of the Hoboken smelter with optimization investments and this will result in an extended shutdown of the plant in the first quarter of the year. Taking account of the impact of this shutdown, we expect processed volumes to be roughly in line with the levels reached in 2018.
Umicore remains committed to pursuing its strategic investments and long-term research programs while consistently delivering strong returns to shareholders.
Note: All comparisons are made with 2017 and all Group KPIs for 2017 include the discontinued Building Products activities until end September 2017, unless mentioned otherwise. There are no discontinued operations remaining as from the start of 2018.