First quarter EBIT up 15 percent year-on-year
Surteco Group SE, holding company for leading national and international brands in surface technology, is gearing all its activities towards the successful resolution of the current corona crisis. This confidence is based on a broadly diversified product portfolio by industry and a solid financial and balance sheet position. In the 2019 financial year, the forecasts were met both for consolidated revenue of EUR 675.3 million and for earnings (EBIT) adjusted for one-off effects of EUR 19.4 million, at EUR 40.5 million. Reported EBIT amounted to EUR 21.1 million (2018: EUR 32.2 million), while consolidated net income amounted to EUR 9.4 million (2018: EUR 18.6 million). Against the background of the currently unquantifiable effects of the expected corona-induced global recession in 2020, the Management Board, in consultation with the Supervisory Board, will present a proposal for the appropriation of Surteco Group SE's net profit at a later date.
"Surteco is well equipped, both balance sheet-wise and financially, to cope with the current corona crisis. Our market and technology leadership and our broad product portfolio will benefit us in the competitive environment," says Wolfgang Moyses, CEO of Surteco Group SE, confidently.
Thanks to the improvement in debt, mainly due to the sale of the impregnation business in the USA and the repayment of the last tranche of a US private placement, total assets were reduced by 8 percent from EUR 844.5 million to EUR 780.3 million. While the equity ratio as of December 31, 2019 rose significantly from 41.8 percent to 45.4 percent, net financial debt was reduced substantially from EUR 197.5 million to EUR 179.9 million, resulting in a reduction in the gearing ratio from 56 to 51 percent. Operating performance and focused investment activities resulted in an improved free cash flow from EUR 11.2 million to EUR 47.9 million. The Group is thus well positioned in terms of its balance sheet and finances to deal with the potential effects of the Corona pandemic.
Despite the negative effects of the corona pandemic from mid-March onwards, Surteco was able to improve EBIT from EUR 11.6 million to EUR 13.4 million in the first quarter of 2020. This represents an increase of 15.5 percent. The main reasons for this were the positive effects of the previous year's efficiency enhancement measures, good capacity utilisation of all production plants until mid-March and improvements in the materials ratio. EBIT in the Decoratives segment rose from EUR 9.4 million in the previous year to EUR 10.2 million, in the Technicals segment from EUR 1.0 million to EUR 1.9 million and in Profiles from EUR 2.8 million to EUR 3.4 million. The corona crisis and the divestment of the North American impregnation business had a noticeable impact on consolidated sales, which fell from € 181.9 million in the first quarter of 2019 to € 171.6 million.
of the corona pandemic will be particularly noticeable in the 2nd quarter. It
is currently not possible to estimate them for the year 2020 as a whole due to
uncertainties regarding the duration and dimension of the pandemic. As a result
of the far-reaching government measures introduced worldwide to contain the
crisis, a global recession must be expected, and thus revenues will be
considerably lower than the forecast of € 675 to € 700 million that was made
without the effects of the crisis. Against this background, consolidated
earnings (EBIT) are also expected to fall well below the original forecast of
EUR 40 million to EUR 45 million.