In 2020, the extraordinary impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic also affected Prysmian Group’s results, above all in businesses relating to the construction sector (Trade & Installers) and characterised by significant installation activities. The gradual recovery of business, accompanied by timely cost management, an extremely flexible supply chain and a highly-focused level of customer service, enabled management to protect the Group’s performance and limit the impact of the pandemic on the Group’s margins. These positive trends were consolidated in H1 2021, with the Energy business reaching pre-pandemic levels and recording improved margins (excluding the effect arising from the price increase of metals), and with Telecom volumes up considerably at the global level, although there remains a high level of uncertainty, heightened by the effects of the pandemic on the availability and prices of raw materials.
In light of the H1 2021 results, and considering the current business context, Prysmian Group expects demand in the construction and industrial cable businesses to sharply recover in 2021, compared to the previous year. In the Submarine Cables and Systems business, the Group, as demonstrated by its strong order intake in H1, is committed to confirming its leadership in a market expected to grow, thanks to the development of the offshore wind farms and interconnections necessary to the development of renewable energy in support of the energy transition. For this segment, the Group expects results to grow compared to last year, with the second half of the year clearly improving compared to H1, thanks both to greater use of capacity in the submarine cable business and the start of the execution phase of the German Corridors projects. In the Telecom segment, the Group expects volumes to increase in the optical business and price pressure to continue, particularly in Europe. Prysmian Group continues to pursue long-term growth drivers mainly relating to the energy transition to renewable sources, the upgrade of telecommunications networks (digitalisation) and the electrification process. The Group may also rely on broad diversification by business and geographical area, a solid financial structure, an efficient, flexible supply chain and a lean organisation — all factors enabling the Group to face the emergency with confidence.
In light of the above considerations and in addition to the Group’s solid performance in the first half of the year, the Group revised its guidance for the FY upwards compared to that announced in March. Adjusted EBITDA for FY 2021 is expected in the range of €920-970 million, up from the €870-940 million range previously announced. The cash generation target has remained unchanged, as according to which the Group expects to generate cash flows of approximately €300 million ± 20% (FCF before acquisitions and disposals) in 2021. These projections are based on the absence of significant changes in the evolution of the health emergency and of possible further discontinuities and slowdowns in the global economic activities. In addition, these forecasts are based on the Company’s current business scope and do not include antitrust-related impacts on cash flow. In 2021 as well, the translation effect resulting from the conversion of the subsidiaries’ results into the reporting currency used in the consolidated accounts is expected to generate a negative impact on the Group’s operating income for approximately €20-25 million. The (expected) cumulative amount of the negative impact of exchange rates in the two-year period 2020-2021 is estimated at around €55 million.