Group sales at €4,364M, of which €381M attributable to General Cable (+2.0% Organic growth vs H1 2017)
Solid uptrend of Telecom confirmed
Growth of High Voltage Underground and Trade & Installers
Adj EBITDA at €339M, of which €25M attributable to General Cable
Telecom grew sharply with rising margins thanks to higher volumes and industrial efficiencies
Net Financial Debt at €3,014M (€1,000M at 30/06/2017), including €2,547M for the acquisition of General Cable
€500M capital increase successfully completed in July 2018
FY 2018 guidance confirmed, Adj EBITDA forecast in the range €860M-€920M
Integration started and first synergies from procurement and reorganisation yielded
Claudio De Conto appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors after the previously announced resignation of Massimo Tononi
Francesco Gori new member of the Board of Directors
Milan, 18/9/2018. The Board of Directors of Prysmian S.p.A. has approved today the Group’s consolidated results for the first half of 2018.
"The first half of the year recorded positive business performances leading to a good organic revenue growth,” stated CEO Valerio Battista. “Profitability was affected by the impact of provisions for the Western Link project; net of such provisions, the profitability of the Projects business was stable. The most significant contribution to Adjusted EBITDA was attributable to the margins improvement of the Telecom business. The integration with General Cable started in record times, with the launch of the new organisation, just ten days after the closing on 6 June 2018, and the rapid start of works for the procurement area and of the organisational streamlining. Expected synergy targets were thus confirmed at €150 million, with impacts as early as 2018 year-end results. For the remainder of this year, we confirm the forecasts for full-combined adjusted EBITDA in the range between €860 and €920 million."
Sales amounted to €4,364 million, including €381 million sales generated by General Cable in June 2018; excluding the General Cable’s contribution and net of metal price variation and exchange rate effects, organic growth was +2.0% compared to H1 2017. Full-combined Group sales, i.e., including General Cable sales for the entire H1 2018, amounted to €5,782 million (of which €1,799 million attributable to General Cable), with an organic growth of +2.7% compared to H1 2017.
With reference to General Cable’s operations included in the new consolidation area, the High Voltage Submarine, High Voltage Underground and Optical Cables businesses reported a positive performance in Europe, whereas sales volumes of cables for the construction and automotive industries rose in North America, offset by a decline in sales volumes of overhead transmission lines and Utilities.
The uptrend of the Optical Cables and Connectivity business and the High Voltage Underground and Trade & Installers segments was confirmed.
The Group’s Adjusted EBITDA1 (before net expenses for company reorganisation, net non-recurring expenses and other net non-operating expenses totalling €46 million) amounted to €339 million, of which €25 million attributable to General Cable, which was consolidated for June 2018 only. The decrease compared to H1 2017 was essentially attributable to the €70 million provisions (of which €50 million already recognised in Q2 2018, as announced in the press release dated 22 June, and €20 milion in Q1) for issues concerning the execution of the Western Link Project, and to the exchange rate effects, which had an impact of €24 million compared to H1 2017; excluding the provisions allocated, the profitability of the Energy Projects business was stable. The Telecom business contributed the most to the results reported, with improved margins thanks to increased volumes, industrial efficiencies, the YOFC’s contribution and the release of bad debt provisions in Brazil.
Full-combined adjusted EBITDA, i.e., including General Cable sales for the entire H1 2018, amounted to €413 million compared to €477 million in H1 2017. General Cable’s profitability decreased, due to the €9 million negative impact of exchange rates, the unfavourable North American sales mix and the impact on margins generated by the price trend of raw materials and transports.
EBITDA2 amounted to €293 million, of which €16 million attributable to General Cable, consolidated in June 2018. EBITDA included adjustments associated with reorganisation and efficiency improvement costs amounting to €14 million (partially regarding the post-acquisition reorganisation), costs related to the acquisition and integration of General Cable totalling €22 million and the €5 million effect on sales of finished products measured at fair value upon acquisition.
The Group’s Operating Income was €160 million, down compared to €209 million in H1 2017. The effect generated by the inclusion of General Cable in the consolidation area amounted to positive €6 million, including the negative effect arising from the adjustment to fair value of finished product stocks, the reorganisation costs and the decrease in the fair value of metal hedging derivatives. The decline in Operating Income of Prysmian’s pre-acquisition consolidation area was €55 million, mainly attributable to the provisions related to the WesternLink project.
The balance of net finance costs amounted to €46 million, compared to €49 million in H1 2017. The €3 million decrease was mainly attributable to lower finance costs following the conversion of the 2013 convertible bond, net of the increase generated by the acquisition of General Cable and the refinancing of the latter’s debt.
Net Profit attributable to owners of the Parent was €82 million (€113 million in H1 2017), to which General Cable contributed for €3 million. The decline was attributable to the Western Link provisions and the costs for acquiring and integrating the operations included in the new consolidation area.
Net Financial Debt amounted to €3,014 million at 30 June 2018 (€436 million at 31 December 2017), benefitting from the conversion of the 2013 convertible bond, which had an impact of €283 million. The main factors that influenced the Net Financial Debt in H1 2018 were:
the impact generated by the acquisition of General Cable amounting to €2,547 million, made up of the share price paid (€1,290 million), debt refinancing (€1,215 million) and transaction costs (€43 million);
EBITDA at €293 million;
€290 million negative change in net working capital (net of €43 million of net working capital increase due to the transaction costs paid);
taxes paid in the amount of €45 million;
net operating investments totalling €103 million, including €66 million mainly attributable to projects aimed at increasing productivity and developing new products;
net finance costs paid in the amount of €39 million;
dividend pay-out of €103 million.
 ‘Adjusted EBITDA’ means EBITDA, as defined in the following note, before expenses and income for company reorganisation, non-recurring expense and income as recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement and other non-operating expense and income. The definition of this indicator was changed following CONSOB's adoption of the ESMA/2015/1415 document.
 EBITDA defined as Operating income (loss), gross of the fair value change in metal derivatives and in other fair value items, amortisation, depreciation and impairment.
Energy projects (excluding General Cable perimeter)
Energy Projects sales reached €684 million in H1 2018, with an organic growth of +1.8%. Adjusted EBITDA was €50 million (€118 million in H1 2017), negatively impacted by the €70 million provisions for the Western Link project for H1 2018. Excluding the Western Link provisions, adjusted EBITDA was €120 million. Adjusted EBITDA ratio to sales went to 7.4% from 17.2% for H1 2017.
In the Submarine business, the Group continued to carry out the major projects underway, including both offshore wind farm interconnectors, particularly improving its installation capacities thanks to investments made in new assets and technologies. The market recorded a tendering slowdown in the first half of the year, with the postponement of some large projects towards the end of 2018 and to 2019.
On 12 September 2018, Prysmian announced that the commissioning and testing of the Western Link Interconnection had been temporarily interrupted due to the need to investigate a problem which occurred in the onshore section of the cable. Although technical investigations necessary to identify the cause of the problem and to estimate its possible financial effects are still underway, Prysmian can assume that this event appears unrelated to the fault which was detected in June 2018 in a different, submarine section of the Western Link Interconnection, and which was successfully repaired. Prysmian deems it unnecessary to allocate any further provisions, as the provisions recognized in the period are to date deemed sufficient to cover the costs related to the repair works and the ensuing further delay in the delivery of the link, in case they are to be borne by Prysmian.
In the High Voltage Underground business, the positive results were driven chiefly by the sharp growth in demand in Asia Pacific, Southern Europe and South America, which offset the weakness recorded in the UK and the Netherlands in the same period. The significant progress in the execution of the HVDC projects in Europe was also noteworthy.
The (underground and submarine) power transmission order book totalled €2,150 million. In the Submarine business, tendering activities are expected to accelerate in H2 2018 and in 2019, whereas in the High Voltage Underground business the procurement process has started for major interconnection projects in Germany (SüdLink and SüdOstLink), with greater visibility of the timing of the launch of such projects.
Energy products (excluding General Cable perimeter)
Energy Products sales amounted to €2,521 million, with +1.6% organic growth mainly attributable to volumes growth in Europe. Adjusted EBITDA was €120 million, down compared to €135 million in H1 2017, mainly attributable to the negative effect of exchange rates and the unfavourable business trend in the Middle East (particularly in Oman).
Energy & Infrastructure
Energy & Infrastructure sales amounted to €1,681 million, with an organic growth (+0.2%) compared to H1 2017. Adjusted EBITDA was €61 million (-18.6% compared to H1 2017), with a ratio to Sales of 3.6% compared to 4.5%.
The results in the Trade & Installers market for H1 2018 showed an uptrend, improving in Q2, driven by a recovery of volumes in North America and the continued positive performance in Europe, particularly in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. The profitability decrease was chiefly attributable to the negative effect of exchange rates and the slowdown in the Middle East area, which was partly offset by the entrance into effect of the new CPR (Construction Products Regulation) as of 1 July 2017 in all EU countries, and a general volumes recovery in Europe.
Power Distribution reported positive performances in France, Italy, Northern Europe and Oceania, with a stabilisation in Q2 after the slowdown experienced in the early months of the year. Unfavourable exchange rates and the weakness reported in the Middle East area affected this business’ profitability.
Industrial & Network Components
Industrial & Network Components sales amounted to €764 million, with +4.8% organic growth. Adjusted EBITDA was €59 million, compared to €62 million in H1 2017, with a ratio to Sales of 7.7% compared to 8.3%. Specialties, OEMs & Renewables reported a positive sales performance, stabilizing in Q2, with a sharp growth of Railway and Rolling Stock and the recovery of Crane, whereas Nuclear and Mining showed a slowdown. The Renewables business declined compared to H1 2017, particularly in the wind power segment and due to a reduction of low-margin volumes in China.
The Elevators business reported an acceleration of the organic growth in Q2, driven by the growth in the EMEA area and volumes recovery in North America and South America, despite the weakness of the APAC market. In North America and China, margins were affected by exchange rates and raw material price increases. The Automotive business’ sales performance was positive, driven by the growth in North America and South America. Adjusted EBITDA improved compared to the same period of the previous year and benefitted from better industrial performances, as well as cost reductions in Europe and North America.
Lastly, Network Components posted a solid performance thanks to the increase in volumes in China and the performance of Medium Voltage products in North America.
Oil & Gas (excluding General Cable perimeter)
Oil & Gas sales amounted to €134 million, with organic growth of +0.8% on H1 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for H1 2018 was €3 million, slightly improving compared to €2 million in H1 2017, with a ratio to sales of 1.9% (1.1% in H1 2017).
The Core Cables Oil & Gas business showed an improvement in onshore projects (particularly Petrochemical, Refinery and LNG) in North America and the Middle East, despite the reduction in offshore volumes. The Adjusted EBITDA improvement was attributable to a reduction in fixed costs and design-to-cost initiatives.
The performance of the SURF (Subsea Umbilicals, Risers e Flowlines) business improved in Q2, after a negative year-start, thanks to the favourable phasing of the projects underway in Brazil. Demand grew in the Downhole Technology business, mainly thanks to the step-up of Shale Oil & Shale Gas production in North America and the Middle East, were the offshore market showed small signs of improvement.
Telecom (excluding General Cable perimeter)
Telecom sales amounted to €645 million, with organic growth of +4.4% compared to H1 2017, mainly driven by the constant growth of demand for optical and MMS (Multimedia Solutions) cables. Adjusted EBITDA for H1 2018 also grew reaching €141 million, +29.7% compared to H1 2017; margins improved as well, with adjusted EBITDA ratio to Sales reaching 21.8% compared to 16.8% for H1 2017. The increase in Adjusted EBITDA benefitted from fibre manufacturing process efficiencies and the optimisation of production footprint (particularly in the growth of volumes produced in the Slatina plant, in Romania), in addition to the positive results achieved by the subsidiary YOFC in China and the release of the bad debt provision for a receivable due by a Brazilian customer.
In the Telecom Solutions business, the Group was awarded important projects by the main operators in Europe for the construction of backhauls and FTTH links. In North America, the development of new ultra-broadband networks is generating a constant rise in demand which benefits Prysmian, as testified by the three-year agreement worth $300 million signed with Verizon for the supply of optical cables starting in January 2018. With the aim of strengthening its competitive position, the Group has launched a three-year investment plan for a total of €250 million to step up production capacity and efficiency. As expected, copper cables continued to show a gradual decline as a result of the phase-out of the NBN project in Australia.
The high value-added business of optical connectivity accessories continued to perform well, thanks to the development of new FTTx networks (last mile broadband access) in Europe, particularly in France.
Multimedia Solutions volumes rose and margins improved, particularly in Europe, where demand was chiefly driven by the growing investments in Data Centres.
Global economic growth remained positive in the first six months of 2018, with a sharp acceleration in the United States in the second quarter thanks to higher domestic consumption and investments, whereas China continued the positive trend seen at the beginning of the year, despite the introduction of tariffs on imports of Chinese goods by the current U.S. administration. Growth in Europe, while positive, remains slower than in the world’s two largest economies, affected by the increasing uncertainty triggered by the trade war between the U.S. and China and the imminent conclusion of the quantitative easing plan previously announced by the European Central Bank. In Brazil, there were signs of slowing following the recovery that began back in the second half of 2017, chiefly due to rising inflation and pressure on exchange rates.
Within this macroeconomic scenario, for 2018 Prysmian Group expects an increase in demand in the cyclical construction and industrial cable businesses compared to 2017, driven by the recovery of European demand, partially offset by the weakness in the Middle East (Oman), whereas the medium voltage utilities cable business is expected to remain essentially stable, with uneven performances across the various geographical areas. In the Submarine cables and systems business, despite the slowdown in the award of contracts in the first half of the year, the Group aims to retain its leadership, maintaining its share in a market that is expected to recover, with an increase in the volume of projects awarded in the second half of the year. The Group expects the High Voltage Underground cables and systems to recover compared to 2017, with a gradual improvement in performance expected in China and South East Asia due to the new manufacturing set-up. Finally, the Group foresees that growth will remain solid in the Telecom segment in 2018, supported by growing demand for optical cables in Europe and North America, whereas the copper cable segment is expected to slow due to the reduction in volumes on the Australian market.
It may also be expected that if exchange rates remain stable at the levels seen at the time of this press release the translation effect of converting subsidiaries’ results into the consolidated reporting currency will yield a negative impact on the Group’s operating performance.
In the light of these considerations, the Group forecasts an adjusted EBITDA within a range of €860-920 million in all of 2018, an increase on the €733 million reported in 2017.
This forecast also includes the results of the recently acquired General Cable business for all of 2018, in addition to the provision (recognised in the first half of the year) of €70 million for the Western Link project.
Prysmian (excluding the effects of the acquisition of General Cable) is expected to record an adjusted EBITDA for all of 2018 of between €680 million and €720 million, compared to the €733 million recorded in 2017. In keeping with the performance for the first half of the year, this forecast assumes an increase in volumes and margins in the Telecom operating segment and an improvement in sales volumes in the E&I and Industrial & Network Components segments. This forecast also reflects the adverse impact of exchange rate performance of approximately €30 million and the provision of €70 million already recognised in the first half of 2018 due to the additional costs associated with delays in the Western Link project.
The forecasts for the General Cable operations for 2018 have been prepared by the management on the basis of the most up-to-date projections and assumptions regarding the price of strategic metals, exchange rates and the expected macroeconomic scenario. Accordingly, the adjusted EBITDA forecast for all of 2018 (i.e., for 12 months) ranges between €175 and €190 million, based on a euro/USD exchange rate of 1.20. This estimate incorporates the expected negative impact of approximately €10 million due to the performance of the USD/euro exchange rate compared to the previous year. The General Cable operations have been included in Prysmian Group’s consolidated financial statements with effect from 1 June 2018 and thus will be included in the 2018 income statement for a period of seven months.
In addition to the above-mentioned effects, the Group forecasts synergies deriving from the integration of the General Cable business of €5 to €10 million relating to the period from the closing date of the GCC acquisition (6 June 2018) to the end of 2018.
This forecast is based on the company’s current scope of operations and reflects the current order book.
Other Board of Directors’ Resolutions
The Board of Directors appointed Claudio De Conto Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Prysmian’s Board of Directors also acknowledged the resignation tendered by Massimo Tononi on 25 July 2018 (see the press release issued on the same date) with effect as of today’s meeting of the Board of Directors, from his positions as Chairman, member of the Board of Directors and member of the Remuneration, Nomination and Sustainability Committee of the Company.
The Board of Directors wholeheartedly thanked Massimo Tononi for the important work he has carried out since July 2010, first as member of the Board and then, as of April 2012, as Chairman, in a period marked by strong development and changes for Prysmian Group.
Following the above-mentioned resignation of Massimo Tononi, the Board of Directors passed the following resolutions:
it appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors Claudio De Conto, non-executive and independent Director pursuant to Legislative Decree No. 58/98 (“TUF”);
upon proposal of the Remuneration, Nomination and Sustainability Committee, it appointed by co-option as new member of the Board of Directors, as allowed by Article 14 of the By-laws and Article 2386 of the Italian Civil Code, Francesco Gori, who has already accepted his appointment and will remain in office until the Company’s next General Shareholders’ Meeting;
it acknowledged Francesco Gori’s compliance with the independence requirements pursuant to TUF and the Corporate Governance Code;
it reviewed the composition of its internal Committees which are currently made up as follows:
Control and Risks Committee:
Francesco Gori (Chairman), non-executive and independent Director, pursuant to TUF and the Corporate Governance Code;
Maria Letizia Mariani, non-executive and independent Director pursuant to TUF and the Corporate Governance Code;
Joyce Victoria Bigio, non-executive and independent Director pursuant to TUF and the Corporate Governance Code.
Remuneration, Nomination and Sustainability Committee:
Monica De Virgiliis (Chairwoman), non-executive and independent Director pursuant to TUF and the Corporate Governance Code;
Paolo Amato, non-executive and independent Director pursuant to TUF and the Corporate Governance Code;
Claudio De Conto, non-executive and independent Director pursuant to TUF.
The resume of the newly appointed Director Francesco Gori is available on the website www.prysmiangroup.com in the section Investors/Corporate governance/Corporate Boards.
Change to the 2018 Corporate Events Calendar
The meeting to be held to analyse the quarterly financial report at 30 September 2018, originally scheduled for 8 November 2018, has been postponed to 14 November 2018. The change was deemed appropriate in light of the expansion of the consolidation area of Prysmian S.p.A., following the acquisition of General Cable Corporation.
Prysmian Group’s Financial Report at 30 June 2018, approved by the Board of Directors today, will be made available to the public at the Company’s registered office in Via Chiese 6, Milan, and at Borsa Italiana S.p.A. It will also be available on the corporate website at www.prysmiangroup.com and in the authorised central storage mechanism used by the Company at www.emarketstorage.com. This document may contain forward-looking statements relating to future events and future operating, economic and financial results of the Prysmian Group. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they depend on the occurrence of future events and circumstances. Therefore, actual results may differ materially from those reflected in forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors.
The managers responsible for preparing corporate accounting documents (Carlo Soprano and Alessandro Brunetti) hereby declare, pursuant to art. 154-bis par. 2 of Italy's Unified Financial Act, that the accounting information contained in this press release corresponds to the underlying documents, accounting books and records.