Saint-Gobain publishes its first-half 2020 results

In the context of the coronavirus: Return to sales and operating income growth in June after a 12.3% decline in sales over the first half Sharp 143% rise in free cash flow to 1,678 million EUR

Highlights

  • Sales down 12.3% like-for-like in first-half 2020, including a 19.2% decrease in the second quarter owing to the coronavirus pandemic, with very different situations from one country and market to the next
  • Operating income of 827 million EUR, down 49.2% like-for-like, leading to a decline in the operating margin from 7.6% to 4.7%
  • EBITDA down 32.4% to 1,635 million EUR
  • Clear-cut action on costs with savings of 395 million EUR in first-half 2020:
    • (1) 160 million EUR to mitigate the impact of the health crisis during the lockdown period, thanks to the temporary reduction in discretionary spending and partial employment measures, which will not recur beyond the first half;
    • (2) 80 million EUR in net recurring savings under the “Transform & Grow” program, for which we will meet our net savings target of 250 million EUR at the end of 2020, a year earlier than planned;
    • (3) 155 million EUR at end-June relating to the continuation of the operational excellence program, which aims to offset various inflation impacts
  • Launch of additional adaptation measures to lower the break-even point of businesses for which the recovery is delayed or uncertain, representing savings of 50 million EUR in second-half 2020 and 200 million EUR on a full-year basis by 2021
  • Steep 143% rise in free cash flow to 1,678 million EUR; conversion ratio up sharply at 129%
  • Sharp decrease in net debt, to 9.8 billion EUR from 12.8 billion EUR at end-June 2019
  • The Group will reach its medium-term target of a reduction in the number of its shares outstanding to 530 million at end-2020

Pierre-André de Chalendar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saint-Gobain, said, “In the unprecedented context of the coronavirus pandemic, Saint-Gobain set itself four priorities: protecting the health and safety of all,strengthening its liquidity and balance sheet,adapting costs and preparing for the recovery. Our efforts to preserve cash allowed us to achieve a high level of free cash flow generation in the first half. In a macroeconomic and health environment which remains affected by uncertainties, our earnings growth in June and outlook for the third quarter suggest that our operating income for second-half 2020 will improve significantly on first-half2020.

“Saint-Gobain’s medium and long-term outlook remains robust thanks to its successful strategic and organizational choices. Saint-Gobain’s comprehensive portfolio of innovative energy-efficiency solutions, as well as its extensive exposure to the renovation market, ideally position the Group to benefit from national and European stimulus plans supporting the energy transition.”

Benoit Bazin, Chief Operating Officer of Saint-Gobain, commented,“Our new organization has proved extremely effective during this crisis, supported by excellent international coordination and the agility of our country and market CEOs, who quickly took the best local decisions for their customers and teams. By rapidly cutting costs, we achieved savings of 395 million EUR in the first half, with in particular an acceleration of our “Transform & Grow” program, which generated 80 million EUR of net savings in the first half of 2020 and for which we expect to meet our initial 250 million EUR target by the end of 2020, a year earlier than planned.

“We have also already launched the additional necessary adaptation measures to lower the break-even point wherever the recovery is delayed or more uncertain with resulting cost savings of 200 million EUR on a full-year basis in 2021, of which 50 million EUR in second-half 2020.Lastly, our portfolio optimization strategy to enhance our growth and profitability profile will be gradually resumed according to market conditions. We firmly believe that the Group will emerge stronger from this crisis and we would like to thank the unwavering commitment of all of our teams.”

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