Evonik has kept earnings stable

New company structure mirrors strategy

04-Mar-2020 - Germany

Evonik has kept earnings stable despite a deteriorating global economy. Adjusted EBITDA in 2019 was €2.153 billion compared with €2.150 billion in the previous year. Sales fell slightly by 1 percent to €13.1 billion.

“We achieved our outlook and kept our earnings stable even in a market environment that was significantly more difficult than the prior year,” said Christian Kullmann, chairman of the executive board. “Evonik stands for reliability and stability.”

At the annual shareholders’ meeting on May 27, 2020, the executive and supervisory boards will be proposing a dividend of €1.15 per share. Based on the closing share price at year-end 2019 that gives a dividend yield of 4.2 percent, positioning Evonik among the top chemical companies.

Net income for the year more than doubled to €2.1 billion, driven primarily by proceeds from the sale of the Methacrylates business in July 2019.

Evonik generated free cash flow of €717 million, before carve-out taxes related to the sale of the Methacrylates business. Thus, free cash flow improved significantly compared with the previous year.

“The measures implemented in the last years to improve our cash generation have been effective,” Chief Financial Officer Ute Wolf said. “For the current year, we are aiming for a further improvement in free cash flow.”

For 2020 Evonik is expecting growth at its specialty businesses. However, a less dynamic global economy is expected to burden the more commoditized businesses. On this basis, the company expects sales to remain stable and an adjusted EBITDA of between €2.0 billion and €2.3 billion in 2020.

Evonik is working consistently on the implementation of its strategy. Accordingly, the company is adjusting its structure to fit the growth engines that it defined two years ago. On July 1, the current operating segments will be transferred into four divisions that are more balanced in their size and type of business. The divisions will be easier to manage because of their clear strategic roles, common end-markets and a clear alignment of technology platforms. The four divisions – Specialty Additives, Nutrition & Care, Smart Materials and Performance Materials – will have a lean and efficient setup. At the same time, Evonik has defined its self-perception: Leading beyond chemistry, to improve life, today and tomorrow.

“This purpose will serve as a compass,” said Kullmann. “Understanding what we are means we know what drives us forward.”

Segment performance

Resource Efficiency: Sales in 2019 remained on the level of the prior year at €5.69 billion. Slower demand in the automotive and coating sector had a negative impact on the Coating Additives, Coating & Adhesive Resins and Oil Additives businesses. The Silica business also recorded lower sales volumes in the adhesives and silicones end markets. By contrast, the demand for high-performance polymers remained solid, particularly for 3D printing and membranes.

Crosslinkers, which are used for environmentally friendly coating systems and high-performance composite materials, have benefited from high demand in the wind energy market. The active oxygen products benefited from good demand and license income. Adjusted EBITDA at Resource Efficiency increased 1 percent to €1.29 billion compared with 2018.

Nutrition & Care: Sales in 2019 fell 1 percent to €4.58 billion. Despite high demand for essential amino acids for animal nutrition, sales prices continued to fall over the course of the year. The specialties in the cosmetic solutions business developed particularly well. Adjusted EBITDA dropped 10 percent to €728 million in 2019.

Performance Materials: Sales declined 9 percent to €2.04 billion. Development at the Performance Intermediates business was impacted by a low oil price as well as bottlenecks in raw material supply and plant downtimes. Adjusted EBITDA at the segment fell 6 percent to €224 million.

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