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ACS Group Net Profit reached € 361 million during 2020 first half

• Sales reached € 18,337 million, down by 2.6% mainly due to COVID-19. • EBITDA reached € 1,345 million, down by 17% due to Abertis’ negative contribution related to COVID-19; not considering this impact EBITDA was down by 6.8%. • Net profit was also affected by Abertis and decreased by 30.9%. Not considering this impact, the Group’s net profit shrank by 5.1%. • Backlog stood at € 75,812 million, similar to that of twelve months ago.

14-08-2020

1.  Consolidated Results

Attributable Net Profit in H1 2020 accounted for € 361 million, showing a decrease of 30.9% compared to H1 2019 majorly due to Abertis’ evolution, as traffic was strongly affected by lockdown measures implemented in the majority of the countries where it operates.

Not considering this impact, Net Profit went down by 5.1% in an exceptional period affected by COVID-19 pandemic; this trend reassures the strength and diversification of the Group’s operating businesses.

The main impacts caused by the pandemic on ACS Group results were:

  • The lockdown measures and mobility restrictions implemented in the majority of the countries where Abertis operates caused drastic drops in the daily average traffic since March, with strong setbacks during April and May. Therefore, Abertis contribution to the the Group’s EBITDA and Net profit decreased in €175 and €141 million respectively in relation to the prior year. The removal of these restrictions during June allowed a gradual traffic recovery; currently, average daily traffic figures show a positive evolution.
  • In Services, Clece, cleaning and maintenance services of those social infrastructures which had to cease their activity in Spain during the state of alert, such as schools or leisure centres, non-essential facilities or air transport, were significantly reduced. However, the activity increase in hospitals and public dependencies allowed compensating sales volume, although the temporary reinforcement in occupational safety and health implied a decrease in its operating results during this quarter. Concretely, impact on EBITDA and on Net profit was of €25 and €19 million respectively.
  • In the rest of activities the impact was lower, with variations in the quarter’s production between 5% and 10%, both in Construction activity and Industrial and Mining Services, which has been deemed essential.

2.  Operating Results

EBITDA reached € 1,345 million, 17% lower than H1 2019. Not considering Abertis’ contribution, EBITDA in the rest of activities was only down by 6.8%.

Likewise, EBIT stood at € 859 million and decreased by 21.8%. Not considering Abertis, it fell by 6.7%.

3.    International Diversification

ACS Group sales in H1 2020 accounted for € 18,337 million, decreasing by 2.6%, as a consequence of health measures implemented since mid-March in most countries in relation to COVID-19. Specifically, production trend during the second quarter showed 8% decrease with higher incidence in Asia-Pacific and European regions.

Sales in North America accounted for 51% of total, Europe 19%, Australia 16%, Asia 5%, South America 8% and Africa de remaining 1%. Sales in Spain accounted for 13% of total.

By countries, United States, Australia, Spain, Canada, and Germany contributed with 80% of total sales.

Backlog in June 2020 stood at € 75,812 million, almost stable year on year despite the commercial activity slowdown due to the pandemic impact.

4.    Results per Area of Activity

4.1.  Infrastructures

Infrastructure area was mainly affected by Abertis’ traffic evolution.

  • Construction Net Profit reached € 177 million, 3.7% less than H1 2019.
  • Concessions had a negative result of € 16 million after a € 141 million drop in Abertis contribution, partially compensated by Iridium’s € 20 million contribution.

4.1.1. Construction

Sales in construction reached € 14,015 million with 1.3% decrease compared to last year. Positive sales evolution in USA (+8%) partially offset CIMIC’s activity reduction (-15%) due to currency devaluation and to the shutdown of the activity due to COVID-19. Adjusted by currency effects, sales in CIMIC decreased by 10%.

International sales amounted to € 13,496 million, which represented 96% of total turnover in this area, being North America and Australia the most important markets. Domestic sales represented 3.9% of total.

Construction EBITDA accounted for € 1,002 million, with a sales margin of 7.2%.

Construction Backlog as of June 2020 increased up to € 63,299 million, 96% international and remaining stable in spite of COVID-19 impact. Amongst the most important awards achieved during H1 2020, the most significant ones:

  • Five-year contract extension to continue to provide mining services at its Lake Vermont Coal Mine in Queensland (Australia)
  • Construction of a new facility to house all current USDOT and Volpe Center functions in a single building on the existing Cambridge campus. The new building is 13 stories and 40,000 m2 (Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States)
  • Contract to widen and rehabilitate Highway 50 between Watt Avenue and Interstate 5 in Sacramento, California (United States)
  • Contract to build the replacement of the A40 Rhine Bridge in Duisburg-Neuenkamp (Germany)
  • Design and construction to retrofit into an Alternate Care Facilitiy to serve COVID patients ( New York, United States)
  • Building of the new Amazon warehouse in Murcia (Spain)
  • Project for the comprehensive rehabilitation of the current Montemadrid Foundation building to convert it into a 5-star hotel with 200 rooms (Madrid, Spain)
  • Construction of a New Bed Tower and Clinical Services Podium adjacent to the existing Wexner Medical Center Hospital. The work will also include the demolition of existing facilities and parking garages and include the construction of two new parking garages (Columbus, Ohio, United States)
  • Contracts to provide maintenance for UGL´s clients in the oil and gas sector in Western Australia and Victoria (Australia)
  • Design and construction of the project for a new section of the A15 motorway and additional lanes in sections of the A12 / A15 motorway in Arnhem (Netherlands)
  • Design and construction of 19.46 km of the S-61 highway between Prodborze and Sniadowo (Poland)
  • Contract for the rehabilitation and lane replacements of a portion Route 210 located in Los Angeles, California (United States)
  • Contract for the reconstruction of Taxiway Cat Love Field Airport located in Dallas, Texas (United States)
  • Several mining sector contracts with multiple clients in Western Australia and Queensland (Australia)
  • Improvement of two regional highways in Australia: South Gippsland Highway Upgrade between Koonwarra and Meeniyan in Victoria and Mackay Northern in Queensland (Australia)
  • Building of two residential towers, in Madrid (Spain)
  • Building of industrial plant and the administrative building of Imbisa (Madrid, Spain)
  • Project for the duplication of the roadway of the N-220 (Valencia, Spain)

4.1.2. Concessions

Abertis has been substantially affected by the lockdown and mobility restrictive measures issued in most of the countries where it operates, causing drastic drops in daily average traffic since mid-June and significantly affecting its results. Income was reduced by 31% and EBITDA by 38%; therefore it had a negative contribution to ACS Group’s H1 2020 net profit of € (37) million, that is, € 141 million less than H1 2019.

The rapid recovery of the average daily traffic since June and the operating efficiency improvements will allow a profitability recovery in the second half of the year.

On its side, Iridium obtained a net profit of € 20 million, including results derived from the sale of different concessional assets in Spain.  

4.2.  Industrial Services

Industrial Services activity H1 2020 Net Profit reached € 206 million, confirming the strength of the industrial activity.

Turnover in Industrial Services in H1 2020 reached € 3,540 million, decreasing 6.9% as a consequence of the delay or stand-by of some projects due to preventive measures issued by some countries.

H1 2020 EBITDA accounted for € 385 million, 6.6% lower which implied a margin of 10.9%, slightly higher than the prior year.

Industrial Services increased its Backlog up to € 9,850 million, with a 64% rate of international contracts. Backlog remained practically stable during the last twelve months and it is equivalent to 19 months of activity. Amongst the most important awards achieved during H1 2020:

  • Contract with Naturgy for the comprehensive service of construction and maintenance of distribution networks, meter reading and service orders (Spain)
  • Contract for the development of installation work for the Puelche Wind Farm with 156 MW of installed capacity (Chile)
  • Contract with Telxius Towers for the planning and building of telecommunication base transceiver station (BTS) in Germany
  • Contract with Vodafone to deploy the 5G internet network in Spain
  • Contract for the installation of lines and internet with Telefónica Colombia
  • Operation and maintenance system for electric buses at King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University in Riyahd (Saudi Arabia)
  • Installation of systems in the high performing educational centre for second grade students in Tacna (Peru)
  • Contract with Telefónica for the installation of systems (central and southern zone) (Spain)
  • Work for the execution of installations in the new power plant in Barajas (Madrid, Spain)

 4.3.  Services (CLECE)

Sales in Service to Citizens area (CLECE) reached € 759 million, decreasing by 3.4% due to COVID-19 impact. On the one hand, certain cleaning and disinfection activities were reinforced in hospitals, health centers or police facilities and other departments. On the other hand, services were halted in educational centers, industrial facilities and other social infrastructures, as well as airport activity services.

Services EBITDA accounted for € 21 million, with a € 25 million fall, as a consequence of the substantial increase in costs derived from action plans in occupational safety and health related to COVID-19.

Likewise, Clece put part of its workforce at the service of the society developing cleaning activities selflessly.

Backlog reached € 2,663 million, equivalent to 21 months of activity.

Amongst the most important awards achieved during 2020 first quarter these are the most significant:

  • Renewal of the home help services contract for the Madrid City Council (Spain)
  • Extension of the cleaning service contract for facilities of the Generalitat Valenciana (Spain)
  • Renewal of cleaning contract in health centers and the corporate center of Institu Català de la Salut.
  • Cleaning service in two hospitals in Granada (Spain)
  • Cleaning service in facilities of the Ministry of Defense (Spain)
  • Cleaning service for hospitals in the Community of Madrid (Spain)

5.  Financial Situation

At 2020 first-half-end ACS Group reported a net debt balance of € 2,699 million, equivalent to 1.0x annualised EBITDA. This figure is € 1,974 million higher than last year’s after having faced payments derived from CIMIC’s exit from BICC, increasing the volume of operational and financial investments, and increasing the treasury stock in ACS and HOCHTIEF taking advantage of the capital market’s volatility in the last months.

In the period from June 2019 to June 2020, ACS allocated € 596 million to the distribution of dividends and, additionally, € 292 million to the purchase of treasury shares.

On its side, HOCHTIEF also paid € 291 million in dividends to minority shareholders over the last twelve months, both from HOCHTIEF itself and CIMIC, and other subsidiaries; likewise, € 105 million were used to purchase treasury shares.

6.  Investments

ACS Group total net investments in H1 2020 reached € 672 million as follows:

  • Net operational investments amounted to € 258 million and mainly corresponded to the acquisition of machinery and equipment for the Group’s different projects, mainly for mining activities, civil work and industrial facilities.
  • Financial and projects investments accounted for over € 666 million, amongst them:

      o € 394 million in infrastructures including the increase in CIMIC stake, worth € 190 million.

      o Investment in energy projects on Industrial Services side, worth € 272 million;

  • Divestments stood at € 253 million, and mainly corresponded to Iridium’s sale of different highways.

7.  Thiess

On July 29, CIMIC signed an exclusivity agreement with funds advised by Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited regarding a potential investment of 50% in Thiess, the largest company in the world in contract mining, which would allow joint control by CIMIC and Elliott.

The entry of a financial partner in Thiess will allow to take advantage of growth opportunities in the mining sector and maintain CIMIC's solid balance sheet.

It is expected, in the coming weeks, the signing of an agreement, subject to the usual conditions in this type of operations, including regulatory approvals.