ACS Group obtained a net profit of 480 million euros in the first nine months of 2022
- Sales reached € 24,526 million, growing by 20.4% compared to the previous year
- EBITDA stood at € 1,263 million, up 8.4%
- Backlog reached record highs, growing by 13.6% to € 70,417 million
- Net debt stood at € 288 million, after allocating € 1,502 million for strategic investments (CIMIC’s takeover bid and HOCHTIEF’s 14.46% acquisition)
1. Consolidated Results
ACS Group’s net attributable profit in the first nine months of 2022 amounted to € 480 million, doubling the pro-forma results obtained in September 2021, after deducting the contribution of the Industrial Services activity sold to Vinci last December.
All activities showed a good operating performance reaching a net profit of € 421 million, up by 25.5%. In detail:
- Construction’s Net Profit grew by 22.1% to € 255 million.
- Concessions activity, which included Abertis (contribution of € 113 million) and Iridium, obtained a Net Profit of € 145 million, up by 36.1%.
- The Services area, developed by Clece, obtained a Net Profit of € 22 million, up by 5.5%.
The Corporation’s result in 2022 included, among others, the results obtained from the sale of renewable energy assets, mainly 25% of the photovoltaic plants in Spain sold to Galp, as well as the positive impact (€ 25 million) of the change in fair value of financial instruments linked to ACS’ shares, which had a negative impact of € 73 million in 2021.
2. Operating Results
EBITDA reached € 1,263 million, 8.4% higher than the previous year, driven by Abertis’ contribution, which amounted to € 133 million euros (23% higher than the previous year).
EBIT stood at € 839 million, 8.2% higher than the previous year, with a 39 bps decrease in the margin on sales due to the greater weight of non-residential building activities in the USA (Turner), which has a lower operating margin due to their low risk profile.
3. International Diversification
ACS Group sales in the first nine months of 2022 amounted to € 24,526 million, up 20.4% compared to the previous year, with all activities showing a solid performance; adjusted by exchange rates, sales grew by 10.6%.
Backlog as of September 2022 stood at € 70,417 million, growing by 13.6% (+2.2% adjusted by exchange rates).
4. Results per Areas of Activity
Sales in Construction amounted to € 22,940 million, an increase of 21.2% compared to the same period of the previous year, thanks to the recovery of activity in both Dragados and Hochtief, as well as for the appreciation of the US dollar. Adjusted by exchange rate, sales grew by 10.8%.
North America’s sales, which represented 66% of total Construction sales, reached € 15,135 million showing a solid recovery after the impact of the pandemic in 2021, up 25.8% (11.6% adjusted by exchange rate) and representing 66% of sales. Meanwhile, sales in Asia Pacific amounted to € 5,300 million, thanks to the dynamism of the Australian market, which grew by 18.5%. Europe also grew by 6.2% supported mainly by the Spanish, Polish and UK markets.
International sales reached € 21,895 million, representing 95% of the Construction activity’s total turnover, with North America and Australia being the most important markets. Sales in Spain represented 4.6% of the total.
Backlog as of September 2022 amounted to € 67,775 million, 95% international, with a 14.1% growth (2.2% adjusted by exchange rate).
Construction’s EBITDA accounted for € 1,010 million, with a 4.4% margin on sales.
The Construction business obtained a Net Profit of € 255 million, 22.1% more than the previous year.
Concessions reported a Net Profit of € 145 million compared to € 107 million in the previous year, improving both Abertis’ and Iridium’s performance.
Abertis confirmed the recovery path after the lifting of sanitary restrictions with an average daily traffic growth of 11.9% compared to 2021, outperforming pre-pandemic levels (+4.1% vs. 2019). This recovery in average daily traffic, as well as the contribution of the new concessions acquired, rose revenues to € 3,800 million and EBITDA to € 2,615 million (+3.3%), offsetting the loss of revenues due to the expiry of concessions in 2021 (Acesa, Invicat and Sol). Abertis’ Net Profit before amortization of the PPA (“Price Purchase Allocation”) and the financial costs of the hybrid bonds amounted to € 506 million, € 10 million less than the previous year.
In the first nine months of 2022, Abertis’ contributed € 113 million to ACS’s Net Profit, € 26 million more compared to the previous year.
On its side, Iridium, the Group’s concession development company, obtained a Net Profit of € 33 million, with a higher contribution from recently initiated concession projects.
Iridium currently has a portfolio of 48 assets, including highway concessions, railways and other social facilities, with an invested capital by ACS of € 567 million.
Among these assets is the SH-288 highway, located within Harris County in Houston (Texas), with four new managed toll lanes extending 10.3 miles along its median.
This concession was awarded in 2015 for a period of 52 years and it opened to traffic in November 2020, operating successfully since then.
Last August, Iridium reached an agreement to acquire 44.65% stake of the North American company Blueridge Transportation Group (BTG), which is the concessionaire company for the SH-288 highway. Subsequently, in October, it reached an agreement to purchase an additional 12.1% from one of the two remaining shareholders of the concessionaire. Following these acquisitions, the ACS Group’s stake in the concession company will increase from 21.65%, which it already held from the beginning, to 78%. Once the relevant administrative permits are approved in the near future, both transactions are expected to be closed for an approximate amount of € 1,140 million.
4.3. Services (CLECE)
Services to citizens division’s sales amounted to € 1,358 million, up 11.4% over the same period of the previous year, while maintaining operating margins compared to the previous year.
Net profit amounted to € 22 million, 5.5% higher than in the previous year.
Services’ current backlog reached € 2,642 million, equivalent to 18 months of activity, 1.1% more than in the previous period. It is worth highlighting the weight it is gaining in the UK, where the backlog in 3Q grew by 8.7% to € 230 million, thanks to the integration of new subsidiaries.
5. Financial Situation
At September-end 2022, the ACS Group held a Net Debt position of € 288 million, compared to Net Debt of € 3,573 million 12 months ago.
In the last twelve months, the Group’s financial performance was determined by the sale of the Industrial Services business (€ 4,902 million in December 2021) and the strategic acquisitions carried out during 2022 (CIMIC’s delisting takeover bid and the 14.46% increase in the stake in HOCHTIEF.
Total remuneration to the Group’s shareholders in the last twelve months amounted to € 919 million, including the acquisition of treasury stock and the distribution of dividends both in ACS and to the minority shareholders of Hochtief and Cimic.
6. Investments / divestments
During the first nine months of 2022, the ACS Group has allocated € 1,502 million to strategic investments, corresponding to:
(1) The acquisition of 22% of Cimic through a takeover bid for a total amount of € 985 million, partially financed with a € 61 million capital increase corresponding to Hochtief’s minority shareholders, resulting in a Net Value of € 924 million and,
(2) The acquisition of Atlantia’s 14.46% stake in Hochtief for € 578 million, at a price of € 51.43 per share.
In addition, the Group invested € 168 million in equipment and machinery for the development of the Construction and Services businesses and allocated € 149 million to the payment of operating leases.
- The rotation of concession assets and projects has led to a net divestment of € 204 million, broken down as follows:€ 76 million corresponded to the Construction area, mainly to the investment in the development of joint ventures in America.
- Iridium divested € 85 million in concessional assets, including the sale of 75% of its stake in Windsor Essex in Ontario, Canada.
- Clece invested € 28 million in the acquisition of services for citizens’ businesses in the United Kingdom.
- The SCE’s energy assets generated € 353 million from the sale of renewable assets, mainly the sale of 25% of the photovoltaic plants in Spain, 75% of which and the associated pipeline were sold to Galp in 2020; additionally, € 129 million euros were invested in energy projects.