Mar. 6, 2020 - According to preliminary data, Nabaltec AG posted moderate growth in Financial Year 2019. Consolidated revenues were up 1.3% from the previous year, climbing to EUR 179.0 million (2018: EUR 176.7 million). This result fell short of the revenue forecast by 1.1%. Revenues in the fourth quarter amounted to EUR 37.8 million, down 8.7% from the same quarter of last year (EUR 41.4 million). Operating profit (EBIT) came to EUR 18.6 million in 2019 based on preliminary data, compared to EUR 18.5 million in the previous year, with an EBIT margin (EBIT as a percentage of total performance, i.e. EUR 181.7 million) of 10.2%. The most recently published forecast called for revenues in a range from EUR 181 million to EUR 184 million and an EBIT margin between 10.0% and 12.0%. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) climbed 5.6%, from EUR 30.6 million to EUR 32.3 million.
"The slump in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2019, and particularly in the month of December, was somewhat steeper than expected and halted our growth in 2019, which was a strong year overall. The very weak economic environment in some sectors and expectations that prices will drop in 2020 caused sales to slump more than expected in both product segments," said Johannes Heckmann, CEO of Nabaltec AG. "Earnings in the fourth quarter of 2019 were also weighed down by added costs for technical optimizations at our subsidiary Nashtec. As a result, our EBIT margin for the year is within, but towards the lower edge of, the forecasted range, according to preliminary data."
Revenues in the "Functional Fillers" product segment amounted to EUR 122.2 million in 2019, up 6.6% from the previous year (2018: EUR 114.6 million). Revenues in the boehmite product range grew by a disproportionately high 54.3% over the previous year. Revenues in the "Specialty Alumina" product segment amounted to EUR 56.8 million in 2019, down 8.5% from the previous year (2018: EUR 62.1 million).
Sales picked up at the start of 2020 as prices were down. Orders from customers right now tend to be short-term in nature, in a reflection of the current uncertainty in the market. Nabaltec expects Nashtec's production to normalize by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Another US company, Naprotec, will be manufacturing ground hydrates for the US market starting in the second quarter of 2020. Nabaltec expects this company to have a net positive impact on consolidated earnings one year after the plant goes online.
Due to uncertainties in the economic and industry environment and mounting pressure on sale prices, Nabaltec is expecting modest revenue growth in 2020. On the earnings side, Nabaltec is expecting an EBIT margin in the high single digits. At the time the report was prepared, it was not yet clear how individual circumstances such as the spread of the coronavirus and the associated potential for work stoppages all over the world or the consequences of implementing Brexit will affect the course of business.