Q2 2020 Borregaard ASA Earnings Presentation
Sarpsborg Jul 20, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Borregaard ASA earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6:00:00am GMT
TEXT version of Transcript
* Per Arthur Sørlie
Borregaard ASA - President & CEO
* Per Bjarne Lyngstad
Borregaard ASA - CFO
Per Arthur Sørlie, Borregaard ASA - President & CEO 
Good morning and welcome to this Second Quarter 2020 Presentation for Borregaard. My name is Per Sørlie. I'm the President of the company. This morning, I will be joined by our CFO, Per Bjarne Lyngstad, and we will take you through this agenda: first of all, highlights for the second quarter; a deeper look into the coronavirus effects on our results; the market situation for the business segments; the outlook for the remainder of the year; and then Per Bjarne will take over and look into the financial performance in more detail.
First, the highlights for the second quarter. We are pleased to report an all-time high EBITDA for a single quarter. The result came in at NOK 361 million compared to NOK 283 million in the same quarter last year. We have had some challenging situations in the BioSolutions business because there has been a significant reduction in the raw material supply. During the quarter, we have had a positive effect from lower costs, both in wood and energy and also a very high production level in BioMaterials. In Fine Chemicals, we had a high contribution from bioethanol to disinfectants. Net currency impact was positive and contributed across all business. We are also pleased to see a very strong cash flow in the quarter from operating activities. And finally, we also made an impairment of assets and reserved some restructuring costs related to our LignoTech South Africa business.
If we take a closer look at coronavirus-related effects. These effects materialized during the second quarter. The most important single item was the raw material supply in LignoTech South Africa. At the beginning of the quarter, we had a discontinuation of the raw material supply because the calcium sulfite line at Sappi's Saiccor dissolving pulp mill stopped very early in April. The line, unfortunately, is expected to be down for an extended time period. And based on the input from the raw material supplier, the Board of Directors of LignoTech South Africa decided to mothball the operation and also terminate all commercial agreements with third parties. And as a part of this mothballing, we also retrenched all employees during the quarter.
Since we can no longer consider the operation as a going concern, for the time being, we have also decided during this quarter to make an impairment of the assets and also reserve as restructuring costs the retrenchment costs regarding the employees and the termination costs regarding third parties. So this was also made a reservation of NOK 84 million under other costs in the quarter.
Other effects from the coronavirus. We saw some reduced demand in biopolymers, notably in construction but also in areas like oil field chemicals. And we also -- in certain cellulose grades, particularly related to the construction area, again, we saw some reduced demand as the quarter progressed. On the positive side, we had a significant increase in sales to disinfectants. That was partly offset by lower sales to fuel. But in total, that was a very positive impact in the quarter itself.
So then to move on to the different market areas, BioSolutions first. The sales volume came down 15% compared with the same quarter last year and this was driven by reduced raw material supply. The raw material supply that was reduced came out of South Africa, Spain and the former Flambeau. All these 3 units supplied raw material in the same quarter last year. All these 3 supply -- all these 3 raw material sources are hardwood sources that typically go into the construction, concrete admixture market and lower industrial -- low-value industrial applications. So that's why these were also the areas where we reduced our sales during the quarter since it -- those are the natural markets for those raw materials. At the same time, we increased -- ramped up sales out of Florida, and we also built down the inventories. But the net impact of all this was a reduction in sales volume of 15%.
Other market indications that we saw in the quarter was that the products -- sale of products into agriculture and biovanillin continued to improve, as we have seen now for a long time. But at the same time, we had a significant drop in sales to oil field chemicals as a result of reduced activity in that sector.
If you look at the average price development, the price came up 10% in sales currency during the quarter, and this was primarily due to the improved product mix that was an indirect consequence of the reduced sales into low-value products, like concrete admixtures and industrial -- parts of the industrial applications. At the same time, we saw an improved mix within Specialties, especially driven by the higher sales of -- into agrochemicals and biovanillin. The area also had positive FX effects.
Then BioMaterials. The average price in sales currency came in 5% above the same quarter last year. And this was due to a strong mix where higher sales of the highly specialized grades. The volume itself was quite low in the quarter, came down from 42,000 to just below 34,000 in the quarter. And this was driven by a lower demand for especially cellulose ethers to construction and some other less specialized grades. The cellulose fibrils continued to improve, but they are still at a low level. This business area also had positive currency effects in the quarter.
So Fine Chemicals, finally. The significant improvement in bioethanol led to a strong result in this business area. We had a very strong demand. And also, the pharmaceutical-grade bioethanol supplied into the disinfectants markets commands a higher price than what we normally see in biofuels, which is usually the biggest taker of product from our bioethanol production. At the same time, we also saw high deliveries of pharma intermediates in the quarter. So both business areas -- underlying business areas inside Fine Chemicals had a strong quarter.
Then finally, on to the outlook. The sales volume in BioSolutions for all of 2020 is expected to decrease by 10% to 15%, and this is really the same thing that we saw in the second quarter. Lower raw material supply will affect sales to concrete admixtures and low-value industrial applications. We expect to see a positive effect on product mix and average price in sales currency, and this is because the business area is doing a good job of adjusting the product mix as we see a lower raw material supply.
In total, the demand is expected to be higher than supply for the rest of the year, also taking into account that we expect to continue a ramp-up in Florida and also to sell certain volume out of our inventories. However, we -- if you look at the different market segments, we still expect a reduced demand in some applications, especially oil field chemicals and probably also the automotive segment. That will have a negative impact on our result because these are above average-priced products in most cases.
The cost savings that we have announced for Norway and Germany as a result of the implemented restructuring is expected to continue as planned. And the ongoing by biovanillin capacity expansion that we will have completed next year will also be gradually realized throughout this year and full effect from the second half next year.
On to BioMaterials. The average price in sales currency is expected to increase in the range of 0% to 2%, and this is driven by an improved problem mix compared to last year. However, we have to expect some negative influence from the coronavirus effects. And this is, like I said, particularly related to construction applications for specialty cellulose grades. Cellulose fibrils volume is expected to continue to grow, and we have settled the wood pricing for the second half of this year. And the wood costs are forecast to be approximately NOK 25 million lower than in the second half of 2019 -- in the second half.
Fine Chemicals. There, we think that there will be stable market conditions for pharma intermediates. The bioethanol sales to disinfectants will be significantly lower going forward compared to the peak that we saw now in the second quarter. However, this will be partly offset by increased sales to biofuel as the market for fuel is picking up again now. So in essence, the market for bioethanol will be, I will say, more normalized going forward. But we can still hope for some positive effects from the disinfectants, depending on how that market develops.
Finally, the coronavirus situation. I've commented on the specific effects on the markets in BioMaterials, BioSolutions and Fine Chemicals now. But of course, we have to look out for a tendency for lower growth in the world economy. And there could still be indirect consequences from our suppliers or the business partners and infrastructure in the value chain that we do not foresee at the moment. So that's why we will focus closely on monitoring this situation, and we will make sure that we have the financial capacity to handle whatever could come our way as a result of the coronavirus situation.
So that completes my presentation and the outlook. And then I will hand over to Per Bjarne for the financial performance details. Thank you.
Per Bjarne Lyngstad, Borregaard ASA - CFO 
Thank you, Per, and good morning, everyone. Borregaard's operating revenues increased by 1% compared with the second quarter last year, mainly as a result of currency effects compensating for lower sales volume.
EBITDA increased by NOK 78 million to an all-time high of NOK 361 million. Both BioMaterials and Fine Chemicals had improved results, while BioSolutions was in line with the same quarter last year. A lower sales volume both in BioSolutions and BioMaterials was more than offset by improved product mix, lower raw material costs and high production volume, bioethanol sales to disinfectants and approximately NOK 30 million in positive net currency effects. The EBITDA margin was 5.5 percentage points higher than last year in the quarter.
Earnings per share ended at NOK 1.02 compared with NOK 1.26 last year. Earnings per share were negatively affected by NOK 96 million in other expenses, mainly from NOK 84 million in impairment of assets and restructuring costs related to the mothballed operation in South Africa. The remaining NOK 12 million in other expenses was for restructuring costs in LignoTech Ibérica and an additional accrual for cleaning and deposition of polluted soil at the Sarpsborg site.
Operating revenues in BioSolutions increased by 5% compared with the second quarter 2019. A positive currency impact more than compensated for the 15% reduction in sales volume. EBITDA was NOK 193 million, a marginal increase compared with the same quarter last year. Reduced raw material supply, and hence lower sales volume for biopolymers, was offset by an improved product mix and positive net currency effects. Cost reductions from the upgrade in Norway and the restructuring in Germany compensated for higher distribution costs related to transatlantic shipments. And the EBITDA margin in BioSolutions was 23.6%, 1 percentage point below last year.
For BioMaterials, a low sales volume, slightly offset by the currency impact, was the main reason for a 12% decrease in operating revenues in the second quarter. EBITDA reached NOK 101 million compared with NOK 64 million in the second quarter last year.
For Speciality Cellulose, the effect of a low sales volume was more than compensated by lower wood and energy costs, higher production volume and favorable net currency effects. The average price in sales currency for BioMaterials was 5% higher compared with the second quarter last year due to lower sales of less specialized grades and textile cellulose. For cellulose fibrils, higher sales and cost reductions did not fully compensate for the reduced EU grant, which ended in April. The EBITDA margin was 24.2%, significantly higher than last year.
In Fine Chemicals, the operating revenues increased by as much as 36%, mainly due to high sales of bioethanol. EBITDA increased by NOK 40 million to NOK 67 million and the strong result was mainly due to increased demand and higher price level for bioethanol to disinfectants. The result for pharma intermediates improved due to higher deliveries in the quarter. The net currency impact in Fine Chemicals was negligible. The EBITDA margin was 51%, significantly above last year.
The net currency impact on EBITDA was, as I said, approximately NOK 30 million compared with the second quarter 2019. The positive impact came from a weaker Norwegian kroner, which weakened by approximately 15% compared with the second quarter last year using Borregaard's currency basket. Hedging losses were NOK 84 million compared with a loss of NOK 13 million in the same quarter last year, partly offsetting the positive impact from a weaker Norwegian kroner. Year-to-date, the net currency impact on EBITDA was approximately NOK 40 million.
Using currency rates as of yesterday, the net currency impact in the third quarter is estimated to be approximately NOK 5 million compared with the third quarter of 2019. And the corresponding impact for the full year of 2020 is estimated to be approximately NOK 45 million compared with 2019.
Borregaard had a strong cash flow from operating activities in the second quarter as a result of a significant reduction in net working capital, positive cash effect from the strong EBITDA and low tax payments due to an extended deadline to 1st of September for advanced payment of tax in Norway. Investments were slightly above the same level the same quarter last year. Net interest-bearing debt decreased by NOK 219 million in the second quarter. The strong cash flow from operating activities and positive revaluation effects of balance sheet items in foreign currencies more than compensated for a dividend payment of NOK 229 million.
In July, Borregaard signed new revolving credit facilities with DNB, Handelsbanken and SEB totaling NOK 1.5 billion. And these facilities were replacing existing facilities of the same size. The new facilities have margin linked to sustainability targets. At the end of the second quarter, Borregaard is well capitalized with an equity ratio of 44% and a leverage ratio, that is net interest-bearing debt over EBITDA, of 2.01.
And that concludes today's presentation. If you have questions, please contact Borregaard's Investor Relation by phone or e-mail. And finally, we would like to promote Borregaard's Capital Markets Day, which will be held on the 17th of September in Oslo at Thon Conference Universitetsgaten. Thank you for your attention.