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Edited Transcript of FCC.MC earnings conference call or presentation 31-Jul-19 7:00am GMT

Half Year 2019 Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas SA Earnings Call

Madrid Aug 5, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas SA earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 7:00:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript


Corporate Participants


* Miguel Coronel Granado

Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. - Director of Management Control & Capital Markets


Conference Call Participants


* Guillermo Fernández-Gao Sánchez de Nieva

Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst




Miguel Coronel Granado, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. - Director of Management Control & Capital Markets [1]


Good morning, everyone here in this results presentation for the first 6 months. I am Miguel Coronel, the Capital Markets and Management Control Director at FCC Group. I would like to thank you very much for connecting this morning.

With regard to the results, first of all, I'd like to say the performance of the net attributable income at EUR 128.9 million, which is due to the good performance that we will look at later by area, but it was slightly lower than last year's figure of EUR 151.7 million, which is due -- as you've seen in the information that we've sent to the CNMV, due to the increase of the minority shareholder which was EUR 27.8 million, which was mainly in the Water business.

If we're going to look at the most relevant headings on the income statement of the consolidated group, starting with the top part, which is the revenue, the income was EUR 2,993.8 million. They grew 5.5% compared to the year 2018. This increase, as I've said, it was in all the main group business areas, especially in Cement and Water.

In Cement, we've maintained the increased demand in volumes in Spain as in Water because there's been a good trend in volumes and the cubic meters and also the contribution, which has been solid due to international market projects.

According to the geographical areas, in the Spanish market, the revenues -- the total revenues were 55% of the consolidated group. They progressed 6% with EUR 1,647.6 million, due in this particular case, specifically to the national market in the environmental area, because they have the different wastewater treatment plants and also other extensions, that we will talk about. And due to new cleaning and waste collection service in Spain. Also in the Water area, as I already said, the growth for consumption has also gone up. In some cases it's due to the agreed increase in tariffs and the contribution of more works in networks and technologies, which are related to the concessions for the integrated cycle.

[Finally], I would like to say, in the construction area, we have started new projects. And as I've already mentioned, the volumes have increased in the Cement project in the different markets.

The international markets, the income went up 4.9%. And the [weight] is 45%. From less to more, the (inaudible) revenue in Europe, the U.K., with an average exchange rate comparing each 6 months are stable and the revenue went up 2%.

Here, there was the importance of the Cement business, it was small, but the exports that we'd carry out, had a positive contribution. And the environmental area in this important area due to the effect of the income from the completion

of a new energy from waste plant and an integral plant in Scotland at the end of last year.

And we've also said, this has an effect of also -- of a scheduled shutdown of our plants in the Southwest of London, which took place in the first quarter of the year.

In the Czech Republic, which is another important European one, the income went up 2.7%. We had a positive impact of the good performance of the tariffs in our business, in the SmVak business. And a positive growth, but more moderate in all the other activities, in this case, in the environmental area.

In the other markets in Europe, what is worth highlighting is the progress, but it has less [absolute temperatures], 27.9 more revenue. And here, the importance was the construction area projects that we've started in Belgium and Portugal and a faster pace of the progress of the contracts we had in Romania. And I will talk about that when I specifically talk about the Construction area.

In the Middle East and Africa, there was a slight reduction, 7.1%. This is due to the impact of the completion of the railway contract of the Doha Red Line in Qatar, that was probably the most important.

In Latin America, the income revenue went [up 3.2%], this was due to the fact of projects that we have in networks and technologies in water in Colombia and Ecuador. And this offsets the slower pace of the projects that we have in Panama. Also, the conclusion last year of our Construction business in Chile.

In the U.S., the revenue went down slightly 0.5%, and that is due to an advanced degree of progress, I think, it's more than 89% of the finalization of the general investment bridge in Los Angeles in the Construction area. And this was mitigated by the start-up of different contracts, which, organically, we have been awarded in the environmental area in Texas and Florida.

The EBITDA for the entire group increased [by] EUR 461.3 million, which represented 9.3%. This increase is due to, what I said, about the good performance of the revenue in the different activities and also due to the coming into effect of the new accounting regulations, IFRS 16, due to operating lease regulations, which should have a positive impact.

Here, also, as far as EBITDA -- it's also worth talking about the impact of the planned shutdown of the largest energy from waste plant we have in the U.K.

And now I'm going to talk about the environmental area. As you know, it's the most important business area of the group. The revenue here grew 5.2% to EUR 1,461.1 million, which is positive performance in all the activities in this group.

And even more, if we can talk about the delta which is in Spain. And as I've said, due to the contracts and the extension of -- there were contracts we already have. And international markets, we went up to EUR 846.3 million, which is an important 8.2% increase. Here, it's had a positive increase, especially for this 8.2%.

The progress on the wastewater plant in the Northeast, the (inaudible) one in the (inaudible) Valley in Madrid. And also the work on the plant that we have in (inaudible) for the integral water management for that entire province.

As well, as I've already mentioned, the increase of extensions of contracts, for example, like the organic function. As you know, in different systems, which has been implementing. And it will be compulsory in short term, and this is talking about the collections on a national level.

And the U.K., the revenue went down slightly, 0.3% to EUR 357.6 million. Here, what we've already said, was due to the multi-annual scheduled shutdown of the energy from waste plant in Allington, it's our largest plant, should get 0.5 million tonnes of treatment per year -- waste treatment per year. And I said the shutdown has finished, but obviously had an impact of around EUR 5 million on the revenue and EBITDA.

And also, the income from the U.K. affected by the accounting and performance and also the set-up of the start-up of the Edinburgh plant, which started up in May, but it was contributing with income, which were much more important during the year 2018.

In Central Europe, the revenues went up 5.1% to EUR 230.8 million. Here, there's been a good performance. 7 or 8 countries where we work in Central Europe, which have been posting -- if we had to highlight, again, the [declination] of land in the Czech Republic, together with a better performance in Austria and Hungary. And we have recovered the collection and treatment in Poland. And this has been the performance of the Central European countries.

And finally, as I have already mentioned, in the case of the United States and other markets, it went down 5% in revenues. But here we have to highlight the effect comes from the completion -- -- the scheduled completion of the waste collection in [Cairo in Egypt] . If we were to analyze it, the united -- the income would have gone up 14%. But as I've said, due to the contribution of new contracts and one that's worth mentioning is Rowlett in Texas or the [treater] service of the recycle waste plant in Houston.

The EBITDA in this area, went to -- up to EUR 225.4 million, which is a growth of 6.3%. And as I said, it is the result of what is the performance of the revenue in the different geographies and activities. And also this has allowed us to offset the growth in the cost of fuel and a slight fall, but we don't have a lot of exposure, but we do [have some to] what we have, these secondary recycled (inaudible) prices and services, EUR 5.5 million from the scheduled shutdown of the Allington plant in the first quarter that I've already mentioned.

With regards to the second most important area, which is the Water business. Here, the income -- the revenue went up 7.7% to EUR 559.4 million. Again, we've already mentioned it, due to the good performance of the business here in Spain and also, to [joining] the perimeter of a plant where we have a concession plant in Algeria, which is the desalination plant in Mostaganem, on the coast of Algeria, which also got a very positive business for the technology and network business. As you know, the whole entire phase goes to the development of hydraulic infrastructure, especially on an international level. And so these are the projects that we currently have.

If we concentrate on geographically to see the EBIT performance per activity in Spain, the progress in Water was 2.1% to EUR 381.9 million. Here, we've had very -- more favorable demand due to the climate in this first 6 months compared to the same period last year. It's been a little dryer, a little warmer, which has allowed us to offset a slight contraction that we've had in our wastewater plant business and our technology and networks are maintained at similar. But there hasn't been a lot of public investments. So then we have to take this into account with the agreed investment plans in our portfolio of our integrated cycle contracts.

In the international market in Central Europe [second], according to contribution, the revenue went up 4.2% to EUR 54.6 million. As you know, the main contribution to our Czech Republic integrated cycle business, there's been an increase in tariffs within the concession, but also, we had certain weather conditions that were not so favorable. And there's been a certain reduction due to the seasonal nature of the volumes that have been consumed.

And the rest of Europe, especially in the markets where we are with the integrated cycle, in Portugal and Italy, where we've also now added France in this first 6 months of the year. The revenue went up 18.7% and to almost EUR 30 million, and both in just the concession business and also this new technology and network business.

We've had a more contribution from an important contract in Sicily in Italy, and also work that we've carried out in line with the CapEx plan that was envisaged in the concession, which is worth mentioning, the [Alcântara] one in Portugal. And as I've already said, as of the 1st of June this year, the purchase that we made of a French entity, which is called SPIE, and it's in the North of France, in the France area, if I'm correct. And this has a revenue goal of EUR 4 million in the first 6 months of the year. And as it came into our perimeter on the 1st of June.

In Latin America, the revenue went -- doubled -- almost doubled to EUR 35 million, and this is thanks to the contribution I've already mentioned of Colombia and Ecuador because the contracts we have that are being -- well the development of plants. And also the set-up of the BOT project in Guaymas which is in the Mexican Gulf, in the Pacific area.

In the Middle East and Africa, the revenues grew 12.4 to EUR 58 million. And here, we have the contribution to our perimeter as I already said, of the Algeria and Mostaganem plants.

With all this, EBITDA grew 11%, with respect to the same period last year, EUR 126.2 million. And this is due to a combination of a better profitability of the concessions that are currently operating. And also the improvement or the more marginal performance of the technology and network projects. And this is the reason why the operating margin on income has gone up to 22.6%, and it went over the 21% to the 22.9% from the previous year.

With regard to the third most important area. And we have the Construction area. And the income went up 4% in the first 6 months, [EUR 769.6 million]. Again, here Spain, had a good performance compared to international business.

Here, also, we had -- well, especially because of the exchange rate with the dollar, because the constant exchange rate, the international performance was more stable.

In the Spanish market, the progress was specifically 5.6% to EUR 294.2 million. Here, we have new contracts in the first 6 months of the year. What's worth highlighting is the good performance that our backlog has. And here, we have the inclusion to our bank leverage, just means we've got more than 2 digit performance improvement compared to last year with the complete remodeling of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. And also, in the second quarter, this is going into our backlog.

And in the second area according to conclusion, which is the [NENA] building, the income went down 8.5%, which is entirely due to the [nonoffset] conclusion of the Red Metro Line in Doha. And the good progress in the contracts, both for civil works and industrial engineering in Riyadh for the 3 Metro lines in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

In Latin America revenue was EUR 150.7 million, which was 7% -- 7.5% less. And here, we're talking about the pace of execution of works, especially in Line 2 of the Metro in Panama. And we still, well, just to say this hasn't gained the pace that we expected, or that was envisaged, the infrastructure, as I say, that we have in Peru. As we said the Line 2 of the Lima Metro, we have been very successful to have a bond in international markets, which have allowed us to recover the pace of the building work, which we hope will progress even better.

In Europe and other markets, the revenue went up a significant 56.5% to EUR 124.4 million. And here, as I've already mentioned, what's worth mentioning is the start-up of projects like the Haren complex in Belgium, Brussels, and the 3 or 4 railway lines that we have been awarded in the Central and Northern area of Romania, and they had a higher contribution.

With all this, the EBITDA -- with these works that have been planned grew 23.8% to almost EUR 47 million. As I said, obviously, this has a certain effect on -- of the IFRS 16. But together, this progress has been a 1 percentage point in the operating margin.

And finally, Cement. Well briefly, the revenues went up 13% in this period, EUR 207.5 million. And I've already talked about the increased volume in Spain, which is focused on building in Spain. The income went up 17.9%. And the price was -- growth was more moderate. But in the current markets, the local sales in Tunisia went down because our consolidation currency of 8.8% and [is the] market, the increase that is taking place in the tariffs cannot be offset sufficiently by the depreciation of the Tunisian dinar. So the income went down 8.8%. Although in the local currency, they grew 3.8%. So [it is] on the foreign exchanges, where we have lost our contribution.

Also, the export to different markets from Spain and from Tunisia together went up 14.3%, which are focused on more exports down from the Spanish plants, especially I would like to highlight the growth in Europe, the U.K., the U.S. and also, we have now started up the Costa Rican market in Central America.

The EBITDA went up with all this, 6.6% to EUR 41.7 million. Here, as I already mentioned, in the case of the solid urban waste environment, we had a cost in this particular case of electricity that was slightly higher, and also a lower contribution during the period from the sale of the CO2 emissions rights, which was only $3.1 million as opposed to $7.8 million for the same period last year.

And so if we just adjust the CO2 difference, the -- it went up 23.3%, which would be well in line and above what this activity corresponds for the progress, as I've said, related to the revenues, which was in whole 13%. Having looked at the main 4 areas of the operating contribution. I will now look a little bit at the performance of the cash flow and the debt.

Compared to the debt balance, the gross financial debt have been undergoing a very big change, we're at [EUR 4,250.4 million] compared to last year, which is slightly 3% more than the end of the previous year. As I said, the consolidated net debt has gone up a little bit to EUR 2,972.2 million.

With respect to the performance of the cash flows. Well, firstly, I would like to say that the operating working capital is being used, because we managed to get funds to EUR 2,069.2 million, but obviously, this is clearly below the same period of the previous year, 14% -- 40% less.

Here we've had a slower pace of expansion of the downpayments in projects that are at an advanced degree of progress, especially in the EMEA area. Also there has been less demand, taking into account the plants I've already talked about that correspond to the main environmental area.

And just so, it's very important to highlight that we have had an [exit] for an exceptional payment, a single payment last June to the Spanish tax office for a joint amount of EUR 110.9 million. There is a detailed explanation in our management report in Heading 4.41 for Financial Expense and I recommend that you have a look at that in detail. And it corresponds to a settlement that we were required to do for the historical transaction from the goodwill for acquisitions carried out by the group 10 years ago. We have presented a claim to the tax office. And they -- and also, we were able to put this claim to the European Union.

Apart from this element, that is very important, that's worthwhile mentioning, we also have the effect that I've been mentioning of the investments for growth. In the Water area, I would like to say the purchase of SPIE in France, which is almost EUR 32 million, the investments because of the conclusion or because the progress of different wastewater treatment plants in the environmental area, which is around EUR 50 million. The Edinburgh plant, the (inaudible) and Alcalá de Henares plants and also the purchase from the minority shareholders. We achieved 100% of the concession of the water integral water cycle in (inaudible), which cost around 30 -- EUR 28.9 million, which we can't forget. And in the first quarter, we have also had a payment for the recovery of a flexible scrip dividend for the first time since the year 2013, which is also represented a payment to shareholders.

There have been no important divestments during this period. And taking all this into account, you can see in our management report, the cash flow position and also cash and cash equivalent has ended with [EUR 1,019 million].

And so very briefly, related to the debt structure, there's been very little variation. Just want to say that the -- what we call the gross debt with [recourse] to the group company, which doesn't really affect the activities, was 35.8% of the total. That was the balance with over EUR 1,500 million, and we've got a syndicated loan, which is the main component of that. And to that, we add an outstanding balance at the end of the period of EUR 300 million that we had in promissory notes in SPVs that we set up at the -- well at the end of January this year.

The nonrecourse debt, which is the -- which is 64%, which has got over EUR 2,731.4 and it's a structured debt in different areas, among which we have water, different projects in the environmental area, especially the finance of a project in the U.K., which is over EUR 368 million of the total debt that we have in that country. And other minor ones which is Cement and Concessions.

Well, I don't want to go on further. I think [those] are the most important things that have happened in the first 6 months of the year.

Thank you very much for your attention. And now we will go to the possible question-and-answer time. Could we please start [with] any questions that they could be in Spanish, please.


Questions and Answers


Operator [1]


(Operator Instructions) The first question will come from Guillermo Fernández-Gao.


Guillermo Fernández-Gao Sánchez de Nieva, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [2]


The first question would be related to the possible recovery of the working capital in the second half of the year. Could you remember how much you got back in the second half of last year, to have an idea? And do you think the amount could be important for this?

And the second question, in the -- second 2. Due to the special margins, for example, in the environmental business, which has been important for [debit] of 2 quarter. So do you think these margins are sustainable? And similar in Water when the margin was 23.2% in the second quarter? That's the questions.

So do you think the EBITDA margins are a good reference for the remainder -- remaining part of the year? And also, if you could break down, I'm not quite sure if it was in the information provided, how much of the investments of the gross CapEx and both -- and also for maintenance? Don't seem to have any reference for the gross CapEx, do you have a figure for the gross CapEx that you're envisaging for next year?


Miguel Coronel Granado, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. - Director of Management Control & Capital Markets [3]


Well, with regard to what you've talked about, the performance of the working capital, last year, we ended the first EUR 448 million for absorption. If I've got the figure right in June 2018, we ended the year with the absorption, which was [EUR 360 million]. So we had a recovery of EUR 130 million. We hope that there is a recovery compared to the EUR 269 million that we have to the end of June.

To give you a figure is very complicated because it depends, as you well know, on how we do as far as the progress as it comes from certain downpayments we have in some projects in Middle East and Africa, also the performance of the projects that we're developing in environmental that don't work with a downpayment basis. But the level of certification and the expectations of the building work also has an effect on this.

I would just say that we expect a recovery because we always have one in the group. But to put a specific amount, it's very complicated. So I would just like to say that the consumption has been less from last year. And we also expect the consumption to be better towards the end of the year compared to the year 2018.

Your second question, we talked about the margins in the Environmental and the Water areas. Well, I would say that in the Environmental areas, I think they should be sustainable, taking into account that the water treatment activities and production are gaining more traction because they are going very fast because of the European regulations, due to the introduction of the prohibitions of what can go into the landfills. And so we have to do a lot more recovery. For example, in Scotland, they have said they do not want 1 kilo of organic fraction in a [landfill] between now and a year's time.

In Spain, the collection of the organic fraction, which was going to be selective collection, I think it will be about 1,800 city capitals are going to be involved. So I think there's general concerns on the environment and how serious the situation is.

So the activity for treatment, we have higher margins, which are over 20%. So therefore, we truly believe that the CapEx there, as I say, for Water, will also be somewhat volatile, which could be consolidated in particular, because when we're talking about the technology and network portion, because you know that when they're being built, the plants, we have to include that as revenue. And so on isolated information about the Integrated water cycle, which is very solid margins, which is because it's considered to be a utility. And while we will see that initially, it should be reasonable to maintain these margins. But we shouldn't be surprised if there's a certain small volatility because it contributes in an EPC period.

But independently, sectors of this activity could have worse performance. But we do think it should be sustainable towards the end of the year. And you talked to us about the CapEx for maintenance and growth. In the first 6 months, we've had payments for investments of around EUR 229 million, the CapEx for growth in that specific heading has been around EUR 70 million. But when I talked about growth investments, when we have with this minority purchase, which is around EUR 30 million for this minority interest, and so that goes into the heading for finance. So the heading talks about the payment of dividends. So that is why I said, or we can say that the growth CapEx as a whole between the 2 headings of investment and financing would be above EUR 100 million.

I'm not sure if there's anything I need to say to answer you. I'm sorry, if I have forgotten something. Next question, please.


Operator [4]


(Operator Instructions) Well, it doesn't seem there are any more questions. So all those people are connected. Thank you very much.

Yes, it seems there is another question.

The next question is from [Patricio Kavisa].


Unidentified Analyst, [5]


I had a question related -- the environmental debt. And I would like to know what your ambition for the refinancing is, if you have an [objective] to refinance all the debt would resource and also the terms, so the time period that you're dealing with related to this process?

And my second question is related to the new acquisitions. The new water concessions in France and Spain. So what would be sort of a life cycle of the revenue from these 2 acquisitions?


Miguel Coronel Granado, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. - Director of Management Control & Capital Markets [6]


With regard to what you have asked, which I think is what has been -- you've seen in the press or in the different media, our environmental area, while on these type of transactions, we really can't, as a listed company, give you any details. The group has always said that we have the Aqualia transaction, and we always try to have the best financial optimization that is possible.

Obviously, we have got leverage levels and certain average financial costs that are optimum. We continue to analyze different opportunities. We're not able to give more details. We are aware that the markets are at a specific unique time. We've never seen such interest rates as we have at the moment, and we are aware of this, so we will try and do what is necessary within the general conditions that exist. So I'm afraid I can't give you any more information on this.

With regard to the acquisitions in France, the purchase of S-P-I-E, SPIE, well they have an average term of contract between 12 and 17 years. The integrated cycle contracts are based on those time frames. Next question please.


Operator [7]


The next question is from Guillermo Fernández.


Guillermo Fernández-Gao Sánchez de Nieva, Kepler Cheuvreux, Research Division - Equity Research Analyst [8]


Just a quick follow-up, [to] one of the answers. I mean, you're giving the presentation, you talked about the treatment area was gaining weight in Spain because of the increased speeds for the treatment as opposed to land sales. The question was just, obviously, this is to fulfill the European regulations. What capacity do you have as far as treatment is concerned, how much this activity can grow? With that, it means your gains have an important growth in CapEx. Can you give us an idea about what the political will is if this CapEx will be given by the public administration, by you, or do you think you can progress with the capacity that you already have?


Miguel Coronel Granado, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. - Director of Management Control & Capital Markets [9]


Well, we have different treatment plants, some are incinerators, which are a part of the global consideration (inaudible) and another one we have, which services the area of Majorca and the (inaudible) area.

Now for example, we have to use Guipúzcoa one which will provide service to the entire Guipúzcoa province. The treatment plant in Alcalá de Henares which I already mentioned, which will provide service for everything, which would be the area of 700,000 inhabitants which is in that area of Madrid. And I would say the plants at the moment are operating as concessions or an O&M and they're working at full capacities. They could be extended, yes. But as you know, waste has to be treated, wherever they are generated. So it doesn't make a lot of sense to increase a plant in an area where that particular area wouldn't be benefited from. So because they are structured against different communities. And so [one treaty] will not allow to increase the plant to treat waste that come from another area where they're generated, this is logical. And this happens throughout the entire world.

So in this respect, the treatment plants require investments. The investment, as you know, can be done in a PPP-type or public finance with subsidiaries or a contribution so that you can recover some of the investment. But for us, it's not necessarily a CapEx you have to take into account. And I would leave you with the idea that what is important in a constant perimeter of the product to treat in a state [it's] waste, solid urban waste. There's a lot to do, there's a lot of growth to come and also it's very necessary for the society at large.

And so we need to prevent -- as what happens, that 50% of the solid urban waste, that's hardly treated in Spain, goes straight to the landfills. So we have to avoid that.

Countries like Germany and Switzerland, almost nothing goes to landfills we have on operations in Austria, and what goes to landfills is just basically the ashes from the incinerators, once we have recovered everything that's possible between 50% or 60% [to] prior treatment during the collections and the fractioning of the separation.

What's our policy. Well I think it's on-- there's a lot of pressure. So I think there will be even more treatment, and this is a real situation. It's not a trend. We're seeing this with plastics, et cetera. This is a real urgent need that we have to face. So we are totally convinced that the political will, will be behind that. The CapEx will be financed. However, relevant, the markets are open. So we will have to see. But I hope that that answers your question. Next question, please.


Operator [10]


We don't have any further questions from today's presentation.


Miguel Coronel Granado, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. - Director of Management Control & Capital Markets [11]


Well, thank you all very much again,. And people who haven't gone on holiday yet. Well, I do wish you a good holiday.

If you need anything, we will be -- our department at the Capital Markets is available to you, should you need any information.

[Statements in English on this transcript were spoken by an interpreter present on the live call.]