Solvay 2023 second quarter results
Quality results with strong cash generation and improved margins in a weak demand environment; 2023 full year profit and cash guidance confirmed
- Net sales in the second quarter of 2023 decreased by -9.2% organically versus Q2 2022 driven by -13% lower volumes (€-458 million) in a weaker macro environment, which were partly offset by +4% higher prices (+€144 million). The lower year over year volumes were broad-based across various end markets, including batteries, agro, construction, and consumer-facing industries.
- Structural cost savings for the first half 2023 amounted to €36 million, bringing the total savings since 2019 to €502 million, 1.5 years ahead of our 2024 target.
- Underlying EBITDA of €790 million in Q2 2023 only decreased by -2.6% organically year on year, reflecting the quality of earnings. The year on year decline is due to the drop in volumes, partly offset by sustained net pricing and positive portfolio mix effects. The EBITDA decrease was contained to -6% sequentially vs Q1 2023.
- The underlying EBITDA margin of 25.6% in Q2 2023 is +0.7pp higher than in Q2 2022, mainly as a result of pricing and cost discipline, and despite lower volumes in a highly competitive environment.
- Underlying Net Profit was €426 million in Q2 2023 compared to €470 million in Q2 2022.
- Free Cash Flow of €556 million in Q2 2023 significantly increased year-on-year despite €59 million higher capex, reflecting working capital discipline including inventory reduction and low overdues.
- ROCE was 16.3%, +2.6 pp above Q2 2022 and +8.2 pp above 2019.
- Continued strengthening of the balance sheet with underlying net debt at €3.1 billion, reaching a historic low leverage of 0.9x.
- New Jersey (USA) PFAS settlement reached in June resulted in a €229 million provision in Q2 2023.
“I’m pleased that we continue to meet our customers' needs whilst maintaining strong net pricing across the majority of our portfolio. The accelerated achievement of our 2024 target of €500m in structural costs savings helped to sustain our industry-leading margins notwithstanding the weaker demand environment. We increased investments in the future success of EssentialCo and SpecialtyCo, reinforced working capital discipline and delivered €556 million of free cash flow in the quarter. We remain focused on adapting the posture of all our businesses with speed as we continue to face a particularly challenging macro environment, ready to deploy all levers within our control to maintain our competitive edge and drive superior performance. We recently announced target capital structures of the future entities, and we are on track to take the next steps in our journey to separate into two strong, investment-grade rated companies later this year.”
Ilham Kadri, CEO
Results for the first half 2023 are in line with expectations. The macroeconomic environment remains challenging and persistent demand weakness is expected to continue to weigh on volume recovery across most markets.
With this macroeconomic context, the company expects to maintain strong margins and cost discipline. Accordingly, it confirms its full year 2023 EBITDA guidance of +2% to -5% organic growth versus 2022. This is equivalent to approximately €2.9 billion to €3.1 billion at prevailing foreign exchange rates. The low end of the guidance range assumes volumes stabilize in the second half and the high end of the range assumes modest volume recovery in the second half.
The company continues to invest for growth and estimates a minimum of €900 million in Free Cash Flow for the full year, reflecting its investments in capex and disciplined working capital in a lower volume environment.
1FY 2022 reported underlying EBITDA of €3,229 million included profits from Rusvinyl, which was divested in Q1 2023, and reflected stronger $/€ exchange rates, which together total €180 million assuming current exchange rates continue into H2. FY 2022 underlying EBITDA on a comparable basis to 2023 is €3,050 million.
This press release may contain forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements describe expectations, plans, strategies, goals, future events or intentions. The achievement of forward-looking statements contained in this press release is subject to risks and uncertainties relating to a number of factors, including general economic factors, interest rate and foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, changing market conditions, product competition, the nature of product development, impact of acquisitions and divestitures, restructurings, products withdrawals, regulatory approval processes, all-in scenario of R&I projects and other unusual items. Consequently, actual results or future events may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Should known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, or should our assumptions prove inaccurate, actual results could vary materially from those anticipated. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 22,000 employees in 61 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet roadmap crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €13.4 billion in 2022. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (SOLB). Learn more at www.solvay.com.