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Solvay first quarter 2019 results

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Q1 Profit

Underlying EBITDA €571 million  +2.4%  
-0.6% organically [1]

  • Underlying EBITDA up +2% benefiting from forex conversion and largely stable organically.
  • Positive net pricing offset lower volumes in automotive, electronics and oil & gas markets, as well as fixed cost inflation. 
  • Underlying EBITDA margin remained solid at 22%. 

Advanced Materials

€290 million  -1.8%
 -5.7% organically[1]

  • Underlying EBITDA down due to volume and mix effects and higher raw material costs. 
  • The drop in demand in automotive and electronics markets was exacerbated by customer destocking. This was mitigated by the double-digit volume growth in aerospace, driven by commercial and military program. 

Advanced Formulations

€126 million +4.2%
-1.7% organically [1]

  • Underlying EBITDA slightly down organically due to lower oil & gas volumes, partly offset by positive net pricing. 
  • Demand from the oil & gas stimulation market in North America was down year on year, but stabilized versus the fourth quarter of 2018. Other markets, including mining, remained overall supportive. 

Performance Chemicals

€206 million  +11%
+9.9% organically [1]

  • Strong growth of underlying EBITDA thanks to higher prices, which more than compensated higher raw material and energy costs. 
  • Volumes remained solid in the soda ash and peroxides businesses.  


Underlying EPS [2] from continuing operations €2.01   +1.0%

  • Underlying EPS [2] from continuing operations largely flat. 
  • Total underlying EPS [2] up +18%, at €2.80, including strong contribution from discontinued polyamide activities. 


Q1 Cash

FCF to Solvay shareholders from continuing operations
€(91) million vs €100 million in 2018

  • Free cash flow to Solvay shareholders turned negative due to working capital phasing as well as higher inventories given the weaker market conditions. 

  • Underlying net financial debt [3] rose to €(5.8) billion, from €(5.5) billion at the start of the year, while the underlying leverage ratio remained stable at 2.1x. 


2019 full year outlook

The economic context has worsened since February, and we expect that this will continue into the second quarter. Solvay therefore now expects: 

  • Underlying EBITDA for 2019 to be flat to modestly down organically [4]
  • Free Cash Flow to shareholders from continuing operations to be around €490 million [5], exceeding dividend payout and enabling net debt deleveraging by some €100 million. 


CEO Ilham Kadri: 

Ilham Kadri

Solvay’s first quarter results were in-line with our expectations, as macro-economic conditions weighed on automotive, electronics and oil & gas markets, while others, including aerospace, experienced strong growth. 

Since my start-day on March 1, we have been focused on responding to the challenging market conditions, in particular on cost management and cash delivery. Together with our realigned executive team, I also have initiated a comprehensive strategic review with a clear objective to unleash and accelerate value creation. With a legacy of innovation, strong customer relationships and commitment to sustainability, we are excited about the opportunities ahead.


All year-on-year comparisons are made with 2018 pro forma figures, as if IFRS 16 had already been implemented in 2018.

The full financial report can be found on:
An analyst call will be held at 14:00, please see:


[1]    Organic growth excludes forex conversion and scope effects, as well as the effect from the implementation of IFRS 16. 
[2]    Underlying earnings per share, basic calculation. 
[3]    Underlying net financial debt includes the perpetual hybrid bonds, accounted for as equity under IFRS. 
[4]    Organic growth excludes forex conversion and scope effects, and compares to €2,330 pro forma in 2018, which already includes the €100 million IFRS 16 effect. 
[5]    Free cash flow to Solvay shareholders is free cash flow post financing payments and dividends to non-controlling interests, and compares to €566 million in 2018. Free cash flow from continuing operations (before financing) is expected at around €770 million in 2019, compared to €846 million pro forma in 2018. 

Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, committed to developing chemistry that addresses key societal challenges. Solvay innovates and partners with customers worldwide in many diverse end-markets. Its products are used in planes, cars, batteries, smart and medical devices, as well as in mineral and oil and gas extraction, enhancing efficiency and sustainability. Its lightweighting materials promote cleaner mobility, its formulations optimize the use of resources, and its performance chemicals improve air and water quality.

Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with around 24,500 employees in 62 countries. Net sales were €10.3 billion in 2018, with 90% from activities where Solvay ranks among the world’s top 3 leaders, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 22%. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR), and in the United States its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a level-1 ADR program. (Figures take into account the planned divestment of Polyamides.)    

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