2019 Financial Results– Covid-19 Information
Operating margin: 10.2%
Net income attributable to owners of the parent: €26.4 million
Aubay’s Board of Directors, which met on March 25 under Chairman Christian Aubert, approved the statutory and consolidated statements for 2019. The statutory audit has been carried out. The Statutory Auditors will issue their report on the financial statements after completion of the procedures required for the publication of the Universal Registration Document.
Operating margin from ordinary activities at higher end of forecast range
At 10.2%, the Group’s operating margin on ordinary activity lies at the higher end of the initial target range and exceeds indications provided in Aubay’s annual revenue press release in January.
The year would have been exceptional were it not for the end-of-year disruptions in France due to transportation problems.
The Group’s operating margin from ordinary activities for the period came in at 11.3% for France and 9.1% for international business, compared with 11.8% and 9.1%, respectively, in 2018.
Operating profit: +0.8%
Aubay’s operating profit amounted to €39.8 million for 2019, an increase of 0.8% after taking into account the €1.5 million cost of performance shares and the “other operating income and expenses” item, which mainly consisted of restructuring expenses.
A sharp increase in net cash (excluding rental liabilities) to €11.6 million
The financial situation improved markedly over the year. Aubay’s net cash grew from €0.2 million at December 31, 2018 to €11.6 million at the close of 2019.
Cash flow amounted to €48.3 million, which represented 11.6% of revenue. Cash flow from operations rose to €35.6 million, a sharp improvement compared to 2018’s €17.4 million and related to the improvement in working capital.
Net income attributable to owners of the parent down by 3.4%
Net income attributable to owners of the parent maintained a high level of €26.4 million, down 3.4% due to an increase in the effective tax rate from 30% in 2018 to 33%, a consequence of the reform of the CICE competitiveness and employment tax credit in France.
Proposed dividend payment unchanged at €0.60 per share
In the current environment, despite these excellent results and distributable reserves of more than €130 million, the Board of Directors has decided to leave the 2019 proposed dividend unchanged at €0.60 per share, representing a distribution ratio of around 30% of net income. The Annual General Meeting will have the opportunity to approve or amend this amount depending on how the current situation is assessed on May 12, 2020.
Outlook for 2020 – Covid-19 information
2020 began at a faster than expected pace. The Group is therefore ready to deal with the current situation in optimal operational health.
The Covid-19 crisis has emerged with varying time lags in the countries where we operate. Our presence in Italy has enabled us to be more alert in the other regions upstream of developments. The Banking, Insurance, Energy and Telecom sectors are relatively resilient, whereas the Industry and Retail sectors tend to rapidly discontinue or defer contracts. Aubay’s favorable sector exposure is bolstered by its large number of multi-year contracts.
With respect to work organization, teleworking is widely practiced by 90% of the staff. Sales have slowed down but the Group has observed that clients are tending to place more of their orders with trusted historical suppliers, which include Aubay. Moreover, the Group is continuing to win new markets, but with starting dates that will surely be pushed back. However, a decision has been taken to temporarily freeze new hiring, except in Italy, given the major new accounts won there in late 2019.
Aubay is anticipating and negotiating, particularly with labor organizations in France, the use of specific measures for placing staff on leave if they temporarily have no assignments. In France and abroad, Aubay is also reviewing and preparing a way to temporarily gain access to the various one-time public assistance mechanisms that will be implemented.
A preliminary estimate reveals that daily revenue is 10% below the level budgeted since mid-March. However, the impact varies from one country to the next, with a decrease of about 15% in Spain and in France, 10% in Belgium and Luxembourg and 5% in Italy. Portugal has not yet been impacted. The situation will surely evolve and these figures only provide a snapshot view; they are subject to the usual cautionary statements given the very rapid changes in the situation.
The first quarter will therefore be much less impacted than the second quarter.
Profitability projections are of course impossible to make at the present time. They will depend on the duration of the lockdown measures, additional decisions that clients could take, the strength of the recovery at the close of this period and the recovery support measures accepted by the various governments.
The revenue target of €450 million announced in January has therefore been suspended. The Group will announce its targets once the situation has stabilized with a minimal degree of visibility. At the financial level, the Group’s gross cash position currently stands at €25 million, which can be increased, if necessary, by the addition of authorized and not yet used bank overdraft facilities of more than €40 million. Trade receivables are not assigned.
Aubay’s management is strongly committed to overcoming this crisis, during which the Group will once again demonstrate its resilience and solidity in difficult environments.
Aubay will publish its revenue for the first quarter of the year on April 22, 2020 after the close of trading.