Befesa S.A.: Befesa delivers record 2022 EBITDA of €215m (+9% yoy) in a challenging year
EQS-News: Befesa S.A. / Key word(s): Annual Results/Dividend
PRESS AND INVESTOR ANNOUNCEMENT
Preliminary full-year 2022 results
Befesa delivers record 2022 EBITDA of €215m (+9% yoy) in a challenging year
Luxembourg, 2 March 2023 – Befesa S.A. (“Befesa”), the leading provider of hazardous waste recycling services enabling the circular economy within the steel and aluminium industries, reported strong performance and record earnings levels for 2022.
Total revenue in 2022 increased by 38% to €1,136m and by 19% to €295m in Q4 2022, driven mainly by the US operations and higher metal prices.
Adjusted EBITDA increased in 2022 by 9% to €214.6m (2021: €197.6m) despite a challenging environment that included factors such as the COVID pandemic, the Russian war against Ukraine and the global energy crisis. Results were mainly driven by US zinc operations contributing to the full year in 2022 for the first time. Downward pressure was due to unfavourable zinc treatment charges (TC) and energy inflation, which offset the benefits of yoy higher base metal prices. On a reported basis, EBITDA increased by 24% to €234.9m (2021: €189.6m), including the positive accounting effect from the US zinc refining acquisition. Q4 2022 adjusted EBITDA decreased by 17% to €50.7m (Q4 2021: €60.8m); higher metal prices were offset by unfavourable zinc TC, a minor volume decrease, and predominantly higher energy inflation.
In 2022, Befesa demonstrated resilient volumes and overall capacity utilisation levels. EAF steel dust throughput increased by 35% yoy to 1,194kt, at close to 80% average capacity utilisation, mainly driven by US operations contributing for the full year. Volumes in the Aluminium Salt Slags business were lower yoy due to the Hanover plant being out of operation in 2022; the plant has been restored and operations are ramping up. Salt Slags and SPL recycled decreased by 18% to 322kt; secondary aluminium output came in 14% lower at 161kt. Normalised for Hanover, average capacity utilisation in Salt Slags is over 90%.
In regard to base metal prices, Befesa’s zinc blended averaged 15% higher at €2,627/t in 2022 and 9% higher in Q4 2022 at €2,563/t; aluminium alloy market prices averaged 15% higher in 2022 at €2,438/t and 8% lower at €2,312/t in Q4.
Befesa’s net profit in 2022 increased by €6.5m to a new high of €106.2m, corresponding to earnings per share (EPS) of €2.66 (2021: €2.68). In 2022, Befesa distributed a total dividend of €50m (€1.25 per share) and is proposing a stable €50m dividend (€1.25 per share) for 2023, equal to c. 50% of net profit, in line with Befesa’s dividend policy.
Operations in the US and China
In the US, Befesa is successfully integrating the zinc refining operations acquired on 30 September. The zinc refining plant is centrally located amongst Befesa’s four US recycling plants that produce Waelz Oxide (WOX); it processes WOX into Special High Grade (SHG) zinc in a state-of-the-art solvent extraction process. The zinc refining capacity is up to 140kt SHG “green zinc” annually, produced from 100% recycled raw materials.
Befesa’s expansion in China continued to progress: the commissioning of the second Chinese plant, in Henan, was successfully completed in December 2022 and the site is ramping up operations. Befesa is monitoring the country’s recovery from COVID post Chinese New Year. The two existing Chinese plants in Jiangsu and Henan are operating and will contribute to earnings in 2023. Also, Befesa is preparing its next EAFD recycling plant – the third in China and thirteenth globally – in the province of Guangdong, northwest of Hong Kong.
Cash flow, liquidity and net leverage
In 2022, Befesa’s operating cash flow improved by 16% to a new record level of €137.3m (2021: €117.9m). Liquidity remained strong at more than €230m, with cash on hand of €162m at year-end 2022 (€224m at year-end 2021). Overall, cash flow in 2022 was approximately balanced compared to 2021, normalised for over €50m zinc refining asset acquisition and related costs. Net leverage of x2.56 was reached at year-end 2022 (x2.38 year-end 2021). This change is based on the self-funded US zinc refining asset acquisition.
Sustainable Global Growth Plan
Befesa is executing its Sustainable Global Growth Plan (SGGP), as presented at the Capital Markets Day on 8 November 2022. After the completion of the acquisition of the US zinc refining asset on 30 September 2022, Befesa has continued to implement various efficiency projects to improve its US earnings going forward. The US Palmerton plant is currently being prepared for refurbishment, which will take place during 2023 and 2024, to benefit from and support the incremental EAF steel dust volumes expected in the US market over the coming years. At the same time, Befesa is progressing its China expansion. Befesa’s SGGP projects will seize the opportunities that megatrends such as decarbonisation and electric vehicle growth are generating in the steel and aluminium industries, enabling Befesa to target double-digit earnings growth on average over the next five years.
Javier Molina, Executive Chair of Befesa, commented: “In 2022, despite a very challenging environment, we delivered the best financial results in the history of Befesa, thanks to our resilient business model and the contribution of the operations in the USA. We expanded our US operations further and acquired the remaining 93% stake in the US zinc refining asset, unique in its kind in the world producing green zinc from 100% recycled raw materials. In November, we held our first Capital Markets Day where we shared our Sustainable Global Growth Plan. The plan is globally balanced, expanding our core businesses in modules where we invest €410-450m through a self-funded capex programme, with attractive shareholder returns over the next five years. Befesa’s environmental services play a vital role in the decarbonisation of the steel and aluminium industries and the transition to electric vehicles. We are excited about continuing our global growth journey.”
In 2022, Befesa extended its zinc hedging book up to July 2025 and will continue to monitor the market to sell further volume forward at fixed prices beyond that date. As in previous years, once treatment charges in the zinc industry are settled around March/April 2023, Befesa will provide its earnings guidance for 2023 together with the Q1 2023 results, scheduled for 4 May.
Befesa will report on ESG in Q2 2023 including disclosures on taxonomy eligibility and alignment. On health and safety, Befesa reduced its Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR) by 32% yoy to a new low of 0.55 (2021: 0.81).
Befesa’s crude steel dust operations in Turkey, located in İskenderun, in Hatay Province, were impacted by the earthquake on 6 February 2023. Befesa was deeply saddened by the tragic event and has been providing support to its more than 90 employees at the plant, who are all safe and were not directly harmed. The plant sustained only minor damage and Befesa intends to restart operations, pending an assessment of the severity of the impact of the earthquake on the area, in March.
Befesa will host a webcast on its preliminary 2022 results at 9.00 am CET on 2 March 2023. Further details, a replay and other events are available on Befesa’s website: www.befesa.com
Financial calendar 2023
The financial calendar for 2023 is available in the Investor Relations / Investor’s Agenda section of Befesa’s website. For more information, please visit www.befesa.com
Befesa is a leading player in the circular economy, providing environmental, regulated services to the steel and aluminium industries with facilities located in Germany, Spain, Sweden, France, as well as in Turkey, South Korea, China and the US. Through its two business units, Steel Dust and Aluminium Salt Slags recycling services, which are a critical part of the circular economy, Befesa manages and recycles around 2 million tonnes of residues annually, with a production of around 1.5 million tonnes of new materials, which Befesa reintroduces in the market, reducing the consumption of natural resources. Further information is available on the Company’s website: www.befesa.com
02.03.2023 CET/CEST Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by EQS News - a service of EQS Group AG.
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