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DGAP-News: JOST Werke AG / Key word(s): Preliminary Results/Annual Results
JOST generates solid results in turbulent 2020 fiscal year and reaches top end of guidance
- Sales up 7.9% to EUR 794.4 million in 2020 due to Ålö acquisition (2019: EUR 736.3 million)
- Adjusted EBIT margin reaches 9.2% in 2020 despite coronavirus pandemic (2019: 10.4%)
- Adjusted EBIT in 2020 amounts to EUR 73.2 million (2019: EUR 76.8 million)
- Free cash flow rises to EUR +98.1 million (2019: EUR +59.9 million)
- Leverage improves to 1.99x less than one year after the Ålö acquisition
- All targets for 2020 fiscal year were reached comfortably
Neu-Isenburg, February 23, 2021. JOST Werke AG ("JOST"), a leading global producer and supplier of safety-critical systems for commercial vehicles, today published its preliminary and unaudited results for fiscal year 2020.
Joachim Dürr, (CEO) of JOST Werke AG, said: "2020 presented us with a number of significant challenges. We had to adapt quickly and efficiently to rapidly changing market conditions while at the same time steering the right course for JOST's future growth with the integration of Ålö. When I look back, I am proud of what we have achieved. It was a challenging yet ultimately successful year. We reached our financial targets and demonstrated the flexibility of our business model. The JOST team will build on this strong foundation in 2021, continue to grow and improve profitability further."
The market recovery that began in the third quarter accelerated even further at the end of the year. JOST recorded robust growth in all regions in the fourth quarter of 2020, increasing consolidated sales by 46.8% year-over-year to EUR 230.8 million (Q4 2019: EUR 157.3 million). The newly-acquired Ålö Group contributed EUR 54.7 million to this development. Consolidated adjusted EBIT more than doubled year-over-year to EUR 27.1 million (Q4 2019: EUR 11.3 million), while the adjusted EBIT margin improved by 450 basis points to 11.7% (Q4 2019: 7.2%). On an organic basis, JOST also recorded a strong performance. When adjusted for takeover effects, JOST's consolidated sales rose by 12.0% to EUR 176.1 million during the fourth quarter. The adjusted EBIT (excluding Ålö) grew by 39,6% to 15,8 million EUR and the adjusted EBIT margin improved by 180 basis points to 9.0% (Q4 2019: 7.2%).
2020 was a year that saw an unprecedented level of market volatility. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on demand was difficult to anticipate, as not all regions were affected at the same time or with the same intensity. JOST's presence across different regions and its global production network with a strong focus on local customers was a major success factor here, as it allowed the company to manage the crisis well.
In this volatile market environment, JOST increased consolidated sales by 7.9% to EUR 794.4 million (2019: EUR 736.3 million). This includes a positive effect of EUR 175.7 million arising from the acquisition of Ålö and negative exchange rate translation effects of EUR -11.1 million. Organic consolidated sales excluding takeover effects decreased by 14.5% to EUR 618.7 million in 2020.
The policy measures introduced to contain the pandemic had a profound impact on the operating activities of many companies. JOST and several of its key customers and suppliers were forced to temporarily close entire production plants. Despite this, the group generated adjusted EBIT of EUR 73.2 million (2019: EUR 76.8 million) and an adjusted EBIT margin of 9.2% in 2020 (2019: 10.4%). During the 2020 fiscal year, adjusted EBITDA rose to EUR 102.7 million (2019: EUR 100.8 million) and the adjusted EBITDA margin was 12.9% (2019: 13.7%).
The Ålö Group acquired during the 2020 fiscal year strengthened earnings and profitability significantly even in the year of the acquisition. In 2020, Ålö recorded adjusted EBIT of EUR 24.3 million and an adjusted EBIT margin of 13.8% that is considerably higher than the average margin of the traditional JOST business. JOST (excluding Ålö) generated adjusted EBIT of EUR 48.9 million and an adjusted EBIT margin of 7.9% in 2020, as the truck and trailer market was more severely impacted by the negative effects of the pandemic than the agricultural market.
Boosted by the acquisition of the Ålö Group, JOST increased European sales by 11.7% to EUR 482.2 million in fiscal year 2020 (2019: EUR 431.7 million). Ålö contributed EUR 126.0 million to sales. Adjusted for this acquisition effect, sales decreased by -17.5% to EUR 356.2 million. JOST succeeded in partially offsetting the pandemic-induced market slump with measures such as short-time work, renegotiations with suppliers and service providers and very strict and consistent cost controls across all sites. This enabled JOST to keep adjusted EBIT in Europe almost stable year-over-year at EUR 37.3 million (2019: EUR 38.2 million). The adjusted EBIT margin amounted to 7.7% (2019: 8.8%).
In North America, sales increased by 6.5% to EUR 172.3 million in the 2020 fiscal year (2019: EUR 161.8 million). Of this total, EUR 47.8 million was generated by the Ålö Group. Excluding the effects of the acquisition, JOST's sales in North America fell by -23.0% to EUR 124.5 million. JOST therefore significantly outperformed the sharply declining North American truck and trailer market, which contracted by around -40% year-over-year. The agricultural market, which is primarily served by Ålö products, was considerably more stable. However, the relocation of a production plant from Telford, Tennessee, to Simpsonville, South Carolina, affected Ålö's cost structure in North America as well as the region's operating result. JOST's adjusted EBIT decreased to EUR 11.8 million in 2020 (2019: EUR 15.5 million) with an adjusted EBIT margin of 6.9% (2019: 9.6%). The business providing replacement parts for the transport and agricultural market had a positive impact, recording a significant increase in sales.
Sales in Asia, Pacific and Africa (APA) were only -2.1% down on the previous year at EUR 139.9 million (2019: EUR 142.9 million). The contribution made by the acquisition of Ålö was almost negligible at EUR 1.9 million and could not compensate for the sales missing due to pandemic-related plant closures in China, India and South Africa. Despite the decline in sales, high utilization of production capacity in China from the second quarter of 2020 onward, a beneficial product mix and the cost cutting measures introduced in all countries across the region caused adjusted EBIT to rise by 8.0% year-over-year to EUR 21.3 million (2019: EUR 19.7 million). The adjusted EBIT margin improved to 15.2% (2019: 13.8%).
Despite JOST utilizing roughly EUR 50 million of available liquidity to partially finance the acquisition of Ålö in the first quarter of 2020 and further repaying EUR 51.5 million of the credit line drawdowns in the second half of 2020, the company managed to increase its liquid assets to EUR 108.3 million as of December 31, 2020 (December 31, 2019: EUR 104.8 million).
This reduced net debt by EUR 71,1 million to EUR 207.1 million compared to the first quarter of 2020 (March 31, 2020: EUR 278.2 million), while the leverage ratio (ratio of net debt to adjusted EBITDA) improved to 1.99x. As a result, JOST significantly exceeded its target of reducing the leverage ratio to below 2.5x in the 2020 fiscal year less than one year after the Ålö acquisition.
This sound cash management was additionally supported by a small exceptional item, in which a customer settled receivables (EUR 12 million) ahead of the agreed due date.
Free cash flow (operating cash flow less investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets) rose to EUR +98.1 million in 2020 compared to the previous year (2019: EUR +59.9 million). One particularly positive feature to highlight is that JOST generated a positive free cash flow in every quarter of the year despite the coronavirus pandemic. Capital expenditure amounted to EUR 20.8 million (2019: EUR 17.6 million) or 2.6% of sales in 2020 (2019: 2.4%). The increase is mainly due to higher investments in research and development.
Despite the initial consolidation of Ålö and the increase in business volumes at the end of year, working capital fell slightly year-over-year to EUR 133.0 million (December 31, 2019: EUR 133.9 million). Together with sales growth, this resulted in a significant year-over-year improvement in the ratio of net working capital to sales, which sank to 16.4% (2019: 18.2%). Thus, JOST clearly surpassed its declared goal of keeping the ratio of net working capital to sales stable compared to the previous year.
"Despite the pandemic, we were able to strengthen our financial position considerably and rapidly improve both net debt and leverage. This is the result of hard work and very disciplined cash and working capital management. Our robust financial strength gives us ample scope to consistently implement our strategy and unlock additional growth opportunities in the future. Our employees around the world made a vital contribution to these exceptional results, and I want to express my heartfelt thanks to them for their efforts," said Christian Terlinde, Chief Financial Officer of JOST Werke AG.
JOST is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of safety-relevant systems for the commercial vehicle industry with its core brands JOST, ROCKINGER, TRIDEC, Edbro and Quicke. JOST's global leadership position is driven by the strength of its brands, its long-standing client relationships serviced through its global distribution network, and its efficient and asset-light business model. With sales and production facilities in 24 countries across five continents, JOST has direct access to all major truck, trailer and agricultural tractor manufacturers as well as relevant end customers in the commercial vehicle industry. JOST currently employs more than 3,000 staff across the world and has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since July 20, 2017. For more information about JOST, please visit www.jost-world.com
23.02.2021 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.
JOST Werke AG
+49 6102 2950
+49 (0)6102 295-298
Regulated Market in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Regulated Unofficial Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart, Tradegate Exchange
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