Trading update for the three months to March 2023
Resilient trading performance despite mixed trading environment
In a mixed trading environment and compared with a strong prior period in Q1 2022, Bekaert has delivered a resilient performance in the first three months of 2023, with Consolidated Sales of € 1 194 million (-2% against the same period in 2022) and Combined Sales of € 1 467 million (-2%), both figures excluding the Steel Wire Solutions businesses in Chile and Peru subject to disposal.
Bekaert has made a good start to 2023, continuing to capitalize on pricing and business mix improvements, despite volume declines in some segments. These results further demonstrate the structural improvements implemented in recent years, and reinforce our confidence in the delivery of expectations in 2023 and beyond, which remain unchanged.
- Consolidated Sales of € 1 194 million (-2%) and Combined Sales of € 1 467 million (-2%), excluding the Steel Wire Solutions businesses in Chile and Peru subject to disposal
- Consolidated Sales of € 1 351 million (-3%) and Combined Sales of € 1 623 million (-2%)
- Demonstrated commercial excellence in challenging markets, especially in price and mix optimization
- Strong focus on cost conversion and working capital management
- Rubber Reinforcement - consistent sales in Q1 with returning demand in China and strong growth in India, offset by lower volumes in Europe and North America
- Steel Wire Solutions - continued strong energy and utility markets in North America in Q1, with lower volumes in other regions
- Speciality Businesses - mixed performance across sub-segments, with good progress improving mix from Dramix® products, successful production ramp-up in hydrogen activities, offset by weaker demand in construction activities, combustion technologies and filtration
- BBRG - very strong growth in both Ropes and A-Cords, sustained high order book and significantly increased demand for Armofor®
- Invested in manufacturing and research capacity in Belgium to deliver growth in electrolysis technologies for green hydrogen production and further innovation in the next generation of products and solutions
- The disposal of Steel Wire Solutions businesses in Chile and Peru remains on-track, pending anti-trust approval, and is expected to complete in H2
The Group anticipates the challenging and competitive trading environment to persist across most business areas in 2023. Market demand and pricing levels in China, in particular, remains uncertain. Bekaert will remain responsive to these pressures and continue to execute its strategy strengthening its core business and capitalizing on growth opportunities.
We have significantly strengthened our business fundamentals in recent years, especially with regard to improving pricing and mix, to perform better and to be more resilient in challenging economic environments. Q1 2023 demonstrated our ability to perform in difficult markets and increases our confidence in the delivery of our expectations in 2023 and profitability ambitions of 9-11% EBITu margin in the medium term, which remain unchanged.