Bekaert delivers superior results and enhances shareholder returns
All-time high sales and EPS • underlying EBIT up +89% to € 515 million • +50% dividend increase • share buyback up to € 120 million
Bekaert has achieved a new performance milestone in 2021. We made significant progress on the company’s strategy and achieved record sales, solid margin growth, and the lowest debt leverage to date. On the back of continuing strong execution, we enhanced our competitive position through commercial and operational excellence. We thus captured the benefits from business-mix improvements, footprint adjustments, and organizational efficiency. Disciplined pricing and working capital management were key catalysts in the very strong performance of 2021.
Financial highlights FY2021
- Consolidated sales of € 4.8 billion (+28%) and combined sales of € 5.9 billion (+32%)
- Underlying EBIT of € 515 million, up +89% from last year, resulting in a margin of 10.6% (versus 7.2%)
- EBIT of € 513 million, doubling last year’s result and generating a margin of 10.6% (versus 6.8%)
- Underlying EBITDA of € 689 million (+44%), delivering a margin on sales of 14.2 % (versus 12.7%)
- Underlying ROCE of 23.7%, almost doubling the performance of 2020 (12.2%)
- EPS of € 7.14 per share, tripling the result of the previous year (€ 2.38)
- Average working capital on sales ratio of 12.6%, compared with 16.4% last year
- Net debt of € 417 million, -31% down from € 604 million at the close of 2020, resulting in net debt on underlying EBITDA of 0.61, less than half of last year (1.26). Cash on hand was € 677 million at the end of the period after € 460 million net cash outflow related to debt repayments, compared with € 940 million at the close of 2020
Committed to return value to our shareholders
The financial performance of 2021 and the successful execution of the strategic plan have strengthened Bekaert’s cash generation perspectives for the coming years.
The Board of Directors seeks to maintain a balanced approach between funding future growth and enhancing shareholders’ returns.
- The Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in May of 2022 a 50% gross dividend increase to € 1.50 per share.
- In addition, the Board has approved a share buyback program of an amount up to € 120 million, to be initiated in the coming weeks. Under the program, Bekaert may repurchase outstanding shares for a maximum consideration up to € 120 million, over a period up to twelve months.
The purpose of the program is to reduce the issued share capital of the company. All shares repurchased as part of this arrangement will be cancelled.
The program will be conducted under the terms and conditions approved by Bekaert’s Extraordinary General Meeting of 13 May 2020.
Bekaert will appoint an investment services provider to execute the repurchases of shares in the open market during open and closed periods.
Bekaert’s reference shareholder, Stichting Administratiekantoor Bekaert (STAK) and the parties acting in concert with the STAK, have informed the company that they commit to take appropriate measures to ensure that their voting rights in Bekaert’s share capital will not exceed the current level (i.e. 36.13%) by the end of the implementation of the program.
The strong performance delivered in 2021 and our determination to further enhance value growth in target markets, make us confident about our ability to deliver on our strategic priorities.
We project further sales growth driven by our customer-centric approach and go-to-market strategy with an extended offering in innovative, digital and sustainable solutions.
Global supply chain disruptions and freight cost inflation are expected to persist in 2022. We will continue to seize the opportunities from our worldwide presence in the context of the ongoing deglobalization trends.
Given the uncertainties and instability facing the world today and the early stage of the year, the visibility on 2022 market evolutions is limited.
We do, however, confirm our ambition to reach the mid-term targets (2022-2026) that we announced on 30 July 2021 at the occasion of the publication of the first half-year results 2021: organic sales growth of 3%+ CAGR and an underlying EBIT margin level of 9% to 11% through the cycle.