Altri net income reached €48.1M in 3Q21
Highlights of 3Q21
Altri Group continues to register record levels in Pulp Production and Sales in 2021. Production reached 865.9 thousand tons and Sales 884.5 thousand tons in 9M21.
Total revenues for the Altri Group reached € 248.4 M during 3Q21, an increase of 75.5% vs. 3Q20, benefiting from a favourable pulp price environment and from the growth of the Energy segment.
Quarterly EBITDA grew 205.7%, when compared to the same period in the previous year, to a record level of € 98.7 M. EBITDA margin reached 39.7%. This performance shows the continuous search for efficiency improvement in the various plants of the Altri Group, despite the inflation of some costs that was felt during the quarter.
Altri Group's Net Profit reached € 48.1 M in 3Q21, an increase of 219.2% when compared to 3Q20.
Altri Group's Net Debt decreased to € 479.6 M at the end of September 2021, to very solid levels, as a result of the Group's internal cash flow generation and GreenVolt’s IPO. If we look only at the Pulp segment, the debt reduction was around 20% in 3Q21 to € 357.3 M.
The Altri Group announced, already in October, the signing of a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with a public-private consortium from the region of Galicia, to jointly and exclusively study the construction of a new industrial unit for Soluble Pulp and Sustainable Textile Fibers with an annual capacity of 200,000 tons.
In the Energy segment, and after the successful IPO in July, GreenVolt registered an extremely positive behaviour of its stock market value, rewarding the national and international expansion strategy in the Renewable Energy area.
MESSAGE FROM THE CEO
Sustainability is a competitiveness factor for Altri Group, and we continuously seek a balance between economic, social and environmental sustainability. The third quarter was a clear example of this at several levels, in our sustainable development and growth, as well as in the creation of value for all our stakeholders.
In addition to the systematic search for the best solutions to meet its Commitment 2030, Altri seeks upstream to encourage the forestry sector to adopt best practices, forest certification, and the creation of a set of solutions that stimulate biodiversity, as well as by increasing the production of green energy and the development of strategic projects.
It is in this context that Altri took a very relevant step, having been selected by the authorities of Galicia to develop a unique project of enormous ambition in the area of sustainable textiles, for the production of cellulosic-based textile fibers from Galician forests, which will progressively contribute to the replacement of synthetic fibers of fossil origin.
The boost given to our subsidiary GreenVolt, through its IPO and the consolidation of its ambitious project for national and international expansion in Biomass and Renewable Energies, was also entirely justified by its favourable stock market performance.
In terms of pulp segment activity, the first nine months of this year were the best ever in terms of production, with the third quarter continuing to show exceptional performance, setting a new Group record in terms of EBITDA. Our plants have been proving that it is possible to do better and more efficiently, with exceptional results.
This performance was achieved despite the pressures felt both in energy prices and the rising cost of wood, our main raw material, with a necessary increase in imports. It is essential that Portugal aligns its strategic interests, creating incentives for better forest management, with the adoption of best practices and the conversion of abandoned forests into forests with higher productivity.
These results are possible only with a special dedication and spirit of cooperation, both from our teams who daily strive to give their best, and from all our partners, suppliers, and customers.
José Soares de Pina
OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
Total worldwide demand during the first nine months of 2021 for Hardwood pulp showed a decrease of 4.8% compared to the same period in 2020, according to the Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC), World Chemical Market Pulp Global 100 Report (September 2021). The acceleration in demand in Western Europe (+4.9%) has not been enough to offset the decrease in China (-11.5%). The increase in world maritime freight prices, especially out of China, as well as the energy crisis that led the Chinese Government to decree restrictions on the operation of several industries (including the Papermaking industry), are the main causes for this slowdown.
According to the same source (World Chemical Market Pulp Global 100 Report - September 2021 by PPPC), the global inventory level of Hardwood pulp was 43 days at the end of September, an increase of 1 day when compared to the end of 3Q20. This increase contrasts with a year-on-year reduction of 22% in pulp inventories at European ports in September 2021, showing the current logistical difficulties in the sector.
During 3Q21 Pulp prices (BHKP) maintained their upward trend (+4% in USD), having maintained the level of 1,140 USD /ton for most of the quarter. Despite the decline in pulp prices in China during 3Q21, the strong demand for pulp in Europe by European paper producers led to the maintenance of prices.
At the end of September 2021, the PIX market price was at 1,140 USD/ton which compares to 1,099 USD/ton at the end of 2Q21 and 680 USD/ton at the end of 2020. On average, the price recorded by PIX was 1,138 USD/ton during 3Q21 vs 1,009 USD/ton in 2Q21.
Dissolving Pulp (DWP), targeted for textile use, recorded a global demand increase of 18% in the first seven months of 2021, according to the Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC), Global DP Demand Report - July 2021. This increase was driven by the post-pandemic recovery in Asia (+22%), namely from countries like China, India and Indonesia. Prices followed the general upward movement of pulp in 2021.
In operational terms, the total volume of pulp produced in 3Q21 reached 295.0 thousand tons, an increase of 6.5% vs 3Q20. Pulp sales in the same period reached 289.1 thousand tons (+12.8% vs. 3Q20).
Total revenues associated to the Pulp segment of the Altri Group reached € 207.0 M during 3Q21, an increase of 74.0% vs 3Q20 and of 10.7% vs 2Q21. Pulp segment EBITDA reached € 79.4 M, +233.6% vs 3Q20 and +21.8% vs 2Q21 with EBITDA margin in 3Q21 reaching 38.4%, +18.4 p.p. when compared to the same period of 2020 despite inflationary pressure in some costs such as energy, wood (via increased imports) and chemicals.
Energy Segment (GreenVolt)
GreenVolt continues to consolidate its ambitious project of national and international expansion in Biomass and Renewable Energy. Although it has already reported the 3Q21 results, we mention below the main highlights of the quarter:
- Total revenues reach 41.4 million Euros (+83.4%);
- EBITDA excluding transaction costs amounted to about €19.9 M (+108.5%); - Net financial debt of 122.3 million Euros.
Completion of the acquisition of a 70% stake in the share capital of Track Profit Energy, Lda. (“Profit”), a company that operates in the decentralised electricity generation in Portugal, focused on the B2B segment. This acquisition was completed on August 24, 2021.
Acquisition of a 41.87% stake in Tresa Energía S.L. (“Perfecta Energia”), a Spanish company that operates in the decentralised electricity generation in Spain, focused on the B2C segment. This acquisition was completed on October 25, 2021.
During the 4Q21, GreenVolt has issued a 7-year Green Bond in the global amount of €100M, with a fixed coupon rate of 2.625% per annum.
The evolution of GreenVolt's recurrent operational activity during the third quarter of 2021 translated into total revenues of 41.4 million Euros, corresponding to a growth of about 83.4%, in an EBITDA excluding transaction costs that reached 19.9 million Euros, registering an increase of 108.5%.
CONSOLIDATED RESULTS (3Q21)
Altri Group's total revenues reached € 248.4 M during 3Q21, an increase of 75.5% vs. 3Q20, while operating costs grew 37.1% in 3Q21 vs. 3Q20, leading Altri Group's EBITDA to reach an absolute record level of € 98.7 M, an increase of 205.7% when compared to the same period last year. Consolidated net income reached € 48.1 M in 3Q21 vs € 15.1 M in 3Q20.
9M CONSOLIDATED RESULTS
Altri Group set an absolute record for production and sales in the first nine months of 2021, producing 865.9 thousand tons of pulp in 9M21 (+4.5% vs 9M20) while pulp sales reached 884.5 thousand tons, an increase of 7.0% vs 9M20.
Altri Group's total revenues reached € 635.3 M during 9M21, an increase of 35.3% vs. 9M20, while operating costs grew 14.3% in 9M21 vs. 9M20. Altri Group's EBITDA reached € 207.6 M, an increase of 117.8% when compared to the same period last year. Consolidated net profit for the period reached € 92.8 M in 9M21 vs € 24.3 M in 9M20.
The total net investment1 made during the third quarter of 2021 by the Altri Group amounted to approximately € 11.8 M, of which € 5.0 M are related to the Pulp segment and € 6.8 M are related to GreenVolt.
Nominal remunerated net debt
Altri Group's nominal remunerated net debt , as of September 30, 2021, amounted to € 479.6 M, a significant
reduction when compared to 2Q21 mainly due to GreenVolt’s IPO and the Group’s internal generation of cash flow. Excluding the Energy segment (GreenVolt), nominal remunerated net debt related only to the Pulp segment was reduced in almost 20%, to € 357.3 M.
Altri has defined four strategic development vectors that focus its activity and its future investments:
• Develop and Enhance the Forest
• Focus on Operational Excellence and Technological Innovation
• To Value the People
• Affirming Sustainability as a Competitiveness Factor
Based on this strategy, and on the results of an auscultation carried out at the end of 2020, the main sustainability objectives for the Group were identified, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, and with the expectations of our stakeholders. Thus, resulting in the definition of the “2030 Commitment” of the Altri Group.
During the third quarter of 2021 we highlight the following initiatives aligned with the different objectives of Commitment 2030 defined by the Altri Group.
Altri signed the BCSD Portugal Manifesto entitled "Rumo à COP26". The United Nations COP26 on Climate Change is a crucial moment to accelerate the necessary transition to decarbonization and comply with the Paris Agreement on climate. Together with more than 80 member companies of BCSD Portugal, we corroborate the relevance of this conference and highlight the main expected outcomes.
The 11 points of the Manifesto reflect the different aspects to be considered to increase the ambition of the global and collective response, aligned with the goal of limiting the Earth's warming to 1.5oC, achieve the carbon emissions reduction target and accelerate the decarbonization process worldwide.
Altri joined act4nature Portugal, an initiative of BCSD Portugal - Business Council for Sustainable Development, through which companies are encouraged and mobilized to protect, promote and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services, contributing to halt and reverse their loss by 2030.
We subscribe to the 10 common commitments combined with individual commitments that Altri has assumed in its Commitment 2030, reinforcing its contribution to building a more sustainable world.
In the Pulp segment, we continue to experience strong demand in Europe, especially for printing and writing (P&W) paper end-uses. Likewise, we see a maintenance of logistical constraints for the coming months, and we believe they will continue to condition the dynamics of the Pulp and Paper market in Europe. On the cost side, one of the current challenges is the increasing growth in energy prices as well as the growing need for wood imports.
Already in October, Altri announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a public-private consortium from the region of Galicia ('Impulsa'), to study exclusively the construction of a greenfield industrial unit that will have the capacity to produce annually about 200,000 tons of soluble pulp and sustainable fibers. This project will aim to supply the textile sector taking advantage of the exceptional textile cluster in the North of the Iberian Peninsula. The total investment of the project may surpass € 700 M, to build one of the best factories in the World in terms of sustainability and to be a reference in terms of operational profitability, achieving these goals without the use of fossil fuels and with an energetic surplus. Currently, the site selection process is at an advanced stage and the Environmental Impact Study is in its start-up phase.
The successful path of GreenVolt had as an important milestone this year its listing on the stock exchange and then the integration in the main national stock index (PSI-20), as a result of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that registered a remarkable and diversified demand and allowed the company to make a significant share capital increase and thus attract a broad investor base and continue to promote its financial strategy of strengthening the capital structure and diversification of sources and types of funding.
The normal development of Altri's and GreenVolt's businesses, as we know, have different cycles and rhythms and attract the attention of different profiles of lenders and investors. In this context, given the growth prospects of GreenVolt and Altri, it seems reasonable and necessary to consider the study around the optimization of Altri's shareholding in GreenVolt, which may involve a possible process of segregating this shareholding if this is an appropriate response to the optimized evolution of the companies in question, adjusted to the reality underlying their own businesses and their development prospects and once the analysis of the impacts and advantages of a total separation of the paste and renewable energy businesses has been carried out. The possible segregation of each of these businesses, if implemented, may also allow for the segregation of the balance sheets of the two companies, contributing to both of them pursuing their business plans independently.
The implementation of this possible transaction will be based on a model in which Altri's shareholders will hold the majority shareholding that this company holds in GreenVolt, in a model that will be defined following the study referred to above, in circumstances that, therefore, are not likely to give rise to a transition of control over GreenVolt from Altri to another entity.
The possible implementation of such transaction of segregation of the companies and their businesses will naturally depend on obtaining all statutory, legal, contractual and regulatory approvals, in this case, in particular, to the extent applicable, by the Portuguese Securities Market Commission. In particular, such possible transaction, if it takes place, will always respect the lock-up undertakings agreed and in force until January 15, 2022, both by Altri and GreenVolt, in the context of the IPO, being implemented, if it is concluded for its feasibility and adequacy and after all required authorizations have been obtained, probably, during the second quarter of 2022.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ALTRI GROUP
Altri is a reference in European eucalyptus pulp producers. In addition to pulp production, the Group is also present in the renewable power production business from forest base sources, namely industrial cogeneration through black liquor and biomass. The forestry strategy is based on the full use of all the components provided by the forest: pulp, black liquor, and forest wastes.
Currently, Altri manages around 86.3 thousand hectars of forest in Portugal, entirely certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC® -C004615) and by Programme for the Endorsement of Forest CertificationTM (PEFCTM), two of the most acknowledged certification entities worldwide.
Altri has three pulp mills in Portugal, with an installed capacity that, in 2020, reached more than 1.1 million tonnes/year of eucalyptus pulp.