News for the plastics and rubber industry. Macplas
Materials Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Results significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic as expected

Covestro’s business performance in the second quarter was, as expected, significantly impacted by the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe and North America. Core volumes decreased by 22.7% year-on-year from April to June due to the massive drop in demand in all key customer industries. The global coronavirus pandemic drove down core volumes with strongest volume impact in April and sequential improvement since mid-May. Group sales fell accordingly by 32.9% to around 2.2 billion euros (previous year: 3.2 billion euros). Sales in the Emla and Nafta regions declined more sharply than in the Apac region, mainly due to the time lag in the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. As communicated in the ad-hoc statement on the preliminary key financial results on July 9, 2020, Group Ebitda was 125 million euros (-72.8%) and thus above market expectations for the second quarter of 2020 at the time of publication. That was attributable in particular to an accelerated recovery in demand, especially in the Polycarbonates segment, in June. Net income for the second quarter was -52 million euros (previous year: 189 million euros). In contrast to the decline in Ebitda, free operating cash flow (FOCF) rose to 24 million euros (previous year: -55 million euros) as a result of strict liquidity management.


“As anticipated, the global coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on our results in the second quarter,” said Markus Steilemann, CEO of Covestro. “We took the right measures in timely fashion to protect our employees, maintain production and supply chains, and ensure continuous supply to our customers. We have managed to accomplish that very successfully to date and will continue to steer Covestro resolutely through this crisis.”


The company confirmed the full-year guidance it had revised in April. However, the uncertainties associated with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for economic development remain high.


New corporate vision: Accelerate orientation towards a circular economy

Covestro presented its new long-term vision in May 2020. The company intends to fully align its entire production, its product and solution portfolio and all areas in the long term to the circular concept. The strategic program, which was already launched in 2019, aims to anchor circularity in all areas of the company in a holistic approach. It is now being successively implemented and backed up with concrete and measurable goals. It focuses in particular on the four topics of alternative raw materials, innovative recycling, joint solutions and renewable energies.


All segments affected by sales decline due to coronavirus

The Polyurethanes segment saw core volumes in the second quarter of 2020 decline significantly by 25.9% compared to the prior-year quarter (previous year: 0.7%) due to the coronavirus pandemic, a trend which affected all key customer industries. Sales were down 38.7% to 913 million euros, mainly due to a decline in total volumes sold and lower average selling prices. Declining volumes and lower margins overall resulted in an Ebitda of -24 million euros (previous year: 172 million euros).


In the second quarter of 2020, core volumes in the Polycarbonates segment fell by 14.4% over the prior-year quarter (previous year: 4.4%). Decreased volumes as a result of significant drops in demand from the automotive and transport industries were cushioned by a lower decline in volumes from the electrical, electronics and household appliances industries and volume growth in the construction industry. Sales decreased to 648 million euros (-27.8%) on account of a decline in total volumes sold and lower average selling prices. Ebitda consequently fell by 37.7% to 96 million euros.


Core volumes in the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment were down 25.3% compared to the prior-year quarter (previous year: -4.7%). The coronavirus pandemic resulted in far weaker demand from key customer industries, a trend that was reflected in particular in a downturn in volumes in the automotive and transport industries. Sales fell by 28.7% to 443 million euros, mainly due to a decline in total volumes sold and lower average selling prices. Ebitda decreased by 60.0% to 60 million euros on the back of lower volumes and margins.


First half of 2020 marked by coronavirus

As expected, the figures for the first half of 2020 were significantly impacted by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Core volumes decreased by 13.6%, and Group sales fell by 22.7% to around 4.9 billion euros (previous year: 6.4 billion euros). That is mainly attributable to lower total volumes and a decline in the level of selling prices. Ebitda consequently dropped by 57.9% to 379 million euros, while net income totaled -32 million euros (previous year: 368 million euros). FOCF in the first half of 2020 declined to -225 million euros (previous year: -100 million euros).