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CIECH published its results after the first half of 2023, the Group invests in development and greater competitiveness during the global economic downturn

In the first half of 2023, CIECH Group generated PLN 2,917 billion in revenue, which is 18 percent higher than in the corresponding period of the previous year. The company reported an adjusted EBITDA result of PLN 365 million, indicating a decrease of 15 percent year-on-year, and recorded a net loss of PLN 17 million. After a record-breaking 2022, the second quarter of the current year was a continuation of the period of deteriorating economic situation, reflected in low demand for CIECH Group's products. Nevertheless, CIECH maintains the fulfillment of its forecast, according to which the (adj.) EBITDA result for 2023 is expected to be PLN 860-920 million. The Group remains committed to investments that aim to ensure its further development and greater competitiveness in a demanding market.

  • Thanks to effective business management and despite the economic slowdown, the Group's (adj.) EBITDA in the first half of the current year remained at a significantly higher level compared to capital expenditures of PLN 195 million. 
  • The net loss of PLN 17 million after the first half of this year is a result of one-time non-cash events, stemming from, among others, exchange rate differences and the created provisions.
  • The subsidy received in the second quarter for energy-intensive companies in Germany will have a positive impact on the entire year result.
  • The Group's secure position is reflected in a high level of cash at bank (PLN 542 million of cash at the end of the first half of the year, which is PLN 281 million more than in the previous year) and a stable net debt level of PLN 1 491 million. This translates into a safe level of the net debt to (adj.) EBITDA ratio, which stands at 1.6x (calculated for the purposes of credit covenants).

"In a challenging environment, with rising commodity prices and a marked economic slowdown, we maintain our scenario for fulfilling the full-year forecast. The second quarter of 2023 was demanding. However, we are aware that the industry in which we operate is cyclical, dependent on the economic climate and the condition of our customers. We actively respond to market challenges while implementing long-term development plans. Our businesses are diversified in terms of products and geographical presence, with improving efficiency and adaptability to changing conditions. We continue our investment strategy, focusing on operational and energy transformation, research and development, and expanding our product portfolio," says Kamil Majczak, President of the Management Board of CIECH S.A.

Results of CIECH Group's segments

In the face of a clear market slowdown, the entire soda industry is recording a decrease in demand for its products. Due to the deterioration of the economic conditions and the reduction of production by the main recipients of soda, including flat glass manufacturers (sales production in the second quarter remains lower by 16 percent year-on-year according to GUS [Polish Main Statistical Office]), the volume of available raw material in the market is much higher, which intensifies competition. In the second quarter, CIECH maintained its year-on-year revenue in the Soda segment, with an increase in the share of revenues of the Salt business

The growing global production capacity of soda and the increase in supply led to an intensified competition. As a result of these factors, the sales volume of soda ash (the primary product of the segment) in the second quarter was 19 percent lower year-on-year and remained at a similar level to the first quarter of this year (321 thousand tons in the second quarter vs. 326 thousand tons in the first quarter). The year-on-year decrease in (adj.) EBITDA by 33 percent to the level of PLN 108 million is caused by an increase in the share of price formulas (a link between product prices and raw material prices), weakening market conditions, reduced demand for soda, and the resulting intensified competition. Stable revenues were accompanied by a year-on-year increase in costs, driven by the prices of Polish coal, which had an impact on profit margins. CIECH is actively renegotiating coal prices – a primary energy resource in soda production. The decline in raw material prices had a deferred effect on costs due to the implementation of hedges at the end of 2022 when raw material prices were at their peak. The increased revenues in the Salt business result from several factors, including improvement in the production capacity of the saltworks in Stassfurt (full production capacity is expected to be achieved in 2024) and sales activities. 

The Agro business continues to operate in a difficult environment for the entire agriculture sector, including, among others, a decline in farmers' incomes. The plant protection products market is experiencing its deepest downturn in 20 years. In the second quarter of 2023, CIECH conducted a high-cost inventory sell-off, resulting in an (adj.) EBITDA of PLN 1 million for that period. However, CIECH's Agro segment demonstrates long-term potential. The Group continues its international development efforts by registering its innovative product Halvetic in further countries. Halvetic, a product characterized by a smaller amount of active substance while maintaining high efficiency, has been already registered in 18 countries, of which this year there are 5 new ones, including Italy and Sweden. Additionally, the company develops its activities on prospective markets, such as Romania. CIECH is also introducing products in new segments, with fungicides and insecticides being very well received by the market.

In the first half of 2023, the Foams segment achieved an (adj.) EBITDA result of PLN 16 million, generating revenues of PLN 146 million (compared to PLN 180 million in the corresponding period of the previous year). The PUR foam market experienced a weakening of economic conditions and a decline in demand from furniture manufacturers, as well as an intensified competition. CIECH Pianki maintains its leading position in the market thanks to a well-thought-out strategy, focusing on long-term relationships, and applying an individual approach to customers. The company also continues its projects in sustainable production (including utilizing green materials) and is working on expanding its portfolio.

The results of the Silicates segment compared to the industry were stable. In the second quarter of 2023, the (adj.) EBITDA amounted to PLN 20 million (compared to PLN 26 million in the corresponding period of the previous year) and recorded revenues of PLN 107 million (a decrease of 10 percent year-on-year). Similar to other businesses, margins are under pressure, which is caused by a decrease in demand and expectations of a decrease in prices from customers. In the second quarter of this year in the Silicates segment, the storage capacity was doubled (an investment of PLN 4 million) following the expansion of production capacity in 2022, facilitated by the installation of a new furnace for melting glassy sodium silicate. Additionally, the segment is introducing new high-margin products: Vitrosilica Floor (for smoothing concrete surfaces; already available), Vitropro Melter (glass melting flux; undergoing testing), and Vitrocer (a liquefier for the ceramics industry; also, under testing).

The Packaging business reported (adj.) EBITDA result of PLN 21 million in the second quarter of 2023 (a 45 percent increase year-on-year) and revenues of PLN 47 million (more than twice as much as in the corresponding period of the previous year). These results indicate a stable market demand and reflect the seasonality of sales, which typically occurs in the second and third quarters of the year. The very good performance is the result of production process optimization and a combination of favorable market factors for the segment.

Perspective

Despite the demanding environment, the Group's long-term strategy remains unchanged, focusing on investments to enhance competitiveness and promote more sustainable production.

"For the time being, we do not see any significant signs of economic rebound. We have developed tactics for each business, and we also reduce costs. However, we are not abandoning investments, research and development, or continuous improvement of our position as a desirable employer. This way, we aim to make the most of any economic upturn and continue to enhance our competitiveness. The key element of our activities remains also the energy transformation, which will significantly improve CIECH’s competitiveness," says Marcin Puziak, Member of the Management Board of CIECH S.A.

In the Group’s soda segment, the strategy to cut down on CO2 emissions – in addition to its environmental aspect – also translates into a reduction in production costs and an improvement in market position. Alternatives to moving away from coal are being analyzed, including investments in thermal waste processing, conversion of boilers to biomass and gas, and photovoltaics. Decisions regarding the implementation of selected projects will be made in the first half of 2024 and are dependent on the improvement of the economic situation and the stabilization of the macro and raw material situation.

Table 1. A comparison of the CIECH Group's results for the second quarter of 2023 and 2022, along with year-on-year change dynamics*

PLN milion

Q2’22

Q2’23

y/y

Sales

1 236,3

1 187,0

-4%

(adj.) EBITDA

201,9

148,0

-27%

(adj.) EBITDA margin

16,3%

12,5%

-4 pp.

EBIT

85,7

33,4

-61%

Gross profit

61,1

-85,1

-239%

Net profit

43,6

-74,3

-271%

Net margin

3,52%

-6,3%

-10 pp.

 

*based on Consolidated Financial Statements of the CIECH S.A. Capital Group for the second quarter of 2023.

Contact: 

Żaneta Przybylska, CIECH Group’s PR Department 

tel. +48 511 809 281.

We invite you to follow CIECH Group's main social media:

Twitter: twitter.com/RzecznikCIECH.

 

CIECH is an international developing chemical group with a strong position on global markets. It is the second largest manufacturer of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate in the European Union, the largest manufacturer of evaporated salt in Poland, the largest supplier of sodium silicates in Europe, the largest Polish manufacturer of plant protection products, and a leading producer of polyurethane foams in Poland. Its factories are located in Poland, Germany and Romania, and it employs over 3,000 people throughout the EU.

Since 2005, CIECH S.A. has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and since 2016, simultaneously, on one of the largest stock exchanges in Europe - Börse Frankfurt. The development of the Group is supported by its strategic investor – Kulczyk Investments.

As one of the largest Polish exporters, CIECH ships its goods to almost each continent. They are used to manufacture products necessary in the everyday life of millions of people around the world. That is why the Group is a crucial element of numerous sectors of the economy – construction, automotive, agriculture, chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries.

CIECH combines a modern business approach and care for sustainable development. Since 2020, it has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact - the world's largest initiative that brings together socially, environmentally, and economically responsible businesses. 

More information about the CIECH Group can be found at www.ciechgroup.com.

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