Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, Imerys has taken all the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees and stakeholders, as well as to limit the negative effects the pandemic will have on its business.
The Group has established a crisis management team to handle the emergency and has set up a strict monitoring process under the supervision of the Executive Committee.
Imerys, a global company with industrial operations in 40 countries and customers across 142 countries, is experiencing some disruptions in its commercial and industrial operations due to a decline in demand in certain end markets (automotive, iron & steel, construction...), legal containment measures ordered by local authorities and/or supply and logistical difficulties.
After having negatively impacted the operations in China in the first quarter, where Imerys plants have now resumed operations, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is now affecting operations in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe, where the Group has temporarily shut down some of its plants.
In this context, the management has presented to the Board of Directors of Imerys, held on April 6th, 2020, a specific action plan to limit the adverse impact of the volume shortfall on its performance and cash flow and to preserve its current strong balance sheet.
This plan, which received full support by the Board, includes:
- Savings on fixed costs and overheads in a range of €70-130M in 2020, depending on the level of activity, in addition to the existing Connect & Shape transformation plan undertaken in 2019, which aims to achieve €100M gross savings by 2022 (€28M in 2019);
- Reduction of capital expenditure to €250M in 2020, significantly below the typical range for the Group of €300-€350M/yr;
- Reduction of working capital requirement in line with the level of activity, notably through a significant decrease of inventories.
The Group has a strong balance sheet and access to significant liquidity of €1.8bn as of March 31st, 2020, including ca. €0.8bn of cash and €1.0bn of undrawn bilateral credit lines with an average maturity of two years.
The company’s bonds with an aggregate principal amount of €1,924M have a five years average maturity and limited repayments over the coming years (€224M at the end of 2020, €300M in 2022 and €500M in 2024).
Imerys has only one covenant with a cap of 160% of net financial debt to shareholders’ equity; this ratio was at 53% as of December 31, 2019.
Imerys will provide an additional business update when it reports first quarter 2020 results on April 29, 2020.