Highlights of the year
2019, strong resilience in a difficult general business climate
Whilst there was a difficult general business climate in 2019, Le Bélier showed strong resilience through its ability to ensure good management of its operations.
Within this framework, although tonnage sold decreased, the Group maintained a high level of performance and continued to post a very solid financial structure.
The 2019 financial year saw a 9.9% decrease in tonnes sold at 64,780 T, although with a recovery trend during the last quarter.
North America saw growth of 3.9%, partly offsetting the decline in business in China (-22%) and a more moderate decrease in Europe (-7.9%).
At the same time:
❯ the sales activity remained at a sustained level with €340 million in new orders acquired in 2019 (cumulative revenue over the programmes’ lifetimes), despite the current wait-and-see attitude in the automotive production market; this high level of activity enables Le Bélier to maintain good visibility over the coming financial years;
❯ there were numerous product launches (55) although several launches were delayed until 2020 at customers’ requests;
❯ the Machining activity continued to grow (+3.7%) reinforced by the ramp-up of two new machining plants in Serbia and China.
Continued managed performance
Despite a significant decrease in volumes over the period, the Group maintained a good level of performance.
EBITDA was €45.4 million and remains at a high level of 14.2% of revenue.
Operating profit was €18.7 million, with an operating margin of 5.8%.
Profit (loss) for the year was €12.4 million, whilst Free Cash flow amounted to €19.3 million.
Positive net cash
At 31 December 2019, shareholders’ equity increased from €163.5 million to €167.4 million and net financial debt was negative at €9.2 million, with cash exceeding debt.
You are reminded that, as part of the on-going operation with Wencan, Le Bélier’s main majority shareholders have committed their best efforts to ensure that Le Bélier does not distribute any dividends. Within this framework, the Board of Directors will not propose a dividend at the next General Meeting.
The financial year will be significantly impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic on the global automotive market: the Group nevertheless plans to launch 85 new projects in 2020, including 20 rescheduled from 2019.