Acerinox (IBEX35: ACX), global leader in the manufacture of stainless steels and high performance alloys, with its headquarters in Spain, ended 2021 with its best results ever: EBITDA totalled EUR 989 million and profit after tax and non-controlling interests amounted to EUR 572 million.
In this regard, Bernardo Velázquez, Chief Executive Officer of the Acerinox Group, commented that “Despite 2021 also being heavily affected by the pandemic, the year was the best in history with record figures in the main financial and operating indicators. These results were driven by a general improvement in the market, very active cost control management, increased efficiencies and clearly improved margins. These strategies, which we have been working on consistently over the last few years, are today reflected in these outstanding results”.
From January to December 2021, the Group’s revenue totalled EUR 6,706 million, a 44% increase compared to 2020. This figure was boosted by an extraordinary fourth quarter in which revenue totalled EUR 1,937 million (+14% compared to Q3 2021 and +59% compared to the same quarter of 2020).
Group EBITDA reached EUR 989 million in 2021, 2.6 times higher than that of 2020 and setting a new record in the history of Acerinox. Fourth quarter EBITDA amounted to EUR 318 million, 2.4 times the gross operating profit in the fourth quarter of 2020. At 31 December 2021, the EBITDA margin on sales had increased to 15%.
Between January and December 2021, the Group recognised a net profit (after tax and non-controlling interest) of EUR 572 million, EUR 523 million more than in 2020. In the last quarter of 2021, net profit totalled EUR 198 million, 11 times higher than that of the same period in 2020.
Cash generation – one of the priorities in the Group’s Strategic Plan – also performed outstandingly well. At 31 December 2021, operating cash flow totalled EUR 388 million.
At 2021 year-end, net financial debt had decreased to EUR 578 million, reducing the Group’s debt by EUR 194 million during the year, and thus giving rise to a net debt ratio of 0.58 times EBITDA. Of the total net debt recognised at 31 December 2021, EUR 465 million related to green loans, of which EUR 385 million were signed during the year.
“The good demand outlook, lower import pressures in the main markets due to high shipping costs and trade defence measures, low inventory levels and improved prices enable us to be optimistic for the first half of 2022”, concluded Bernardo Velázquez, CEO of Acerinox.
Acerinox cannot determine the consequences of the current geopolitical tensions, although its direct exposure in the region is very limited, with sales of less than 0.5%.
Increase in production in both divisions
In 2021, the Acerinox Group’s melting shop production totalled 2,619,000 tonnes, 19% higher compared to 2020 and the highest figure recognised in its history.
Acerinox, a benchmark for the circular economy: its recycled content rate is 90% and more than 70% of waste is reused.
During 2021, the Acerinox Group continued to make decisive progress in its sustainability plan under the “Acerinox Positive Impact 360º 2021-2025” strategy. Thus, between January and December, its products had a recycled content rate of more than 90% and more than 70% of the waste generated in the Group’s factories was reused.
The products that Acerinox manufactures are examples of circular economy and of reduce, reuse recycle. Their extremely long useful life and low maintenance requirements minimise the impact on the environment, rendering them sustainable materials par excellence for an increasing variety of applications. At the end of their life cycle, the materials that Acerinox manufactures are indefinitely returned to raw materials, obtaining a product of the same quality and properties as the original.
Acerinox continued to meet its sustainability goals. In 2021, the Group sped up the reduction of its CO2 emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by 3.38%, already accumulating a reduction of 10.22% with a view to meeting the 20% reduction target by 2030. Moreover, the amount of energy used to produce every tonne of products (with a commitment to decrease this indicator by 7.5% by 2030) decreased by 1.5% with respect to the previous year and by 3.1% with respect to the base year. The volume of water per tonne decreased by 12% over the last year.
In social terms, worthy of note is the reduction in the accident rate (LTIFR), which decreased by a remarkable 31.82% in 2021, tripling the annual target.
In 2021 Acerinox was recognised for its work in the field of sustainability by various associations and rating agencies. In this regard, it is worth highlighting the achievement of the Gold level in Sustainability from the global rating agency Ecovadis, and the three sustainability awards granted to the Group by the ISSF (International Stainless Steel Forum). Acerinox also received a ‘B’ rating in CDP Climate Change and CDP Water, both above the average of comparable companies in its sector.