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Press Release

ElringKlinger anticipates growth in revenue and higher profitability for 2021

  • Revenue in 2020 year of coronavirus down 11.7% organically at EUR 1,480 million, compared with global market slump of 16.2%
  • EBITDA of EUR 181 million comparable to prior-year figure despite downturn in revenue; EBIT at EUR 28 million
  • Operating free cash flow in positive triple-digit million euro range for second year in a row; net debt scaled back significantly
  • Guidance 2021: revenue growth at market level and higher profitability
  • Dividend suspended to strengthen internal financing
  • Annual General Meeting to be held in a virtual format

 

Dettingen/Erms (Germany), March 30, 2021 +++ ElringKlinger AG has presented its full results for the 2020 financial year, a period marked by the coronavirus pandemic. The impact can be seen, among other things, in global automobile production, which slumped by 16.2%. As a result, revenues generated by the Group fell by EUR 246.6 million or 14.3% to EUR 1,480.4 million (2019: EUR 1,727.0 million). However, excluding the effects of currencies and acquisitions, the year-on-year decline was only 11.7%. The Group thus succeeded in meeting its expectations of performing slightly better than the market as a whole in 2020 based on the direction taken by organic revenue.

The pandemic developed along different lines in the Asia-Pacific region over the course of the first quarter of 2020. While China saw an extension to its New Year holidays as well as plant closures, little impact was initially felt in other parts of Asia. As the year progressed, China recovered quickly from the crisis experienced in the first quarter, while other parts of Asia felt the repercussions of the pandemic. In this region, Group revenues fell by EUR 30.2 million or 9.7% to EUR 279.8 million (2019: EUR 310.0 million). It was not until mid-March that Europe saw the introduction of lockdown measures. Against this backdrop, economic recovery in the region as a whole was more sluggish than in China. Overall, the Group generated revenue - adjusted for currency effects - of EUR 785.2 million (2019: EUR 889.2 million), which corresponds to a decline of EUR 104.0 million or 11.7%. The downturn was more pronounced in North America. Here, revenue stood at EUR 384.9 million (2019: EUR 450.9 million), down EUR 66.0 million or 14.6% on the prior-year figure after adjusting for exchange rate effects.

Asked to comment, Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, said, "The effects of the pandemic were felt in all regions in 2020. However, we were able to cushion the blow relatively well and improve key performance indicators for the Group. Despite the decline in revenue, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization remained at the previous year's level. We also further optimized net working capital. Benefiting from this, among other things, we thus managed to achieve operating free cash flow in the triple-digit million euro range for the second time in a row, in addition to further reducing net debt by a significant margin. This illustrates that our global program aimed at raising efficiency levels is fully on track."

Efficiency enhancement program continues to deliver in second year
Having been successfully implemented in 2019, the program aimed at improving efficiency continued to be rolled out over the course of the financial year just ended. The measures were aimed, among other things, at avoiding costs for special freight movements and additional shifts through process optimization, staff training, and the elimination of inefficiencies in administration and production. In addition, both the materials and personnel expense ratios were reduced in a targeted manner in 2020. Benefiting from these improvements, the Group was able to partially offset the effects of the pandemic-induced decline in demand.

Overall, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) for the 2020 financial year stood at EUR 27.7 million, while the EBIT margin amounted to 1.9%. As originally expected, this was noticeably lower than the previous year's figure of EUR 61.2 million or 3.5%. Unrealized foreign exchange losses and losses from associated companies prompted an increase in net finance costs. Income taxes decreased by EUR 10.2 million to EUR 26.4 million (2019: EUR 36.6 million). This resulted in net income attributable to share-holders of EUR -40.8 million in 2020 (2019: EUR 4.1 million). Correspondingly, at EUR -0.64, earnings per share were significantly below the previous year's level of EUR 0.06.

Strong operating free cash flow
Committed to strengthening its operating free cash flow for the long term, the Group optimized its net working capital as part of the package of measures. To this end, receivables were scaled back, payment terms extended, and inventories actively managed. In the 2020 financial year, the Group generated operating free cash flow of EUR 164.7 million (2019: EUR 175.8 million), which provided the basis for further reducing net financial liabilities. These were cut by EUR 337 million within 21 months to EUR 458,8 million as of December 31, 2020 (Dec. 31, 2019: EUR 595,3 million). In addition, with a robust equity ratio of 41.4% (2019: 41.5%), the Group remains within its long-term target range of 40% to 50%.

Two strategic milestones in fuel cell technology
ElringKlinger also charted two important routes for the future in the financial year just ended. First, the Group entered into a strategic partnership with Airbus to jointly develop and validate aviation-compatible fuel cell stacks over the coming years. ElringKlinger is providing access to key technology for this purpose and, in return, received proceeds of EUR 25 million during the fourth quarter of 2020. Following extensive market analysis, Airbus had selected ElringKlinger as its partner primarily because of the high power density of its fuel cell stacks and its expertise in the field of industrial-scale production. Secondly, ElringKlinger holds the majority interest (60%) in EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, a joint venture with Plastic Omnium. The aim of both partners is to develop the global market for fuel cell stacks and components.

Guidance for 2021
Due to the ongoing pandemic and many other factors, the current fiscal year is subject to a high degree of uncertainty. In light of these risks and opportunities, the Group expects organic growth in revenue over 2021 as a whole to be roughly in line with the percentage increase in global vehicle production. Market experts currently estimate the latter at around 13%.

The efficiency enhancement program will continue into its third year in 2021. If global car production develops as projected, the Group expects an EBIT margin of around 4 to 5% for the 2021 financial year as a whole.

Suspension of dividend
Due to the earnings situation in 2020, the dividend for the 2020 financial year has been suspended. In taking this approach, the Group is looking to strengthen its internal financing for the ongoing transformation process.

Virtual Annual General Meeting
In view of the current rate of infection, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board have jointly decided to hold the Annual General Meeting, scheduled for May 18, 2021, in a virtual format, as in the previous year.

As Dr. Wolf points out, "For us, the health of everyone involved remains our top priority. Currently, cases of infection are on the rise again, and the government has only just extended the protective measures aimed at containing the pandemic. At the same time, the vaccination campaign has not really taken off yet. Taking these factors into consideration, we have decided to hold the AGM as a virtual event again this year in order to protect the health of everyone involved. Additionally, it can be considered unlikely that an Annual General Meeting with shareholders present would be approved by the competent authorities."

Having registered prior to the specified deadline, shareholders may participate in the Annual General Meeting via the internet and exercise their voting rights by granting power of attorney to the proxies nominated by the company or by means of postal voting. Questions on the agenda can be submitted in advance. Further details will be contained in the invitation to the Annual General Meeting, which is to be published in the electronic Federal Gazette in due time in April 2021.

Key financials for FY 2020 and Q4 2020

EUR millionFY 2020FY 2019∆ abs.∆ rel.Q4 2020Q4 2019∆ abs.∆ rel.
Order intake1,483.11,737.2-254.1-14.6%512.0381.5130.5+34.2%
Order backlog1,033.11,030.3+1.8+0.3%1,033.11,030.3+1.8+0.3%
Revenue1,480.41,727.0-246.6-14.3%450.9419.9+31.0+7.4%
of which FX effects  -40.7-2.4%  -18.2-4.3%
of which M&A  -4.1-0.2%  -0.7-0.2%
of which organic  -201.8-11.7%  +49.9+11.9%
EBITDA181.5181.0+0.5+0.3%87.657.4+30.2+52.6%
EBIT27.761.2-33.5-54.7%25.224.3+0.9+3.7%
EBIT margin (in %)1.93.5-1.6PP-5.65.8-0.2PP-
Net finance cost-41.3-19.6-21.7>100%-15.4-4.9-10.5>100%
EBT-13.641.7-55.3<-100%9.819.5-9.7-49.7%
Income taxes26.436.6-10.2+27.9%18.711.8+6.9+58.5%
Effektive tax rate (in %)<-100.088.0-->100.060.7--
Net income
(after non-controlling interests)
-40.84.1-44.9<-100%-10.77.5-18.2<-100%
Earnings per share (in EUR)-0.640.06-0.70<-100%-0.170.12-0.29<-100%
Investitionen (in PPE and investment
property)
57.392.2-34.9-37.9%19.417.4+2.0+11.5%
Operating free cash flow164.7175.8-11.1-6.3%62.465.7-3.3-5.0%
Dividend per share (in EUR)0.000.00+0.0+0.0%    
ROCE (in %)1.73.4-1.7PP-    
Net working capital402.8423.5-20.7-4.9%    
Equity ratio (in %)41.441.5-0.1PP-    
Net financial liabilities458.8595.3-136.5-22.9%    
Employees (as at Dec. 31)9,72410,393-669-6.4%    

The annual report for 2020 is available online at:https://elringklinger.de/investor/2020-gb-en.pdf

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Press Release

ElringKlinger secures major contract for supply of battery components

  • Serial production order for cell contacting systems placed by global battery manufacturer for series platform of German premium car maker
  • Total volume in mid-triple-digit million euro range over contractual term of approximately nine years
  • Start of production at Neuffen-based plant in the first half of 2022
  • Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG: "This contract is another important step for ElringKlinger in the context of transformation."

 

Dettingen/Erms (Germany), March 9, 2021 +++ ElringKlinger AG has received a high-volume order for cell contacting systems. From the first half of 2022 onwards, the Group will supply the German plant of a global battery manufacturer who produces battery systems for the series platform of a German premium car marker. The contract covers a total volume in the mid-triple-digit million euro range and will span over a period of approximately nine years. Series production at the site in Neuffen is scheduled to commence within the next fifteen months.

Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, commented: "This contract is another important step for ElringKlinger in the context of transformation and highlights our expertise as a leading supplier within the field of e-mobility. We are very pleased that a global battery manufacturer has decided in favor of our know-how relating to battery components and see this as confirmation of our approach of positioning ourselves early for the technologies of the future."

ElringKlinger has been mass-producing battery components such as cell contacting systems for around ten years. Tailored precisely to customer requirements, they can be fitted directly onto the battery cells and welded on the cell terminals accordingly. Cell contacting systems consist of a plastic carrier frame that accommodates the cell connectors and ensures assembly in all tolerance positions. The required voltage and temperature sensors are already included, while the electronic cell supervision circuit can also be integrated.

Alongside components, the Group also offers high-performance modules using prismatic and cylindrical cells as well as complete battery systems. The first series production orders are currently in the pre-manufacturing phase.

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Press Release

Launch of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies

  • New company, jointly owned by ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium, ready to supply fuel cell stacks and components for broad range of applications
  • Initial annual production capacity of up to 10,000 stacks already available
  • In parallel, Plastic Omnium takes ownership of ElringKlinger's subsidiary for integrated hydrogen systems to complement its global hydrogen strategy

 

Dettingen/Paris +++ EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, the joint venture of ElringKlinger (60%) and Plastic Omnium (40%), is now ready to start operations, having implemented all contractual arrangements and been granted the necessary antitrust approvals. The newly created company offers best-in-class and cost-competitive fuel cell stacks and components for a broad range of applications. Initially, the company will focus on commercial vehicles and buses and then on passenger cars. Special vehicles, trains, and ships are also fields of the growth potential.

Commenting on EKPO's launch, the two CEOs of the parent groups, Dr. Stefan Wolf and Laurent Favre, said, "We are pleased that business is now underway. We see tremendous market potential ahead of us and are determined to achieve our revenue target of EUR 700 million to EUR 1 billion in 2030. Our commercial pipeline is very strong and production capacity is in place. In addition, we can build on compelling technology, centered around high power density, in our efforts to translate our joint vision into reality. By successfully establishing fuel cell drives, we make our contribution on the road to emission-free mobility."

The company site in Dettingen/Erms, Germany, is already able to produce up to 10,000 fuel cell stacks per year according to automotive industrial standards as well as key components of a stack, such as bipolar plates or media modules. In the coming years, EKPO will drive investments for accelerating innovation, extending the commercial pipeline, and increasing production capacity, with the aim to achieve a market share of 10 to 15% in 2030.

The joint venture is headed by a group of three general managers. Armin Diez (58), previously in charge of ElringKlinger's fuel cell business, is responsible for the technical and operational activities. Julien Etienne (43) from Plastic Omnium New Energies is in charge of sales, marketing, and program management. Dr. Gernot Stellberger (41), Head of Global Strategy, M&A, and Innovations at ElringKlinger, is responsible for financial and strategic tasks.

As part of the agreement signed in October 2020, Plastic Omnium also acquires ElringKlinger Fuelcell Systems Austria GmbH (EKAT), ElringKlinger's subsidiary specialized in integrated hydrogen systems. With this acquisition, Plastic Omnium complements its expertise in energy management and control of hydrogen systems.

The website of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies is now online: www.ekpo-fuelcell.com

 

For further information, please contact:

ElringKlinger AG
Strategic Communications
Dr. Jens Winter
Phone: +49 7123 724-88335
E-mail: jens.winter[at]elringklinger.com
Compagnie Plastic Omnium SE
VP Investor Relations
Philippine de Schonen
Phone: +33 1 40 87 66 78
E-mail: philippine.de-schonen[at]plasticomnium.com

 

About ElringKlinger
As an independent and globally positioned supplier, ElringKlinger is a powerful and reliable partner to the automotive industry. Be it passenger car or commercial vehicle, equipped with an optimized combustion engine, with hybrid technology or with an all-electric motor, the Group offers innovative solutions for all types of drive system. Developing cutting-edge battery and fuel cell technology as well as electric drive units, ElringKlinger was among the frontrunners when it came to positioning itself as a specialist in the field of e-mobility. Alongside its proprietary fuel cell stacks, ElringKlinger is acknowledged in particular for its innovative fuel cell components, including patented designs for metallic bipolar plates and plastic media modules that complement the product range. ElringKlinger PEMFC stacks provide exceptional performance characteristics, thus setting an international benchmark: With an electrical output of up to 200 kWel and a volumetric power density of up to 6 kW/l, the NM12 fuel cell stacks are suitable for use in both passenger cars and commercial vehicles as well as in other applications requiring a high level of performance. The smaller NM5 fuel cell stacks provide an electrical output of 6 to 73 kWel. Moreover, the Group provides sealing technology, shielding systems and lightweight products around the engine and the body structure of a vehicle. These efforts are supported by a dedicated workforce of around 10,000 people at 45 ElringKlinger Group locations around the globe.

About Plastic Omnium
Around the world, Plastic Omnium provides carmakers with innovative solutions for more connected and sustainable mobility. A global leader in its three businesses, the Group develops and produces intelligent exterior systems, clean energy systems and customized complex modules. With an international footprint of 135 plants, 25 R&D centers and a 2,200 patent portfolio, Plastic Omnium relies on its 31,000 employees to meet the challenges of clean and smart mobility.

Innovation-driven since its creation, Plastic Omnium is now paving the way for the zero carbon car through its investments in hydrogen solutions, for which the Group has ambitions to become world leader throughout the entire value chain.

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Press Release

ElringKlinger with preliminary results for fiscal 2020: success of efficiency program reflected in consistently strong cash flow

  • Revenue at EUR 1,480 million - organic decline of 11.7% better than market performance (-16.2%)
  • EBITDA of EUR 180.9 million despite sales decline comparable to prior-year figure (EUR 181.0 million)
  • EBIT at EUR 27.2 million; EBIT margin at 1.8%
  • Operating free cash flow for fourth quarter again visibly in positive territory - EUR 164.7 million on an annual basis
  • Net financial liabilities scaled down by a further EUR 136 million in 2020; net debt/EBITDA at 2.5

 

Dettingen/Erms (Germany), February 23, 2021 +++ Based on preliminary, unaudited figures for the 2020 financial year, ElringKlinger AG recorded revenue of EUR 1,480.4 million for the period as a whole. Against the backdrop of general restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic, this corresponds to a year-on-year decline of 14.3%. According to data published by the information provider IHS, global automobile production, which encompasses so-called light vehicles, contracted by 16.2% in the same period.

Despite the pandemic-induced downturn in revenue, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), totaling EUR 180.9 million, were largely unchanged on the prior-year figure of EUR 181.0 million. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of EUR 27.2 million include, besides non-cash impairments in the mid-double-digit million euro range, proceeds of around EUR 25 million attributable to a fuel cell partnership. The EBIT margin stood at 1.8%.

In terms of both revenue and earnings, the Group thus remained within the guidance range it had adjusted in May 2020 in response to the first covid-19 lockdown. Revenue had been expected to decline by a slightly smaller percentage than the market as a whole. As for EBIT, excluding proceeds from the fuel cell partnership, the outlook had been for a margin that was noticeably lower than the prior-year figure of 3.5%.

At an operational level, the impact of the pandemic resulted in an earnings shortfall of around EUR 42 million. This figure factors in the positive effects of instruments utilized by the company, such as short-time work in Germany. At the same time, earnings improved by EUR around 47 million due to the global program aimed at raising efficiency levels. It includes comparatively short-term effects such as the reduction in travel and non-personnel costs as well as structural elements such as a cut in material costs or the adjustment of sales prices to current levels. Additionally, the Group recognized impairment losses relating to non-current assets in accordance with IAS 36 as well as impairments regarding current assets and made provisions.

Commenting on the preliminary results for the financial year, Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, said, "In view of the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 financial year was certainly not an easy year. Given the underlying conditions, we can indeed be satisfied with our results. We outperformed the market on the basis of revenue, our EBIT margin was 1.8%, and we once again managed to generate strong operating free cash flow. Overall, therefore, we were able to further strengthen the Group's position."

Implemented by the Management Board at the beginning of 2019, the global program aimed at raising efficiency levels continued to take effect in 2020. With the help of these measures, the Group managed to generate operating free cash flow of EUR 164.7 million and achieve structural improvements to its cost base. Not least as a result of these factors, net financial liabilities were reduced by a further EUR 136.5 million to EUR 458.8 million in 2020. This translates into a net debt ratio (net debt in relation to EBITDA) of 2.5. Twelve months earlier, the figure had stood at 3.3.

The Group will present its full results for the financial year just ended as well as its outlook for the current financial year in its 2020 annual report to be published on March 30, 2021.

Preliminary, unaudited figures for FY 2020 and Q4 2020

EUR millionGJ 2020GJ 2019∆ abs.∆ rel.Q4 2020Q4 2019∆ abs.∆ rel.
Revenue1.480.41,727.0-246.6-14.3%450.9419.9+31.0+7.4%
of which FX effects  -40.7-2.4%  -18.2-4.3%
of which M&A  -4.1-0.2%  -0.7-0.2%
of which organic  -201.8-11.7%  49.9+11.9%
EBITDA180.9181.0-0.1-0.1%87.057.4+29.6+51.7%
EBIT before purchase price allocation (PPA)27.563.2-35.7-56.5%24.724.8-0.1-0.4%
EBIT margin before PPA
(in %)
1.93.7-1.8PP-5.55.9-0.4PP-
Purchase price allocation0.31.9-1.6-84.2%0,00.4-0,4-100.0%
EBIT27.261.2-34.0-55.6%24.724.3+0.4+1.4%
EBIT-Marge (in %)1.83.5-2.7PP-5.55.8-0.3PP-
Investments (in property, plant, equipment and investment property)57.392.2-34.9-37.9%19.417.4+2.0+11.5%
Operating free cash flow164.7175.8-11.1-6.3%62.465.7-3.3-5.0%
Net working capital402.8423.5-20.7-4.9%    
Net financial debt458.8595.3-136.5-22.9%    
Net financial debt/EBITDA2.53.3-0.8-24.2%    
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Press Release

ElringKlinger to supply 68 fuel cell short stacks to research consortium

To underpin the revision required to the ISO standard for the quality of hydrogen dispensed at fueling stations, ElringKlinger will be supplying a total of 68 fuel cell short stacks by the end of 2022 to a research consortium made up of several leading institutes in Germany. The stacks are to be used as part of a three-year research project at the ZSW's testing facilities in Ulm.

The fuel cell will play a key role in the transformation of mobility. Estimates suggest that, by 2030, more than 5 million fuel cell vehicles around the globe will need filling with hydrogen. There are plans to build 400 hydrogen fueling stations by 2025 in Germany alone.

To deliver the underlying data on which to base a revision of the ISO standard governing the quality of the hydrogen dispensed at these stations, Duisburg-based Zentrum für BrennstoffzellenTechnik GmbH (ZBT) is coordinating the "H2Fuel" research project. This involves deploying fuel cell stacks at testing facilities run by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW). As part of the project, which is funded by the German government via the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW), ZBT is partnering with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, the ZSW in Ulm, Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH in Ottobrunn, and the Institute for Physical Chemistry at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. Mercedes-Benz FuelCell, Toyota, BMW, and Ford are also on board as associate partners.

To enable the project to come to fruition, ElringKlinger AG will be supplying a total of 68 fuel cell short stacks to the research consortium by the end of 2022. The stacks will be put through their paces at the ZSW's testing facilities in Ulm over a three-year period. Short stacks have only a small number of cells, which are being designed to have a lower power output than usual for the purpose of the tests. The contract also covers membrane electrode assemblies (MEA), where the electrochemical reaction takes place. The first stacks will be delivered as early as the beginning of 2021.

Dr. Stefan Wolf, CEO of ElringKlinger AG, commented: "For us, the fact that ElringKlinger's fuel cell stacks have been chosen to deliver the underlying scientific data that will inform everyday use is further proof of how pioneering our best-in-class technology really is. We'll be delighted if our stacks help to gain valuable insights into hydrogen quality in fueling stations as part of this project."

Over the course of the tests, the "H2Fuel" project is planning to expose the stacks to various stress situations relating to hydrogen use in order to establish new technically and economically appropriate limits for hydrogen quality. This is because the quality requirements that the hydrogen to be used has to meet will have a material impact on how much it will cost and how long the fuel cells will last. For this reason, the project is also aiming to quantify how contaminants in the hydrogen could potentially impact on the performance and service life of the MEA and to use this as a basis for determining requirements for hydrogen purity. Building on the research findings obtained from "H2Fuel," the intention is for Germany's network of hydrogen fueling stations to play a pioneering role in the application of sound, practicable standards.

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Annual General Meeting

The 118th Annual General Meeting of ElringKlinger AG took place on May 16, 2023 as a virtual Annual General Meeting at the ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart, Messepiazza, 70629 Stuttgart, Germany.

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