The global economy ended the year with a growth forecast of 3.7%, one tenth lower than in 2017. According to the International Monetary Fund, advanced economies grew by 2.3%, but are expected to weaken in the mid-term due to uncertainty precipitated by trade tensions between the US and China, the tightening of financial conditions triggered by the high debt of many countries and the Brexit ripple effect. The growth of emerging economies has been tested by conditions caused by trade tensions, rising US interest rates and the dollar’s appreciation, as well as capital outflows, volatile oil prices, and downturns in Argentina, Turkey and, to a lesser extent, China. The economy in Spain, the Group’s main market, grew by 2.5%—above the eurozone average (1.8%)—driven by an upward trend in the construction industry, especially in new construction.
The Group’s turnover reached 1,775 million euros, down 1.3% compared with the previous year. Despite solid performance in most markets, consolidated sales decreased slightly due to the strong negative impact of the depreciation against the euro (the Group’s accounting currency) of currencies in the most important markets, especially the Argentine peso (-44%), the Brazilian real (-16%), the Russian ruble (-11%), the Indian rupee (-9%) and the Egyptian pound (-4%). Excluding the impact of exchange rates, turnover would have grown by 6.6% in real terms to reach almost 1,900 million euros.
compared to 2017
compared to 2017
The negative impact of exchange rates accounted for a decrease in sales of 119 million euros compared with the exchange rates of 2017. The countries most affected were Brazil, Argentina, Russia and India.
EBITDA reached 243 million euros, slightly higher than the 242 million in 2017 despite the effect of depreciation for most currencies in which the Group operates. If the exchange rate impact were disregarded, EBITDA would have increased by 14 million euros. Higher costs have been cushioned by higher sales volume in local currencies, price increases rolled out in most countries and an improved sales mix resulting from product launch efforts and promotion of high added-value bathroom space categories. Lower advertising costs—in the wake of 11.4 million euros spent in 2017 for the centennial celebration and the In-Wash® advertising campaign—have also been a factor.
Our net profit, at 95 million euros, was 15% higher than in 2017. The operating result amounted to 146 million euros, an increase of 22% over 2017 and representing 8.2% of net turnover. The importance of profitability in the Group’s business model is worth noting—based on the reinvestment of profits as a driver for growth.
EBITDA NET PROFIT
%EBITDA over turnover
TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE FIXED ASSETS
The total amount of investments in tangible fixed assets and in intangible assets amounted to 145 million euros. This high level of investment is aimed at boosting the capacity of production plants, maintaining their technological strength and ensuring that they meet safety and environmental standards. The lion’s share of expansion investments have been made in sanitaryware in Portugal, Mexico, Russia, Czech Republic and China, as well as in the new plant in Indonesia.
Acquisitions have also been made in the amount of 8 million euros. In November 2018, following the incorporation of the Mexican company Grifos y Accesorios Mexicanos S.A. de C.V., the company acquired assets of the Mexican distributors Metalflú and Bronces Finos, geared toward plumbing fittings. The Mexican company RPG Outsourcing S.A. de C.V. was also formed to receive all the staff from the two distributors mentioned above. Finally, in February, a 49% stake in P.T. Suryaprabha Jatisatya (based in West Jakarta) was acquired from a local partner.
At year-end, the Group had a balanced financial structure with a net financial debt of 378 million euros and unused credit lines amounting to 164 million euros. This situation allows the Group to undertake—comfortably and with no risks—the necessary ordinary and expansion investments aimed at improving strategic areas.
On 3 August 2017 the Group renewed the long-term syndicated loan maturing on 31 December 2020, first signed on 30 April 2009 and which has already been renewed twice (also in advance). The new six-year renewal, until 2023, aims to improve financial conditions and is split into two tranches: a commercial loan for 250 million euros and a revolving working capital loan for a maximum amount of 100 million. The Group continues to comfortably meet the financial obligations set out in the aforementioned syndicated loan agreement, which stipulates compliance with certain economic parameters.
|Total net equity||1,223||1,353||1,276||1,305|
|Net financial position||(349)||(322)||(323)||(378)|
|in millions of euros|
The net financial position shows the balances at the end of each financial year for short-term financial investments, cash and other liquid assets, minus short-term and long-term debts with banks.