Lenzing, Austria – The Lenzing Group generated new record highs in the first half of the 2017 financial year for both revenue and earnings. The key underlying factors were good capacity utilization, higher selling prices and an attractive product mix. Lenzing will continue to focus on the disciplined implementation of the Group strategy sCore TEN, in order to be even closer to the customer and to further expand the offering of specialty fibers. Consolidated revenue increased by 11 percent from the first half of the previous financial year to EUR 1,149.1 mn.
- Revenue up 11 percent to EUR 1,149.1 mn
- EBITDA increase of 38.8 percent to EUR 270.7 mn
- Detailed planning for new production plant for TENCEL® fibers in Thailand in progress
- New sales offices opened in Turkey and KoreaNew EcoVero™ branded viscose fibers with very favorable ecological footprint launched
Consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were up 38.8 percent to EUR 270.7 mn, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 23.6 percent in comparison to 18.9 percent in the prior-year period. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) increased by 57.4 percent to EUR 204.2 mn, resulting in a higher EBIT margin of 17.8 percent (H1 2016: 12.5 percent). The profit for the period improved by 58.9 percent to EUR 150.3 mn, and earnings per share climbed 59 percent to EUR 5.55 per share.
“The first half-year developed very well for the Lenzing Group, and we are pleased with the best half-year period in the company’s history. We will continue our disciplined implementation of the sCore TEN strategy. The expansion of new state-of-the-art production capacities for our specialty fibers is proceeding well and will support our customers in their own expansion efforts for products made of our botanic fibers. The decision to set up a subsidiary and acquire a respective landplot in Thailand is the next step in the implementation of this strategy. On the innovation side we are proud that after the introduction of Refibra™ branded lyocell fibers, we launched now EcoVeroTM. This is a particularly high-performance fiber featuring a very favorable ecological footprint and sets the new benchmark for the entire industry – from fiber to garment”, states Stefan Doboczky, Chief Executive Officer of the Lenzing Group. “Assuming that fiber market conditions remain at current levels, we expect a substantial earnings improvement in 2017 compared to 2016.
Lenzing invests in Thailand
The Lenzing Group aims to increase the share of specialty fibers as a percentage of revenue to 50 percent by 2020. Following the expansions in Lenzing, Heiligenkreuz (both in Austria) and Mobile, Alabama (USA), the Supervisory Board approved the proposal of the Management Board at the end of June to choose Thailand as the next location for a state-of-the-art facility to produce TENCEL® branded lyocell fibers. For this purpose, Lenzing is establishing a subsidiary in Thailand and purchasing a commercial property in an industrial park near Bangkok. In the coming months, the required permits and licenses as well as technical planning will be finalized. A definitive decision on constructing the new production plant will be made in the first quarter of 2018. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2020.Expansion of production capacities for lyocell fibers off to a good startThe beginning of the construction phase to expand capacities for lyocell fibers was inaugurated at the end of March with the ground-breaking ceremony at the production site in Heiligenkreuz. As of the middle of next year, customers will have an additional 25,000 tons of specialty fibers at their disposal. The first buildings are also already being built in Mobile in order to complete the new production facility for TENCEL® fibers by 2019. These construction projects were bundled at a Management Board level and assigned to the newly appointed Management Board member Heiko Arnold, who serves as Chief Technology Officer of Lenzing AG.
Launch of EcoVero™ – a new, particularly ecological fiber
In order to further underline its role as a pioneer in sustainability, Lenzing launched EcoVero™, an extremely high-performance fiber with a very favorable ecological footprint that can be identified in finished products on the basis of its corresponding technology. In this way, Lenzing’s customers, partners as well as consumers are assured that their product consists of this fiber.The introduction to the market of Refibra™ fibers, which combine pulp from scraps of cotton clothing and pulp from wood, proceeded well in the first half-year. In addition to Inditex, another 25 fashion brands are currently working on the development of collections made with this fiber.
Improved customer support
Furthermore, the Lenzing Group opened up new sales and marketing offices in Turkey and Korea in the first half of 2017. The direct contact to customers and well-equipped showrooms featuring products made of Lenzing™ fibers serve as the basis for providing even better customer support.
The wood-based cellulose fiber segment, which is relevant for Lenzing, should again outpace the overall fiber market. The demand for these cellulose fibers was very good in the first half year of 2017, with the long-term trend pointing towards further growth in viscose and, above all, wood-based cellulose specialty fibers. On the supply side, the market is not expected to see the entry of any notable new production capacity in 2017.
Lenzing is very well positioned in this environment. In 2017 we will continue to focus on the disciplined implementation of the sCore TEN strategy and, specifically, on specialization and sustainability-driven innovation. The steady expansion of the specialty fiber capacities and the intensification of our brand management will be essential to increasing consumers’ awareness for the unique selling proposition of our fiber products.
The Lenzing Group had an excellent first half year 2017 and registered strong demand for its fibers during the first two quarters which, in turn, led to continued very high capacity utilization in all product groups. The market price index for viscose fibers was substantially higher than in the comparable prior year period. Under the assumption of unchanged conditions in the fiber market and stable exchange rates, Lenzing expects a considerable improvement in results in the fiscal year 2017 compared to 2016.
- Capital expenditures: acquisition of intangible assets, property, plant and equipment.