Lecta reports on 2021

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, April 29, 2022

Lecta has reported big increases in revenue and EBITDA but a pre-tax loss from continuing operations in 2021.

Lecta's EBITDA increased by 183% in 2021
Lecta's EBITDA increased by 183% in 2021

In its annual report for the year ended 31 December 2021, released today (29 April), the Spain-headquartered papermaking group said that as well as overcoming various challenges, it also further executed its transformation journey in 2021.

The business achieved revenue of €1.34bn (£1.13bn) for the year, up 36% on the €983.1m it recorded in 2020. The company said it recovered the volumes it had lost in 2020 and, consequently, was back to pre-Covid levels.

The total net sales for Lecta’s three product ranges increased by 28%, from €934.8m in 2020 to €1,196m in 2021. The increase was driven by a 26% rise in overall volumes, from 937,800 metric tonnes in 2020 to 1.184 million metric tonnes in 2021.

Each product range recovered the volumes lost in 2020 during 2021. Coated Woodfree increased by 31% in net sales in 2021. Specialties also increased by 28%, offsetting the decrease of 2020, with the Self Adhesive business seeing 7% market growth in 2021. Purchased Products achieved a 19% increase.

The group’s sales of energy increased by 197%, from €48.3m in 2020 to €143.6m in 2021. Due to the electricity market conditions and global increase of gas and CO2 rights cost increase, the average net sales price increased by 146%, at €128/MWh in 2021 vs €52/MWh in 2019.

EBITDA increased by 183%, from €20.3m in 2020 to €57.4m in 2021. Coated Woodfree EBITDA increased by 149%, Specialties EBITDA showed a recovery of 248% due to its integrated pulp activities, and the Purchase Products segment saw its EBITDA increasing by 78%.

The group recorded a pre-tax loss from continuing operations of €51.2m in 2021, after making a pre-tax profit from continuing operations of €170m in 2020.

In his letter to shareholders, Lecta CEO Gilles Van Nieuwenhuyzen said: “I am today happy to report that 2021 has shown a clear improvement on 2020, despite very fluctuating economic conditions.

As well as Covid-19, supply chain issues, and gas prices, he added the outbreak of the Russian/Ukraine war in February 2022 is another wave of cost inflation “that Lecta will have to overcome”.

“Across the year 2021, the team of Lecta has demonstrated a new capacity for resilience. After a tough year 2020, impacted by refinancing and Covid-19, 2021 has been a critical year to transform the company.

“Despite those difficult conditions, Lecta has been able to get back towards the end of the year 2021 to a level of profitability which was expected following the refinancing.

“I am also very happy to report that our governance and leadership team is continuously getting stronger. We progressively reinforced our team in the course of 2021 and early 2022 with the appointment of Georges Gravanis as non-executive director and I had the pleasure to join the group as director and CEO.

“As a consequence of the hard work delivered by our teams in 2021, Lecta is back and we now look forward to its continued transformation journey which we embarked upon almost two years ago.”

Van Nieuwenhuyzen said the company is “almost back to normal conditions and our plants are running close to full capacity”.

“Lecta is today in a much better financial situation than one year ago and our organisation is well prepared to face the future. I am confident in our teams for delivering the strong performance that you can expect from us.”

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