PARIS — Rexel’s half year financial report as of June 30, 2021 was filed on July 28,2021 with the French Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).
“After having demonstrated our resilience during the acid test of the pandemic, our H1 results confirm that the profound transformation initiated five years ago has made Rexel a more agile company. This allows us to fully capture the incipient recovery and adapt to the current environment, marked by price increases and growing product scarcity. Rexel’s journey since 2017 has resulted in a stronger and more digital business model, for the benefit of all its stakeholders. With Rexel well positioned to continue its growth trajectory, I am pleased to pass on the baton to Guillaume Texier on September 1 to execute the strategic plan presented at our last Capital Market Day, which aims to deliver a historically high level in terms of sales and profitability by continuously improving customer service.” ~ Patrick BERARD, Chief Executive Officer
Same-day sales growth up +32.3% in Q2, accelerating after an already robust Q1 H1 Adj. EBITA margin at 5.6%, driven by sales growth and digital transformation. Recently upgraded FY 21 guidance confirmed thanks to robust growth drivers
→ Sales of €3,726.6m in Q2 2021, leveraging our capacity to ensure business continuity for our customers in an environment marked by strong price increases and product scarcity
- On a constant and same-day basis, sales were up +32.3% in Q2 2021 vs Q2 2020 and up +9.6% compared to Q2 2019; sequential acceleration vs Q1 2021 (+5.4% vs Q1 2019)
- Same-day sales growth of +32.3% driven by strong volume recovery (contribution: +22.1%), and positive pricing on both cable (contribution: +6.5%) and non-cable products (contribution: +3.6%)
- Market outperformance in key countries, including in the US where organic sales are back to their 2019 level
→ H1 21 adj. EBITA margin up +232 bps at 5.6% (above H1 19 margin of 4.7%) from digital penetration (22.6% of sales in Q2 21, up +123, bps including 33.2% of sales in Europe), price increase management and operational excellence. It demonstrates the result of our profound transformation over the last 5 years.
→ Recurring net income of €241.7m up +192.9% in H1 2021, from all-time high EBITA performance and optimized balance sheet
→ Positive Free Cash Flow before interest and tax of €116.3m in H1 2021 (€-17.3m in H1 2019) from robust operational results and active management of Working Capital
→ Rapid deleveraging thanks to strong FCF, bolstering our confidence in reaching an indebtedness ratio of 1.5x to 2x in FY 21 depending on M&A opportunities
→ Confirmation of the recently upgraded FY 21 guidance, with strong upside potential in all geographies, notably in North America where volumes (excluding inflation) are still 15% below pre-crisis level
FINANCIAL REVIEW FOR THE PERIOD ENDED JUNE 30, 2021
- Half year financial report as of June 30, 2021 was authorized for issue by the Board of Directors on July 27, 2021. They have been subjected to a limited review by statutory auditors.
- The following terms: Reported EBITA, Adjusted EBITA, EBITDA, EBITDAaL, Recurring net income, Free Cash Flow and Net Debt are defined in the Glossary section of this document.
- Unless otherwise stated, all comments are on a constant and adjusted basis and, for sales, at same number of working days.
In Q2, sales were up +32.1% year-on-year on a reported basis and up +32.3% on a constant and same-day basis, reflecting our robust start to the year, and also helped by a favorable comparable base as Q2 2020 was the quarter most impacted by the pandemic in all geographies (same-day sales down -17.7% in Q2 2020).
In the second-quarter, Rexel posted sales of €3,726.6 million, up +32.1% on a reported basis, including:
- A negative currency effect of €(40.8) million (i.e. (1.4)% of Q2 2020 sales), mainly due to the depreciation of the US dollar against the euro;
- A slightly positive net scope effect of €+3.9 million (i.e. +0.1% of Q2 2020 sales), mainly resulting from the net effect between the acquisition of Wesco Utility in Canada and the disposal of a small business in France in 2020;
- A positive calendar effect of +1.6%.
On a constant and same-day basis, sales were up +32.3%, as a result of:
- Strong underlying demand for electrical products, notably driven by the renovation business in the construction market, which is boosted by the “cocooning effect” and the trend towards working at home as well as a favorable comparable base (Q2 20 at -17.7% on a constant and same-day basis was the quarter most impacted by the pandemic). In addition, we also benefit from healthy underlying demand with increased electrical usage and greater complexity of installed solutions as well as an improvement in the industrial market in several countries.
- A favorable pricing environment on cable (+6.5% contribution in Q2 2021 vs (0.7)% in Q2 2020) and non-cable (up +4.2% in Q2 2021 corresponding to a +3.6% contribution in the quarter) products. We anticipate further price increases to be announced in H2 21.
- In such a favorable environment, Rexel is gaining market share in key countries/regions, notably thanks to our capacity to ensure business continuity for our customers in the face of a rise in product scarcity in the quarter, which should last for the next 12 to 18 months. This “scarcity issue” represents an opportunity for Rexel, thanks to our ability to offer customers alternative brands. This high level of customer service and satisfaction is fully reflected in our high NPS in our key countries/regions.
At Group level, we saw same-day sales growth of +9.6% versus Q2 2019, with Europe at +15.2%, Asia-Pacific at +11.6% and North America now above its pre-crisis level for the first time at +0.6% versus Q2 2019. North America was notably helped by robust demand in proximity and favorable price increases.
More specifically, the quarter benefited from further growth in digitalization in all 3 geographies, with digital sales now representing 22.6% of Group sales, up +123 bps compared to Q2 2020. This comes despite a challenging base effect, as digital sales surged during the pandemic. Trends were positive in North America (up to 9.0% of sales, an increase of +83 bps) and in Europe (up to 33.2% of sales, an increase of +44 bps) offsetting a slight decline in Asia-Pacific (4.6% of sales down -42bps).
In H1 2021, Rexel posted sales of €7,057.8 million, up +16.7% on a reported basis. On a constant and same-day basis, sales were up +19.9%, including a positive impact of +4.6% from the change in copper-based cable prices vs. a negative impact of (0.5)% in H1 2020.
The +16.7% increase in sales on a reported basis included:
- A negative currency effect of €(114.2) million (i.e. (1.9)% of H1 2020 sales), mainly due to the depreciation of the US dollar against the euro;
- A negative net scope effect of €(20.2) million (i.e. (0.3)% of H1 2020 sales), mainly resulting from the disposal of Gexpro Services in the US, offsetting the acquisition of Wesco Utility in Canada;
- A negative calendar effect of (0.5)%.
Europe (58% of Group sales): +37.8% in Q2 and +23.4% in H1 on a constant and same-day basis
In the second quarter, sales in Europe increased by +41.1% on a reported basis, including a positive currency effect of +0.8%, or +12.3m, mainly due to the appreciation of the Swedish Krona and the Norwegian Krone and a negative scope effect of (0.5)%, or €(8.0)m. On a constant and same-day basis, sales were up +37.8% (same day sales were down -16.7% in Q2 20, the most impacted quarter by the pandemic), positioning Rexel above the pre-crisis level in both volume and value.
- Sales in France (39% of the region’s sales) posted solid +56.0% growth, (or +17.2% vs Q2 2019), accelerating after an already robust Q1 21, fueled by market outperformance (high level of customer service from digital and availability of products) in all 3 markets.
- Sales in Scandinavia (13% of the region’s sales) were up +12.2% (or +14.9% vs Q2 2019), with Sweden driven by renovation in residential, large commercial key accounts and industrial recovery. Finland saw positive trends in small C&I and Industry.
- Benelux (11% of the region’s sales) was up +23.6% (or +13.7% vs Q2 2019) with Belux (+28.6%) benefiting from cable and Electric Vehicle products offsetting lower sales of Photovoltaic products (end of subsidies in Flanders). The Netherlands were up +15.5% versus Q2 2019, largely driven by residential and industrial businesses.
- Sales in Germany (10% of the region’s sales) were up +27.6% (or +32.7% vs Q2 2019) from strong demand in proximity business and acceleration in industry (automotive & metals).
- In the UK (8% of the region’s sales), sales were up by +65.6% (or -1.6% vs Q2 2019), accelerating versus Q1 driven by the residential market, while industrial and commercial remains below 2019 level. The Denmans banner was up +20.7% vs Q2 2019.
- Austria (6% of the region’s sales) was strong at +35.6% above Q2 2019 from market share gains in the well-oriented proximity business.
- Sales in Switzerland (6% of the region’s sales) were up +16.4%, on a difficult base effect, notably thanks to a recovery in the industrial market.
North America (33% of Group sales): +29.6% in Q2 and +14.8% in H1 on a constant and same-day basis
In the second quarter, sales in North America were up +23.5% on a reported basis, including a negative currency effect of (6.1)%, or €(61.6)m, mainly due to the depreciation of the US dollar against the euro and a positive scope effect of €+11.9m, or +1.2%, from the acquisition of Wesco Utility in Canada. On a constant and same-day basis, sales were up +29.6%, back to their pre-crisis level (Q2 21 up +0.6% vs Q2 2019).
- In the US (75% of the region’s sales), sales were up +28.1% in Q2 21 and returned to their precrisis level in value ((0.8)% compared to Q2 19), helped by a favorable pricing contribution on the vast majority of products, further positive momentum in our proximity business and lower sales decline in the project business, despite greater selectivity. Trends remain heterogeneous with 4 regions above pre-crisis levels (Northwest, Mountain Plains, California and Florida), offsetting lower activity in the 4 other regions (Southeast, Northeast, Midwest and Gulf Central).
- In Canada (25% of the region’s sales), sales grew by +34.6% on a same-day basis and are now +5.3% above their Q2 2019 level from positive pricing on cable and non-cable products as well as better commercial and residential activities offsetting lower demand in industry, especially in the Western part of the country.
Asia-Pacific (9% of Group sales): +12.3% in Q2 and +17.4% in H1 on a constant and same-day basis
In the second quarter, sales in Asia-Pacific were up +15.5% on a reported basis, including a positive currency effect of +2.9%, or €+8.6m, mainly due to the appreciation of the Australian dollar against the euro. On a constant and same-day basis, sales were up +12.3%.
- In the Pacific (50% of the region’s sales), sales were up +15.8% on a constant and same-day basis:
- In Australia (82% of Pacific’s sales), sales were up +10.8% (or up +9.8% vs Q2 19), a robust result in a country where vaccination rates remain low, limiting visibility. It is supported by small & medium contractors, especially in residential, despite the loss of an industrial contract in mining. Price increases contributed to the positive growth.
- In Asia (50% of the region’s sales), sales were up +8.8% on a constant and same-day basis:
- In China (87% of Asia’s sales), sales posted solid +2.2% growth, or +16.2% compared to Q2 19. Restated for the large aerospace contract, Q2 21 is up +30.9% vs Q2 19, fully in line with Q1 21 same-day sales growth, illustrating the positive momentum underway, notably driven by government spending in infrastructure and automation.
Adjusted EBITA margin at 5.6% in H1 2021, up +232 bps compared to H1 2020
In the first-half, gross margin was up +99 bps year-on-year, at 25.6% of sales, and opex (including depreciation) amounted to -19.9% of sales, representing an improvement of +133 bps year-on-year, resulting from price increase management, digital penetration and operational excellence. It demonstrates the result of our profound transformation over the last 5 years.
Overall, the first half also benefited from a balance of temporary tailwinds and headwinds:
- On the one hand, activity benefited from exceptionally good revenue growth coupled with favorable pricing. Profitability was boosted as well by a positive mix from better trends in proximity, a one-off effect reflecting recent price inflation on non-cable products, a favorable supplier rebate scheme (volume related) and a low point in opex related to travel & expenses.
- On the other hand, activity was impacted by scarcity of components and products as well as subdued project activity. Profitability was impacted by a temporary lag in passing on price increases to customers in some countries mainly in cable products, by an unfavorable customer rebate scheme (volume related), by all-time high bonuses & commissions and by a high level of bad debt provisions.
- In Europe, gross margin was back to pre-crisis levels at 27.3% of sales, up +48 bps year-on-year from a catch-up in rebates and positive country mix. In the first-half, opex (including depreciation) represented -20.5% of sales, better than their pre-crisis level (-21.4% in H1 2019) notably thanks to strong volume recovery offsetting provisioning of higher variable pay in 2021.
- In North America, gross margin stood at 24.8% of sales, up +204 bps vs. last year, benefiting from favorable business mix (Proximity vs Project), pricing initiatives and a one-off effect reflecting recent price inflation on non-cable products. Opex (including depreciation) to sales at -18.7% were better than their pre-crisis level (-19.0% of sales in H1 19) thanks to structural measures largely offsetting full provisioning of higher variable pay in 2021.
- In Asia-Pacific, gross margin stood at 17.3% of sales, a deterioration of -43 bps year-on-year related to negative country mix (strong growth in China) and banner mix in China. Opex (including depreciation) stood at -16.5% of sales, in line with their pre-crisis level (-16.6% in H1 2019) despite a negative impact from bad debt increase in China.
- At corporate level, opex amounted to €(28.5) million, increasing versus last year’s level of €(9.5) million, due to corporate-hosted projects and higher long-term incentives.
As a result, adjusted EBITA stood at €398.2m, up +103.0%, in the first-half 2021.
Adjusted EBITA margin was up +232 bps at 5.6% of sales (above H1 2019 at 4.7%), reflecting:
- A stronger adjusted EBITA margin in Europe at 6.8% of sales, up +277 bps;
- An improved adjusted EBITA margin in North America at 6.1% of sales, up +285 bps and
- A slightly lower adjusted EBITA margin in Asia-Pacific, down -2 bps, at 0.8% of sales.
In H1 2021, reported EBITA stood at €442.4 million (including a positive one-off copper effect of €44.3m), up +130.0% year-on-year.
Net income of €270.6m in H1 2021
Recurring net income up +192.9% to €241.7m in H1 2021
Operating income in the first-half stood at €435.1 million, reversing a loss of €(296.8) million in H1 2020.
- Amortization of intangible assets resulting from purchase price allocation amounted to €(3.1) million (vs. €(6.6) million in H1 2020);
- Other income and expenses amounted to a net charge of €(4.2) million (vs. a net charge of €(482.5) million in H1 2020). They included:
- €(3.5) million of restructuring costs (vs. €(1.9) million in H1 2020)
- H1 2020 booked a charge of €(486.0) million from goodwill impairment, mainly reflecting lower volume related to the Covid-19 crisis and higher Wacc (increased risk premium in the Covid-19 environment).
Net financial expenses in the first-half amounted to €(59.8) million (vs. €(63.1) million in H1 2020) split as follows
- €(20.0)million from interest on lease liabilities in H1 2021 vs €(22.1)m in H1 2020.
- €(34.7)million from financial cost of Net Debt before one-off expenses in H1 2021 vs €(41.0)m in H1 2020, from lower average gross debt. The effective interest rate was stable at 2.47% in H1 2021 compared to 2.43% in H1 2020.
- Others & one-offs for €(5.1)million in H1 2021 from the early repayment of the €500 million senior notes due in 2025 (coupon: 2.125%) completed end of May 2021.
Income tax in the first-half represented a charge of €(104.7) million (vs. €(79.9) million in H1 2020), implying a c. 28% tax rate.
Net income in the first-half was positive at €270.6 million (vs. a negative €(439.8) million in H1 2020).
Recurring net income in the first-half amounted to €241.7 million, up +192.9% compared to H1 2020 (see appendix 3).
Inflow of free cash-flow before interest and tax of €116.3 million in first-half 2021
Indebtedness ratio of 1.79x at June 30, 2021
In the first half, free cash flow before interest and tax was an inflow of €116.3 million (vs. an inflow of €176.8 million in H1 2020), representing a Free Cash flow conversion rate (EBITDAaL into FCF before interest and taxes) of 24.4%. This net inflow included:
- EBITDAaL of €476.4 million (vs €227.7million in H1 2020)
- An outflow of €(299.1) million from change in working capital (compared to an inflow of €17.8 million in H1 2020), mainly to support the sales recovery. The trade working capital stood at 14.4% of sales in H1 21, close to the pre-crisis level (14.2% of sales in H1 2019)
- Stable cash outflow from restructuring (€9.0m in H1 21 vs €7.3m in H1 2020)
- A stable level of net capital expenditure (€(48.8) million vs. €(53.1) million in H1 2020). Gross capex stood at €(45.5)m and represented 0.6% of sales.
At June 30, 2021, net debt stood at €1,523.0 million, down €-167.3m year-on-year (vs. €1,690.3 million at June 30, 2020).
It took into account:
- €(28.5) million of net interest paid in H1 2021 (vs €(35.3) million paid in H1 2020)
- €(57.1) million of income tax paid in the first-half, compared to €(24.9) million paid in H1 2020,
- €(72.2) million of cash invested mainly in the acquisition of a utility business in Canada and of a business in France (Freshmile)
- €(139.6) million of dividends paid for the year 2020 (€0.46 per share)
- €(1.8) million of negative currency effects during the first-half (vs €(4.9) million in H1 2020).
At June 30, 2021, the indebtedness ratio (Net financial debt/ EBITDAaL), as calculated under the Senior Credit Agreement terms, stood at 1.79x, lower than the June 30, 2020 level of 2.59x.
At the end of April 2021, we successfully issued a €400m Sustainability-Linked-Bond (SLB) due in 2028 (coupon 2.125%). With this operation, Rexel was the first French non-investment grade corporate issuer of a SLB, confirming our ESG trajectory presented at our Capital Market Day on February 11, 2021.
CONFIRMATION OF THE RECENTLY UPGRADED 2021 FY GUIDANCE
Following a better-than-expected start of the year and capitalizing on robust growth drivers and the growing benefits of our digital transformation, we issued a trading update on June 29, 2021, raising our guidance for full-year 2021.
Leveraging on our continuous efforts, we target for 2021, at comparable scope of consolidation and exchange rates*:
- Same-day sales growth of between 12% and 15%
- An adjusted EBITA1 margin of circa 5.7%
- Free cash flow conversion2 above 60%