2020 was marked by a health crisis of an unprecedented scale linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused a global economic recession impacting raw material prices, particularly manganese, and resulting in a profound crisis in the aerospace sector, the main end-market of the High-Performance Alloys division.
In this context, the Group was able to adapt quickly and with agility. Mining activity posted new production records and benefitted from the rebound in the steel market in China from Q2. The High-Performance Alloys division accelerated its measures to reduce costs and control WCR, which paid off in H2.
Turnover since 2014 (in € millions)
The Group’s turnover amounted to €3,553m in 2020, down slightly by -3% (-2% at constant scope and exchange rates5). The strong growth in manganese ore sales volumes (+37%) and nickel ore exports (+55%) offset the significant decline in manganese ore prices (-19%), as well as the decline in aerospace sales at Aubert & Duval.
Turnover distribution by division
In a market which declined by -15% in value, the Manganese BU was very resilient with turnover down slightly by -4% to €1,699m.
The Nickel BU posted a turnover growing by 16% in 2020 to €905m, including €75m linked to the offtake agreement at Weda Bay Nickel, where metallurgical production started successfully in the spring.
In a context of degraded markets due to the health crisis, the Mineral Sands BU reported turnover declining slightly to €276m (-3% vs 2019) and EBITDA down by -13% to €91m.
The unprecedented collapse of the aerospace sector, coupled with a steep downturn in the automotive sector strongly affected the performances of the High-Performance Alloys division from Q2 2020. Turnover for the division was down -20% to €680m.
Current operating income (in € millions)
Current operating income came to €106m, mainly after booking a depreciation expense on fixed assets of -€281m.
Industrial capex (in € millions)
Capex ended at €342M in 2020.
Net income (group share) (in € millions)
Net income, Group share recovered sharply in H2 (-€52m). It ended at -€675m for the year, reflecting asset impairments linked to the crisis (-€498m), notably A&D (-€197m), the mothballing of the lithium project (-€113m) and the closure of the metal manganese business in Gabon (-€83m, booked in H2). The share of income in the Weda Bay Nickel joint venture in Indonesia contributed €79m to net income, Group share in 2020.
Consolidated net cash position (in € millions)
Net debt stood at €1,333m at 31 December 2020, stable versus 2019.
NB: Consolidated data for the Group and by Division is adjusted data resulting from the Group’s reporting, with joint ventures accounted for on a proportional consolidation basis.