ASSYSTEM S.A. ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL RESULTS

2017 results

  • Operating profit before non-recurring items (EBITA)([1]) up 17.6% to €26.0 million
  • EBITA margin up 0.8 pt to 6.6%
  • Free cash-flow([2]): €20.8 million, representing 5.3% of revenue
  • Dividend([3]): €1.0 per share

At its meeting on 15 March 2018, the Board of Directors of Assystem S.A. (ISIN: FR0000074148 – ASY), a leading player in engineering, reviewed the Group’s financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2017.

Dominique Louis, Assystem’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated:

“2017 was a year of major strategic moves for Assystem. We chose to boost the business development of GPS (now “Assystem Technologies Groupe”) by transferring its control to Ardian, while retaining a large stake in its capital to remain closely associated with its value creation.

In parallel, we acquired an ownership interest in Framatomein order to strengthen our positioning at the heart of the French nuclear industry with a view to helping promote the sustainability and development of low-carbon electricity both in France and worldwide, for which civil nuclear power has a key role to play. Thanks to its expertise and long-standing experience in nuclear engineering and more generally in infrastructure engineering serving energy transition requirements, Assystem is well placed to leverage the opportunities of this high-growth market”.

Key figures

In millions of euros (€m) – Audited figures2016*2017Year-on-year change
Revenue380.1395.2+ 4.0%
Operating profit before non-recurring items  – EBITA22.126.0+ 17.6%
% of revenue 5.8%6.6%+ 0.8 pt
Consolidated profit for the period 32.1404.6
Free cash flow 20.8
% of revenue5.3%
Net cash/(debt)([4])(16.1)23.9
Dividend per share (in €)1.001.00

* Restated to facilitate year-on-year comparisons

AnalysIS OF THE 2017 INCOME STATEMENT

      Revenue

Based on its new scope of fully-consolidated companies, Assystem’sconsolidated revenue rose by 4.0% in the year ended 31 December 2017, breaking down as 4.0% in like-for-like growth (6.8% excluding the impact of revenue decreases from Radicon and the Staffing business), a 1.0% increase due to changes in the scope of consolidation and a 1.0% negative currency effect.

Revenue for the Energy & Infrastructure business climbed 7.4% to €341.3 million. Within this business, the Nuclear segment reported revenue of €205.5 million, up 8.9%, or 9.6% on a like-for-like basis, and Energy Transition & Infrastructures revenue rose 5.3% to €135.8 million, with 2.1% like-for-like growth (or 4.8% excluding Radicon’s revenue decline).

At €45.1 million, revenue for the Staffing business retreated 13.2% year on year at constant exchange rates, or 15.3% on a reported basis, as performance was weighed down by lower business volumes in the Oil & Gas sector. However, projects in the Industry sector have now started up, which should help to at least stabilise annual revenue in 2018.

      Operating profit before non-recurring items (EBITA)

Consolidated EBITA advanced 17.6% to €26.0 million in 2017 from €22.1 million in 2016, and EBITA margin represented 6.6% of revenue, up 80 basis points year on year.

EBITA for the Energy & Infrastructure business climbed €3.8 million to €27.9 million, which drove a 60 basis-point increase in EBITA margin to 8.2%.

Staffing EBITA decreased by €0.5 million to €1.9 million, representing an EBITA margin of 4.2%.

The Group’s “Holding company” expenses, net of the EBITA of the activities classified in the “Other” category, had a €3.8 million negative impact on consolidated EBITA in 2017 versus a €4.4 million negative impact in 2016 (as restated in order to facilitate year-on-year comparisons).

      Operating profit and non-recurring income and expenses

Consolidated operating profit after non-recurring items came to €14.2 million, up 11.8% on the €12.7 million reported for 2016.

Non-recurring items represented a net expense of €11.8 million, breaking down as:

–          €6.8 million corresponding to a provision recognized in addition to that booked in 2015 for a tax dispute concerning the former GPS division’s research tax credits for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The risks relating to this dispute are now fully covered by this provision.

–          €5 million primarily representing charges and provisions related to (i) adapting some of the Group’s resources to its new scope of consolidation and (ii) restructuring measures for conventional energy activities.

The contribution of Assystem Technologies Groupe (ATG) to Assystem’s consolidated profit for 2017 (before the tax recognised on the coupon on ATG convertible bonds held by Assystem) was €3.8 million, breaking down as (i) €2.3 million for Assystem’s 39.2% share of ATG’s profit for the period from 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2017 and (ii) €1.5 million in income from the convertible bonds.

Assystem recorded net financial income of €0.1 million for the year, including €2.7 million in “Net financial expense on cash and debt” which was more than offset by a net €2.8 million positive impact from “Other financial income and expenses”.

The income tax expense for continuing operations was €4.8 million. This total includes €1.3 million in net income related to dividend tax and a €0.1 million tax charge on the coupon received on the ATG convertible bonds.

Profit from discontinued operations amounted to €391.3 million and primarily corresponds to the gain arising on the transfer of control of the former GPS division to ATG. It also includes the profit figure of the former GPS division for the first three quarters of 2017.

Consolidated profit for the period came to €404.6 million, of which €0.5 million was attributable to non-controlling interests.

The Group estimates that its pro forma consolidated profit for the period amounts to €29.0 million. This figure, which does not include non-recurring income or expenses, was calculated based on the following:

–        EBITA for the year (i.e. €26.0 million).

–        An estimate of what ATG’s contribution to Assystem’s 2017 consolidated profit would have been (including the income tax charge on the coupon on the convertible bonds) if ATG had been set up on 1 January 2017 and if Assystem had held a 39.2% stake in ATG at that date (i.e. €13.0 million).

–        An estimate of the annual recurring net financial expense based on the Group’s balance sheet configuration at 31 December 2017 (i.e. €1.9 million).

–        A pro forma income tax charge on EBITA after deducting financial income and expenses (i.e. €8.1 million).

      Information on the revenue and EBITA generated in 2017 by the entities controlled by Assystem Technologies Groupe

Revenue generated by the entities consolidated by ATG – in which Assystem currently holds a 38.2% interest (compared with 39.2% at 31 December 2017) – totalled €673.6 million for the full twelve months of 2017, up 16.7% year on year (with 13.4% like-for-like growth).

EBITA reported by the entities controlled by ATG was €56.8 million for full-year 2017.

NET CASH/(DEBT)

Assystem had net cash of €23.9 million at 31 December 2017 (versus €16.1 million in net debt one year earlier). This positive swing reflects the following:

–        €20.8 million in free cash flow from the Group’s continuing operations, representing 5.3% of revenue.

–        A €60.4 million net cash inflow relating to (i) GPS and the transfer of control of this division to ATG (a €409.2 million inflow) (ii) the share buyback offer carried out in the fourth quarter of 2017 (a €225.1 million outflow) and (iii) the acquisition of a 5% stake in Framatome (a €123.7 million outflow).

–        A €21.2 million dividend payment to Assystem’s shareholders.

–        A negative €20.0 million in other cash flows, mainly related to the acquisitions of BQG and ECP.

RECOMMENDED DIVIDEND FOR 2017

At the Annual General Meeting to be held on 16 May 2018, Assystem will recommend the payment of a dividend of €1.00 per share for 2017. If this divided is approved by the shareholders it would represent a total payout of €15.2 million([5]), corresponding to 52% of pro forma consolidated profit for the period.

OUTLOOK FOR 2018

In the nuclear market, Assystem expects to see continued robust growth in 2018 for services provided to existing power plants and a ramp-up of business for new-build projects in the United Kingdom, Turkey and the Middle East.

In its other markets, the Group expects to reap the benefits of strong momentum in the life sciences and transport infrastructure sectors.

The combination of the above factors is expected to support overall growth and operating margin but it is likely that the conventional energy sector will see significant decreases in revenue, EBITA and operating margin.

On a consolidated basis, the Group’s targets – which only take into account the acquisitions completed by end-2017 – are as follows for 2018:

–        At least 10% growth in consolidated revenue and EBITA, with stronger growth in the second half than in the first due to an unfavourable basis of comparison with first-half 2017.

–        Free cash flow representing more than 5% of revenue.

FINANCIAL CALENDAR FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2018

–        26 April: First-quarter 2018 revenue release.

–        16 May: Annual General Meeting.