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4Q and FY 2020 Financial Results: Free Cash Flow Increases 1.5x Year-on-Year to a Historical Record RUB 42.5 Billion

19 February 2021

Moscow – PhosAgro (“the Company”) (Moscow Exchange and LSE: PHOR), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers, today announces its consolidated IFRS financial results for 4Q and FY 2020.

 

4Q and FY 2020 highlights

 

PhosAgro’s revenue for 4Q 2020 increased by 10.8% year-on-year to RUB 58.9 billion (USD 773 million), driven by changes in the pricing environment and the FX rate.

 

Revenue for FY 2020 increased by 2.3% year-on-year to RUB 253.9 billion (USD 3.5 billion). Revenue growth was fuelled by increased fertilizer sales volumes throughout the year.

 

In 4Q 2020, the Company’s EBITDA increased by 64.3% year-on-year to RUB 18.4 billion (USD 241 million) thanks to an increase in fertilizer prices while global prices for raw materials remained low. The EBITDA margin for the quarter increased by 10.2 p.p. to 31.2%.

 

EBITDA for FY 2020 increased by 11.5% year-on-year to RUB 84.3 billion (USD 1,168 million). The EBITDA margin was 33.2%.

 

The Company’s free cash flow in 4Q 2020 amounted to RUB 2.9 billion (USD 37 million) thanks to continued strong sales and more efficient management of working capital.

 

Free cash flow for FY 2020 increased 1.5x year-on-year to a record RUB 42.5 billion (USD 582 million).

 

Adjusted net income for FY 2020 was RUB 46.8 billion (USD 649 million), an increase of 26.3% year-on-year.

 

Net debt as of 31 December 2020 was RUB 156.9 billion (USD 2.1 billion), and the net debt/EBITDA ratio as of the end of 4Q 2020 had decreased from the previous quarter to 1.86x.

 


Financial and operating highlights


Financial highlights

RUB million

FY
2020

FY
2019

Change, %

4Q
2020

4Q
2019

Change, %

Revenue

253,879

248,125

2.3%

58,891

53,142

10.8%

EBITDA*

84,280

75,582

11.5%

18,383

11,186

64.3%

EBITDA margin

33.2%

30.5%

2.7 p.p.

31.2%

21.0%

10.2 p.p.

Net income

16,921

49,408

-65.8%

12,963

6,701

93.4%

Adj. net income**

46,791

37,062

26.3%

7,480

2,528

195.9%

Free cash flow

42,517

28,272

50.4%

2,852

-4,292

n/a

31.12.2020

31.12.2019

 

 

 

 

Net debt

156,875

131,583

 

 

ND/LTM EBITDA

1.86x

1.74x

 

 

 

 

Sales, ths tonnes

FY
2020

FY
2019

Change, %

4Q
2020

4Q
2019

Change, %

Phosphate-based fertilizers

7,669

7,255

5.7%

1,545

1,738

-11.1%

Nitrogen-based fertilizers

2,286

2,197

4.0%

500

537

-7.0%

Total sales

9,955

9,452

5.3%

2,045

2,275

-10.1%


The average RUB/USD exchange rate in 4Q 2020 was 76.22, compared with 63.7 in 4Q 2019; the exchange rate was 73.9 as of 31 December 2020, compared with 61.9 as of 31 December 2019.

*EBITDA is calculated as operating profit adjusted for depreciation and amortisation.

**Net profit as reported minus FX gain or loss and other non-cash items.

 

Commenting on the Company’s performance, Jim Rogers, an Independent Director on PhosAgro’s Board of Directors, said:

 

“I have been a member of PhosAgro’s Board of Directors for several years now, and we have interacted closely with the Company’s management team this entire time. Therefore, I am especially pleased to see PhosAgro’s production and financial performance rising, which is driven largely by implementation of a long-term strategy aimed at sustainable growth, a professional management team and the ability to take advantage of favourable market conditions.

 

“Separately, I would like to note that the achievements of several Company executives team were recently recognised at the 15th national Director of the Year competition, where the Expert Council recognised five members of the Company’s Board of Directors. Xavier Rolet, Chairman of PhosAgro’s Board of Directors, was named one of the top 25 Board chairs. Irina Bokova, Chair of PhosAgro’s Board of Directors Sustainable Development Committee, Marcus Rhodes and Andrey Sharonov, a member of three PhosAgro Board committees, were included among the top 50 independent directors. Andrey Guryev, PhosAgro’s CEO and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors, was announced as the winne­r in the category “Contribution to the Development of ESG Culture”.

 

“Yesterday, after noting the Company’s outstanding operating results in 2020, the Board of Directors approved PhosAgro’s financial statements for FY 2020. At an upcoming meeting of the Board of Directors, we plan to recommend that the General Meeting of Shareholders approve dividends for 2020. Our decision on dividends will be based on the Company’s performance, continued trend of price recovery on the global mineral fertilizers market and prospects for growth in demand from end consumers.”

 

Commenting on the Company’s financial results, PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev said:

 

“2020 was a record year for PhosAgro in terms of both production volumes and the Company’s ability to generate cash flows. Implementation of our long-term development strategy enabled us to exceed, for the first time, 10 million tonnes of commercial production in a year, and fertilizer sales increased by more than 5% year-on-year.

 

“With a favourable pricing environment in global sales markets, increased fertilizer sales supported a higher EBITDA margin, enabling us to achieve record growth in free cash flow, which exceeded RUB 42 billion, an increase of more than one and a half times year-on-year.

 

“At the same time, the Company’s net debt/EBITDA ratio remains at 1.86x, and our capital expenditures in 2020 amounted to less than 50% of EBITDA.

 

“At the moment, we are seeing a considerable increase in demand and prices for all the principal types of mineral fertilizers, which is driven by high prices for the main agricultural crops and the growth in seasonal demand in key sales markets: Europe, the US domestic market and China.

 

“In addition to these factors, support for fertilizer demand in the near term can be expected from the Indian market, where low carryover stocks may be conducive to an earlier start of major seasonal purchases.”

 

4Q 2020 market conditions

 

Throughout the fourth quarter, the global market for phosphate-based fertilizers was characterised by the continuation of high residual demand in key markets in South Asia (India, Pakistan) and Latin America (Brazil), as well as continued limited exports from China.

 

The fourth quarter has traditionally seen an increase in seasonal demand in the markets of Western Europe.

 

In the US domestic market, in the absence of supplies from Russia and Morocco due to an investigation into the introduction of countervailing duties on fertilizers from these countries, there was an increased shortage and a decrease in exports from American producers, which pushed prices higher not only in the US domestic market but also in the global market as a whole.

 

The increase in global prices for the main types of agricultural products ensured that fertilizers remained as affordable as they have been in recent years in nearly every market.

 

The combination of the above factors offset the traditional low season and contributed to continued growth in demand and higher prices for fertilizers towards the end of the year.

 

In 4Q 2020, the average price for DAP/MAP (FOB Baltic) was USD 355 per tonne, up USD 36 (11%) from the previous quarter and USD 73 (26%) above the average price in 4Q 2019.

 

The average price for urea (FOB Baltic) in 4Q 2020 was USD 237 per tonne, up from an average price of USD 233 per tonne in the previous quarter and USD 219 in 4Q 2019. The global urea market was shaped by a series of large tenders in India, which, combined with growth in seasonal demand in Latin America and Southeast Asia, helped stabilise the balance of supply and demand in the market as a whole.

 

The average price for ammonia (FOB Baltic) in 4Q 2020 was USD 209 per tonne, up from an average price of USD 178 per tonne in 3Q 2020. The increase in ammonia prices was driven by growth in seasonal demand in the markets of Europe, North America and Asia amid maintenance shutdowns and reduced production in the Middle East, Trinidad and Southeast Asia. An additional factor behind the upward trend was the rise in global prices for natural gas.

 

The average price for sulphur (FOB Baltic) in 4Q 2020 was USD 63 per tonne, up from USD 53 in the previous quarter. The main factors behind the increase in global sulphur prices were the strengthening of global markets for phosphate-based fertilizers, reductions in sulphur exports from Russia and Canada due to seasonal logistics limitations and a significant decrease in China’s sulphur reserves.

 

Potash prices (FOB Baltic) remained stable in 4Q at USD 192 per tonne, down from USD 197 per tonne in 3Q 2020. The slight price decrease was mainly due to an increase in shipping rates on the main supply routes.

 

4Q and FY 2020 financial performance

 

In 4Q 2020, the Company’s revenue increased by 10.8% year-on-year to RUB 58.9 billion (USD 773 million). Growth was driven mainly by the recovery of prices for phosphate- and nitrogen-based fertilizers on the back of a weaker rouble.

 

Revenue for FY 2020 increased by 2.3% year-on-year to RUB 253.9 billion (USD 3.5 billion). The lower average sales prices for phosphate- and nitrogen-based fertilizers in 2020 were completely offset by a 5.3% increase in sales volumes and the 11.4% depreciation of the rouble against the US dollar.

 

Gross profit in 4Q 2020 increased by 35.9% year-on-year to RUB 29.3 billion (USD 384 million), with a gross profit margin of 49.7%. Gross profit in the phosphate- and nitrogen-based fertilizer segments saw the following changes:

 

·         Gross profit for phosphate-based fertilizers increased by 35.6% to RUB 23.4 billion (USD 324 million). This improvement was driven by the recovery in prices for phosphate-based fertilizers in tandem with low feedstock prices and the depreciation of the rouble;

·         Gross profit in the nitrogen-based fertilizer segment increased by 27.9% to RUB 5.6 billion (USD 77 million).

 

PhosAgro’s EBITDA for 4Q 2020 increased by 64.3% year-on-year and amounted to RUB 18.4 billion (USD 241 million). The main growth drivers were the recovery in global fertilizer prices and the completion of equipment upgrades and operational improvements at production facilities. Additional supporting factors were the weakening of the rouble against the US dollar and low prices for primary feedstocks.

 

Net profit adjusted for non-cash FX gain and other non-cash items for 4Q 2020 increased by almost three times year-on-year to RUB 7.5 billion (USD 98 million).

 

Free cash flow in 4Q 2020 was RUB 2.9 billion (USD 37 million), compared with a negative cash flow of RUB 4.3 billion (USD 67 million) in 4Q 2019. This considerable increase was possible because of the Company’s high EBITDA margin, sales growth and efficient management of working capital.

 

Capital expenditure in 4Q 2020 amounted to RUB 13.5 billion (USD 177 million). In annual terms, capital expenditure amounted to RUB 40.9 billion (USD 567 million), which corresponds to 49% of EBITDA for the reporting period. The Company invested primarily in the development of its ore base in Kirovsk, upgrades to its fertilizer production assets and railway infrastructure in Cherepovets, the creation of a flexible ammonium sulphate production line in Balakovo and the construction of new capacities at its production site in Volkhov.

 

As of the end of the year, the net debt/EBITDA ratio was 1.86x. The increase compared to year-end 2019 was driven by the devaluation of the rouble against the US dollar, since a large part of the Company’s loan portfolio is denominated in US dollars. Net debt as of 31 December 2020 amounted to RUB 156.9 billion (USD 2.1 billion).

 

Cost of Sales

RUB million or %

FY
2020

FY
2019

Change, %

4Q
2020

4Q
2019

Change, %

D&A

23,743

21,368

11.1%

5,022

5,242

-4.2%

Materials and services

40,973

41,221

-0.6%

9,272

9,964

-6.9%

Phosphate rock transport

8,134

8,641

-5.9%

1,452

1,956

-25.8%

Repair expenses

10,134

10,119

0.1%

2,754

2,363

16.5%

Drilling and blasting

3,168

2,323

36.4%

788

678

16.2%

Other materials and services

19,537

20,138

-3.0%

4,278

4,967

-13.9%

Raw materials

35,514

43,155

-17.7%

7,643

9,450

-19.1%

Ammonia

4,802

4,095

17.3%

1,322

1,173

12.7%

Sulphur and sulph. acid

4,360

9,165

-52.4%

901

1,313

-31.4%

Potassium

12,253

13,691

-10.5%

2,442

2,964

-17.6%

Natural gas

12,342

12,627

-2.3%

2,467

2,972

-17.0%

Ammonium sulphate

1,757

3,577

-50.9%

511

1,028

-50.3%

Salaries and social contributions

13,807

12,744

8.3%

2,897

3,170

-8.6%

Electricity

6,311

6,204

1.7%

1,392

1,439

-3.3%

Fuel

3,885

4,849

-19.9%

915

1,119

-18.2%

Products for resale

9,102

6,683

36.2%

2,472

1,216

103.3%

Total

133,335

136,224

-2.1%

29,613

31,600

-6.3%


 

Cost of sales decreased in 2020 by 2.1% year-on-year to RUB 133.3 billion (USD 1.8 billion). This decrease on the back of higher sales was the result of improved efficiency stemming from upgrades to production assets, increased self-sufficiency in feedstocks and low prices for raw materials.

 

Cost of sales in 4Q 2020 decreased by 6.3% year-on-year (in connection with a decrease in fertilizer sales and low prices for raw materials) to RUB 29.6 billion (USD 389 million).

 

·         The cost of materials and services decreased by 6.9% year-on-year to RUB 9.3 billion (USD 122 million). This decrease was driven by savings in phosphate rock transport, as the Company used a higher percentage of its own rail cars.

·         Raw material costs decreased by 19.1% year-on-year to RUB 7.6 billion (USD 100 million) due to:

·         A 31.4% reduction in sulphur and sulphuric acid costs to RUB 901 million (USD 12 million) due to a decrease in sales of fertilizer brands with high sulphur content, as well as the launch of a new sulphuric acid plant in Cherepovets in 1Q 2020.

·         A 17.6% decrease in potash costs to RUB 2.4 billion (USD 32 million) amid falling global prices.

·         A 17.0% drop in natural gas costs to RUB 2.5 billion (USD 32 million) due to lower sales of fertilizer brands with high nitrogen content (DAP/MAP/urea).

·         A 50.3% reduction in the cost of ammonium sulphate to RUB 0.5 billion (USD 7 million) following the full ramp-up of the Company’s own ammonium sulphate plant.

·         Ammonia costs rose by 12.7% to RUB 1.3 billion (USD 17 million) due to higher consumption driven by the launch of the Company’s own ammonium sulphate production unit.

 

 

 

Administrative and selling expenses

RUB million

FY
2020

FY
2019

Change, %

4Q
2020

4Q
2019

Change, %

Administrative expenses

17,828

16,476

8.2%

4,887

4,658

4.9%

Salaries and social contributions

11,249

9,300

21.0%

2,873

2,365

21.5%

Professional services

1,929

1,963

-1.7%

644

696

-7.5%

D&A

1,368

1,378

-0.7%

349

342

2.0%

Other

3,282

3,835

-14.4%

1,021

1,255

-18.6%

Selling and marketing expenses

39,588

38,121

3.8%

10,610

10,324

2.8%

Freight, port and stevedoring expenses

19,208

18,372

4.6%

5,259

5,458

-3.6%

Russian Railways’ tariffs and operators’ fees

11,466

11,441

0.2%

2,725

2,614

4.2%

Salaries and social contributions

3,484

2,662

30.9%

1,166

708

64.7%

Material and services

2,431

2,563

-5.2%

621

692

-10.3%

Customs duties

1,484

1,898

-21.8%

447

458

-2.4%

D&A

1,515

1,185

27.8%

392

394

-0.5%


 

Administrative expenses increased by 4.9% year-on-year in 4Q 2020 to RUB 4.9 billion (USD 64 million). The main driver was a 21.5% increase in salaries and social security contributions to RUB 2.9 billion (USD 38 million) due to an increase in the number of employees and incentive payments.

In annual terms, administrative expenses increased by 8.2% year-on-year to RUB 17.8 billion (USD 247 million).

In 4Q 2020, selling expenses increased by 2.8% year-on-year to RUB 10.6 billion (USD 139 million). In annual terms, selling expenses increased by 3.8% year-on-year to RUB 39.6 billion (USD 54 million). The main factor behind this growth was an increase in incentive payments as a result of excellent operating performance.

 

Market outlook

 

The start of 2021 has shown a noticeable increase in prices for major agricultural crops, which, combined with the growth in seasonal demand in key sales markets (Europe, the US domestic market and China in particular), contributed to a significant increase in demand and prices for all major types of mineral fertilizers and raw materials for production.

The main benchmarks for phosphate-based fertilizers (DAP/MAP) and urea increased by more than USD 100 per tonne throughout January and in early February and continue to rise. Persistent demand in China’s domestic market has limited exports from the region.

The Indian market is characterized by low carryover stocks, especially for phosphate-based fertilizers, implying an earlier start to major seasonal purchases. The US domestic market continues to face a shortage of DAP/MAP due to the lack of traditional imports from Morocco and Russia, which, at the height of the main spring demand, is acting as an additional driver pushing up prices to their highest levels in recent years.

 

Conference call and webcast:

 

PhosAgro will hold a conference call and webcast today at 14:00 London time (17:00 in Moscow; 09:00 in New York).

 

The call will be held in English, with simultaneous translation into Russian on a separate line.

 

Webcast link:

https://www.webcast-eqs.com/register/phosagro20210219/

 

Participant dial-in numbers:

 

Russian Federation Toll                 +7 495 213 1767
Russian Federation Toll-Free      8 800 500 9283
United Kingdom Toll                       +44 (0)330 336 9126
United Kingdom Toll-Free            0800 358 6377
United States Toll-Free                 +1 313-209-4906
United States Toll                            888-254-3590

 

Conference ID numbers:

 

English conference ID: 5592368
Russian conference ID: 2118837

 

Contacts

 

PJSC PhosAgro

Andrey Serov, Head of the Investor Relations Department

+7 495 232 9689 ext. 2187

ir@phosagro.ru

 

Timur Belov, Press Officer

+7 495 232 9689 ext. 2652

 

EM

Sam VanDerlip

vanderlip@em-comms.com

+44 207 002 7859