EANS-News: Lenzing AG / Earnings more than doubled in first nine months of 2021 CNE

11/3/2021, 7:30 AM (Source: euro adhoc)

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Earnings/Quarterly Report/Company Information

-

* Strong operating result despite continued rise in energy, raw material and
  logistics costs
* Key strategic projects on track - commissioning of the lyocell plant in
  Thailand from the end of the year
* Renowned marine research institute of the University of California, San Diego,
  confirms that LENZING(TM) fibers are biodegradable - an effective alternative
  to reduce plastic pollution
* Lenzing rated "sustainability champion" by MSCI ESG
* Cord Prinzhorn assumes role of interim CEO - 2021 guidance confirmed

Lenzing - The Lenzing Group reported a significant year-on-year improvement in
revenue and earnings in the first nine months of 2021 thanks to the largely
positive market environment. Growing optimism in the textile and apparel
industry and the recovery in retail led to a substantial increase in demand and
prices on the global fiber market, particularly at the start of the current
financial year.

Revenue rose by 32.9 percent to EUR 1.59 bn in the first nine months of 2021.
This increase is attributable to a higher sales volume as well as higher viscose
prices, which stood at more than RMB 15,000 in May thanks to significantly
higher demand for fibers, especially in Asia. The focus on wood-based specialty
fibers such as the TENCEL(TM), LENZING(TM) ECOVERO(TM) and VEOCEL(TM) branded
fibers also had a positive impact on the revenue trend; the share of specialty
fibers in fiber revenue amounted to 72.4 percent in the reporting period. This
more than offset the negative impact of less favorable currency effects. The
earnings performance essentially reflects the positive market trend and was
additionally reinforced by efficiency-enhancement measures. Energy, raw material
and logistics costs increased significantly during the entire reporting period.
EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) more than
doubled to EUR 297.6 mn in the first nine months of 2021 (compared to EUR 138.5
mn in the first nine months of 2020). The EBITDA margin rose from 11.6 percent
to 18.7 percent. Net profit for the period amounted to EUR 113.4 mn (compared to
a net loss of EUR minus 23.3 mn in the first nine months of 2020) and earnings
per share to EUR 3.77 (compared to EUR minus 0.1 in the first three months of
2020).

"Lenzing has enjoyed a strong business performance to date in 2021. Demand for
our wood-based, biodegradable specialty fibers under the TENCEL(TM), LENZING(TM)
ECOVERO(TM) and VEOCEL(TM) brands is growing very well", notes Thomas Obendrauf,
Chief Financial Officer of the Lenzing Group. "We stay the course, and the
largest investment program in our company's history is still running according
to schedule. With the imminent commissioning of the lyocell plant in Thailand,
we will reach a highly important milestone for both the company and our goal to
make the textile and nonwovens industries more sustainable", Obendrauf comments.

Gross cash flow more than tripled to EUR 301.1 mn in the first nine months of
2021 (compared to EUR 83.3 mn in the first nine months of 2020). This increase
was above all due to the earnings performance. Cash flow from operating
activities amounted to EUR 307.8 mn (compared to EUR minus 14 mn in the first
nine months of 2020). Free cash flow amounted to EUR minus 317.9 mn (compared to
EUR minus 460.8 mn in the first nine months of 2020) due to the investment
activities related to the projects in Thailand and Brazil. CAPEX (expenditures
for intangible assets, property, plant and equipment, and biological assets)
increased by 40.3 percent to EUR 631.1 mn during the reporting period, of which
roughly half was financed out of cash flow from operating activities. The strong
increase in investments is attributable to the implementation of the key
projects.

Zwtl.: Strengthening specialty fiber growth

The construction of the pulp mill in Brazil continues to proceed according to
schedule despite the challenging developments related to COVID-19. The expected
ramp-up of the pulp mill is still scheduled for the first half of 2022. The new
mill will strengthen backward integration and, consequently, Lenzing's specialty
fiber growth in line with the sCore TEN strategy.

Specialty fibers are Lenzing's great strength. The objective is to generate more
than 75 percent of fiber revenues from business with wood-based specialty fibers
such as lyocell and modal fibers by 2024. The focus of this strategic target is
on the construction of a new state-of-the-art lyocell plant in Thailand. The
investment for the new plant with a capacity of 100,000 tons amounts to
approximately EUR 400 mn. Construction work started in the second half of 2019
and proceeded largely according to schedule in the reporting period, despite the
challenges arising from the pandemic. The recruiting and onboarding of new
employees is progressing successfully. The commissioning of the plant is
scheduled for the end of the year, and the start of production for the first
quarter of 2022.

In addition, Lenzing is investing more than EUR 200 mn in its production sites
in Purwakarta (Indonesia) and Nanjing (China) to convert existing standard
viscose capacity into capacity for eco-friendly specialty fibers. In Nanjing,
Lenzing will establish the first wood-based fiber complex in China that does not
depend on coal as an energy source. At the same time, a line of standard viscose
will be converted to a TENCEL(TM) branded modal fibers line, making the Chinese
plant a completely wood-based specialty fiber site by the end of 2022.
Investments in Lenzing's site in Indonesia will make this facility fully
compliant with EU Ecolabel standards. As a consequence, the site will become a
pure specialty viscose supplier as of 2023. Once these investments have been
completed, Lenzing will boost specialty fibers as a percentage of its fiber
revenues to well above the targeted 75 percent by as early as 2023.

Zwtl.: Vision of a zero-carbon future

With the implementation of its science-based targets, the Lenzing Group is
actively contributing to combating problems caused by climate change. In 2019,
Lenzing made a strategic commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions per
ton of product by 50 percent by 2030. The vision is to be climate-neutral by
2050. The two key projects in Brazil and Thailand represent important milestones
on this journey. Thanks to its excellent infrastructure, the location in
Thailand can be supplied with sustainable biogenic energy. In addition, the mill
in Brazil will feed more than 50 percent of the electricity generated into the
public grid as renewable energy. The investments at the existing Asian locations
are also in line with Lenzing's decarbonization goals.

The cooperation with Södra, a Swedish pulp producer, marks a further milestone
in Lenzing's efforts to achieve its ambitious climate and sustainability goals.
The two leading global suppliers, which have been proactively driving the
closed-loop economy in the fashion industry for many years, are joining forces
to give the issue a further boost and to make a decisive contribution to
addressing the challenges posed by textile waste globally. A capacity expansion
for pulp from textile waste is also planned. The goal is to recycle 25,000 tons
of textile waste per year by 2025.

For Lenzing, sustainability represents both a core value of its strategy and a
guiding principle for innovation and product development. Lenzing further
expanded its product offering for the textile and nonwovens industries in the
reporting period. The first TENCEL(TM) branded lyocell fiber made of orange pulp
and wood sources was presented in the third quarter. The first fabrics are being
developed in cooperation with Orange Fiber, an Italian specialist textile
producer. The upcycling of orange peel as part of the TENCEL(TM) Limited Edition
initiative represents another successful attempt by Lenzing to develop new
recycling solutions with partners along the value chain. The launch of the first
carbon-neutral fibers on the global nonwovens market under the VEOCEL(TM) brand
offers a further example of product innovation in the reporting period,
reflecting the ambitious path pursued by Lenzing and its partners in the areas
of climate change and the closed-loop economy.

Zwtl.: Alternative to fossil-based fibers

With its wood-based, biodegradable VEOCEL(TM) fibers, Lenzing is also benefiting
from new legislation such as the Single-Use Plastics Directive (EU) 2019/904.[1]
The EU Commission published implementation guidelines in the second quarter
specifying which products fall within the directive's scope. Lenzing welcomes
the measures taken by the EU in a joint effort of the Member States to combat
plastic pollution. The Single-Use Plastics Directive stipulates uniform
labelling requirements for some of the single-use plastic products either on the
packaging or on the product itself from July 3, 2021. They encompass feminine
hygiene products and wet wipes for personal and household care containing
plastic.

In a study published in October 2021[2], scientists from the renowned academic
research institute Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) of the University
of California, San Diego, confirmed that wood-based cellulosic fibers are
quickly degraded in the ocean at the end of their lifecycle, which makes them a
clearly superior alternative to fossil-based synthetic fibers. The study arose
from an independent project aiming to understand "end-of-life" scenarios for
textiles and nonwovens discarded in the environment. While wood-based cellulosic
fibers fully biodegraded within 30 days, the fossil-based fibers tested were
practically unchanged after more than 200 days.

Plastic pollution represents one of the great problems of our time, and it might
have a long-term impact on multiple generations. The fashion industry, with its
"fast fashion" business model, has an extremely negative effect on the
environment. The use of fossil-based synthetic fibers in clothes has roughly
doubled over the last 20 years, Fossil-based fibers represent approximately two
thirds of global fiber consumption today, and this share is constantly
increasing[3].

Zwtl.: Lenzing rated "sustainability champion"

Lenzing received several awards for its achievements during the reporting
period, most notably in the field of sustainability: The renowned rating agency
MSCI upgraded Lenzing Group from "A" to "AA" as of September 2021. This places
Lenzing among the top 6 percent of rated companies in its peer group. Due to the
improved MSCI ESG rating, Lenzing will benefit from lower interest expenses.
Lenzing placed a EUR 500 mn bonded loan (Schuldschein loan) in November 2019
that is linked to its sustainability performance. In accordance with its
commitment under the bonded loan placement, the company will donate the full
amount of the interest expense saving as a consequence of the rating revision to
a project it supports. MSCI cited the company's ambitious climate targets, its
approach to promoting a closed-loop economy and exceptionally good governance
structures as the main reasons for the upgrade.

Lenzing was awarded Platinum CSR status by EcoVadis for the first time in 2021
and now ranks among the top one percent of companies worldwide rated with regard
to the environment, fair working conditions and human rights, as well as ethics
and sustainable procurement.

Zwtl.: Cord Prinzhorn assumes role of interim CEO

In September, the Supervisory Board of Lenzing AG came to a mutual agreement
with its longstanding Chief Executive Officer Stefan Doboczky to terminate his
contract before the end of his term. Doboczky informed the Supervisory Board
that he will not be available for a further extension of his contract. The
Supervisory Board accepted his resignation with great regret and the parties
mutually agreed to end the contract with effect as of the end of the reporting
period. Cord Prinzhorn has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer. He
has been a member of Lenzing's Supervisory Board since the Annual General
Meeting in April. When Prinzhorn assumes the role of Chief Executive Officer on
November 04, 2021, his Supervisory Board mandate will be suspended for the time
being.

Zwtl.: Outlook and guidance for 2021

The International Monetary Fund forecasts global growth of 5.9 percent for 2021.
However, the economic recovery after the deep recession caused by COVID-19 is
subject to risks, and largely depends on further progress made with vaccination
campaigns and the successful global containment of the pandemic, particularly in
developing countries. The currency environment is expected to remain volatile in
the regions relevant to Lenzing.

The global fiber markets saw a significant recovery from the CoV crisis from the
third quarter of 2020, starting in China. However, the market turned in
February/March this year and took a downward trend until well into the third
quarter. In the last few weeks, fiber prices have risen sharply again. In the
cotton market, the current 2020/2021 harvest points to a tightening in
production volume and, consequently, a slight decrease in inventory levels. The
prices for dissolving wood pulp remain at a high level despite the decline in
the third and at the start of the fourth quarter.

Lenzing expects continued growth in demand for sustainably produced fibers for
the textile and apparel industries as well as for the hygiene and medical
industries. This trend is likely to continue unabated after the COVID-19
pandemic, not least due to a number of legislative initiatives.

With the prospect of a progressing active immunization of a broad population
against COVID-19, optimism and confidence in a speedy return to normality are
also rising within the textile value chain. However, the currently positive
environment continues to be characterized by a high level of uncertainty, also
due to the increased occurrence of virus mutations and the extremely high
infection rates in parts of South America and in South and South-East Asia. For
this reason, visibility remains limited.

Following significant cost increases in the year to date, further cost pressure
on energy, raw materials and logistics is expected in the coming quarters.

Given the above factors and the very positive performance during the first nine
months, the Lenzing Group therefore continues to expect EBITDA to reach at least
EUR 360 mn in 2021.

In light of these trends, Lenzing considers itself well-positioned with its
sCore TEN corporate strategy, and will continue to drive the completion of the
major strategic projects, which are to make a significant contribution to
earnings from 2022. In addition to its targets for EBITDA (EUR 800 mn) and ROCE
(>10 %[4]), Lenzing also confirms its four other medium-term targets for 2024:
net debt/EBITDA (<2.5 x), share of specialty fibers (>75 % of fiber revenue),
own supply of dissolving wood pulp (>75 %), decarbonization (>40 % fewer CO2
emissions per ton of product).

Selected indicators of the
Lenzing Group                              01-09/2021                 01-09/2020
EUR mn
Revenue                                       1,588.5                    1,194.9
EBITDA (Earnings before
interest, tax,                                  297.6                   138.5(1)
depreciation and
amortization)
EBITDA margin                                  18.7 %                    11.6 %1
Net profit/loss for the                         113.4                      -23.3
period
Earnings per share in EUR                        3.77                      -0.10
Cash flow from operating                        307.8                      -14.0
activities
CAPEX(2)                                        631.1                      449.8


                                         30/09/2021                   31/12/2020
Net financial debt                            806.3                        471.4
Adjusted equity ratio3                       41.6 %                       45.8 %
Number of employees                           7,831                        7,358
(headcount)


1) As of the beginning of the 2021 financial year, the Lenzing Group presents
the consolidated income statement according to the cost-of-sales method rather
than the total cost method, Thus increasing international comparability with
peer group companies. Some amounts previously recognized in EBIT/EBITDA are
reclassified to the financial result (see note 1 of the consolidated interim
financial statements of the Half-Year Report 01-06/2021)
2) Capital expenditures: Investments in intangible assets, property, plant and
equipment, and biological assets as per the consolidated statement of cash flows
3) Ratio of adjusted equity to total assets in percent

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[1] Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5
June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the
environment
[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969721031314
[3] http://changingmarkets.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FOSSIL-FASHION_Web-
compressed.pdf
[4] To be adjusted for assets under construction

Further inquiry note:
Dominic Köfner
Vice President Corporate Communications & Public Affairs
Lenzing AG
Phone: +43 7672 701 2743
E-mail: media@lenzing.com

end of announcement                         euro adhoc
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issuer:       Lenzing AG

A-4860 Lenzing
phone:        +43 7672-701-0
FAX:          +43 7672-96301
mail:         office@lenzing.com
WWW:          http://www.lenzing.com
ISIN:         AT0000644505
indexes:      WBI, ATX
stockmarkets: Wien
language:     English

EAX0002    2021-11-03/07:30

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