Dangote Cement – Forging ahead in spite of pressure in H2’20

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Earnings surge despite lockdown

Dangote Cement wrapped up the first half of the year in impressive fashion, reporting a 6% y/y jump in Group bottom line to ₦126.1 billion, 22% ahead of our ₦103.2 billion estimates. The earnings expansion was achieved amidst a pandemic-induced slowdown in economic activity in April.

On a quarterly basis, operating earnings came under pressure, with the Nigerian business reporting a 6% y/y drop in EBITDA to ₦91.1 billion, dragged by higher energy costs, wages, haulage costs and selling and distribution costs. EBITDA margin moderated 190bps y/y to 59.5%. On the other hand, the Pan African business reported a 40% y/y jump in EBITDA to ₦16.9 billion, a record quarterly operating profit from the region.

This was largely due to increased volumes, higher pricing in Zambia, reduced haulage and depreciation costs in Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia. That said, dragged by the weaker Nigerian figures, Group EBITDA fell 2% y/y to ₦103.8 billion in Q2, at a reduced margin of 45.6% (Q2’19: 46.7%).

Overall, supported by the stronger operating the environment in Q1, Group H1’20 EBITDA came in flat versus the previous year at ₦218.1 billion (Vetiva: ₦210.4 billion), with an EBITDA margin of 45.7%. Furthermore, PBT fell 2% y/y to ₦74.8 billion in Q2, as a 16% y/y increase in debt balance drove a 24% y/y increase in net finance costs.

However, in spite of the drop in PBT, Dangote Cement reported an 11% y/y jump in Q2 PAT to ₦65.6 billion, supported by a 12.4% (Q2’19: 22.9%) effective tax rate.

Exports, promotions to drive volume growth

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At the end of March 2020, Lagos State announced a partial lockdown in the movement of citizens in a bid to curb the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The rest of the country soon followed, with the resulting lockdown limiting economic activity across the country.

Lockdowns were also enacted across the Pan African countries. We had anticipated a sharp drop in public and private sector infrastructure spend as a result, with government and corporate treasuries directly or indirectly impacted in the short term. Thus, it came as no surprise to see a 28% y/y drop in cement sales in Nigeria in April, the month of the lockdown.

Revenue was also impacted by the Pan African business due to similar shutdowns. However, by the start of May, lockdown restrictions had eased across Africa, leading to a resurgence of economic and more importantly, construction activities.

By the end of Q2’20, volumes had recovered to 3.4 million MT in Nigeria (Vetiva: 3.1 million MT), a mild 6% y/y drop in sales, even as the borders were closed. Combined with strong Q1 volumes, the Nigerian business reported 7.4 million MT of sales in the first half of the year, 2.4% down y/y.

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With the relaunch of the popular bag of goodies promo in July and amidst the resumption of sea-based exports in Q2, we forecast FY’20 Nigerian volumes at 14.0 million MT, up from 13.4 million MT. While cement sales fell 6% y/y in Q2, a 3% y/y rise in average revenue/tonne to ₦45,118 in Nigeria meant that Revenue moderated only3% y/y to ₦153.1 billion.

Read Also:  OPEC Optimistic in Dangote Refinery Expanding Global Capacity

Combined with stronger Q1 results, however, H1’20 revenue came in 1% higher y/y at ₦332.4 billion. While we maintain our expectation of stronger competition in the space amidst reduced demand, we adjust our pricing expectations to reflect higher costs and anticipate a 3% growth in average revenue/tonne over FY’20. Thus, we forecast an FY’20
Revenue of ₦625.4 billion for the Nigerian business.

Similar to Nigeria, the Pan African business saw a recovery in demand post-lockdown, with Q2 sales rising 3% y/y to 2.4 million MT, supported by stronger sales in countries such as Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Combined with Q1, the region recorded a 1% y/y jump in cement sales to 4.7 million MT.

With average revenue/tonne also rising 4% y/y to ₦31,117 in Q2’20, Pan African revenue surged 8% y/y to ₦75.2 billion in the second quarter, taking H1’20 topline 4% higher y/y to ₦145.0 billion.

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We forecast continued sales growth in the region and raise our Pan Africa volume and Revenue forecasts to 9.4 million MT (Previous: 9.2 million MT) and ₦293.9 billion. Overall, we forecast a 1% y/y moderation in FY’20 Group volumes to 23.5 million MT, with Revenue growing 3% y/y to ₦919 billion, thanks to higher pricing.

The new export strategy: A medium-term boost

Following the commissioning of the export jetty in Apapa, Dangote Cement resumed exports of clinkers to West African markets in Q2, with a first clinker shipment of 27.8 thousand MT to Senegal in June.

The company is looking to build on this and expand its shipping routes to cover several West and Central African countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Ghana. The expansion will focus on shipping clinkers to countries without commercial quantities of limestone, which currently import clinkers from Asia and Europe.

In all, management has identified a possible 15 target countries with a combined population of over 350 million people. While we expect total clinker sales for 2020 to be negligible, we see this as an effective medium-long term growth strategy, possibly delivering additional volume growth for the Nigerian business.

A decent performance expected despite economic challenges

After taking into account the stronger-than-expected performance in the first half of the year, we have adjusted our Group EBITDA expectation to ₦423.5 billion (margin: 46%), supported by improved Pan-African EBITDA. Finally, we adjust our FY’20 PAT expectation to ₦209.8 billion.

After updating our model, we revise our target price to ₦198.15, reflecting stronger medium-long term prospects on account of the export strategy, an expected reduction in WACC due to the debt strategy and an overall low-interest environment.

Vetiva Research

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Latest News

Singapore Employees Lack Retirement Support From Companies While Financial Wellbeing Becomes a Top Priority: Aon Survey

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 14 April 2021 - Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has released the findings of the 2021 Trends in Retirement & Financial Wellbeing survey for Singapore.

Working adults in Singapore ranked retirement planning as their top priority but an alarming 80% underestimate how much they really need to retire. While retirement support from employers is also lacking, further challenges remain around transparency in group retirement plans' investment offerings and employees foregoing long-term perspectives to seek short-term gains.

Ashley Palmer, Regional Managing Partner, Retirement & Investments, Asia for Aon, said, ""Employers can have a significant impact on how much their employees save by instilling smart habits and healthy money behaviours. The right long-term savings vehicles, effective communications and financial tools will help Singapore's workforce be more financially resilient in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The survey identifies three main themes in financial wellbeing and retirement support for Singapore employees.

Financial wellbeing support is the new employee expectation. As a result, close to 40% of employers rank an employee financial wellbeing strategy as their highest priority, followed by emotional and mental wellbeing support. The survey shows that 70% of Singapore employers will formulate or execute financial wellbeing programmes throughout 2021, in line with employee expectations. Companies also view offering a financial wellbeing programme critical in increasing employee engagement and remaining competitive in the talent market.

There is an increasing trend of employer-led supplementary savings plans. Currently, 22% of companies surveyed offer Central Provident Fund (CPF) top-up contributions to citizens and Permanent Residents. But, close to 40% of the working population in Singapore are foreigners who do not have access to CPF and are likely to have foregone their retirement benefits in their home countries. To bridge this gap, and to provide equitable retirement benefits to all employee groups, close to 50% of the organisations surveyed offer supplementary retirement benefits to their foreign staff. Financial services firms are leading in this practice, followed by the technology and the healthcare sectors.

Promisingly, a third of organisations in Singapore are prioritising a thorough review of their supplementary retirement arrangements in 2021.

Alicia Brittain, Senior Consultant & Actuary, Retirement & Investments, Singapore for Aon, said, "Forward-looking companies first need to understand the financial worries of their employees and identify the gaps in their benefits offering. The most effective approaches are aimed at changing individual behaviours towards money and savings and providing accessible programmes and vehicles to deliver sustainable change. For example, when organisations provide retirement benefits as cash-in-lieu, it is most likely immediately spent and so does not form part of an emergency fund or long-term savings for the employees' retirement years. Supplementary retirement plans solve this issue and are more flexible and cost effective - and can also offer contributions above the monthly CPF wage cap to increase employee savings."

Employees in Singapore lack a well-defined default investment strategy. Less than 30% of the surveyed companies in Singapore currently offer their employees an investment choice in their retirement plans, and only 15% of retirement plans have a default investment fund. This leads to employees selecting their own optimal investment funds. They may lack experience in understanding investments, which can lead to misallocating their money and result in inadequate retirement savings or excessive risk taking.

Brittain added, "The key to protecting employees and adding value to savings in any defined contribution retirement plan is a well-defined default investment strategy. This includes frequent performance monitoring, actively managing investment risks and dynamically reducing investment risk as employees move towards retirement."

Notes to Editors

The Aon 2021 Trends in Retirement & Financial Wellbeing for Singapore survey was designed to help organisations understand the unique retirement and financial needs of their Singapore workforce. This tri-annual survey was completed by organisations with employee populations ranging from five to over 4,000 and are based in Singapore. Responding Rewards and Benefits Leaders, HR and Finance Professionals provided feedback and insight on their organisations' financial wellbeing and retirement programmes, interests and concerns. Click here for the full report.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

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Dangote Cement - Forging ahead in spite of pressure in H2'20 - Brand Spur
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