Friday, after market, Sapec released its 1Q12 trading update. Sales declined by 27% to € 122m while REBITDA increased by 14%. The sales decline is entirely due to the Agro commodities division. Group EBITDA increased by 94% due to one-offs at the Agro commodities division.
News: Crop protection: The crop protection market in Spain and Portugal declined by 16% due to dry weather. Nevertheless, Sapec reported flat sales for this division, thereby substantially increasing its market share. As the weather has stabilized since April, Sapec is confident in improving FY12 crop protection results.
Crop nutrition: The dry weather caused a 3.6% decline in turnover. Volumes in Brazil and Europe rose sharply over the past quarter. The group expects higher FY12 results for this division.
Agro commodities distribution: the newly restructured Interpec reported a positive increase in operational result over the first quarter. A capital gain and non-recurring costs, due to the closure of a subsidiary in Cadiz, were registered in 1Q12. Sapec expects the recurring activities of Interpec to contribute positively to the group’s FY12 operational result.
Chemicals & environment: Austerity measures in Portugal impacted the top-line andgross margin of the chemicals division. Restructuring measures haven been taken and management expects to realize FY12 results in line with objectives, despite a negative 1Q12. Sapec estimates that industrial waste volumes in Portugal have declined by 30% over the first quarter. Cost reduction and operational optimization measures have been set in place for the environment division. Sapec expects positive FY12 results for the environment division.
Logistics: Sapec reports flat volumes y/y. The combined FY12 operational results of both the land and port terminals are expected to be close to break-even.
As a reminder, Sapec still holds 28.4% in Naturener, through its 49% stake in Energia Limpia Invest. The other 51% is owned by independent investors. The group has a claim on Energia Limpia Invest of roughly € 26m and has given a maximum guarantee of € 36m to Banco Espirito Santo. We remain cautious however on putting a timeframe on the final sale of Naturener.
Outlook: Sapec is confident of the operational performance of its traditional activities for the remainder of the year, mainly supported by good results in the crop nutrition and crop protection business.
Conclusion: Good results at the crop nutrition and crop protection division despite bad weather conditions in the Iberian Peninsula. A reorganized agro commodities division impacted top-line but should deliver positive FY12 recurring results. Austerity measures in Portugal impacted the chemicals and environment division negatively while the logistics business remained flat. The constant dragging of a possible Naturener sale and the disappointing chemicals & environment results prompt a TP reduction from € 56 to € 46. We keep our Accumulate rating on the back of promising crop nutrition and crop protection results.