On November 7, 2019, Wendel held its 18th annual Investor Day, dedicated to the unlisted companies in its portfolio. The event is open to the financial community and is an opportunity to evaluate and discuss the business, growth and development of these companies. The executives of Stahl, Constantia Flexibles, Cromology and IHS were on hand to talk about what their companies are doing and their outlook for growth over the coming months. In addition, all of the companies reviewed their environmental and social responsibility strategy.
Highlights of the 2019 Investor Day.
Stahl, world leader in leather chemicals and high-performance coatings
With sales down 7.6%, the first nine months of 2019 were mixed for Stahl (€611.5 million vs. €662.0 million in the year-earlier period), as noted by CEO Huub van Beijeren. In 2019, Stahl suffered from macroeconomic weakness in China, a result of the trade war, and from the slowdown in worldwide industrial production. Meanwhile, the Leather Chemicals and, to a lesser extent, the Performance Coatings divisions suffered from difficult market conditions in the footwear and automotive industries. Despite this difficult context, Stahl leveraged its dynamic cost management and the resilience of its business model to quickly adapt its cost base to market conditions.
With regard to corporate social responsibility (CSR), Stahl is maintaining its commitments, so as to stay competitive and remain a leader in its business sector. Michael Costello, the company’s Director of sustainable development, pointed out Stahl’s noteworthy achievements in this area:
- c. 90% of Stahl’s worldwide production derives
- from ISO 14001/9001 certified sites,
- > 85% of its coating solutions are water-based,
- no coal is burned in the group’s factories...
Constantia Flexibles, a world leader in flexible packaging
Over the first nine months of 2019, Constantia Flexibles’ sales totaled €1,146 million, up 0.1% from the year-earlier period (€1,146 million). CEO Alexander Baumgartner reported that the recently acquired companies—Creative Polypack in India and TT-Print in Russia—contributed positively to thecompany’s growth.
In November 2019, the Austrian company brought on line Constantia Ecoflex Ahmedabad, an innovative facility 100% dedicated to the production of recyclable flexible packaging. This industrial innovation represents another step toward achieving the company’s stated goal of making all of its packaging fully recyclable between now and 2025.
IHS, the African leader in telecom infrastructure
Adam Walker, IHS’s Group CFO and Executive Vice President, was pleased to present the 7.2% increase in his company’s sales to $914 million over the first nine months of 2019. These results attest to IHS’s positioning as one of the leading telecom tower companies in the EMEA region. All of the company’s geographies are growing organically. In particular, Adam Walker pointed out that the company’s operations in Nigeria and Rwanda were posting double-digit organic growth. In 2019, the number of towers held and managed by the company increased by 1.6% year-on-year, with 24,019 towers in the portfolio as of September 30, 2019*.
At the end of December 2019, IHS signed an agreement to acquire Cell Site Solutions – Cessão De Infraestruturas S.A. (CSS), a Brazilian company based in São Paolo. CSS has nearly 2,300 towers as well as telecom infrastructrure sites in Brazil, Peru and Colombia. With this acquisition, IHS expands its geographical footprint in Latin America. Lastly, IHS has also made CSR central to its strategic plan. Its CSR initiatives have been recognized by SERAS Africa, an African organization that gives awards to companies to encourage them to be responsible.
* Tower count excluding managed services and WIP as of September 30, 2019.
Cromology, a European leader in decorative paints
Cromology posted sales of €520.3 million in the first nine months of the year, up 2.1% compared with the year-earlier period. Chairman Pierre Pouletty and CEO Loïc Derrien explained that Cromology’s growth was underpinned by its various brands (Tollens, Zolpan, Robbialac and others), which all have a premium positioning in their markets.
The two managers attended Investor Day for the first time and took advantage of the opportunity to present in detail the transformation currently taking place within the company and supported by a €125 million capital injection from Wendel in May 2019. Cromology’s financial structure has now been strengthened, thereby enabling it to make new investments and address new market needs.
Like Stahl and Constantia Flexibles, Cromology would like to establish its leadership by making ESG criteria (Environment, Social, Governance) central to its strategy. Ninety percent of its products are already water-based. And the European leader in decorative paints promises further advances in 2020.
Credits: Emmanuel Fradin