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SGL Carbon with solid development in the first quarter - Outlook for 2021 fully confirmed


SGL Carbons consolidated sales amounted to 241.5 million in the first quarter (Q1/2020 246.8 million), representing a slight decline of 2%. Currency adjusted, sales were on a par with the prior-year level. SGL Carbons sales performed differently across the customer industries in the first quarter. In the Automotive lightweight construction sector and in the Semiconductor industry, the company benefited from a recovery in economic activity. In contrast, especially the development in the late-cyclical graphite business for Industrial Applications as well as SGL Carbon's solutions business for the Chemical Industry continued to suffer from pandemic-related weaknesses. However, the order intake in the Chemicals segment in recent months is showing signs of a noticeable recovery.

On the earnings side, the company was able to further improve its key figures in the first quarter. EBITDA pre rose by 14% to 33.0 million in the reporting period (Q1/2020 29.0 million). EBIT also increased significantly to 17.0 million compared to 6.4 million in the first quarter of 2020. In addition, the company now also achieved a positive net result of 6.1 million again compared to minus 4.3 million in the prior-year period.

The consistent further implementation of the restructuring and transformation program made a contribution to the positive earnings development. It is proceeding according to plan in all areas. With a total of over 700 measures in the areas of purchasing, personnel, operations and service functions, we are making steady progress across all sites. As part of the restructuring, headcount will be reduced as well. More than 60% of the planned personnel measures were already implemented at the end of the quarter.

In addition, SGL Carbon continued to clearly focus on improving liquidity and reducing debt in the first quarter. As a result, liquidity of 168.6 million as of March 31, 2021 developed positively compared to the end of the year ( 141.8 million). Free cash flow from continuing operations was positive at 24.1 million. SGL Carbons net financial debt decreased by 5% to 271.5 million as of March 31, 2021 (year-end 2020 286.5 million).

"Our first quarter results show that we are delivering despite the continued headwinds in some of our markets. One key element of this progress is our global restructuring and transformation program, in which we are making very good progress. Also operationally, there are already some areas at SGL Carbon that are seeing increasing demand again and are now coming strengthened out of the crisis. In addition, we are now pursuing a clear margin before volume strategy with which we are focusing on profitability. We fully confirm our guidance for the full year 2021," explains Dr. Torsten Derr, CEO of SGL Carbon.

Profitability improvedThe financial result improved from minus 9.4 million in Q1/2020 to minus 6.4 million in the reporting period. In particular, lower interest expenses for pensions and lower effects for the compounding of liabilities, as well as foreign currency valuations of intercompany loans led to this positive development.

Due to the increase in EBIT and the improved financial result, earnings before income taxes increased from minus 3.0 million in the prior-year period to 10.6 million in the reporting period.

Segment ReportingSince January 1, 2021, SGL Carbon has been managing its operating business in four business units, each having a homogeneous business model and clearly defined responsibility for earnings. The former reporting segment Composites - Fibers & Materials (CFM) has been broken down into the units Carbon Fibers (CF) and Composite Solutions (CS). The former reporting segment Graphite Materials & Systems (GMS) has been split into Graphite Solutions (GS) and Process Technology (PT). The reporting segments as presented below directly derive from the new business units.

Reporting segment Graphite Solutions (GS): Dynamic demand from the semiconductor sector Sales development in the reporting segment Graphite Solutions (GS) in the first quarter of 2021 was slightly below the previous years level by around 3% (currency adjusted no change) at 108.3 million, but slightly above our expectations.

The Battery & Other Energy market segment showed stable development compared with the previous year. In addition, an expected positive sales and earnings effect of around 9 million is included in this market segment in the first quarter of 2021 from the early termination of a contract. The contract termination agreed in March will lead to a corresponding compensation payment, which will be received in the second quarter. The LED & Semiconductor market segment was able to increase sales significantly. In contrast, demand from the Industrial Applications market segment declined significantly in the first quarter of 2021.

Compared with the good prior-year quarter (Q1/2020 20.8 million), EBITDA pre increased by 10% to 22.9 million in the reporting quarter, mainly as a result of the financial compensation. This led to a temporary increase in the EBITDA margin to 21.1% (Q1/2020 18.6%). In line with the sales development, the Battery & Other Energy and LED & Semiconductor market segments recorded an increase in earnings, while earnings in the Automotive & Transportation market segment increased due to productivity improvements. All other market segments recorded a decline in earnings compared to the prior-year quarter due to lower demand.

Reporting segment Process Technology (PT): Incoming orders from the Chemical Industry point to recoverySales in the reporting segment Process Technology (PT) declined significantly in the first quarter by 16% (currency adjusted minus 18%) to 19.3 million (Q1/2020 23.0 million). The main reason for this was the decline in order intake from all three regions (Asia, Europe and North America) in the p
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