Miguel Gil Mata 

2019 was unquestionably an important year regarding Sonae Capital active portfolio management strategy. We sold our participation in the share capital of RACE, ending a cycle of almost 35 years in this company. We have created conditions for RACE to start a new growth phase, generating value for the new shareholders and for its employees and, at the same time, we crystallised value, releasing funds to leverage our growth path. Moreover, we completed the acquisition of the Urban Fit chain, as well as of Futura Energía Inversiones, both aimed at boosting the development of Fitness and Energy segments, respectively.

Now focusing on the results, the Business Units Turnover increased 46.5% and reached 268.8 million euros, as a result of a robust performance in nearly all segments, being important to notice the significant contribution from the Energy’s Retail & Trade unit. The EBITDA increased 8.9%, to 35.3 million euros. The EBIT has also improved and reached 6.4 million euros, 11.8% above 2018.

Despite the positive results in our Business Units as a whole, it should be pointed out the negative impact registered by the Industrial Engineering segment, namely by ADIRA. In 2019, we finished a restructuring process that carried significant changes in the team, at the same time that we restructured the main business processes, giving particular relevance to those associated with the commercial area. Importantly, throughout 2019 and also in 2020, we are making an additional effort to adapt the cost structure to the current levels of demand.

In Energy, the team is fully committed to grow as a promoter of integrated Energy solutions, while taking safe steps to increase CapWatt international exposure: in Spain, leveraged by the recent acquisition of Futura Energía Inversiones, and in Mexico. The construction of the biomass-fired cogeneration power plant in Mangualde has entered its final stage, being in line with our plan both in terms of timings and investment. In Fitness, supported by a well balanced expansion model, we currently operate 37 Clubs with more than 104 thousand active members, and we ensured an EBIT margin increase of 2.4pp to 8.7% in 2019. In Hospitality, the effort placed not only in improving the operating indicators, but also in optimising the operation, resulted in a record EBIT of 1.7 million euros and a 3.6pp increase in the EBIT margin, to 6.2%. Very recently, we signed a contract for the opening of an additional hotel unit in Porto, in a privileged location at Avenida dos Aliados, which will allow us to expand our scale, while maintaining a capital light approach.

In the Real Estate Assets unit, we completed sales deeds in the amount of 33 million euros and we still hold in reserves and promissory purchase and sale agreements (PPSAs) a portfolio of about the same amount. This performance is particularly important when it comes to cash generation. In 2019, this unit generated more than 43 million euros in cash, which is essential to maintain a healthy balance sheet, at the same time that we continued to invest in our portfolio in order to improve the competitive position of our businesses. Additionally, it allowed us to maintain an adequate shareholder remuneration. Accordingly, the Net Financial Debt reached 141.2 million euros at the end of December 2019, despite the investment of 51.7 million euros and the distribution of dividends in the amount of 18.5 million euros.

2019 Net Result evolved negatively, impacted by the recognition of a Goodwill impairment related with the sale of RACE, and by the lack of relevant Real Estate Assets sales, some of which however we expect to acomplish in the short-term.

Therefore, based on an adequate balance sheet and, as in previous years, on the cash proceeds from the sale of Real Estate Assets and without compromising the investment plan required for our Business Units, I would like to announce that the Board of Directors will propose, to be approved at the next Annual Shareholders' Meeting, the distribution of dividends in the amount of 15 million euros, equivalent to a dividend yield of 8.0%.

Given the results we disclose today, I reiterate my comfort and confidence in the strategy outlined for Sonae Capital, as well as in the capability of our human resources to execute it.

Miguel Gil Mata, 21 February 2020 (Earnings Announcement 2019)


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