2007 results - Increased 2007 profits and solid fundamentals lead Nexans to view the future with confidence

  • Net sales at constant metal prices 1): 4.822 billion euros (+8.5%)
  • Organic growth of cable businesses: (+12.1%)
  • Operating margin 2): 409 million euros (+57%)
  • Net income (Group share) doubled 3)
  • 2007-2009 strategic plan: continued refocusing and revision of profit margin objectives

Paris, January 31, 2008 - The Nexans Board of Directors, which met on January 30, 2008 with Gérard Hauser as Chairman, has approved the accounts for 2007.

  • Net sales in 2007 totaled 7.412 billion euros compared with 7.489 billion euros in 2006. At constant non-ferrous metals prices 1), sales amounted to 4.822 billion euros compared with 4.442 billion euros in 2006. At constant consolidated scope and exchange rates, sales have increased by 4.8% compared with 2006, representing organic growth of 12.1% for the cable businesses.
  • Operating margin 2) amounted to 409 million euros, an increase of 57% compared with 2006. Operating margin as a percentage of sales rose from 5.8% to 8.5% at constant metal prices.
  • Net financial expense was 81 million euros compared with 69 million euros in 2006. This is due in particular to the rise in the average cost of financing following the decision to extend the average debt maturity from 6 to 8 years through a bond issue for an amount of 350 million euros with a maturity of 10 years.
  • Income tax expense amounted to 84 million euros, representing an effective tax rate of 30%, compared with a rate of 16% in 2006 due to non-recurring tax exempt items.
  • Net income (Group share) was 189 million euros in 2007 compared with 241 million euros in 2006. Excluding a one-off gain of 149 million euros in 2006 from the sale of distribution businesses in Switzerland, net income doubled over a 12-month period.
  • The Group's net financial debt stood at 290 million euros at December 31, 2007, compared with 632 million euros at December 31, 2006. The reduction in debt is attributable to a significant increase in cash flows from operations in the second half of the year and the considerable reduction in the working capital resulting from the reduction in electrical wires activity.

In light of these results, the Board of Directors will propose the payment of a2-euro per share dividend, a 67% increase compared with 2007 (1.2 euro). The shareholders will be asked to vote on this proposal at the 2008 General Shareholders' Meeting.

1) To neutralize the effect of variations in the purchase price of non-ferrous metals and thus measure the underlying sales trend, Nexans also calculates its sales using a constant price for copper and aluminum.
2) A management indicator used by the Group to measure its operational performance
3) Excluding one-off net gain of 149 million euros in 2006 from the sale of distribution business in Switzerland

2007-2009 strategic plan: continued refocusing and review of profit margin objectives

Nexans confirms its strategy based on “core businesses”, namely infrastructure, industry and building markets, and has decided to add LAN cables to the lineup. The capacity for innovation that the Group has demonstrated over the last few years in both systems and high-speed cables augurs well for the future development of these businesses.

As part of this continued refocusing, the Group today announced:

  • a project for the divestiture of its telecommunications copper cables businesses activity in Spain.
  • a study of the possible sale of its automotive cable harnesses business which, given its limited size on the world stage, no longer falls within the scope of the Group's strategic businesses.

The Group is also continuing its geographic deployment in high-growth countries, as demonstrated by its planned acquisition of the Madeco cables business in South America, for which the closing is expected in mid 2008.

These decisions aim to optimize the Group's capital employed and by concentrating as a priority on high growth segments which are synergistic.

"Boosted by excellent 2007 results and a sound development model, we have decided to revise our medium-term objectives."

Commenting on the 2007 results, Nexans Chairman and CEO Gérard Hauser said: "Our results for 2007 indicate sound performance. Showing organic growth of more than 12%, our cable businesses sales are increasing in all geographical areas across the infrastructure, industry and building markets. A year after the launch of our 3-year strategic plan, this performance offers clear proof of the pertinence of our strategy, which aims to establish Energy at the core of the Group's activities, re-balance our presence throughout the world and constantly improve the value added of our product portfolio. Indeed in 2007 we started to see the first fruits of this new strategic direction. We are also pleased by the positive effects of our external growth strategy implemented several years ago. The strong performance of Olex is evidence that we are making the right choices. The integration of Madeco, the cable industry leader in South America, into the Group should also help to improve our performance in the future.

The strategy we have implemented makes us less vulnerable to cycle reversals: our sound balance sheet, our results, our rapid growth in long-cycle businesses, our ability to generate cash flow as well as our geographic diversification are our best assets for the future.

Over the 2008-2009 period – and after scope changes which would result from the sale of the harnesses business and the telecommunication copper cables business in Spain, and the acquisition of Madeco – the Group is aiming for an average annual organic growth rate of 6% for its cable businesses, continuing to outstrip market growth as a results of its investments. This should lead to a further increase in the operating margin, as a percentage of sales at constant non-ferrous metal prices, of between 7% and 10%, depending on economic conditions. The Group should continue to generate positive cash flow in the coming years."

Detailed analysis of progress by business and by geographical area

2007 Key figures


(in millions of euros)

At constant non-ferrous
metal prices

 

2006

2007

Net sales

Net sales at constant exchange rates (2007)

Operating margin
Operating margin (% of sales)
Net income attributable to equity holders of the company
Diluted EPS (in euros)

4,442

4,373

260
5.8
241
8.93

4,822

4,822

409
8.5
189
6.67

Net sales and operating margin by business segment

(in millions of euros)

2006*

2007

% change

       

Sales
at constant exchange rates and non-ferrous metals prices

Energy
Telecoms
Other
Sub-total: Cable businesses

Electrical wires

4,373
 
 

3,104
472
10
3,586

787

4,822
 

 
3,780

529
11
4,320

502

+10.27%
 

 
+21.8%
+12.1%

+20.5%

-36.2%

       

Operating margin

Energy
Telecoms
Other
Sub-total: Cable businesses

Electrical wires

260

242
40
(18)
264

(4)

409

365
49
(14)
400

9

+57.3%

+50.8%
+22.5%
-
+51.5%

N/A

       

Operating margin as % of sales 

Energy
Telecoms
Other
Sub-total: Cable businesses

Electrical wires

5.8%

7.7%
8.2%
N/A
7.3%

-0.5%

8.5%

9.7%
9.3%
N/A
9.3%

1.7%

 

 (*) taking into account segmentation changes occurring in 2007.

Analysis of net sales* and operating margin by business sector

(* Cable business sales at constant non-ferrous metals prices and exchange rates)

Energy: full impact of Olex's integration and brisk business in the high-voltage cables segment

Sales in the energy business amounted to 3,780 million euros, a 12.1% increase at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates compared with 2006.

2007 saw very strong growth in energy infrastructure cables (+10.2%), particularly in land-based and submarine high-voltage cables. The ramping up of production at the new Japanese plant of Tokyo Bay (a company in which Nexans has a majority interest alongside Viscas) in the second half of 2007 also largely contributed to the second half year’s accelerated growth. Sales of energy accessories rose by almost 20% in 2007. Olex's sales were particularly strong in the medium-voltage network infrastructure cables sector.

Cables for industry saw a sales increase of 17.5% at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates. Sales of special cables rose by 19.1% thanks to a marked increase in business in the Group's priority market segments, namely oil and gas, shipbuilding, railways and robotics.

Finally, in the building cables market, Nexans recorded a growth of 10.4% at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates. In Europe, volumes increased slightly in 2007, with the exception of the German market where prices are very low. In North America, following a sales recovery in the first half of the year, the American residential market suffered a sharp downturn in the second half due to the subprime crisis. Nexans was only slightly affected as it is mainly present in the industrial and commercial buildings market. The weakening of the US dollar served to increase competition in Canada, making this market attractive to US producers. As a result, pressure was exerted on Nexans' margins without undermining profitability, which remained highly satisfactory in the second half of 2007.

Operating margin was 365 million euros in 2007 compared with 242 million euros in 2006, an increase of 50.8%. Nexans’ three key market segments (energy infrastructure, industry and building) all significantly contributed to this increase in profitability.

Telecoms: 13.9% increase in LAN cable sales

Telecoms sales increased by 12% to 529 million euros at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates compared with 2006. In a relatively stagnant market, Nexans benefited fully from the mounting investment in railway infrastructures and high-speed LAN cables.

Sales of network infrastructure cables in 2007 rose by 9.9% at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates, boosted by the continuing high demand for optical fiber cables, particularly in Europe.

In the LAN cables segment, Nexans achieved a 13.9% increase in sales at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates by offering high value-added system solutions for the high end of the market in Europe and the United States.

Overall, operating margin for the telecommunications cables business rose from 40 million euros in 2006 to 49 million euros in 2007, mainly due to sustained price levels and increased profits in the LAN segment.

Electrical wires: capital optimization strategy implemented

In 2007 external sales of electrical wires decreased 33% to 502 million euros at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates. Pursuing its policy of refocusing solely on its own requirements, Nexans reduced the tonnages sold outside the Group by an average of approximately 45% in Europe and North America.

Operating margin for electrical wires in 2007 amounted to 8.5 million euros. In 2006, when a loss of 4.2 million euros was recorded, profitability had been affected by an exceptional provision for claims.

The reduction in business contributed significantly to the decrease in working capital requirements in 2007.

Analysis of net sales and operating margin by geographical area, excluding electrical wires

(in millions of euros)

2006

2007

 
 

Net sales*

Net sales*

% change
organic growth

Europe

2,614

2,960

+ 13.9 %

North America

401

422

+ 5.4 %

Asia-Pacific

245

564

+ 6.6 %

Rest of the world

326

374

+ 14.5 %

Sub-total Cables Businesses

3,586

4,320

+ 12.1 %

Electrical wires

787

502

- 32.8 %

Total Nexans

4,373

4,822

+ 4.8 %

(*) At constant metal prices and exchange rates

 

Europe: second consecutive year of very high growth

Cables business sales totaled 2.96 billion euros, an increase of 13.9% on a like-for-like basis and constant metal prices and exchange rates compared with 2006. Operating margin rose from 144 million euros in 2006 at constant exchange rates to 264 million euros in 2007.

Growth was particularly strong in high-voltage cables and industrial cables, segments in which the Group is concentrating its development efforts. This growth was accompanied by increased profitability. Building cables maintained steady volumes and profits boomed in 2007.

North America: growing demand for high value-added cables

In North America, cable business sales totaled 422 million euros, an increase of 5.4% compared with 2006 at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates.

Operating margin for cable businesses was 72 million euros in 2007.

The housing market crisis in America had little impact on Nexans due to the Group's low exposure to this segment in the USA. The depreciation of the US dollar against the Canadian dollar on the other hand gave US producers a competitive edge. Profit margins have shrunk but remain satisfactory. Nexans is keeping a close eye on this market's development.

In the data cables sector, the new 10 Gbit/s cables have been an out-and-out success.

Asia-Pacific: more than 50% growth in China and profitability objectives fully met by Olex (EBITDA equal to 14% of sales at constant non-ferrous metal prices)

Since January 1st, 2007, sales for the Asia-Pacific region have included Olex's contribution which totaled 284 million euros in 2007.

Cable business sales for the region amounted to 564 million euros in 2007 (at constant metal prices). At the scope of consolidation prior to the acquisition of Olex, organic growth amounted to 14.2%.

Operating margin for the area's cable businesses jumped from 15 million euros in 2006 to 49 million euros in 2007 (at constant exchange rates). The increased profits were due in particular to a qualitative pricing policy and the expansion of industrial capability in China and South Korea which enables the Group to take advantage of the boom in the industrial and electronic cables market.

Rest of the World: booming markets and increased industrial capacity

Sales for the Rest of the World region amounted to 374 million euros in 2007, an increase of 14.5% compared with 2006 (at constant consolidated scope and exchange rates).

In 2006 and 2007, all the countries in this region reaped the benefits of the high level of investment enabling them to take advantage of the booming markets. Nexans in particular strengthened its positions in Industry (Brazil, Turkey, Morocco) and in Infrastructure (Lebanon, Egypt).

Share issue reserved for Nexans employees: Act 2008

Nexans postponed the launch of an employee shareholding plan, originally announced in a press release dated July 25, 2007, until 2008. The plan will take the form of a share issue reserved for Group employees who are members of a corporate savings plan. A maximum of 500,000 new shares will be issued. This will be the third international employee shareholding plan implemented by the Group.

Two share subscription options will be made available through employee investment funds (except where local restrictions apply): (i) a standard plan enabling employees to subscribe to Nexans shares at a 20% discount on the reference price; and (ii) a leveraged plan under which employees benefit from a guarantee on their investment. For the leveraged plan, the sponsor financial institution may enter into hedges relating to Nexans' shares prior to the plan implementation, as of the publication of this press release and throughout the duration of the scheme (the five-year regulatory lock-up period applicable to corporate savings plans). Voting rights attached to Nexans shares subscribed and held by the beneficiaries through one of the employee investment funds will be exercised by the Supervisory Board of that fund.

Through this plan (known as "Act 2008") Nexans hopes to strengthen existing ties with its employees both in France and abroad and involve them closely in the Group's future development and performance. Employees will be provided with formal details of the scheme at a later date. The plan is due to be implemented in the first half of 2008, and a press release will be issued at that time.

Madeco acquisition: completion expected for mid-2008

On November 15, 2007, the Nexans Group signed a framework agreement to acquire the cables business of the Chilean company Madeco.

At current non-ferrous metal prices, the Madeco Group’s cables business recorded sales of 672 million USD in 2006 (490 million euros at average non-ferrous metal prices for 2007) in its three key segments of cables for infrastructure, industry and building, and to a lesser extent in electrical wires. For the first half of 2007, the bulk of Madeco's sales in this business were in Brazil (43%), the largest market in South America, followed by 28% in Chile, 18% in Peru, 6% in Argentina, and 5% in Colombia.

Payment for this acquisition will consist of:

  • 422 million USD (approximately 287 million euros at the 2007 year-end exchange rate) in cash and assumption of debt for a portion of the shares of Madeco's cable and wire subsidiaries, and
  • for the remaining portion of share of Madeco's cable and wire subsidiaries, 2.5 million newly-issued Nexans shares which it shall undertake to hold for a minimum period of 12 months following completion. This will give Madeco a stake in Nexans of approximately 9% (based on 28.1 million shares).

The completion of the transaction is subject to the signing of a definitive agreement, which is scheduled to take place in February 2008, as well as to obtaining the approval of both companies' shareholders and the necessary regulatory authorizations. The Nexans Annual Shareholders’ Meeting called to approve the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2007 will also approve the remuneration of Madeco through the issuance of new shares and the appointment of a Madeco Group representative to the Nexans Board of Directors.

Launch of a share buyback program

The Nexans Board of Directors, pursuant to the authorization of the Shareholders’ Meeting of May 10, 2007, has decided to launch a program to buy back company’s shares up to a maximum amount of 70 million euros, with the intention to cancel the shares so purchased.

Financial timetable

April 3, 2008: Individual shareholders’ information meeting in Saint-Etienne*
April 22, 2008: Publication of first-quarter 2008 financial information
April 22, 2008: Annual Shareholders’ Meeting
June 5, 2008: Individual shareholders’ information meeting in Lille*
September 30, 2008: Individual shareholders’ information meeting in Nice*
November 24, 2008: Individual shareholders’ information meeting in Reims*
(* provisional dates intended for guidance only)

The full results presentation of the results will be available on the Nexans website at www.nexans.com from 9.00am (Paris time) today. The Board's management report and the Notes to the accounts will be available on the website on Friday, February 1st, 2008.

Appendices

1. Consolidated income statement under IFRS
2. Consolidated balance sheet under IFRS
3. Consolidated statement of cash flows under IFRS
4. Segment information

Download the appendices in PDF: 2007 results - Appendices

Related Document

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About Nexans

With energy as the basis of its development, Nexans, the worldwide leader in the cable industry, offers an extensive range of cables and cabling systems. The Group is a global player in the infrastructure, industry, building and Local Area Network markets. Nexans addresses a series of market segments from energy, transport and telecom networks to shipbuilding, oil and gas, nuclear power, automotive, electronics, aeronautics, handling and automation. With an industrial presence in 39 countries and commercial activities worldwide, Nexans employs 22,800 people and had sales in 2007 of 7.4 billion euros. Nexans is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris, compartment A. More information on www.nexans.com