Outlook for 2019/20
This information has been updated with our Q2 Interim report 2019/20 that was published on April 16, 2020.
Organic revenue growth
For 2019/20, expectations to organic growth is maintained at 4-6%. The Microbial Platform, which is the combination of Food Cultures & Enzymes and Health & Nutrition, is expected to grow mid-single digit. Food Cultures & Enzymes is expected to grow significantly above the relatively low end market growth, and with a small positive impact from EUR pricing, but otherwise the expectations are unchanged. Continued momentum in recently launched innovation, such as CHYMAX ® Supreme and NOLA® Fit, and continued execution on the commercial pipeline will remain the key growth drivers. Expectations for Health & Nutrition are largely unchanged. Natural Colors is now expected to deliver flat to slight organic growth due to continued low raw material prices and COVID-19.
EBIT margin before special items (B.S.I.)
The EBIT margin b.s.i. is still expected to be around 29.5%. Increased utilization of production capacity in Food Cultures & Enzymes and lower travel activities will have a positive impact on the margin, which is expected to be offset by investments in the lighthouse projects and other strategic priorities, as well as higher freight cost due to COVID-19.
Free cash flow
Free cash flow before acquisitions and special items is still expected to be around EUR 190 million. Cash flow used for operational investment activities is expected to be slightly higher than the EUR 139 million realized in 2018/19 (excluding the proceeds from the sale-and-lease-back), primarily related to investment phasing from 2018/19 to 2019/20.
The outlook is based on constant currencies and stable raw material prices and assumes no acquisitions. The outlook is also based on the current political and economic environment. Any deterioration in the political and economic climate might impact the outlook negatively. This includes, but is not limited to, the economic climate in several key emerging markets; the risk of a global economic recession; the overall situation in the Middle East, including any potential sanctions; a deepening of the US-China trade tension; an escalation of the US-EU tariff situation; and a disruptive outcome to the EU-UK Brexit negotiations.
Specifically related to COVID-19, the guidance for the year assumes that Chr. Hansen and key customers can maintain production and transport products at current levels, and that the situation does not deteriorate or impose restrictions on the flow of goods and hence our ability to serve customers. The guidance also assumes that there are no major supply disruptions in neither the raw material supply to Chr. Hansen, nor in the raw material supply, such as milk, to our customers. Keeping the food and nutrition industries running is highly important for nations, governments and consumers, and Chr. Hansen is working closely with customers and authorities to secure business continuity. Chr. Hansen is monitoring the situation closely and assessing impacts on a continuous basis, as this is a very dynamic and rapidly changing situation.
Chr. Hansen is a global company serving more than 140 countries through subsidiaries in more than 30 countries. The most significant currency exposure relates to USD, which accounts for around 30% of revenue, while exposure to other currencies is more modest. A 5% decrease in the EUR/USD exchange rate would impact revenue measured in EUR negatively by around EUR 15-20 million.
Organic revenue growth is sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations in currencies for which Chr. Hansen applies a EUR-based pricing model, and to changes in raw material prices for Natural Colors as some contracts are adjusted for movements in raw material prices.
The EBIT margin is also sensitive to exchange rate fluctuations and to changes in raw material prices for Natural Colors. Production in the US and sourcing in USD only partly offset the impact on revenue from changes in the EUR/USD exchange rate. Therefore, the relative EBIT exposure is higher than the revenue exposure. A 5% decrease in the EUR/USD exchange rate would impact EBIT negatively by roughly half of the revenue impact.
The sensitivity to currency also applies to free cash flow.
The use of currency hedging of balance sheet exposures and future cash flows is described in note 4.3 to the Consolidated Financial Statements 2018/19.
Long-term financial ambition
This information has been updated with our Q1 Interim report 2019/20 that was published on January 15, 2020.
Organic revenue growth
Chr. Hansen’s preliminary long-term growth ambition for the period until 2024/25 is for the Group to grow organically at mid to high single-digit per year.
EBIT margin before special items
The ambition is to deliver an EBIT margin before special items of above 30% for the period until 2021/22. This ambition will be driven by a continued focus on maintaining cost discipline and on productivity and efficiency gains across the organization, to some extent offset by investments in innovation, emerging markets and in exploring new growth opportunities.
Free cash flow
For the period until 2021/22, the ambition is for free cash flow before acquisitions, divestments and special items to increase at a compound annual growth rate of around 10% over the period, compared to the base year 2016/17 (EUR 188 million).
The ambitions for the EBIT margin and free cash flow are sensitive to currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Chr. Hansen’s sustainability strategy focuses on how the Company’s natural products can help address global trends and challenges. The strategy focuses on three areas where Chr. Hansen has the largest impact:
Help feed the growing population by promoting sustainable agriculture using Chr. Hansen’s biological Plant Health solutions and silage inoculants. By 2024/25, the ambition is to expand the reach of Chr. Hansen’s natural Plant Health solutions to an accumulated 25 million hectares of farmland.
Help customers reduce food waste through Chr. Hansen’s bioprotection solutions and enzyme technology. By 2021/22, the ambition is to reduce global yogurt waste by 2%, equivalent to 1,200,000 tons accumulated.
Improve global health through probiotics and healthier and safer food ingredients. For 2021/22, the ambition is to have launched six new products with a documented health effect.
As part of the strategy review and to reduce the environmental footprint of its own operations, Chr. Hansen revised its 2021/22 operational targets for health and safety, energy, water, CO2 and waste recycling. Compared to the base year 2013/14, Chr. Hansen is aiming for:
- 20% energy and water efficiency improvement
- 25% CO2 efficiency improvement
- 40% waste recycling compared to 20% in 2013/14
A full report on sustainability and progress on commercial and operational targets during 2018/19 can be found in our Sustainability Report 2018/19.