Chr. Hansen has an ambitious financial agenda and remains committed to delivering industry-leading profitable growth and a strong cash flow generation. Under its 2025 Strategy and from the base year of 2018/19, Chr. Hansen aims to deliver:
- Mid- to high single-digit organic growth, averaged over the period.
- An increase in EBIT margin before special items, before portfolio changes and currency impacts. The margin improvement is expected to be based on efficiency gains and scalability benefits from operations as well as synergies from recent acquisitions, which will be partly reinvested into the business during the strategy period.
- An average growth in free cash flow before acquisitions and special items exceeding the average growth in absolute EBIT before acquisitions and special items.
The financial ambition is based on constant currencies and does not take future acquisitions or divestments into account, even if future activities are likely. The financial ambition is also based on the current political and economic environment and projections, and any deterioration may impact the ambition negatively.
Non-financial ambition until 2024/25
As part of its 2025 Strategy, Chr. Hansen has set the following sustainability and non-financial ambitions:
- PRODUCTS: More than 80% of revenue from sustainable products that contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3 and 12; 25 million hectares covered with natural solutions (Plant Health and silage inoculants); 200m people consuming Chr. Hansen’s probiotic strains; 2 million tons of yogurt waste reduced.
- PLANET: As part of its commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, Chr. Hansen aims for 100% renewable energy, circular management of biowaste and recyclable key packaging materials.
- PEOPLE: the Company aims to have introduced 100% of its new employees to its culture model, have a 1:1 equal ratio between female employees and women in management, have a top 25% score in its employee engagement survey and reach a lost-time incident frequency of below 1.5.
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.