Johannesburg – Barloworld Limited today announced its annual results for the year ended 30 September 2021. The group delivered a strong set of results which have benefitted from acquisitive growth from the newly acquired Equipment Mongolia and Ingrain businesses, exceptional performances in the southern African and Eurasia Equipment businesses, and the impressive turnaround of the Car rental business.
Commenting on the group’s results, Group chief executive officer Dominic Sewela said: “Our continued commitment to using our strategic levers: ‘Fix and optimise, Active shareholder operating model and Acquisitive growth’ combined with our approach to managing for value has resulted in Barloworld pivoting its portfolio towards defensive, relatively asset light and cash generative industrial sectors, based on a business-to-business operating model.
Notwithstanding the challenging environment, Barloworld delivered an impressive set of results. I am pleased that the decisions we have made in the past have been value accretive to shareholders and have positioned us to remain agile to the changing operating environment.”
The impact of Covid-19 on global markets and industries resulted in supply chain constraints, logistical issues and product shortages globally. The resilient results for the financial year reflect a remarkable achievement of successfully navigating these challenges and validates the necessity for the decisive actions and austerity measures carried out in the prior period.
Operating profit showed a 119% improvement to R4.3 billion compared to the prior year, with the growth supported by the decisive actions we took to cut costs out of the business without negatively impacting future growth prospects. Our operating margin increased by 450bps to 10.3%. EBITDA of R6.9 billion was reported, a 54.1% improvement from R4.5 billion in the prior period owing to improved margins and the turnaround of those businesses negatively affected by the pandemic.
The Industrial Equipment and Services business performed well despite some challenges. Equipment southern Africa delivered exceptional performance with a record operating margin of 10.7%, despite overall trading activity at 89.2% of pre-pandemic levels. The Equipment Eurasia business unit built on its strong start to the year, delivering a 17% improved revenue
performance in the second half of the financial year.
Our Consumer Industries business, Ingrain, performed exceptionally well, recording an operating profit of R534 million for the 11 months of trading that translates into an operating margin of 12.2% and a higher EBITDA margin of 17.6%. Recovery in sales volumes and improved margin realisation driven by higher international agriculture commodity prices benefitted the results.
The Car Rental and Leasing business benefitted from unlocking synergies and value through the integration of the Car Rental and Avis Fleet businesses. The swift repositioning strategy towards off-airport business that Avis Budget has embarked on since the onset of the pandemic has yielded positive results; particularly in the growth of the subscription products, with longer length rentals and lower direct costs. The Leasing business has experienced an overall superior operating margin of 17.5% (FY2020: 14.6%).
Revenue from other segments, which includes the Digital Disposal Solutions business, was up 36.4% year-on-year mainly due to higher recovery ratios in SMD, an increase in salvage units as well as a 24.8% increased online trading revenue compared to the prior period. The business has shown resilience growing operating profit through increased recovery ratios on units sold, despite the impacts of an uncertain trading environment in South Africa.
Progress against our strategy
Our strategy is based on a clear and ambitious outcome of doubling the group’s intrinsic value every four years, directly translating into the need to be forward-looking in how we approach our business.
We successfully executed two significant acquisitions in 2020, Equipment Mongolia and Ingrain. The integration of these acquisitions into the group is progressing well and both businesses are delivering ahead of our initial expectations. Our short-term priorities are to grow these businesses and extract further value.
In line with our focus on optimally deploying capital within the group, we exited our Motor Retail business during the period under review and the board approved a formal disposal process to exit the Logistics business after several expressions of interest. This is now underway and we are negotiating the piecemeal disposal of various sections of Logistics in response to high levels of interest in smaller business units. Focus remains on sales transactions that continue to support our customer requirements and protect value for the group.
In light of this approach the group has entered into sale agreements in respect of its controlling interest in Aspen Logistics and the shares in subsidiaries which own Manline Energy, Manline Freight and Timber 24. These two agreements cover the bulk of the assets within the Barloworld Transport business. The agreements remain subject to regulatory approval.
The group views capital allocation as central to its overall strategy. In 2021, the group bought back 775,740 shares, returning R79 million to shareholders, and also declared ordinary and special dividends to the value of R3.6 billion. The total dividend paid for the year equates to 1 787 cents per share, consisting of an ordinary dividend of 437 cent (Interim of 137 cents and Final of 300 cents per share) and a special dividend of 1 350 cents (Interim of 200 cents and Final of 1 150 cents per share). This is in addition to the R1.6 billion share buyback in 2020, the R500 million special and R1 billion ordinary dividends paid in 2019, and the R1 billion ordinary dividend paid in 2018. Over the last 4 years the group has returned R7.8 billion to shareholders as set out above.The group will continue to assess its overall capital allocation going forward, focusing on programmatic acquisitive growth in its identified growth segments and also returning capital to shareholders.
Our outlook for the FY2022 financial year remains positive, encouraged by the performance of our Industrial Equipment and Services businesses and their opportunities in the year ahead. Equipment southern Africa’s firm order book remains strong, supported by a positive outlook for mining. The construction industry is also expected to recover as infrastructure and energy projects gather momentum. Equipment Eurasia’s outlook for 2022 also remains positive as the recovery in the coal market is expected to continue and we expect further benefits from the integration of Mongolia into the Eurasia division.
For Ingrain, the outlook is positive as maize prices are expected to trade closer to international prices, which will support margins going forward. We further expect international starch and glucose prices to remain high, following increases on the back of Covid-19 supply chain constraints, increased freight rates and higher energy costs.
We continue to be concerned about the effects of Covid-19, particularly in supply chain constraints experienced globally and for our Car rental business, which remains the most affected by constraints to travel and the impact of lockdowns. Above all, we continue to prioritse the safety of our people and we continue to monitor the effects of Covid-19 on our employees.