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AECI Limited: Summarised unaudited consolidated interim results

Wed 29th July, 2020 7:30am
AECI LIMITED

(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)

Registration number 1924/002590/06

Tax reference number 9000008608

Share code: AFE

ISIN: ZAE000000220

Hybrid code: AFEP

ISIN: ZAE000000238

Bond company code: AECI

LEI: 3789008641F1D3D90E85

('AECI' or 'the Company' or 'the Group')

Summarised unaudited consolidated interim financial results and cash dividend
declaration for the half-year ended 30 June 2020

Revenue

-6% to R11 265m

Foreign and export revenue: 48% of total revenue

EBITDA

-18% to R1 111m

Profit from operations

-32% to R558m

HEPS

-34% to 240c

Gearing

32%

(FY19: 36%)

Interim dividend of 100c declared

deferred final dividend for '19 to be paid in '20

Safety performance

TRIR of 0,36

Improvement trend sustained

Retained

Level 2

B-BBEE contributor status

GCR rating maintained

A+

with stable outlook

COVID-19

It is with great sadness that the Board and management report that we have
lost three colleagues in South Africa to the coronavirus to date.

We extend our sincere condolences to their families, friends and fellow team
members.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on every aspect of daily life
in countries across the world. The Board and management take this opportunity
to thank all AECI's stakeholders for their support during this exceptionally
challenging time. In particular, we wish to express our gratitude to our 7 600
employees in all 26 countries where the Group operates. Their continued
efforts and diligence have been exemplary.

A comprehensive AECI COVID-19 Response Plan was developed in March 2020 and
has been updated regularly to reflect the changing circumstances and
requirements through the pandemic. Employees' health and movement are tracked
and monitored daily in line with this plan.

More than 90% of all employees are performing their duties at this time. A
total of 183 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 to date, with 89 of
them having fully recovered. 90 positive cases are being actively tracked and
one employee is receiving treatment in hospital.

The Group leadership's focus since March this year has been on navigating the
business through the effects of the pandemic. To this end, a COVID-19 Task
Team was established with the strategic intent of minimising impact on our
people, on our operations and safeguarding the supply of essential

services to customers.

In addition to implementation of the AECI COVID-19 Response Plan, which is
available at https://www.aeciworld.com/covid-19.php, operational business
continuity management plans have been adapted and applied in line with the
Company's overall risk management framework. These measures have enabled
continuity in operations and in the delivery of products and services to

customers.

Business in South Africa, which accounts for the greatest portion of the
Group's activities and where the highest number of employees are based, was
the most severely affected in the reporting period. Certain businesses were
deemed essential under national Alert Level 5 restrictions ('hard lockdown')

declared by the South African government on 23 March 2020. Essential services
included:

* the supply of products and services to the coal mining sector initially, and
subsequently to the surface mining sector as a whole

* chemicals for the treatment of potable water, in particular

* raw materials for the manufacture of personal care and home care products

* inputs for the food industry, and

* agrochemicals and related services for the farming sector.

The effects on other sectors in which the Group's customers operate were
significant. Key among them were mining, infrastructure and the balance of
manufacturing-related industries.

Although most sectors resumed operations as lockdown restrictions eased,
market demand has remained depressed and the operating environment has yet to
normalise.

The net asset value per share attributable to ordinary shareholders increased
by 17% (from 8 994 cents in 2019 to 10 537 cents) and basic earnings per share
decreased by 33% (from 367 cents in 2019 to 245 cents in 2020).

Financial performance

Revenue of R11 265 million was 6% lower (2019: R11 972 million), with declines
recorded in all segments other than Plant & Animal Health. Of the total
revenue, 48% was generated outside of South Africa and mostly in US dollars
and Euros. The weaker rand exchange rate against these major

currencies thus curbed the revenue decline.

EBITDA of R1 111 million was 18% lower than 2019's R1 361 million. The profit
on disposal of the Group's paper chemicals business unit contributed R108
million to EBITDA.

Profit from operations in the half-year was 32% lower at R558 million (2019:
R826 million). In addition to COVID-19, R64 million in retrenchment costs
associated with restructuring of the Food & Beverage and Chemicals segments
contributed to the year-on-year decrease. Impairments of R69 million were
recognised. The Group's exit from its sauces business and closure of
Industrial Oleochemical Products' tall oil distillation operations accounted
for the majority of this amount. Annualised benefits of at least R100 million
are anticipated from restructuring.

It was pleasing to note that in the first quarter of the year profit from
operations (before taking into account any restructuring costs) had improved
by more than 20% on the corresponding period in the prior year. In the second
quarter, however, the effects of the pandemic on markets and performance were
acute.

The benefits of the strategic realignment projects undertaken in the prior
year in the Explosives and Water & Process businesses were in line with
expectations overall, albeit that the Explosives business was challenged by
lower sales of initiating systems to underground mining customers as their
operations were limited by lockdown due to COVID-19.

Financial impact of COVID-19

Each Group business estimated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on revenue,
volumes and costs as accurately as it was possible to do so from March 2020
onwards. The Mining Solutions segment and Much Asphalt were the most seriously
affected.

In South Africa, most mines were not operational in terms of hard lockdown
restrictions. When the resumption of some activity was permitted, operations
resumed slowly and their consistency was hampered by, inter alia, actions
required to manage new cases of infection as they were confirmed.

Much Asphalt's customers serve mainly the road infrastructure sector. This
sector was not deemed essential under Alert Level 5 and, consequently, Much
Asphalt did not trade from 27 March and throughout April. The business resumed
operations in the first week of May, with market demand returning slowly since
then.

Conversely, the pandemic presented opportunities for ChemSystems, in the
Chemicals segment, and Schirm in Germany. Both businesses entered the hand
sanitiser and disinfectants markets to good effect and both are expected to
continue to sustain sales in these markets for the duration of the pandemic
and beyond.

Reported HEPS of 240 cents was 34% lower year-on-year (2019: 365 cents).
Headline earnings decreased to R254 million from 2019's R385 million. The
estimated negative impact on the Group's performance in the half-year, was as
follows:

* revenue R1 015 million

* profit from operations R454 million

* headline earnings per share ('HEPS') 294 cents

Having considered that the Company managed its cash resources very well in the
period and that it remains in a solid financial position, notwithstanding the
uncertainty and negative effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the
Board decided to declare an interim cash dividend

of 100 cents (2019: 156 cents).

It is intended that the deferred final cash dividend of 414 cents (No. 172)
declared for the 2019 financial year be paid before the end of 2020.

The record date for this dividend was 3 April 2020 and the payment date was 6
April 2020. The Board would prefer to retain this original Corporate Action
Timetable and, accordingly, the Company has approached the Companies Tribunal
for an exemption in this regard. The date of payment of

the deferred dividend will be finalised once the Companies Tribunal's decision
has been received.

Directorate

Allen Morgan retired from the AECI Board at the Annual General Meeting of the
Company's shareholders held on 26 May 2020. He had served as an Independent
Non-executive Director since 2010. The Board thanks Allen most sincerely for
his valued input during his almost 10-year tenure.

On 1 June 2020 Marna Roets was appointed as an Independent Non-executive
Director of the Company. She also joined the Audit Committee and the
Remuneration Committee on that date. The Board welcomes her and looks forward
to her contribution.

Dividend

Declaration of interim ordinary cash dividend no. 173

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that on Tuesday, 28 July 2020, the Directors of AECI
declared a gross interim cash dividend of 100 cents per share, in respect of
the six-month period ended 30 June 2020. The dividend is payable on Monday, 7
September 2020 to holders of ordinary shares recorded in the register of the
Company at the close of business on the record date, being Friday, 4 September
2020.

A South African dividend withholding tax of 20% will be applicable to all
shareholders who are not either exempt or entitled to a reduction of the
withholding tax rate in terms of a relevant Double Taxation Agreement,
resulting in a net dividend of 80 cents per share to those shareholders who
are not eligible for exemption or reduction. Application forms for exemption
or reduction may be obtained from the Transfer Secretaries and must be
returned to them on or before Tuesday,

1 September 2020.

The issued share capital at the declaration date is 109 944 384 listed
ordinary shares, 10 117 951 unlisted redeemable convertible B ordinary shares
and 3 000 000 listed cumulative preference shares. The dividend has been
declared from the income reserves of the Company.

Any change of address or dividend instruction must be received on or before
Tuesday, 1 September 2020.

The salient dates for the dividend will be as follows:

Last day to trade cum dividend Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Ex dividend trade Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Record date Friday, 4 September 2020

Payment date Monday, 7 September 2020

Share certificates may not be dematerialised or rematerialised from Wednesday,
2 September 2020 to Friday, 4 September 2020, both days inclusive.

By order of the Board

EN Rapoo

Group Company Secretary

Woodmead, Sandton

29 July 2020

The full long-form announcement is available for inspection:

https://senspdf.jse.co.za/documents/2020/JSE/ISSE/AFE/hy20.pdf

https://www.aeciworld.com/pdf/investors/interim-results/2020/interim-results-2020.pdf

The contents of this short-form announcement are the responsibility of the
Board of Directors of AECI. This short-form announcement is only a summary of
the information in the full announcement and does not contain full or complete
details. Any investment decisions made by investors and/or shareholders and/or
noteholders should be based on consideration of the full announcement as a
whole. Investors, shareholders and noteholders are encouraged to review the
full announcement which is available on SENS and on AECI's website. The full
announcement is available for inspection at the registered office of AECI, at
no charge, during normal business hours from 29 July 2020.

Copies of the full announcement, at no charge, can also be requested by
contacting the Group Company Secretary: EN Rapoo, Private Bag X21, Gallo
Manor, 2052, nomini.rapoo@aeciworld.com or groupcommunications@aeciworld.com

Registered office

First floor, AECI Place, 24 The Woodlands, Woodlands Drive, Woodmead, Sandton

Share transfer secretaries

Computershare Investor Services Proprietary Limited, Rosebank Towers,

15 Biermann Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196

Computershare Investor Services plc, PO Box 82, The Pavilions, Bridgwater

Road, Bristol BS99 7NH, England

Sponsor

Rand Merchant Bank (a division of FirstRand Bank Limited), 1 Merchant Place,

cnr Fredman Drive and Rivonia Road, Sandton, 2196

Directors

K D K Mokhele (Chairman), S A Dawson*, F F T De Buck, W H Dissinger**,

M A Dytor (Chief Executive), G Gomwe***, K M Kathan (Executive), J Molapo,

R Ramashia, A M Roets, P G Sibiya

* Australian ** German *** Zimbabwean

AECIWORLD.COM



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