Robust FY 2018 performance: strong organic growth, margin expansion, rapid deleveraging

  • Revenues:
    • €2,916m (+27.1% reported and +8.0% organic growth vs. FY 2017)
    • Double-digit organic growth in H2 (+10.9%)
  • Operating margin: €352m (+40.9% vs. FY 2017)
  • 12.1% operating margin, +120bps vs. FY 2017
  • Aricent operating margin restored; 18.2% in H2, 17.8% for the consolidated period
  • Adjusted net income at €165m, +11.4% vs. FY 2017
  • Free Cash Flow at +€82m (+€307m in H2) driven by strong operations and focus on cash
  • Rapid deleveraging with leverage ratio reduced to 3.0x EBITDA
  • Adjusted EPS: €0.72 vs. €0.77 in FY 2017
  • Proposed dividend: €0.24 per share, subject to shareholders’ approval
Altran posted a robust performance in 2018, driven by an accelerating organic growth in H2, notably in France, Germany and North America. We have successfully delivered on revenue growth and margin expansion, deleveraging, integration and margin restoration of Aricent as well as on German profit turnaround. I am particularly proud of our team, now acting as one under the banner of Altran, which showed grit in an eventful year for the company. 2019 will see us continuing to focus on operations and the execution of our strategic plan Dominique Cerutti Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Results

The performance of the Group reflects the contribution of Aricent starting March 20, 2018. H2 2018 was the first reporting period including the full contribution of Aricent.

Altran reported robust 2018 revenues of €2,916.4m vs €2,295.3m in FY 2017 (up 27.1%), representing an organic growth of 8.0% and an economic growth of 7.5%, with a solid momentum across regions. Aricent contributed €445m revenues over the period.

The Group’s operating margin amounted to €352.3m, up 40.9% compared to FY 2017, reaching a 12.1% margin, a 120bps improvement compared to 2017. As previously committed, Aricent operating margin was restored to 18.2% in H2, leading to a €79m contribution (17.8% of revenues) over the consolidated period. Excluding the contribution of Aricent, the operating margin of Altran has increased by 20bps compared to 2017, notably due to the progress in the margin turnaround in Germany, where profitability was achieved in H2.

Group net financial expenses came in at €94.8m, including one-off costs of circa €24m related to early debt repayments linked to the implementation of the new financing structure for Altran.

Adjusted net income increased by 11.4%, to €165.1m compared with €148.2m in FY 2017, and adjusted EPS reached €0.72. On a reported basis, net income for the period was €80.6m, reflecting the impact of the Aricent acquisition and integration related expenses.

Detailed analysis of revenues

  • France: +6.1% organic growth for the full year, with a strong Q4 showing +9.0% organic growth. This performance was driven by a solid recruitment campaign as well as growth across all industries and in particular Aeronautics, Space, Defense & Naval, Life Sciences and Communications.
  • Europe: +8.8% organic growth. Organic growth in the region has accelerated by more than 500 bps compared to 2017. Germany is delivering strong growth (13.4% organic growth) for the full year on the back of large multi-year contracts in the automotive sector. Iberia and Italy continue to post strong organic growth as business prospects remain encouraging. Belgium & Netherlands returned to positive growth in Q4. The UK continues to record organic growth in excess of 10%. Switzerland achieved strong growth in Q4, leading to organic growth of 11.5% for the full year. Scandinavia was stable on a full year basis, hit by a negative client cycle during the last quarter.
  • Americas: +15.0% organic growth. The integration efforts of the American build-up continue to pay off. The region benefited from strong growth in the Semiconductor and Software & Internet industries, leveraging the India and Ukraine Global Engineering Centers respectively.
  • Asia: Asia’s revenues witnessed double-digit growth in Q4, achieving an overall +2.1% organic growth for the full year.

Cash and debt

For the full year of  2018, the Group’s free cash flow came at €82m, derived from a strong operating performance compounded by the success of the Altran Cash Program, the new capital structure of the Group and one-offs related to the acquisition and financing of the Aricent acquisition (negative impact of €116m) as well as the disposal of tax assets (positive impact of €101m). In H2 2018, free cash flow amounted to €307m thanks to these elements, and the significant seasonality in the working capital of the Group between H1 and H2.

The Group’s net debt came out at €1,312m in FY 2018, versus €351m at end-December 2017, reflecting the new financial structure of the Group including the acquisition-related debt and rights issue. In H2, the strength of operations and impact of the Altran Cash Program helped reduce leverage ratio to 3.0x EBITDA at the end of December 2018.

At the end of FY 2018, the Group had available cash of €473m, vs. €373m at end-December 2017.

Trends in staff levels

As of December 31, 2018, total headcount of the Altran group was 46,693 employees, compared with 33,665 at December 31, 2017. The significant difference results from the acquisition and consolidation of Aricent. Over the 12 months of FY 2018, net hiring for Altran standalone was 2,950 employees.

Dividend

At the General Shareholders Meeting on May 15th, 2019, the Altran Board of Directors will propose the distribution of a €0.24 per-share dividend, representing a pay-out of circa 37% of the adjusted net income.

Outlook

Steady client demand and underlying R&D spending growth fuel Altran’s good confidence in its business environment. Looking into 2019, improving operating performance combined with the Altran Cash Program should lead to further deleveraging by year end, in line with the Group’s 2020 milestone. Altran is on track with its set of mid-term financial objectives.

New governance structure

Altran today publicly announces its new governance structure, effective since November 2018, which reflects the new dimension of the Group after the completion of Aricent integration. The Group will operate under the unique brand Altran, including in North America, and this organisation will serve the continued execution of “The High Road, Altran 2022” strategic plan announced on June 28, 2018. The operational management of Altran is now structured into three bodies: the Global Executive Team and the Executive Committee, and the Senior Leaders Team.

The Global Executive Team gathers 6 Group Executive Vice-Presidents and is chaired by Dominique Cerutti, Chairman and CEO of Altran:

  • Cyril Roger, Senior Executive Vice-President & Delegate Director, in charge of Europe and large deals development, in connection with global go-to-market of some industries (Automotive, Aerospace, Defense, Transportation & Life Sciences, Energy, Financial Services & Public sector).
  • Laila Worrell, Executive Vice-President, Chief Executive Officer Altran North America, as well as global Head of the following industries: Communications, Software & Internet, Semiconductor & Electronics, Industrial & Consumer.
  • William Rozé, Executive Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer Europe, leading the deployment of Altran’s models across the newly structured geographical clusters.
  • Pascal Brier, Executive Vice-President, Strategy, Technology & Innovation, driving Strategy & Marketing, Innovation, Service lines and Group’s High Value activities and setting up the Research & Innovation roadmap.
  • Daniel Chaffraix, Executive Vice-President, Engineering & Transformation, in charge of Industrialized GlobalShore® and notably the operations of Altran’s Global Engineering Centers in Ukraine, India, Morocco & Tunisia, Portugal and Mexico, as well as strengthening the Group Global Program Office.
  • Albin Jacquemont, Executive Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer. Albin is responsible for the finance function across the organization, including controlling, financial reporting, balance sheet optimization, tax matters, treasury and improvement of cash generation.

The Executive Committee has been extended to inclusively welcome top executives and subject matter experts from both Aricent and Altran. This new executive committee is structured around three sub-committees, each focused on a pillar of the execution plan: “Operations & Industries”, driving the market penetration of Mainstream, “High-Value” and Industrialized GlobalShore® services models, “Technology & Innovation”, managing technology roadmaps and the development of offers focusing on disruptive technologies, “Engineering & Transformation”, driving the evolution of the Group’s engineering and its culture of excellence.

The Senior Leaders Team is composed of the leaders and change agents in the Group’s transformation; they do so by delivering performance and exemplifying Grit, Trust, Commitment and Integrity in the business.

Update on the cyber attack

The incident is now resolved, its impact is being thoroughly monitored and appears to be limited for the FY 2019 period

We will be in a position to estimate and communicate on the financial impact of this event with Q1 2019 publication

Ad hoc insurances have been activated.

Preliminary assessment shows that while Q1 2019 revenues should be somewhat impacted, this deviation should be offset by the strength of our business over the next quarters. Furthermore, there should not be any material impact on operating margin at Group level for the full year.

Additional information

Altran’s Board of Directors met on February 27, 2019 to close the FY 2018 financial statements. The audit procedures on the consolidated financial statements have been completed. The audit report will be released after review of the management report and the finalisation of procedures required for the publication of the annual financial report.

Press release

Robust FY 2018 performance: strong organic growth, margin expansion, rapid deleveraging

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Altran 2018 annual results

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