Press release

1st Quarter 2021 Results

Reminder: given the highly seasonal nature of its businesses, the Colas Group’s Q1 figures are not representative of its full year results

• Order backlog: €9.9 Bn, up 1% at constant exchange rates compared to end-March 2020

• Revenue: €2.0 Bn, up 3% compared to Q1 2020 (+4% at constant scope and exchange rates)

• Current operating result: -€277 M, a sharp improvement (+€93 M compared to Q1 2020), exceeding Q1 2019

• Net profit attributable to the Group: -€227 M, returning to Q1 2019 level

• Free cash flow: -€274 M, up €95 M compared to Q1 2020

• Net debt: -€441m (+€503 M compared to end of March 2020)

The Board of Directors of Colas, chaired by Mr. Frédéric Gardès, met on May 18, 2021 to review the accounts closed as of March 31, 2021 and outlook for the year.

Consolidated key figures


In millions of euros







Change vs 2020

Constant scope and exchange rates







Of which France






Of which International






Current operating profit / (loss)






Operating profit / (loss)

Net profit attribute to the Group










Free cash flow (a) 






Ne surplus (net debt)(a)






         (a)     See definition in glossary on page 4.

Order backlog

Order backlog at the end of March 2021 remained high, at €9.9 billion, down a slight 2% over one year (+1% at constant exchange rates).

In mainland France, order backlog amounts to €3.4 billion, down 6% over one year, reflecting a drop in calls for bids for the Railways and Roads segments in the wake of the health crisis and lockdowns.

Order backlog for the International and Overseas France units totaled €6.5 billion, stable over one year and up 1% at constant exchange rates. Colas has won significant contracts in the Roads segment in West Africa and Central Europe. International and Overseas France units account for 66% of the Group’s total order backlog.


Consolidated revenue for the 1st quarter of 2021 amounted to €2.0 billion, up 3% compared to the 1st quarter of 2020 (+4% at constant scope and exchange rates). In France, Q1 revenue totaled €1.1 billion (+14%, and +14% at constant scope and exchange rates). In the International units, Q1 revenue was down at €0.9 billion (-6% at constant scope and exchange rates).


Q1 2021 revenue amounted to €1.7 billion, up 3% at constant scope and exchange rates.

  • The improvement in revenue figures is particularly visible in the France - Indian Ocean zone (+13% compared to the 1st quarter of 2020), which benefits from a favorable comparison base with Q1 2020 due to the fact that as of March 17, 2020, France had gone into a strict lockdown and construction projects had been halted. This figure was also boosted by good performance in the geography’s businesses.
  • EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and the United States (respectively -14% and -10% at constant scope and exchange rates compared to Q1 2020) were impacted by unfavorable weather conditions in the 1st quarter.
  • Good weather bolstered business in Canada, which is up 9% at constant scope and exchange rates compared to Q1 2020, returning to same level as Q1 2019.
  • Finally, in the Asia-Pacific zone, business dropped 6% compared to Q1 2020.

Railways and other Activities:

Revenue from Railways and other Activities was up 8% (+10% at constant scope and exchange rates). The increase in revenue at Colas Rail is fostered by good performance in France and the United Kingdom.

Financial performance

Current operating result for Q1 2021 totaled -€277 million, up a sharp €93 million compared to Q1 2020. Current operating result is higher than Q1 2019, mainly thanks to good performance in the Roads segment in France and Canada.

As a reminder, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on current operating profit for Q1 2020 was estimated at around -€75 million (loss of current operating margin and unavoidable costs).

The share of income from joint ventures and associates amounted to -€2 million, a €7-million improvement compared to Q1 2020. At €4 million, Tipco Asphalt's contribution is up €12 million compared to the end of March 2021.

Net profit attributable to the Group was -€227 million euros, compared to -€300 million at end-March 2020, and -€227 million in 2019.

Net debt

Net debt at March 31, 2021 stood at €441 million, compared to net debt of €944 million at end-March 2020, a difference owing to controlled investment in 2020, as well as to improved profits and good control over working capital requirements during Q1 2021.


The outlook below is understood to exclude any further decline in the health crisis.

After a slump in activity in 2020, Colas' operating units are setting their sights on recovery in 2021. The second half of the year should see the first effects of recovery plans announced in 2020, particularly in France and in the European Union.

In 2021, Colas’ current operating profit should also increase against 2020, and approach the level recorded in 2019, bolstered by cost optimizing actions rolled out in 2020, and by ongoing operational excellence programs across its industrial activities.

Q1 revenue by business segment

in millions of euros

Q1 2019

Q1 2020

Q1 2021

Change vs 2020

Constant scope and exchange rates

Road France - Indian Ocean






Roads EMEA






Roads United States






Roads Canada






Roads Asia - Pacific






Total Roads






Railways and other Activites






Parent Company 













Order backlog: the amount of work still to be done on projects for which a firm order has been taken, i.e. the contract has been signed and has taken effect (after notice to proceed has been issued and suspensory clauses have been lifted).

Changes in revenue at constant scope and exchange rates:

- at constant exchange rates: change after translating foreign-currency sales for the current period at the exchange rates for the comparative period;

- at constant scope: change in revenue for the periods compared, adjusted as follows:

  • for acquisitions, by deducting from the current period those sales of the acquired entity that have no equivalent during the comparative period;
  • for divestments, by deducting from the comparative period those sales of the divested entity that have no equivalent during the current period.

Free Cash Flow: Net cash flow (determined after (i) cost of net debt, (ii) interest expense on lease obligations and (iii) income taxes paid), minus net capital expenditure and repayments of lease obligations. It is calculated before changes in WCR (working capital requirement)

Net surplus cash/ (Net debt): the aggregate of cash and cash equivalents, overdrafts and short-term bank borrowings, non-current and current debt, and financial instruments. Net surplus cash/(Net debt) does not include non-current and current lease obligations. A positive figure represents net surplus cash and a negative figure represents net debt.


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