Press release
01.03.2010

Colas in 2009

2009: Colas showed good resistance to market downturn<br>
Revenue: €11.6 billion (-9.4%)<br>
Net profit (Group share): €387 million (-21%)<br>
Proposed dividend: 6.75 € per share<br>

The Board of Directors of Colas, chaired by Mr. Hervé Le Bouc, met on March 1, 2010 to finalize the financial statements for fiscal 2009.   

Consolidated key figures - in millions of euros

 

2009

2008

 

Variation

2009/2008

Revenue

11,581

12,789

 

            -9.4%

             France   

6,751

7,328

 

             -7.9%

             International

4,830

5,461

 

           -11.6%

Profit from operations

4.7%

5.3%

 

            -0.6 pt

Net profit (Group share)

387

490

 

           -21.0%

Net cash position

117

(6)

 

              +123

Revenue: 11.6 billion euros (-9.4%)

Almost every market on which Colas operates saw business slump due to a sharp drop in public and private investment.  The global economic crisis, initially sparked by a financial crisis, led to a drop in demand in 2009 in the infrastructure construction and maintenance markets.  Consolidated revenue for 2009 amounted to 11.6 billion euros, a 9.4% decrease (-9.5% with unchanged scope of business and comparable exchange rates).  The drop can also be traced back to poor weather during the first quarter in Europe and at year-end in parts of the United States, to the mechanical effect of decreasing raw material prices, especially bitumen, on overall prices, to slumping prices in work contracts, notably in France, due to harsh competition, and, lastly, to the completion of exceptional major projects at the end of 2008 that were not relayed in 2009.  Stimulus plans in France and in the USA helped support business but their impact was not as strong as expected, given delays in project launching, substitution effects and postponements to 2010. 

In France, revenue totaled 6.7 billion euros, down 7.9% (-8.4% with unchanged scope of business).

In mainland France, where the road segment represents 77% of total activity, revenue amounted to 6.3 billion euros, a 7.1% decrease compared to the previous year.  In the French overseas departments and territories, business dropped 18.5% at 0.4 billion euros (recession in the French Caribbean which came in the wake of a protracted social crisis at the beginning of the year coupled with the end of major projects in Reunion Island).

In the Group's international and French overseas territories, revenue totaled 4.8 billion euros, down 11.6% (-10.9% with comparable scope of business and exchange rates). In Europe, business took a harder hit in Belgium, Ireland, and most of all in central Europe where the economic crunch was even stronger in Romania, Hungary and Croatia.  Revenue in North American subsidiaries was penalized by the drop in bitumen prices, but this was in turn partially offset by the first wave of stimulus package spending.  Elsewhere around the world, business in Madagascar focused on mining contracts; in Morocco and Asia, on the other hand, growth is back on track.   

Group share of net profit at 387 million euros (3.3% of revenue) is down 21%

Net profit from operations in 2009 totaled 541 million euros, compared to 682 million euros in 2008, reflecting both a drop in volume and in profit margins. The Group share of net profit amounted to 387 million euros, compared to 490 million euros at the end of 2008.  The 21% drop - a figure which suffers from the comparison with record figures posted in 2008 when markets were at their highest - does nonetheless reflect the Group's strong sense of reactivity and capacity to adapt its organization in an unfavorable environment.  Thanks to the Group's cash flow from operations at 1.1 billion euros and a well-anticipated policy to rein in investment, the Group's net cash position at the end of 2009 is positive at 117 million euros, a 123-million euro improvement compared to the end of 2008, despite the effect of legislation requiring shorter deadlines for supplier payment in France on the cash position. 

Net profit at Colas 

Net profit for parent company Colas amounted to 329.1 million euros, compared to 327.7 million euros in 2008.    

Dividend 2009

The Board of Directors has decided to put forward a proposal to the General Meeting of Shareholders on April 14, 2010 to pay out a net dividend of 6.75 euros per share, compared to 8.75 euros distributed for fiscal 2008.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors will ask the Annual General Shareholders' Meeting on April 14, 2010 to approve the appointment of four new members of the Board: Louis Gabanna, Christian de Pins, Jean-Claude Tostivin, Gilles Zancanaro.

Outlook

Work-on-hand at the end of December 2009 was up 7.6% at 6.3 billion euros, an encouraging figure even if market trends remain uncertain.  Harsh winter weather in Europe has hindered work since the beginning of the year, as was the case last year.

In France, the road business could steady out or drop slightly, depending on the investment programs put forward by local authorities.  On the contrary, the rail and pipe businesses should operate in a growth market.  Bitumen supplies in France will be better secured with the acquisition of a bitumen production unit in Dunkirk as of June 2010.  North America (United States and Canada) should enjoy a good level of business, thanks in particular to US infrastructure plan projects that were postponed to 2010.  Figures in Europe could continue to fall due to central Europe.  In Africa, the Indian Ocean and Asia, business could be stable, despite forecast drops in Madagascar. 

Faced with low visibility, a provisional hypothesis for revenue in 2010 has been set at 11.5 billion euros (-1%).  The Group will continue to pursue its responsible development targets (saving energy, reducing CO2 emissions, safety, diversity).  Colas remains confident for 2010, thanks to the quality, adaptability and reactivity of its network of 1,400 profit centers worldwide, along with its ongoing strategy to favor profitability over volume, and its healthy financial structure.  2010 could be a year of transition, waiting for recovery as of 2011 in transport infrastructure markets, where needs remain high.

Compensation of Corporate Officers

 

In compliance with AFEP-MEDEF recommendations, information regarding the compensation of corporate officers and the granting of stock options is available on line as of this day at http://www.colas.com/.

 

The statutory auditors have duly audited and certified the consolidated financial statements and the parent company financial statements.

Provisional financial statements and annexes are available at http://www.colas.com/.

A presentation for financial analysts will be held on March 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm and will also be made available at http://www.colas.com/.

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Delphine Lombard
01 47 61 76 17 - lombard@siege.colas.fr