Interview to Massimo Neresini and Alessandro Paterniani, respectively CEO and CCO of SICIT Group, with Market Insight, during the VIRTUAL AIM Italia Conference organized by Borsa Italiana on May 25th, 2020, in which the company, the strategic priorities and the impact of Coronavirus on the business are described.
- Consolidated revenues of approx. € 19.7 million (vs. € 15.7 million in the first quarter of 2019, +25.6%)
- Adjusted consolidated EBITDA of approx. € 8.0 million and equal to 40.4% of revenues (compared to € 5.4 million in Q1 2019)
- Consolidated net cash available at 31 March 2019 of approx. € 29.6 million (€ 29.3 million at 31 December 2019)
- Further resolutions taken for the listing on the MTA, STAR segment
- Appointment of the Head of Internal Audit: in compliance with the Corporate Governance Code of Borsa Italiana, appointed Massimiliano Rigo (partner of Key Advisory S.r.l.) as Head of the Company’s internal audit function, to whom this function has been outsourced.
- 2020-2022 Incentive Plan: executive resolutions of the Company’s “2020-2022 Incentive Plan”, also based on financial instruments and approved by the Shareholders’ Meeting held on 20 April 2020, including the adoption of the related Regulations and the identification of the related beneficiaries, including the Chief Executive Officer.
- Consolidated revenues in the first quarter reached € 19.7 million (vs. € 15.7 million in Q1 2019, +25.6%)
- All of the company’s main businesses are showing significant growth: biostimulants up to € 12.1 million (vs. € 9.3 million in Q1 2019, +29.9%); retardants up to € 4.3 million (vs. € 3.6 million in Q1 2019, +19.6%); animal fat up to € 2.1 million (vs. €1.7 million in Q1 2019, +27.3%)
- All the main geographical areas grew significantly: Europe (including Italy) up to € 12.1 million (vs. € 9.7 million in Q1 2019, +25.1%); Asia-Pacific up to € 4.5 million (vs. € 3.2 million in Q1 2019, +40.2%); Americas up to € 1.7 million (vs. € 1.5 million in Q1 2019, +13.9%)
SICIT Group announces that consolidated revenues in Q1 2020, compared to the same period of 2019, recorded an overall increase of over € 4 million (+25.6%). This growth result concerned all the main areas of business: from biostimulants for agriculture (+29.9%) to retardants for the plaster industry (+19.6%), to animal fat for the production of biofuels (+27.3%).
Similarly, growth concerned almost all geographical areas: from Europe (including Italy, +25.1%, of which Italy +3.5% and other European countries +41%) to APAC (40.2%) and Americas (+13.9%). The only area in countertrend is the Rest of the World (i.e., Middle East and Africa, -8.1%).
Alessandro Paterniani, Chief Commercial Officer of SICIT Group, commented: “we are very satisfied. Although part of the increase can be reasonably attributed to an advance on purchases to prevent a possible ‘shortage effect’ from COVID-19, we believe that the level of interest in our products is still in a substantially positive trend, especially with regard to biostimulants. Despite the uncertainty of the economic environment, our client’s feedback comforts us on the possibility of achieving the economic and financial targets set for 2020“.
SICIT Group is doing its part to help the Italian health system and territories to deal with the Coronavirus emergency. Yesterday, the Board of Directors of the Company approved two donations: the first in favour of a hospital in Vicenza, which will be identified among the ongoing projects, for the strengthening of intensive care units; the second in favour of the new Fiera Milano Hospital.
The amount approved by the Board of Directors is equal to Euro 500,000 and will be allocated in the same proportion to the two health facilities. In addition, the Company’s Directors decided to waive their basic compensation (Euro 220,000), which will be donated in the same proportion to the hospitals in Vicenza and Milan.
Valter Peretti, Chairman of SICIT Group, said: “at such a difficult time for the entire country, it is important that Italian industrial system plays its part. This is why we have decided to make our small but significant contribution: a concrete gesture to help all those people who every day, within the hospitals of two of the most affected areas of Italy, face the Coronavirus emergency“.
Massimo Neresini, CEO of SICIT Group, added: “we have always been very attentive and close to the needs of the areas in which we operate. Today, more than ever, it was essential to act, reaffirming our social commitment, since those territories are facing an unprecedented challenge with great dignity: together we will succeed in defeating it“.
With reference to the Decree of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (so-called “DPCM” by the Italian Prime Minister) of March 22nd, 2020, containing new measures to stem the Covid-19 epidemic, including the closure, throughout Italy, “of all non-essential businesses”, SICIT GROUP informs that its activities are included in the list among those considered essential, and will therefore continue as usual.
The Company’s activity falls under the ATECO – code 20 (i.e. manufacture of chemical products) which has been included by the Decree in the list of businesses considered essential. The same applies to the activity of the subsidiary Sicit Chemitech (ATECO – code 72: scientific research and development).
It is also pointed out that the Group’s business – besides serving, in large part, the agri-food chain and energy production (activities that the decree included among the essential ones) – is essential for the first stage of the tanning industry processing, treating waste and by-product to obtain stable (and recyclable) materials. In this sense, SICIT Group believes it is obliged to process the tanning’s waste, also from a health point of view.
On the basis of the indications provided by the World Health Organization and by the Italian Government, SICIT Group has implemented specific policies to protect the health of its employees, clients and partners, while ensuring the business continuity. In particular, as the situation evolves, SICIT has asked employees involved in non-essential production functions to work from home, organizing dedicated smart working procedures. In the same way, the Company is adopting all the required solutions to ensure the health of its employees in its Italian production sites. SICIT has highly automated production plants that allow a limited use of staff directly involved in the production process.
SICIT Group and Syngenta strengthened their collaboration to promote an even more sustainable agriculture. The agreement provides for, on the one hand, a 15-year exclusive supply contract for ISABION and HICURE biostimulants and, on the other, for the further development of collagen-based biostimulants.
As natural and eco-compatible products that make it possible to optimise the use of crop protection products and chemical fertilisers, the use of biostimulants in the agricultural sector is growing rapidly. The benefits of their use are many and range from increased tolerance to abiotic stresses to improved nutrient assimilation, thus leading to an increase in yield and crop quality, while favouring a more efficient use of water.
With a global presence of over 20 years, ISABION is one of the leading products in the biostimulants market and helps plants mitigate the impact of abiotic stresses like cold, heat and transplant shock. ISABION delivers consistent results as well as a high return on investment for vegetable, fruit and specialty crop growers in different geographies and growing conditions. ISABION also helps growers to minimize the impact of climate change, fulfilling increased demands of high quality yields.
Alessandro Paterniani, Chief Commercial Officer of SICIT Group, commented: “We are proud to strengthen our long term collaboration with a market leader. Thanks to this agreement, Sicit will improve farmers’ access to its innovative solutions for sustainable farming“.
Corey Huck, Head Global Biologicals of Syngenta, said: “With this agreement, Syngenta secures access to the industry leading capabilities in the area of collagen based biostimulants, to further build our strong biological portfolio”.
SICIT Group has been awarded as Supplier of the Year at the Global Gypsum Awards 2019 thanks to PlastRetard.
The judging panel and the public agreed to award the multifunctional additive used in the production of plaster and plasterboard, produced for over 25 years by SICIT both in liquid (PlastRetard L) and in powder form (PlastRetard PE).
The criteria were based on innovation, effectiveness, quality and timeliness of the product, as well as its value for money.
The Global Gypsum Awards are assigned every year during the Global Gypsum Conference, now at its nineteenth edition, which closed yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Conference is the world’s largest event dedicated to plaster and plasterboard manufacturers and professionals.
For more information on PlastRetard visit the dedicated section: https://www.sicitgroup.com/en/retardants/.
SICIT Group will attend The Leather (Re)Cycling Exhibition that will take place at LineaPelle 97, from 2 to 4 October 2019 at FieraMilano Rho.
An exclusive exhibition, located at the entrance of pavilion 14, which tells the story of the application of the circular economy in the tanning industry. Thanks to the active role played by tanners, one of the most precious materials for the manufacture of fashion and design accessories is produced from the recovery of a waste from the food industry: leather. Thanks to the intervention of companies such as SICIT, potential waste (e.g. trimmings and flesh) are recovered and transformed into high-added-value products for agriculture and the construction industry.
To tell the case of excellence represented by SICIT, Andrea Pavan, Head of Technical Office and Environment of the company, will attend the conference The circularity of the Italian tanning industry – Protagonists talk about it on October 2, from 3.00 to 4.00 pm at pavillion 14 (R).
The meeting will also be an opportunity to reaffirm the strategic importance of the service offered by the company for the Vicenza district of the Chiampo Valley: just a few days ago SICIT was awarded the Technology and Innovation Award at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards 2019 for its commitment to sustainable development models.
SICIT Group approved the Consolidated Half-Yearly Report as at 30 June 2019, prepared in accordance with Italian accounting standards. Despite a six-month period in which the management was deeply committed to the Business Combination between SPAC SprintItaly and SICIT 2000 (completed on May 20) and a less brilliant market context for agricultural products in Asia and the Americas, and in Asia for retardants, the Company’s performance was, once again, positive.
Consolidated Revenues from products and services amounted to €32.5 million, a slight increase (0.1%) compared to the first half of 2018 pro-forma (€32.4 million).
It should also be noted that SICIT Group is implementing those strategic actions aimed at introducing new products and new production technologies (such as, first of all, the production of hair protein hydrolysate and, from the second half of 2020, the significant improvement in the quality of the fat extracted) that should allow to resume its path of strong growth.
Adjusted EBITDA for the first half of 2019 amounted to Euro 12.1 million (39.3% of revenues from products), compared to Euro 12.9 million in the first half of 2018 pro-forma (41.1% of revenues) as a result of: (i) higher selling expenses (due to a slightly different mix of clients); (ii) the inclusion of new professional figures (primarily the CFO), to strengthen the structure and (iii) the strengthening of the Board of Directors and internal control committees, necessary in view of the status of listed company (which has the objective of listing on the Mercato Telematico Azionario organized and managed by Borsa Italiana S.p.A., possibly in the STAR segment) to accelerate the growth in the period 2019-2022.
In the first half of 2019, the Company recorded an Adjusted Net Result of Euro 6.8 million (down 6.3% compared to the first half of 2018 pro-forma – Euro 7.3 million), equal to more than 22% of revenues from products.
Net Cash decreased from Euro 34.7 million as at 31 December 2018 pro-forma to Euro 32.1 million as at 30 June 2019 (-2.6 million), as the operating cash flows generated in the half-year (Euro 6.8 million) were absorbed by the planned investments in plant and equipment (Euro 3 million) and by the ordinary dividends distributed in June 2019 (Euro 6.4 million).
In this regard, it should be noted that in 2019 the Company continued its investments aimed at improving the efficiency of its processes and products as well as expanding its production capacity. Among the most important are the following:
- completion of the Arzignano cogeneration plant, which, when fully operational, is expected to result in energy savings;
- the completion of the new plants for the concentration and centrifugation of defecation gypsum; – completion of the trimmings grinding plant.
Investments are also continuing during the second half of the year, mainly with:
- the expansion of the existing the tank warehouse, to guarantee greater flexibility in responding to clients;
- completion of the hair production plant – which was scheduled to start fully operational in 2020 and was brought forward to 2019 for the test stage
- an animal by-product with very high protein yield (40% compared to an average of 12% of the other by-products currently used) which, when fully operational, will result in an increase in production capacity of 33% (from 12,000 tons/year to 16,000 tons/year of protein hydrolysate produced in the Arzignano plant) and a reduction in the average cost of production of the total protein hydrolysate produced by the Company estimated at about 10%-15%;
- the start of the design stage of the new plant for special products and the execution of the first tests;
- the start of the expansion of the sales offices and quality control laboratory, as well as the construction of the new agronomic laboratories at the Arzignano site.
SICIT Group also intends to continue its strategy of development and growth on foreign markets while maintaining strict control over its core processes. The Company intends to accelerate the growth process also with the opening of a foreign plant, which evaluation is planned to be completed in the second half of 2019 (with the start of work in 2020). Finally, in order to pursue its strategy of developing new products – in close collaboration with its clients, in order to respond adequately to the different needs of the agricultural and industrial companies to which they are dedicated – the Company does not exclude the possibility of potential external acquisitions or partnerships with other industrial groups.
Massimo Neresini, CEO of SICIT Group, commented: “The first half of 2019 marked a watershed for SICIT, as we were successfully engaged in the business combination, in the process of listing on the AIM, as well as and in the implementation of those structural changes necessary to enable us to reach the MTA (possibly the STAR segment), with 3 the approval of the 2019 financial statements. In the past few months we have built a solid foundation that will allow us to continue our important plan of significant growth and internationalization, oriented towards the medium-long term. Overall, in a six-month period characterized also by a less brilliant market context in some regions, revenues have seen a slight growth, reflecting the solid positioning of the Company”.
Milan, 23 September 2019 – SICIT Group was awarded with the ʺTechnology and Innovationʺ prize at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards (“GCFAʺ) held yesterday in Milan. The event – which has an international resonance and has now reached its third edition – celebrates the sustainability goals achieved by the fashion and luxury industry worldwide.
The award confirms the Company’s commitment to sustainable development models: SICIT, forerunner of the circular economy, has been offering since the 1960s a service of strategic importance for the Vicenza district of the Chiampo valley – the most important in Italy for the tanning industry and one of the most important in the world – as it collects and transforms the residues of leather processing into high-added-value products for agriculture and industry, limiting the production of waste to almost zero. The biostimulants and retardants produced by the company are totally biodegradable, without risks for the public health and the environment.
The “Technology and Innovationʺ has been delivered to the Chairman Valter Peretti, together with the CEO Massimo Neresini and the Chairman of Intesa Holding Rino Mastrotto. The GCFA – organized by the National Chamber for Italian Fashion, in collaboration with Eco-Age, with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development, ICE Agency and the City of Milan – has been assigned at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. The awards reflect the fashion companies’ʹ commitment to sustainability and their ongoing dedication to balancing the need to activate rapid changes that respect the environment, while preserving the tradition and authenticity of small producers.
The tanning industry is one of the most virtuous industries, as 99.5% of the raw material comes from residues of the food industry: downstream, the percentages of separate waste collection since 2002 have not fallen below 91% of and in 2010 reached 98%. In recent years, the sector has greatly invested in the circular economy, given that most of the waste produced comes from animals and must be disposed within 48 hours: the tanning industry has therefore been focusing on the reuse of waste in other production chains or within the same tanning cycle, rather than on its disposal.
As planned, at the beginning of the year, SICIT completed part of the work in progress on its plants in Arzignano and Chiampo, allowing to further reduce its already minimal environmental and energy impact. Thanks to its effort in R&D, during the summer completed an important new process innovation that will allow, together with a considerable increase in production efficiency, the recyclability of animal hair, an animal by-product of tanning processes that until now required to be disposed mostly in the water purification system of the district.
Massimo Neresini, CEO of SICIT Group, said: “It is a great honor for us at SICIT to receive this prestigious award. I would like to dedicate this prize to all our collaborators and to UNIC because it pays tribute to the intuition that almost 60 years ago some enlightened entrepreneurs of the tanning industry from Veneto had. For almost sixty years we have been implementing the circular economy in the tanning industry, which is even before the term was conceived. Thanks to our action we give new life to the waste that remains from the processing of leather, creating green products that improve the qualitative and quantitative performance of plants, as well as the recyclability of materials for construction. Tthis is the result of a continuous path of growth and innovation, of our cutting-edge laboratories and of the collaboration with the university world, our multinational clients and with the entire tanning chain.”