Continued strong financial foundation despite crisis
The further increase in free cashflow (+11.4%) allowed the attractive dividend policy and the share buyback programme to be continued while also maintaining the very healthy financial foundation of the Group.
Total assets increased from CHF 3,725 million to CHF 3,751 million. Liquid funds (including marketable securities and other short-term investments) grew from CHF 428 million to CHF 469 million. In addition, the Group had access to undrawn operating credit lines for the operating business of CHF 583 million. Debt decreased from CHF 837 million in the previous year to CHF 779 million. Overall, this resulted in a decline in net debt of CHF 99 million to CHF 310 million at the end of 2020.
(in CHF million; as of 31 December)
|Liquid funds (including marketable securities and other short-term investments)||282||428||469|
In the second quarter of 2020, a new CHF bond of CHF 300 million with a term of 2.5 years was issued in order to additionally secure liquidity. This enabled an expiring bond to be refinanced later in the year.
Net working capital dropped by CHF 21 million year-on-year to CHF 181 million. Property, plant and equipment increased from CHF 920 million to CHF 934 million, while goodwill and intangible assets fell from CHF 1,597 million to CHF 1,577 million.
The ratio of net debt to equity (gearing) contracted from 21.5% in the previous year to 16.1%. The equity ratio remained at a very solid 51.2% (previous year 51.0%). The ratio of net debt to EBITDA dropped to 0.3x (previous year 0.5x). Based on average equity, the return on equity (ROE) came to 34.8% (previous year 35.8%). Average invested operating capital, comprising net working capital, property, plant and equipment, goodwill and intangible assets, amounted to CHF 2,794 million at the end of 2020 (previous year CHF 2,810 million). The return on invested capital (ROIC) was 23.2%, slightly above the previous year’s level (23.1%).
The Geberit Group held 1,415,834 treasury shares on 31 December 2020, which equals 3.8% of the shares entered in the Commercial Register. Of these, 1,120,794 (3.0% of the shares entered in the Commercial Register) originate from the share buyback programmes, while the remaining 295,040 are mostly earmarked for participation plans. The total number of shares entered in the Commercial Register stands at 37,041,427 shares.
The share buyback programme, launched in June 2017, was completed at the end of April 2020. In total, 1,026,094 registered shares – equal to CHF 440 million and corresponding to 2.8% of the share capital entered in the Commercial Register at that time – were repurchased. In the reporting year, 261,543 shares were acquired at a sum of CHF 116 million. The share buyback programme was conducted via a second trading line set up especially for this purpose. A proposal will be submitted to the ordinary General Meeting on 14 April 2021 to carry out a capital reduction in the amount of the repurchased shares and to cancel these shares.
A new share buyback programme was started on 17 September 2020. Over a maximum period of two years, registered shares amounting to a maximum purchase value of CHF 500 million will be repurchased. Based on the closing price of Geberit registered shares on 15 September 2020, this corresponded to around 950,000 registered shares or 2.6% of the share capital currently entered in the Commercial Register. The registered shares are repurchased via a separate trading line on the SIX Swiss Exchange for the purpose of a capital reduction. In addition to the capital reduction from the share buyback programme of 2017 to 2020, a proposal will also be submitted to the ordinary General Meeting on 14 April 2021 to carry out a capital reduction in the amount of the shares repurchased as part of the new programme by the end of February 2021, and to also cancel these shares. By 31 December 2020, 94,700 shares were acquired as part of the new programme at a sum of CHF 51 million.