Despite severe challenges due to COVID-19, Qalaa delivers strong 123% y-o-y growth in 3Q20 revenues driven by ERC’s contribution; COVID-19 impacts ERC’s margins, however, consolidated EBITDA excluding ERC was up 12% y-o-y due to resilient performance and operational efficiencies across the group’s diversified portfolio

Key Operational Highlights

  • Strong results from TAQA Arabia’s gas division thanks to solid gas sales and a focus on higher-margin infill clients;
  • Cost efficiencies at Nile Logistics following its depot’s connection to the national electricity grid;
  • Innovation and investment at National Printing which is capturing a growing market share;
  • Continued product mix optimization at ERC to mitigate pressure on its gross refining margin and support the refinery’s profitability;
  • Debt restructuring efforts across subsidiaries remain a priority, including at ERC, to better align with prevailing market conditions;
  • High degree of caution and readiness for resurgence of a second wave of COVID-19 with continued focus on balancing lives and livelihoods supported by proven health, safety and business continuity measures that have helped protect and retain all of Qalaa’s c.17.5 thousand employees.

Qalaa Holdings, a leader in energy and infrastructure (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange, formerly Citadel Capital), released today its consolidated financial results for the quarter ended 30 September 2020. Qalaa recorded total revenue of EGP 8.8 billion, an increase of 123% y-o-y. On a nine-month basis, Qalaa’s revenues increased by 144% y-o-y to EGP 26.5 billion in 9M20.

Qalaa’s top line growth in 3Q20 was driven primarily by the EGP 5.4 billion contribution from the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), constituting 61% of Qalaa Holdings’ revenue for the period. Excluding ERC’s contribution, Qalaa’s revenue in 3Q20 would record a 14% y-o-y decline due to the impacts of COVID-19, particularly on TAQA Arabia’s power division, as well as disruptions at Sudan’s Al Takamol Cement. However, a resilient performance from Qalaa’s diversified portfolio companies minimized further impacts on the company’s top line for the period. Resilience came on the back of a growing market share at National Printing as well as improved operational efficiencies and solid stevedoring operations at Nile Logistics. Moreover, easing restrictions and a gradual recovery in international trade drove a ramp up in production and an increase in export volumes at ASCOM.

“Since the onset of COVID-19, Qalaa has remained resilient in the face of unprecedented challenges thanks to the breadth and diversity of its portfolio,” said Qalaa Holdings Chairman and Founder Ahmed Heikal. “Our strong market positions across strategic sectors allowed us to minimize the impact on our consolidated top line performance when excluding the newly inaugurated ERC, with temporary setbacks being constantly offset by new operational and business development strides.”

“At TAQA Arabia, while the slowdown in tourism impacted the performance of its power division, our gas business continued to deliver impressive results and meet its operational targets. Meanwhile at National Printing, we continued to capture a growing market share thanks to a reputation of quality and continued innovation. Management is particularly excited about this business’s growth potential, with multiple avenues to capture new value from this fast-growing market. At Nile Logistics, the company successfully handled double the amount of coal/pet coke versus last year, most of which is destined for the cement industry as market activity picks up and as the freeze on construction licenses is lifted. Easing restrictions in 3Q20 also boded well for international trade, subsequently supporting improved performance at our mining operations where both ACCM and GlassRock witnessed growth in export volumes,” said Heikal.

“Overall, Qalaa Holdings’ revenue excluding ERC declined 14% year-on-year in 3Q20 due to muted performance from TAQA’s power division and the logistical difficulties faced at Al Takamol facility in Sudan. However, on a year-to-date basis, our top line performance excluding ERC declined only 5% for the nine-month period, a modest impact considering the global challenges, and made possible thanks to our diverse operations and continued pursuit of new growth avenues,” said Heikal.

Qalaa recorded an EBITDA decline of 26% y-o-y to EGP 205.9 million due to ERC recording a loss of EGP 106.3 at the EBITDA level in 3Q20. Excluding ERC, Qalaa Holdings recorded an EBITDA increase of 12% y-o-y to EGP 312.2 million on the back of improved EBITDA performance at TAQA Arabia and operational efficiency measures at National Printing and Nile Logistics during the period.

“While Qalaa’s top line excluding ERC was relatively impacted during the quarter, operational and busines development strides allowed us to extract higher value from operations and deliver improved EBITDA profitability despite the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Hisham El-Khazindar, Qalaa Holdings’ Co-Founder and Managing Director. “Excluding ERC, Qalaa’s EBITDA witnessed a solid 12% year-on-year increase driven by key milestones across our portfolio. We continued to target the higher-margin infill clients at TAQA Arabia’s gas division, which in turn offset lower gas conversions and helped TAQA record an 11% year-on-year increase in consolidated EBITDA for the period. At Nile Logistics, we are reaping the rewards of our inland container depot’s connection to the national electricity grid, with better operational efficiencies and cost reductions during the quarter. At National Printing, all subsidiaries continued to deliver a robust performance during the quarter with significant upside heading into 2021 as we commence full operations at Baddar’s new state-of-the-art plant, push ahead with expansions at Modern Shorouk and enhance production efficiency at Uniboard. Finally, at the holding level and across our subsidiaries, Qalaa has engaged in enhancements of its ERP systems to further improve operational efficiency and bolster profitability.”

“Meanwhile, ERC continued to be severely impacted by a lower gross refining margin on the back of highly challenging market conditions and significant price pressure on global petroleum products. To that end, we have pivoted our product mix to reduce jet fuel production and focus on diesel, as well as shifting the refinery’s input to 100% atmospheric residue oil to support the refinery’s overall profitability. Looking forward, we are optimistic about ERC long-term outlook and are encouraged by the recent uptick in oil prices following the news of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 and its anticipated impact on the global economy. Nonetheless, as an exercise in caution and given the relative uncertainty, we are in discussions with ERC’s lenders to engage in a full debt restructuring next year, with the aim of better aligning the refinery’s debt service with prevailing market conditions. This also aligns with Qalaa’s priority to restructure debt at its subsidiaries, including ASEC Holding, Nile Logistics and at ASCOM’s subsidiary GlassRock,” added El-Khazindar.

Qalaa Holdings recorded a consolidated net loss after minority interest of EGP 450.7 million in 3Q20 compared to a net loss of EGP 395.3 million in 3Q19. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 and a volatile oil market, ERC alone booked a net loss before minority interest of EGP 2.0 billion in 3Q20. It is worth mentioning that Qalaa’s effective stake in ERC stands at c.13.1%.

“Looking ahead, our optimism for the future is grounded by a high degree of caution particularly with the resurgence of a second wave of the pandemic. We stand ready with proven health, safety and business continuity measures that have anchored our performance during these challenging times and allowed us to retain Qalaa Holdings’ entire staff of c. 17,500 employees. Our people continue to be our most prized asset without whom Qalaa would not be the resilient company it is today.” concluded El-Khazindar.

Qalaa Holdings’ full business review for 3Q 2020 and the financial statements on which it is based are now available for download on ir.qalaaholdings.com.

—Ends—

Previous Qalaa Holdings press releases on this subject and others may be viewed online from your computer, tablet or mobile device at qalaaholdings.com/newsroom

Qalaa Holdings (CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Stock Exchange) is an African leader in energy and infrastructure. Qalaa Holdings builds responsible and sustainable businesses that add value to the economies and societies in which it does business. Formerly known as Citadel Capital, Qalaa Holdings controls subsidiaries in industries including Energy, Cement, Agrifoods, Transportation & Logistics, Mining and Printing & Packaging. To learn more, please visit qalaaholdings.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements contained in this News Release that are not historical facts are based on current expectations, estimates, projections, opinions and beliefs of Qalaa Holdings. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and undue reliance should not be placed thereon. Certain information contained herein constitutes “targets” or “forward-looking statements,” which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “seek,” “should,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “estimate,” “intend,” “continue” or “believe” or the negatives thereof or other variations thereon or comparable terminology. Actual events or results or the actual performance of Qalaa Holdings may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such targets or forward-looking statements. The performance of Qalaa Holdings is subject to risks and uncertainties.

For more information, please contact:
Ms. Ghada Hammouda
Chief Sustainability & Marketing Officer
Qalaa Holdings (S.A.E.)

ghammouda@qalaaholdings.com

Tel: +20 2 2791-4439
Fax: +20 22 791-4448
Mobile: +20 106 662-0002

Twitter: @qalaaholdings