CAC 40 companies exceed their 2019 peaks

If one needed an example of the economic recovery despite the persistence of the health crisis, it would suffice to take a look at the half-year results of companies in the CAC 40, the flagship index of the Paris Stock Exchange. From the beginning of January to the end of June, banks and insurance companies, automobile and aeronautical manufacturers, energy producers and equipment manufacturers, service companies, pharmaceutical laboratories and luxury giants returned to large profits. Over the whole of 2020, they had fallen to 37 billion euros (- 54%), even recording losses of 1.5 billion in the first half of the year; with some $ 50 billion in profits for the first half of 2021, they are doing better in just six months.

Economists and financial analysts predicted strong results for multinationals, whose health depends largely on that of the global economy. Their growth was greater than that of the global gross domestic product, confirming a pre-Covid-19 trend. In addition, large companies had shown resilience at the height of the pandemic, their activity restarting in the second half of the year with an acceleration at the end of the year.

Many observers were nevertheless surprised by the sometimes historic profits or the speed of the return to better fortune. This is the case of Veolia, in the process of acquiring its historic rival Suez, which has revised its 2021 outlook upwards. From the giant of electrical equipment and industrial automation Schneider Electric, which doubles its profit (1.6 billion). Or Saint-Gobain, whose new CEO, Benoît Bazin, inherits a situation that has long been unprecedented for the number one building materials company.

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Industry. Some companies have come a long way, like Airbus. A year ago, the European aircraft manufacturer lost 1.23 billion in the second quarter, after the shutdown of its production plants linked to the general containment from March to June. It earned 2 billion for a turnover of 14.2 billion (+ 70%) and announced that it would deliver more planes than expected (600) this year, bringing operating profit to 4 billion and the flow of cash available at 2 billion.

In the automotive industry, faced with the double shock of Covid-19 and the accelerated transition to electricity, Renault announced a profit of 368 million and an operating margin of 654 million (2.8% of turnover), after a disastrous year 2020. Its managing director, Luca De Meo, wants to believe that his “Renaulution” is working. The results are much brighter for Stellantis, born in January from PSA’s marriage to Fiat Chrysler. It has generated 5.9 billion and is targeting a margin rate of 10%, higher than that of its major German or Japanese competitors (excluding premium manufacturers such as BMW), confirming Carlos Tavares’ choices in terms of price and range positioning. .

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