(Boursier.com) — The group NSE, a specialist in the design, manufacture and maintenance of high-tech electronic equipment more particularly intended for Defence, Civil Aeronautics, IT, Medical and Rail, today presents its consolidated results for the financial year 2021 (ended December 31, 2021). NSE is listed on Euronext Growth in Paris.
The 2021 financial year took place in a still difficult environment, the health crisis continuing to have an impact on the Group’s activities, mainly with delays in orders from the second half to 2022 for the Design and Integration activities, and a context always unfavorable in civil aeronautics. However, NSE was able to mitigate these impacts by relying on the good performance of the Services BU as well as on the diversification of its activities and the markets addressed, in particular La Défense.
2021 turnover thus showed a slight contraction at 66.6 ME.
During the year, the Group maintained its structural operational rationalization actions and continued to implement industrial and commercial efficiency action plans in its priority areas. Operational excellence and the work to improve the cost base made it possible to maintain high levels of profitability, particularly in the second half. The net result for the financial year is up compared to 2021, at 4.1 ME.
These very good results allow the Group to accelerate its deleveraging and achieve a net cash position of +5.3 ME (excluding rental debts), including a high gross cash position of 12.2 ME.
For 2022, the Group remains attractive on its markets, the 2022 financial year got off to a good start with, in particular, an order book already higher than that of the same period in 2021. The Group thus aims in 2022 to return to the growth of its activities, while maintaining its high levels of profitability.
In 2021, NSE delivered a new robust operational performance. 2021 EBITDA stood at €8.2 million for the year, representing an EBITDA margin of 12.3% compared to revenue. This performance is however slightly lower by 1.2 ME compared to 2020, due to the drop in activity of 2 out of 3 BUs. NSE was able to control its operating expenses, which amounted to 61.6 ME, against 62.6 ME a year earlier, and maintain a high level of profitability.
Personnel costs, which had increased in the first half to support business growth (turnover up 13%), stabilized in the second, to reach 25.2 ME (+9.6%) .
After net allocations to depreciation and provisions of €2.4 million, down compared to 2020, current operating income for the year came to €5.8 million, compared to €6.5 million in 2020.
The Group generated operating income of nearly €5.8 million as of December 31, 2021, compared to €7 million in 2020. This drop is partly explained by the decline in turnover and the absence of non-current net income, which were €0.5 million in 2020, linked to the sale of real estate (Cuers site).
The financial result improved by 0.6 ME, thanks to exchange rate gains over the period, in a context of stabilization of the cost of financial debt of 0.2 ME annually.
After taking into account a tax charge of 1.6 ME, mechanically reduced, due to the impact of the drop in turnover on operating profitability (compared to a charge of 2 ME at the end of the financial year 2020), the net income Group share in 2021 is up to 4.1 ME.
Cash flow before cost of net financial debt of 8.1 ME, resulting from the operational performance over the financial year and the marked improvement in WCR of 8.9 ME at December 31, 2021 linked to the normalization of trade receivables , drove the net cash flow generated by the activity to +15.3 ME, against 1.8 ME a year earlier. These flows largely cover the flows related to investments of -4.8 ME, which include the acquisition of minority shares in NSE Automatech, in the first half of 2021, and investments related to the industrial recovery plan and usual developments for 3, 12 ME.
The free cash flow generated in 2021 enabled the net repayment of 2.1 ME of borrowing (including rental contracts) including gross repayments for 5.3 ME, including 2 ME of PGE and the subscription of 3.2 ME new loans needed to finance its industrial recovery plan.
Gross cash thus reached a high level of 12.2 ME in 2021, showing a cash position net of financial debt (excluding IFRS 163) of 5.3 ME, an improvement of +9.2 ME compared to the previous year. fiscal year 2020.
In 2022, the Services BU should continue to drive the Group’s performance, thanks in particular to the momentum of its international subsidiaries. Performance will also be supported by an expected rebound in the Integration BU, under the effect of the diversification of activities resulting from the recovery plan. The Design BU should also return to growth, due to a buoyant order book, particularly in the “NVIS” modification activity for night flying with night vision goggles. In addition, the development of new products such as a Helicopter Weapon Control System is on track to generate revenue from 2022.
In order to support the growth of its activities, the Group will pursue its strategy based on the development of new markets, the improvement of competitiveness, and the deployment of its offers internationally. In this context, current geopolitical conflicts could generate new orders in the field of Defense from major contractors, NSE customers.
Also, NSE will continue over the coming semesters the implementation of its ambitious industrial investment plan to support its diversification and development, with, among other things, a new version of its ERP on the Services BU, as well as digitalization and process automation on the Integration BU.
NSE will also maintain strict control of its expenses, which should enable it to achieve another financial year of strong profitability.
It should be noted that NSE also committed at the beginning of 2021 to the implementation of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach, which involves all the teams and a rating system with concrete actions on the progress of a Social Environment and Governance (ESG) plan. A CSR report will be published at the end of the first half of 2022.
Next press release: First-half 2022 revenue, 07/29/2022 after market close.