LUXEMBOURG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 17, 2018--Senningerberg (Municipality of Niederanven), Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – May 17, 2018 - Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. (“Orion” or the “Company”) (NYSE: OEC), a worldwide supplier of specialty and high-performance carbon black, today announced results for its first quarter of 2018.

“We are very pleased with our strong start to the year. Our markets have strengthened worldwide and helped drive revenue up by 25.5% with gains in both Specialty and Rubber volumes. The stronger markets also supported price increases in both segments. While foreign exchange rates also favored revenue, the fundamentals of volume growth with stronger pricing were apparent in this good start to the year. As a result, our Adjusted EBITDA reached a quarterly record of $76 million,” said Jack Clem, Orion’s Chief Executive Officer.

“In Specialties, we were successful in our efforts to recapture margin pressured last year by a sharp rise in feedstock costs. Base prices were raised across all segments and regions and certain markets with lower margins were scaled back to support a shift to higher margin production. The result was a strong recovery in gross profit per ton which grew sequentially from $661 to $781 and on a year over year basis was up by $91 per ton aided also by a favorable foreign exchange. In Rubber we entered the year optimistic about demand and better pricing resulting from customer agreements concluded in the fourth quarter of last year. This proved to be justified as our production network was pushed to near capacity and better pricing was indeed achieved, helped in part by a continued strong performance by our facility in China which managed to have a record quarter in spite of the challenges of a quite volatile feedstock market,” added Mr. Clem.

“During the quarter we continued shifting our portfolio to higher value products by realigning capacity in our global production network, rationalizing some grades to devote our capacity to stronger margin products. We remain on track to complete the full realignment of the South Korean production footprint in the second quarter of this year. Capital expenditures are coming in on budget, the closure of the smaller plant is on schedule and the sale of the real estate in the suburb of Seoul is ahead of schedule with a price that is in line with expectations. We have begun work on the new Specialty line at our facility in Italy and it is on schedule to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2019. These capacity and mix realignment initiatives, carefully calibrated pricing and improving demand/supply dynamics position us to take full advantage of improving global economic conditions. We took advantage of a favorable interest rate environment to again successfully reprice our long term debt package and to convert our U.S. dollar debt to euros to better match our cash flows as a U.S. dollar reporting entity. The result was a saving of a very meaningful 8 cents per share. This has been a very successful start to 2018,” concluded Mr. Clem.

First Quarter 2018 Overview

Total volumes increased by 4.0% or 11.0 kmt to 286.1 kmt in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 275.1 kmt in the first quarter of 2017. This 4.0% increase reflected stronger volumes in both segments particularly within the Europe, South Korea and China regions.

Revenues increased by $82.6 million, or 25.5%, to $406.7 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $324.1 million in the first quarter of 2017, primarily due to positive foreign exchange rate translation impacts, the pass through of higher feedstock costs, increased volumes and increases in the base selling prices.

Contribution Margin increased strongly by $20.3 million, or 15.6%, to $150.2 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $129.9 million in the first quarter of 2017, primarily driven by positive foreign exchange rate translation impacts, strong volume growth, as well as price and product mix.

The operating result also increased strongly by $8.3 million, or 22.5% to $45.3 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $37.0 million in the first quarter of 2017, reflecting the increase in contribution margin.

The strong increase in Adjusted EBITDA of $13.4 million, or 21.4%, to $76.0 million in first quarter of 2018 compared to $62.6 million in the first quarter of 2017 reflected the increases in Contribution Margin, partially offset by negative foreign exchange rate translation impacts associated with our fixed cost base.

As a result, net income for the first quarter of 2018 increased by $7.4 million, or 44.1%, to $24.2 million as compared to $16.8 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Quarterly Business Results

Volume for the Specialty Carbon Black business increased by 3.1% to 69.1 kmt in the first quarter of 2018 from 67.0 kmt in the first quarter of 2017, reflecting general market growth and some rationalization of capacity to higher margin grades.

Revenue of the Specialty business increased by $25.6 million, or 22.0%, to $141.7 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $116.1 million in the first quarter of 2017, primarily associated with positive foreign exchange rate translation impacts, increased product base prices and product mix, as well as increased volumes.

Gross Profit increased by $7.8 million, or 16.8%, to $54.0 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $46.2 million in the first quarter of 2017, primarily reflecting positive foreign exchange rate translation impacts, the increase in sales volumes and improved mix. As a result Gross Profit per metric ton increased significantly by 13.2% to $781 in the first quarter of 2018 from $690 in the first quarter of 2017. Sequentially, Gross Profit per ton was up 18% from the fourth quarter of 2017 which had felt the full impact of rising feedstock costs.

Consistent with Gross Profit development, Adjusted EBITDA increased by $6.1 million, or 17.8%, to $40.3 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $34.2 million in the first quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 28.5% in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 29.5% in the first quarter of 2017, which reflects the pass through of higher feedstock prices impacting reported revenues, as well as some continuing delay in recovering feedstock costs.

Industry demand for Rubber Carbon Black remained strong in the first quarter of 2018 contributing to an increase in sales volume of 4.3% to 217.0 kmt in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 208.1 kmt in the first quarter of 2017. This increase in volume was associated with increased volumes in Europe, South Korea and China, while the restriction of capacity of standard Rubber grade products impacted volume development in the U.S.

Revenue increased by $57.0 million, or 27.4%, to $265.0 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $208.0 million in the first quarter of 2017, primarily due to the pass through of higher cost of feedstock to customers with index-pricing agreements, positive foreign exchange rate translation effects, increased sales volumes and base price improvements.

Gross Profit increased by $9.1 million, or 18.5%, to $58.4 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $49.3 million in the first quarter of 2017. This Gross Profit increase was primarily due to positive foreign exchange rate translation effects, increased contract base prices, higher sales volume, improved mix and the impact of improved cogeneration income resulting from a higher energy pricing environment. Accordingly, Gross Profit per metric ton increased by 13.6% to $269.20 in the first quarter of 2018 from $236.90 in the first quarter of 2017.

Adjusted EBITDA increased by $7.3 million, or 25.6% to $35.7 million in the first quarter of 2018 from $28.4 million in the first quarter of 2017, primarily reflecting the development of Gross Profit.

Adjusted EBITDA margin was 13.5% in the first quarter of 2018 as compared to 13.7% in the first quarter of 2017 as the pass through of higher feedstock prices impacted reported revenues.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

As of March 31, 2018, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $59.7 million a decrease of $12.6 million from December 31, 2017 driven by increases in working capital associated with recent increases in feedstock prices.

The Company’s reported non-current indebtedness as of March 31, 2018 was $699.9 million, composed of the non-current portion of term loan liabilities of $682.8 million ($684.6 million gross term loan liabilities reduced by capitalized transaction costs of $1.8 million), plus local non-current bank loans of $12.6 million and non-current debt from financial derivatives of $4.5 million.

Our net cash at March 31, 2018 totaled $45.3 million, composed of cash and cash equivalents of $59.7 million, less short term bank liabilities of $5.9 million and less the current portion of term loan liabilities of $8.5 million. Accordingly, net indebtedness was $651.8 million, composed of gross term loan liabilities of $684.6 million, plus local bank loans of $12.6 million and less net cash of $45.3 million. This represents a LTM Adjusted EBITDA multiple of 2.41 times, compared to a U.S. dollar like-to-like multiple of 2.43 times at the end of last quarter (on a US Dollar basis). Capitalized transaction costs as well as non-current debt from financial derivatives are disregarded in computing net indebtedness under our lending agreements.

Cash inflows from operating activities in the first quarter of 2018 amounted to $27.2 million and include cash uses of net working capital of $36.2 million compared to a net working capital use of $24.6 million in first quarter of 2017 and consist of a consolidated profit for the period of $24.2 million, adjusted for depreciation and amortization of $24.8 million and the exclusion of finance costs, net of $8.1 million affecting net income. Net working capital totaled $274.2 million as of March 31, 2018, compared to $224.0 million as of December 31, 2017, reflecting the impact of higher feedstock prices as well as foreign exchange rate translation effects.

Cash outflows from investing activities in the first quarter of 2018 amounted to $25.9 million, and comprised expenditures for improvements primarily in the manufacturing network throughout the production system including further investments to conclude the consolidation of our South Korean plant network, which continues to be on track and is expected to be largely completed by the end of the second quarter of this year.

Cash outflows for financing activities in the first quarter of 2018 consisted primarily of a dividend payment totaling $11.9 million, which increased by $1.1 million, or 10.0%, $0.02 per share increase over the dividend paid in the first quarter of 2017.

2018 Full Year Outlook

“After this strong start we see little reason we cannot continue our first quarter’s operational momentum. Based on the strengthened markets and the success of our initiatives, along with the positive impact of foreign exchange on our financial results in the quarter, we are increasing our outlook for full year Adjusted EBITDA to between $280 million and $300 million, based on the assumptions that volume growth will be in line with current GDP expectations and that oil prices, feedstock and importantly exchange rate impacts will stay at levels seen during the first quarter of 2018," stated Mr. Clem.

Other guidance metrics for 2018 include shares outstanding of 59.7 million reflecting the vesting of part of the long term incentive program for senior management, an underlying tax rate of 32%-33% on pre-tax income, and capital expenditures reflecting an operating run rate consistent with the past of approximately $100 million before expenditures associated with the consolidation of the Company’s plants in South Korea and EPA related capex. Depreciation is estimated to be approximately $75 million, and amortization is estimated to be approximately $25 million (including amortization of acquired intangibles of about $16 million) in 2018.

Recent Developments

In April 2018, our lenders agreed to reprice Orion's euro- and U.S. dollar-denominated Term Loan B debt which totaled $693.1 million as of March 31, 2018. The repricing on the U.S. dollar tranche reflects a 50 basis point reduction on margin from 2.50% to 2.00%, whereas on the euro tranche there is a 25 basis point reduction on margin from 2.50% to 2.25%. This repricing, which became effective on May 8, 2018 will reduce Orion’s current yearly costs of debt service by approximately $2.4 million or $0.03 per share.

Additionally, the Company swapped the U.S. dollar-denominated portion of its Term Loan B debt into euros. This swap transaction impacts both principal and interest payments associated with debt service and will result in a further annual interest cost savings of $4.7 million or $0.05 per share over and above the interest savings achieved by the recent repricing. An important driver of this transaction is the better alignment of group cash flows with the new U.S. dollar group reporting currency.

Consistent with the progress made on our Korean production network consolidation, on May 11, 2018 our Korean subsidiary entered in to a transaction to transfer the ownership of our plant site in Seoul, South Korea in exchange for net cash proceeds totaling approximately $50 million (before considering an associated capital gains tax payment of some $10 million) after taking into account certain remediation costs for which the Company will continue to be responsible.

Conference Call

As previously announced, Orion will hold a conference call tomorrow, Friday, May 18 th, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (EST). The dial-in details for the live conference call are as follow:

A replay of the conference call may be accessed by phone at the following numbers through June 1 st, 2018:

Additionally, an archived webcast of the conference call will be available on the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website at: www.orioncarbons.com.

To learn more about Orion, visit the Company’s website at www.orioncarbons.com. Orion uses its website as a channel of distribution for material Company information. Financial and other material information regarding Orion is routinely posted on the Company’s website and is readily accessible.

About Orion Engineered Carbons

Orion is a worldwide supplier of Carbon Black. We produce high-performance as well as standard Gas Blacks, Furnace Blacks, Lamp Blacks, Thermal Blacks and other Specialty Carbon Blacks that tint, colorize and enhance the performance of polymers, plastics, paints and coatings, inks and toners, textile fibers, adhesives and sealants, tires, and mechanical rubber goods such as automotive belts and hoses. Orion has 14 global production sites and four Technology Centers with 1,430 employees. For more information visit our website www.orioncarbons.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This document contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to our financial condition, results of operations and business, including those in the “2018 Full Year Outlook” and “Quarterly Business Results” sections above. These statements constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements concerning the potential exposure to market risks, statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions and statements that are not limited to statements of historical or present facts or conditions. Some of these statements can be identified by terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “could,” “should,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict” and similar expressions. Factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements include those factors detailed under the captions “Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2017 and in Note 10 to our audited consolidated financial statements regarding contingent liabilities, including litigation. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of the particular statement. New risk factors and uncertainties emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement - including those in the “2018 Full Year Outlook” and “Quarterly Business Results” sections above - as a result of new information, future events or other information, other than as required by applicable law.

U.S. Dollar Reporting

This quarter marks the first time we are reporting our results in U.S. dollars rather than Euro. As noted previously, we also plan to convert our financial statements from IFRS to U.S. GAAP, effective by the end of 2018. We believe both the switch to U.S. dollar reporting and the anticipated adoption of U.S. GAAP will benefit investors by allowing more direct comparisons between our results and those of some of our peers. These measures are also among the conditions for inclusion of our stock in certain U.S. equity indices, which may lead to additional demand for Orion's stock from index funds and index-driven investors. Some indices have additional requirements for inclusion. We are analyzing the feasibility of meeting such requirements and the associated costs and issues raised thereby, including those relating to the tax position of Orion and other members of the group. This analysis is ongoing and we can give no assurances regarding the outcome.

Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Financial Measures

In this release we refer to Adjusted EBITDA, Contribution Margin and Adjusted EPS, which are financial measures that have not been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (“IFRS”) or the accounting standards of any other jurisdiction and may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as operating result (EBIT) before depreciation and amortization, adjusted for acquisition related expenses, restructuring expenses, consulting fees related to group strategy, share of profit or loss of joint venture and certain other items. Adjusted EBITDA is used by our management to evaluate our operating performance and make decisions regarding allocation of capital because it excludes the effects of certain items that have less bearing on the performance of our underlying core business. Our use of Adjusted EBITDA has limitations as an analytical tool, and you should not consider it in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of our financial results as reported under IFRS. Some of these limitations are: (a) although Adjusted EBITDA excludes the impact of depreciation and amortization, the assets being depreciated and amortized may have to be replaced in the future and thus the cost of replacing assets or acquiring new assets, which will affect our operating results over time, is not reflected; (b) Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect interest or certain other costs that we will continue to incur over time and will adversely affect our profit or loss, which is the ultimate measure of our financial performance and (c) other companies, including companies in our industry, may calculate Adjusted EBITDA or similarly titled measures differently. Because of these and other limitations, you should consider Adjusted EBITDA alongside our other IFRS-based financial performance measures, such as consolidated profit or loss for the period.

Contribution Margin is calculated by subtracting variable costs (such as raw materials, packaging, utilities and distribution costs) from our revenue. We believe that Contribution Margin and Contribution Margin per Metric Ton are useful because we see these measures as indicating the portion of revenue that is not consumed by such variable costs and therefore contributes to the coverage of all other costs and profits.

This article has been truncated. You can see the rest of this article by visiting http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180517006420/en.