Mauricio Graber, chief executive officer, Chr. Hansen makes a statement, “We have delivered a solid financial performance despite a volatile macroeconomic and geopolitical environment. Organic growth reached 9%, EBIT margin b.s.i. 26.8%, and the free cash flow b.a.s.i. ended at EUR 172 million lines with our latest guidance. Looking into 2022/23 we will continue to adapt to a changing business environment for both us and our customers and aim to deliver solid organic revenue and EBIT growth in 2022/23 as we progress on our strategic ambition to differentiate as a bioscience company-focused on microbial and fermentation technology platforms.”
Revenue amounted to EUR 1,218 million, up 13% from EUR 1,077 million in 2020/21. Organic growth was 9% in 2021/22, mainly driven by volume growth. The Lighthouses (Bioprotection, Fermented Plant Bases, Plant Health, and HMO) delivered 14% organic growth combined, while the remaining core businesses delivered 9% organic growth. Food Cultures & Enzyme’s organic growth was 7% and driven by volume, but with a positive impact from the pricing. Health & Nutrition organic growth was 14%, driven by volume.
EBIT before special items (b.s.i.) amounted to EUR 326 million, up 9% from EUR 298 million in 2020/21, while the EBIT margin b.s.i. was 26.8%, down from 27.7% in 2020/21. The decrease was driven by a negative impact from higher input costs and increased cost levels to mitigate challenges in the supply chain, which was partly offset by strong sales performance, pricing initiatives, and efficiency improvements.
Free cash flow b.a.s.i. amounted to EUR 172 million, down from EUR 196 million last year, as the cash flow from operating activities b.a.s.i. was impacted by higher taxes paid.
Q4 2021/22 highlights
Revenue amounted to EUR 328 million, up 12% from EUR 293 million in Q4 2020/21. Organic growth was 6%, driven by both price and volume growth. The Lighthouses showed 9% negative organic growth due to order timing, while the remaining core businesses delivered 7% organic growth. Food Cultures & Enzyme’s organic growth was 5%, mainly driven by pricing. Health & Nutrition organic growth was 6%, driven by volume.
EBIT before special items (b.s.i.) amounted to EUR 91 million, up 9% from EUR 84 million in Q4 2020/21, while the EBIT margin b.s.i. was 27.9%, down from 28.8% in Q4 2020/21. The decrease was driven by a negative impact from higher input costs and increased cost levels to mitigate challenges in the supply chain, which was partly offset by pricing initiatives and a positive impact from currencies.
Based on a 13% increase in earnings per share to EUR 1.71, the Board of Directors proposes an ordinary dividend for 2021/22 of EUR 0.95 (DKK 7.04) per share, for a total of EUR 125 million. The proposed ordinary dividend is equivalent to 55% of the profit for the year. Furthermore, the Board of Directors will evaluate the capacity to distribute excess cash through a safe harbor share repurchase program or an extraordinary dividend during 2022/23 in line with the company’s capital allocation principles. Such an initiative intends to keep Chr. Hansen at financial leverage is consistent with a solid investment-grade credit profile.
Organic revenue growth is expected to be in the range of 7-10%. Revenue is expected to be positively impacted by approx. 5% from exchange rates
EBIT b.s.i. is expected to grow faster than revenue, and EBIT margin before special items is expected to be in the range of 27.0%-28.0%
Free cash flow before special items is expected to be in the range of EUR 190-230 million
The outlook for 2022/23 is based on actual rates until October 11, 2022, and for the remainder of the year assuming constant exchange rates at the current level of EUR/USD rate of 0.97.