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2021-10-27

Neste's Interim Report for January-September 2021

Neste Corporation, Interim Report, 27 October 2021 at 9 a.m. (EET)

Strong performance in the third quarter amid significantly higher energy prices

Third quarter in brief:

  • Comparable operating profit totaled EUR 368 million (EUR 373 million) 
  • Operating profit totaled EUR 579 million (EUR 425 million)
  • Renewable Products' comparable sales margin was USD 679/ton (USD 744/ton)
  • Oil Products' total refining margin was USD 9.4/bbl (USD 5.9/bbl)
  • Cash flow before financing activities was EUR 171 million (EUR 315 million)

January-September in brief:

  • Comparable operating profit totaled EUR 910 million (EUR 1,036 million)
  • Operating profit totaled EUR 1,499 million (EUR 830 million)
  • Cash flow before financing activities was EUR -213 million (EUR -51 million)
  • Cash-out investments were EUR 1,004 million (EUR 751 million)
  • Return on average capital employed (ROACE) was 15.4% over the last 12 months (2020: 17.3%)
  • Leverage ratio was 5.9% at the end of September (31.12.2020: -4.7%)
  • Comparable earnings per share: EUR 1.04 (EUR 1.16)
  • Earnings per share: EUR 1.71 (EUR 0.92)

President and CEO Peter Vanacker:

"Neste had a strong performance during the third quarter. We posted a comparable operating profit of EUR 368 million compared to EUR 373 million in the corresponding period last year. Renewable Products achieved high sales volumes and was able to maintain a healthy sales margin despite the tight feedstock market. Oil Products improved its performance as a result of the uplift in refining margin, which was partly offset by substantially higher utility costs driven by high gas prices. Marketing & Services performed very well during the summer period. Our ROACE over the last 12 months was 15.4%, and we had a leverage ratio of 5.9% at the end of September.

Renewable Products posted a comparable operating profit of EUR 300 million (EUR 352 million) in the third quarter. The renewable diesel demand was robust, and the feedstock markets remained tight as expected. Our sales volumes increased to 772,000 tons despite the scheduled maintenance at the Singapore refinery, which was successfully completed slightly ahead of schedule. We were able to maintain a healthy sales margin at USD 679/ton as a result of successful sales performance and margin hedging. Feedstock mix optimization continued and the share of waste and residue inputs was high at 91%.

Oil Products posted a comparable operating profit of EUR 47 million (EUR -1 million) in the third quarter. The global demand continued to recover, but was still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reference margin, which reflects the general market conditions, increased particularly during the latter part of the quarter. The reference margin increase was partly offset by significantly higher utility costs, and as there was no particular support from contango inventory profits, our additional margin was clearly below last year's third quarter level. The increased utility costs had a negative impact of EUR 44 million on the segment's comparable operating profit year-on-year. The cost savings measures continued to have a positive impact on the results.

Marketing & Services posted a strong comparable operating profit of EUR 25 million (EUR 26 million) in the third quarter despite aviation and marine fuel demand still being lower. We were able to increase sales volumes while the unit margins were slightly lower than in the corresponding period last year.

Uncertainty on the further development of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy continues. In addition, energy costs have increased substantially. Amid these market turbulences we will continue to focus on our strategy execution. We gave an update on our achievements, views of market developments, and new strategic targets at our Capital Markets Day in September. The Singapore renewables capacity expansion investment project is currently on schedule for start-up by the end of the first quarter 2023. The EUR 1.5 billion investment is planned to increase our renewable products capacity by 1.3 million ton/a, and bring our total production capacity to 4.5 million tons annually. The new production line will also include optionality to produce up to 1 million tons/a Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). Together with our Rotterdam SAF optionality project, we expect to reach SAF production capability of 1.5 million tons/a by the end of 2023. The project for a possible next worldscale renewables refinery in Rotterdam is in the engineering phase, and its scope is similar to the new Singapore unit. We are targeting investment decision readiness in early 2022 to continue to grow our business in renewables. Recently we announced an agreement to acquire Agri Trading in the US to strengthen our feedstock sourcing platform, and an agreement to sell our base oils business to Chevron. All of these actions support our strategy to become a global leader in renewable and circular solutions."

The Group's third quarter 2021 results

Neste's revenue in the third quarter totaled EUR 4,026 million (2,881 million). The change in revenue resulted from higher market and sales prices, which had a positive impact of approx. EUR 1.2 billion, and lower sales volumes mainly in Oil Products, which had a negative impact of approx. EUR 100 million, also related to the shutdown of the Naantali refinery.

The Group's comparable operating profit was EUR 368 million (373 million). Renewable Products' comparable operating profit was EUR 300 million (352 million), mainly due to a lower sales margin and higher fixed costs due to preparing for future growth. Oil Products' comparable operating profit was EUR 47 million (-1 million), as a result of the improved refining market. Marketing & Services' comparable operating profit was EUR 25 million (26 million). The Others segment's comparable operating profit was EUR -1 million (-5 million).

The Group's operating profit was EUR 579 million (425 million), which was positively impacted by inventory valuation gains of EUR 63 million (68 million), and changes in the fair value of open commodity and currency derivatives totaling EUR 145 million (27 million), mainly related to margin hedging. Profit before income taxes was EUR 582 million (407 million), and net profit EUR 512 million (347 million). Comparable earnings per share were EUR 0.42 (0.40), and earnings per share EUR 0.66 (0.45).

The Group's January-September 2021 results

Neste's revenue in the first nine months totaled EUR 10,181 million (8,723 million). The change in revenue resulted from higher market and sales prices, which had a positive impact of approx. EUR 4.8 billion, and lower sales volumes mainly due to the Porvoo refinery major turnaround, which had a negative impact of approx. EUR 3.0 billion. Additionally, a weaker US dollar had a negative impact of approximately EUR 300 million on the revenue.

The Group's comparable operating profit was EUR 910 million (1,036 million). Renewable Products' nine-month comparable operating profit was EUR 880 million (996 million), mainly due to the weaker US dollar and higher fixed costs than in the corresponding period of 2020. Oil Products' nine-month comparable operating profit was EUR -19 million (13 million), mainly due to lower sales volumes caused by the scheduled Porvoo refinery major turnaround. Marketing & Services' comparable operating profit was EUR 60 million (53 million), as a result of lower fixed costs and higher unit margins compared to the first nine months of 2020. The Others segment's comparable operating profit was EUR -9 million (-30 million).

The Group's operating profit was EUR 1,499 million (830 million), which was impacted by inventory valuation gains of EUR 445 million (losses of 98 million), and changes in the fair value of open commodity and currency derivatives totaling EUR 139 million (-64 million), mainly related to margin hedging. Profit before income taxes was EUR 1,462 million (807 million), and net profit EUR 1,318 million (709 million). Comparable earnings per share were EUR 1.04 (1.16), and earnings per share EUR 1.71 (0.92).

Outlook

Visibility in the global economic development still remains low due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence, we expect volatility in the oil products and renewable feedstock markets to remain high. Based on our current estimates and a hedging rate of approximately 80%, Neste's effective EUR/US dollar rate is expected to be within the range of 1.18-1.20 in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Renewable Products' sales volumes are expected to remain high in the fourth quarter. Waste and residue markets are anticipated to continue tight as their demand is robust. Our fourth-quarter sales margin is expected to remain healthy based on the current feedstock and product market outlook. Utilization rates of our renewables production facilities are forecast to remain high, except for the scheduled four-week catalyst change at the Rotterdam refinery mainly in November. The Rotterdam catalyst change is currently estimated to have a negative impact of approximately EUR 50 million on the segment's comparable operating profit.

Oil Products' market demand has recovered, but is still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reference margin has increased due to the ongoing energy crisis, and it is expected to be volatile. The positive impact of the higher reference margin is expected to be fully offset by the very high natural gas and electricity costs in the segment's fourth-quarter comparable operating profit.

In Marketing & Services, the sales volumes and unit margins are expected to follow the previous years' seasonality pattern in the fourth quarter. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have some negative impact on the demand and sales volumes.

Neste estimates the Group's full-year 2021 cash-out capital expenditure to be approximately EUR 1.1 billion, excluding M&A.

Conference call

A conference call in English for investors and analysts will be held today, 27 October 2021, at 3 p.m. Finland / 1 p.m. London / 8 a.m. New York. The call-in numbers are as follows: Finland: +358 (0)9 2311 3291, rest of Europe: +44 (0) 2071 928338, US: +1 646 741 3167, using access code 8892769. The conference call can be followed at the company's website. (https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/5dtsf6au) An instant replay of the call will be available until 3 November 2021 at +44 (0) 333 300 9785 for Europe and +1 866 331 1332 for the US, using access code 8892769.

Further information:

Peter Vanacker, President and CEO, tel. +358 10 458 11
Jyrki Mäki-Kala, CFO, tel. +358 10 458 4098
Investor Relations, tel. +358 10 458 5292

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