Ariston Thermo: flexibility, speed and long-term orientation drive 2020 results

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In a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Company confirms its investments and reports a strong increase in profitability and cash generation

  • Revenues at € 1,66 billion, slightly down compared to 2019 (-2.7%)
  • Adjusted EBITDA at € 244 million and Adjusted EBIT at € 169 million, respectively +8.6% and +13.4% compared to 2019
  • Operating cash generation at € 186 million
  • Focus on long-term investments: R&D for renewable solutions (+29% compared to 2019); Digitalization and ICT (+23%); High-efficiency solutions in the space heating and domestic hot water sectors (stable compared to 2019)

Fabriano: Ariston Thermo, the leading Italian player active in the thermal comfort business for domestic and commercial solutions, announces its performance in the 2020 fiscal year.

In the fiscal year ended on the 31st of December 2020, the Company key financial indicators are:

  • € 1.66 billion in revenues
  • € 244 million Adjusted EBITDA, an improvement of 8.6% compared to 2019
  • € 169 million Adjusted EBIT, up 13.4% compared to 2019
  • Net Income of € 97 million, up 9% compared to 2019
  • A record operating cash generation, at €186 million

Revenues fell slightly (- 2.7%), in a global context of recession in which most of the Company’s key markets (e.g. Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, the Netherlands, Russia, the US, Mexico, India and South Africa) suffered from severe contractions in their Gross Domestic Product.

In terms of profitability, the Company reported very solid results in Adjusted EBITDA (€ 244mln, +8.6% compared to 2019), Adjusted EBIT (€ 169mln, +13.4% compared to 2019) and Net Income (€ 97mln, +9% compared to 2019), posting also a very significant operating cash generation (€ 186mln).

The Company leveraged on its international footprint, which balanced some favourable situations with more difficult ones, and on a swift reaction in facing the crisis through operational flexibility, cost attention and speed in operations. Ariston Thermo adopted three main guidelines to face the pandemic: (i) People first, i.e. the protection of workers in its factories, offices and on the field; (ii) Client first, pushing business continuity to serve customers and the network even during the lockdown; and (ii) Digital Transformation.

Notwithstanding the trying environment, the Company upheld its long-term focus, confirming its 2020 investment guidelines. Ariston Thermo increased its investment in research and development (R&D) dedicated to renewable solutions by 29% – demonstrating the fundamental role that innovation and sustainability play in its present and future development path. Further evidence of this commitment is the agreement signed in November 2020 between ATIT – Ariston Thermo Innovation Technologies -, Politecnico di Milano and Fondazione Politecnico di Milano. To foster the digital transformation of the business during 2020, the Company increased its investments in platforms and initiatives related to digital and ICT by 23% compared to 2019. In addition, the Company confirmed its focus on highly efficient technologies in environmental heating and hot water solutions, also strengthening its R&D centres in Italy, Mexico and China.

“At Ariston Thermo, we navigated this uncharted territory building on our core values of entrepreneurship, teamwork and long-term orientation, and complementing them with a commitment to act quickly, to anticipate proactively new emerging challenges and issues, to continuously adapt,” says Paolo Merloni, Executive Chairman of Ariston Thermo. “We have always had a long-term orientation. In 2020, despite the challenging context, we achieved extraordinary results, also accelerating many strategic initiatives. We focused on digital transformation and revised many elements of our organizational model to better absorb the relevant growth of the past years and prepare for new cycles of development. Looking ahead, we continued to invest in sustainability and technological innovation, and we are now very well positioned to grow further in the medium-to-long term. In 2017 we set ourselves an ambitious goal: we defined that by 2022, 80% of our sales would be represented by highly efficient or renewable products, and simultaneously that 80% of our sales would be generated by products with less than 5 years of life. I can proudly say that we are achieving both results.”

The main events of 2020

As part of the most significant events of the year, Ariston Thermo celebrated the 90th anniversary of its foundation, an opportunity for the Company to reaffirm its intention to pursue growth based on a commitment to sustainable research and innovation, digital transformation and the enhancement of human capital. Ariston Thermo chose to celebrate this special milestone by giving a gold coin to each of its employees around the world, as a symbol of gratitude, esteem and good luck.

In March, the Company launched many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities globally, to support the fight against Covid-19. In Italy and Europe, Ariston Thermo -leveraging its supply chain – donated more than 200,000 different masks to hospitals, healthcare facilities and other entities, as well as to all its employees, Technical Assistance Centres and customers, at a time when personal protective equipment was virtually unavailable. In China, Vietnam, Tunisia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Romania, the Company provided support to hospitals and to all those engaged in the front line of the fight against the pandemic, through product donations and fundraising.

Strengthening its commitment to innovation and sustainability, in November Ariston Thermo signed a framework agreement for collaboration with Politecnico di Milano and Fondazione Politecnico di Milano. The agreement, which will last five years, aims to broaden and make more strategic the areas of collaboration already started in research and technological innovation for the development of sustainable solutions in the thermal comfort field. The collaboration is also aimed to recruit talent and develop specific training for professionals of sustainable thermal comfort of PhD programs, areas about topics chosen by the Company. This agreement will promote the exchange of know-how between the two environments, academic and industrial, and a constant alignment on the latest developments in scientific and technological research.

Variety and innovation of our portfolio increase

In 2020, Ariston Thermo kept investing in new production lines and platforms for new solutions and services, driven by a strong focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. By optimizing the know-how of the different brands and adapting the solutions offered all the time to meet the different markets’ needs, the product portfolio has been enriched and refined globally.

In domestic water heating solutions, the following were launched in 2020 under the Ariston brand: the Andris2 range in Indonesia, a new range of electric storage water heaters in China, a new slim product in Vietnam, and new Velis models in Europe. To benefit from the growth of the electric water heater segment in Mexico, the Calorex brand launched the first storage and instantaneous products in the Ariston range.

As regards the range of instantaneous electric heaters, the introduction of the Aures range continued in new markets such as Mexico, South Africa, Vietnam and Singapore, while a new range of gas-fired storage products with open chamber and forced flow was introduced in the USA under the American Standard brand.

In the heat pumps’ field, the company launched in Switzerland the Nuos Extra system, ideal for generating hot water in collective or condominium applications, and presented the evolution of Nuos Plus, which offers the fastest heating times on the market, exhibiting high energy efficiency and integrating Wi-Fi connectivity.

In the area of heating solutions, Ariston Thermo’s portfolio has also been further strengthened. The range of Elco-branded air-water heat pumps, for both indoor and outdoor use, was consolidated with the launch of the new Aerotop S, which entirely renews the existing platform of solutions for domestic applications (from 5 to 15 kW), and the Aerotop G 8.2 model, ideal for new buildings. With the aim of supporting the growth of heat pump volumes in the European market, two ranges of fan coils were introduced, which strengthen the commercial proposition of the systems, thus reinforcing the Company’s position as a specialist in the heating heat pump segment.

In the field of hybrid systems, new combinations of models between heat pumps and boilers have been validated, which have made it possible to greatly increase the flexibility of the range in order to guarantee a better response to market needs and allow the customer to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Superbonus 110% incentive scheme.

With regard to fossil fuel-fired systems, the “WHBC” project was finalized and launched to offer a range of commercial gas-fired condensing boilers, wall-mounted and floor-standing, with excellent efficiency and low emissions. In the residential segment, Ariston Thermo completed the launch of new product ranges in the U.S. and Canadian markets, under the NTI and HTP brands, which began in 2019 with the first products in the TRX and ELU series.

2020 also brought innovation in terms of connected services: the new heating App for Ariston, Chaffoteaux, Elco and Atag brands was launched. The renewed user interface offers an even simpler and more intuitive user experience, making the main product information easily available and, at the same time, guaranteeing access to a series of advanced features such as smart scheduling, based on artificial intelligence and greater personalization of services. 

About Ariston Thermo:

Ariston Thermo is a global leader in heating and water heating high-efficiency solutions, components, and burners. In 2020, the Group posted a turnover of 1.66 billion euros and sales for 7.5 million products; the group counts 7,400 employees, 70 operating companies and 6 representative offices in 42 countries, 26 production sites in 15 countries and 25 centres of expertise for research and development in 16 countries, and sells in 150 countries worldwide. The Group offers a full range of products, systems and services mainly under the global brands Ariston and ELCO, and operates leading national brands such as Chaffoteaux, ATAG, Racold, Calorex, NTI, HTP, as well as Ecoflam and Thermowatt in burners and components. Ariston Thermo shows its commitment to energy efficiency through the development of solutions based on renewable energy sources (e.g. hydronic heat pumps, heat pump water heater, hybrid solutions, solar thermal), the improvement of the efficiency of products such as boilers and water heaters and the continuous investment in innovation for the development of increasingly advanced connectivity systems. The goal of Ariston Thermo is to look at the future of thermal comfort, offering an optimal combination of quality, energy savings and care for the environment.