GTT Announces 2020 Full Year Results

  • Feb 20, 2021
  • Gulf Oil & Gas

2020 Highlights

- High level of order book for core business

- Two acquisitions strengthen Smart Shipping business

- Entry into the electrolysers market for the production of green hydrogen

- New service contracts for ship-owners

2020 objectives achieved

- Consolidated revenue of €396.4 million

- Consolidated EBITDA of €242.7 million

- Proposed dividend of €4.29 per share1 (compared to €3.25 in 2019)

GTT (Gaztransport & Technigaz), a technology and engineering company specialising in membrane containment systems for the transport and storage of liquefied gas, announced its results for financial year 2020.

Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GTT, said: “With 51 orders booked in 2020, all segments combined, the year proved to be particularly dynamic from a commercial standpoint. Demand for LNG continued its upward trend, driven by countries in Asia. In addition to the 41 orders LNG carriers, GTT once again demonstrated, with orders for ethane carriers, FSRUs, FSUs and onshore storage, its ability to cover the entire liquefied gas transport and storage value chain.

After three years marked by numerous commercial successes, our order book stands at a high level. Most of the orders for 2020 are for an extended time horizon that gives GTT higher visibility through 2025.

With regard to LNG as fuel, GTT did not receive orders in 2020, due mainly to the low number of new ships built. However, CMA CGM’s first LNG-powered ships have been delivered; they will be the new flagships of the merchant navy. I would point out that the adoption of LNG as fuel by merchant ships is of crucial importance from the perspective of reducing CO2 emissions, since this fuel makes it possible to immediately reduce them by 20 to 25% and eliminate most other polluting emissions, in particular sulphur oxides and fine particles.

2020 was a dynamic year in terms of external growth for GTT, with the acquisition of Marorka, an Icelandic company specialising in Smart Shipping and OSE Engineering in the field of artificial intelligence. These acquisitions are part of our digital strategy, which also aims to make maritime transport cleaner.

In October 2020, GTT also acquired Areva H2Gen, renamed Elogen, a company specialising in the design and assembly of electrolysers for the production of green hydrogen. This operation confirms GTT’s commitment to energy and environmental transition.

Our financial performance is in line with the targets we set ourselves in February 2020, before the COVID crisis. Revenue in 2020 was up sharply by 38% compared to 2019, which was already 17% higher than in 2018. This performance is the result of the particularly high level of orders obtained in 2018 and 2019. 2020 EBITDA shows a strong increase of 39%.

The growth of our business and the development of new projects have led GTT to recruit new talents, in innovation, R&D and information systems in particular. These recruitments support the Group’s growth and prepare for the future.

With regard to our outlook for the current year, taking into account the distribution overtime of our order book, as well as the staff reinforcements and related costs, we estimate that consolidated revenue for 2021 should be in the range of €285 million to €315 million, consolidated EBITDA in the range of €150 million to €170 million, and we maintain our commitment to distribute, for financial year 2021, a minimum of 80% of our net profit2.”

Business activity

In 2020, GTT demonstrated its ability to cover the entire liquefied gas transport and storage value chain, with a significant number of orders for LNG carriers, along with emblematic orders for very large ethane carriers (VLECs), FSUs, FSRUs and onshore storage.

- LNG carrier orders remain at high levels

In 2020, GTT’s business activity was marked by multiple successes, particularly in the field of LNG carriers. In addition to the 12 LNG carriers booked during the first half of the year, a further 29 orders were booked in the second half of 2020. These 41 LNG carriers will be delivered between 2022 and 2025.

Noteworthy among these orders are those for two medium-capacity LNG carriers by the ship-owner “K” LINE for the Chinese market, and 15 ice-breaker LNG carriers following the signature in late June 2020 of a Technical Assistance and Licensing Agreement (TALA) with the Russian shipyard Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex (Zvezda).

- New orders for 4 latest-generation VLECs

In September 2020, GTT's membrane technology was selected to design 4 very large ethane carriers (VLEC – 98,000 m3) built by Korean shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI). This follows on from an order for 6 ethane carriers a year earlier.

Designed for multi-gas use, i.e. to transport ethane as well as several types of gas such as propylene, LPG and ethylene, these vessels will also be “LNG-ready”, offering the possibility of containing LNG in the future without the need to convert the ship's tanks.

- A year also marked by order diversification throughout the LNG chain

In early June 2020, GTT received an order from the Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to equip a storage and regasification unit (FSRU) on behalf of Japanese ship-owner Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd. (MOL). This FSRU with a capacity of 263,000 m3 will be positioned in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

In June 2020, GTT received an order from China Huanqiu Contracting & Engineering Co. Ltd. (HQC) for the design of two LNG membrane storage tanks equipped with GST® technology developed by GTT. Each with a capacity of 220,000 m3, they will be the largest onshore storage tanks in China. They will be located in the southern industrial zone of the port of Tianjin in China.

At the end of June 2020, GTT received an order from the Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to design tanks for two floating LNG storage units (FSUs), the largest units ever built (361,600 m3), on behalf of the Russian company GTLK. These two FSUs will contribute to the Yamal and Arctic LNG 2 projects of Russian LNG producer Novatek.

At the end of June, GTT also received an order from China Petroleum Engineering and Construction Corp. North China Company (CPECCNC), for the design of a membrane onshore LNG storage tank that will incorporate GTT’s GST® technology. With a capacity of 29,000 m3, this tank is intended for the Heijan LNG Peak shaving project, located in the Chinese province of Hebei.

- Contract with the US Department of Defense

In September 2020, the United States Department of Defense awarded GTT North America a contract for the Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility, a military fuel storage base near Honolulu, Hawaii. This agreement aims at developing a solution to upgrade the existing tanks to double wall containment.

- Four new service provision contracts with ship-owners

The Group offers ship-owners framework agreements that include a wide range of services relating to the operation and maintenance of ships equipped with GTT systems.

In February 2020, GTT signed a service and support contract with the CMA CGM Group for the commissioning, operation and maintenance of its future giant LNG propelled container ships equipped with GTT membrane containment technologies. The GTT service provides training for the crews of the CMA CGM fleet through the provision of the G-Sim® training simulator, specially adapted to replicate the LNG operations of CMA CGM vessels.

In March 2020, GTT announced the signing of a framework service provision agreement between its subsidiary GTT North America and the shipowner Excelerate Energy. GTT will assist Excelerate Technical Management – ETM with the maintenance and operation of 9 FSRUs equipped with NO96 technology. This agreement provides on-site technical assistance to GTT teams during inspections, maintenance, repairs, operations and engineering, as well as access to the HEARS® emergency hotline.

In July 2020, GTT signed a framework service provision agreement with the Norwegian shipowner Knutsen OAS Shipping AS. This new contract covers a fleet of 17 vessels by 2022 (12 currently in service and 5 under construction), all equipped with Mark III Flex or NO96 technologies, developed by GTT. GTT will assist Knutsen with the maintenance and operation of the vessels. Knutsen will also benefit from access to the HEARS® emergency hotline.

At the end of July 2020, GTT announced the signing of a new framework service provision contract with Fleet Management, based in Hong Kong, for the construction monitoring, maintenance and operation of vessels under management. Fleet Management is currently supervising the construction of latest-generation, high-capacity VLECs in Korea.

Technology development

In early 2021, GTT received approval in principle from the classification societies Bureau Veritas and DNV GL for the application of its NO96 containment system on the tanks of large-capacity container ships. With these approvals, GTT technology for LNG tanks on large-capacity container ships is entering a new phase.

On 15 February 2021, GTT has obtained two Approvals in Principle (AiP) from Bureau Veritas. The first Approval is related to the « NH3 Ready » classification of Mark III membrane tanks. The second Approval relates to the higher design pressure of “1 barg” in LNG as fuel applications, such as large container vessels. These Approvals demonstrate GTT's ability to offer ship-owners a flexible and future-proof solution enabling them to secure their investment with regard to changes in the supply chain and environmental regulation.

Targeted acquisitions

GTT made three acquisitions in 2020:

- Marorka in February 2020. This company, based in Iceland and specialised in Smart Shipping, designs operational reporting and energy performance improvement systems aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of vessels. This company is a good fit with Ascenz, a Singaporean company acquired in 2018.

OSE Engineering in July 2020. Based in France, this company specialises in artificial intelligence applied to transport. This acquisition complements the Group's expertise in modelling complex systems, optimising engineering processes.

- Areva H2Gen, renamed Elogen, in October 2020. This company, French leader in PEM electrolysis, specialises in the design and assembly of electrolysers for the production of green hydrogen. Elogen uses Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology. It is the only company to manufacture electrolysis units in France.

The green-hydrogen market today is expanding fast, notably driven by major energy companies who seek to provide to consumers carbon-free solutions, and by numerous national government development plans, as well as a European plan announced in July 2020.

This acquisition enables GTT to enrich its technological portfolio with an expertise in green hydrogen, a crucial component of the energy mix for the next decades. The Elogen acquisition confirms GTT’s commitment to continue to develop advanced technologies for better energy efficiency. It fully matches GTT’s development strategy, which is based on growth drivers that allow it to leverage its mastery of technological development, its expertise in gas handling procedures and its knowledge of energy production and transportation players.

In 2021, Elogen targets revenues of €6 million in 2021 and a negative EBITDA.

Elogen ambitions to reach a break-even point in terms of EBITDA by 2025 at the latest and to market more than 400 MW per year of electrolysis capacity by the end of the decade.

- Financed by GTT’s available cash, these acquisitions represent an amount of €8 million.

ESG policy: Net Zero ambition by 2025

In 2020, GTT embarked on a structured approach to define its ambitions with regard to decarbonization, for both its own scope of emissions and the maritime transport value chain through its new product and service offerings.

On its own scope, GTT has defined a Net Zero ambition by 2025, in which the Group will reduce its GHG emissions (approximately 5,000 tonnes of CO2eq in 2019) in accordance with the 1.5°C trajectory of the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) framework. A detailed set of actions to be implemented within three years has already been identified to reduce emissions and integrated in the business plan. These actions combine improvements in energy efficiency, switching to low-carbon energy sources, fleet conversion and changes in business travel practices.

Regarding the maritime energy transport value chain, it is GTT’s ambition to help its customers and industry players achieve the IMO’s objective of halving GHG emissions from international maritime transport by 2050 (currently around 900 million tonnes of CO2eq). In addition, the acquisition of Elogen contributes to GTT’s diversification into low-carbon energy vectors.

Order book

Since 1 January 2020, GTT’s order book excluding LNG as fuel numbered 133 units at that date, and it changed as follows:

Orders

41 LNG carriers, including 2 mid-size carriers

4 ethane carriers

1 FSRU

2 FSUs

3 onshore storage tanks, including one small

Deliveries

32 LNG carriers

1 ethane carrier

3 FSRUs

1 FLNG

At 31 December 2020, the order book, excluding LNG as fuel, stood at 147 units, of which:

122 LNG carriers

9 ethane carriers

4 FSRUs

2 FSUs

1 FLNG

3 GBSs

6 onshore storage tanks

Regarding LNG as fuel, including the deliveries of a bunker vessel and four ultra large container ships for CMA CGM, at 31 December 2020, the number of vessels in the order book stood at 14 units.

Changes in 2020 consolidated revenue

Consolidated revenue stood at €396.4 million in 2020, compared with €288.2 million in 2019, an increase of 37.5% over the period.

·Revenue from new construction amounted to €381.7 million, up sharply by 39.6% over the previous year, benefiting in particular from the flow of orders booked in 2018 and 2019. Royalties from LNG and ethane carriers increased by 47.2% to €340.0 million, whereas FSRU royalties decreased by 4.3% to €24.2 million. Revenue from FLNG, onshore storage, GBS and LNG as fuel totalled €17.5 million, up 2.4% thanks to an increase in GBS revenue to €2.9 million, whereas revenue from LNG as fuel were virtually stable at €9.6 million.

Revenue from services declined slightly by 1.2% compared with 2019, reflecting a strong decrease in maintenance and work on vessels in operation during the Covid crisis. Note however the growth in supplier approval services and engineering studies.

Analysis of the 2020 consolidated income statement

In 2020, Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to €242.7 million, up 39.2% compared with 2019. This change is explained mainly by the 26% increase in costs of sales, external expenses and personnel expenses related to the high level of orders for the main activity and the intensification of research and development projects and patent activity, as well as software development projects.

Net profit for the 2020 financial year amounted to €198.9 million, an increase of 38.7% over the previous year.

Other 2020 consolidated financial data

At 31 December 2020, GTT had a positive net cash position of €141.7 million, down 16.1%. Against a backdrop of increased activity, this decrease is mainly explained by the increase in dividends paid, growth in capital expenditures and increase in working capital requirements.

2020 dividend

On 18 February 2021, the Board of Directors, after closing the financial statements, decided to propose the distribution of a dividend of €4.29 per share for the 2020 financial year. Payable in cash, this dividend will be submitted to the approval of the General Meeting of Shareholders to be held on 27 May 2021. As an interim dividend of €2.50 per share was already paid on 5 November 2020 (in accordance with the decision of the Board of Directors on 29 July 2020), the payment in cash of the balance of the dividend, amounting to €1.79 per share, will take place on 3 June 2021 (ex-dividend date: 1 June 2021). This proposed dividend corresponds to a distribution rate of 80% of consolidated net income.

In addition, an interim dividend for 2021 should be paid in November 2021.

Outlook

After three years marked by numerous commercial successes, the order book for the main activity is at a high level (147 units). In contrast to the two previous years, most of the orders for 2020 are for an extended time horizon that gives GTT visibility through 2025. These orders will not generate significant additional revenue in 2021.

The order book at 31 December 2020 corresponds to revenue of €640 million over the period 2021 to 20255, broken down according to shipbuilding schedules as follows6: €267 million in 2021, €213 million in 2022, €108 million in 2023, €39 million in 2024 and €13 million in 2025.

In addition, as previously announced, to sustain growth and prepare for the future, the Group has continued its research and development, patent registration7 and IT development efforts, which have resulted in increases in staff numbers and related costs.

On the basis of these items, the Group announced the following targets for 2021:

a 2021 consolidated revenue target within a range of €285 million to €315 million,

a 2021consolidated EBITDA8 target within a range of €150 million to €170 million,

the payment of a dividend for 2021 corresponding to a payout rate of at least 80% of consolidated net income9.

Decision of the Korean Competition Authority

In November 2020, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) issued a corrective order against GTT for anti-competition practices since 2016, and requested that GTT allow Korean shipyards, upon their request, to perform some or all of the technical assistance services currently included in the technology licence. The KFTC also imposed an administrative fine of approximately €9.5 million.

GTT challenged this decision and appealed to the Seoul High Court on 31 December 2020. Simultaneously with the appeal, GTT moved to stay the KFTC’s decision.

On 6 January 2021, the Seoul High Court ruled in favour of GTT. The High Court’s decision is currently under review by the Korean Supreme Court, following the appeal filed by the KFTC on 14 January 2021.

Covid-19

Health of GTT employees and their families

No severe cases have been reported and GTT continues to strictly apply the recommendations of the health authorities and to update them regularly as the situation evolves.

How the Group operates

Head office: Teleworking is encouraged for all employees, in particular for those at risk or close to a person at risk. Certain exceptions are allowed depending on professional or personal constraints.

Subsidiaries and seconded employees: same policy as the registered office, subject to local directives.

Main risks

For GTT, the main risk of the coronavirus epidemic consists of possible delays to the timetable for the construction of vessels, which may lead to a shift in the recognition of revenue from one financial year to another.

The risks related to the impact of the epidemic on the worldwide economy, and particularly on the market for LNG, are currently difficult to assess. The Group nevertheless reiterates that the LNG market is mainly based on long-term prospects and financing.

GTT’s main activities are therefore functioning normally, despite a particularly difficult environment. The Group closely monitors any changes that could affect the markets in which it operates.