It was one year ago on 6 October 2015, that Covestro debuted on the stock exchange which saw the beginning of a new era as an independent company and a step that has enabled it to play to its strengths faster, more effectively and more flexibly in the global competitive environment.
According to Covestro, the driver of its success is its new vision: to make the world a brighter place. “This vision has spurred us all on. We want to use our innovative technologies and products to help meet the challenges of the 21st century – climate change, the diminishing availability of resources, and the expanding global population, for example – with products that benefit society and reduce pollution,” said CEO, Patrick Thomas.
Covestro explains, it is a commitment from which shareholders can also benefit: at EUR 26, the first quoted price for Covestro stock a year ago was substantially higher than the issue price of EUR 24. Since then, Covestro has performed well on the stock market: the current stock price of more than EUR 50 is more than twice the issue price.
“The rise in the stock price reflects Covestro’s outstanding performance. Over the last 12 months, we have outperformed every index where we are represented and which is relevant to us. Every Covestro employee has good reason to be proud of this,” said Frank Lutz, the company’s CFO and Labour Director.
Proceeds from the Covestro IPO, which amounted to around EUR 1.5 billion, were used primarily to repay debt to the Bayer Group to achieve an investment-grade rating. In June, Moody’s has confirmed Covestro’s Baa2 rating. Loans from Bayer have been repaid in full and Covestro is listed on both the STOXX Europe 600 and MDAX indices. Covestro further strengthened its already sound finances in spring 2016 with a bond issue for a total of EUR 1.5 billion, a move that gave the company even greater financial flexibility.
The company says it has already made use of that freedom, deciding in June to expand production capacity at its Brunsbüttel (Germany) site. Between now and 2018, a sum in the low hundreds of millions EUR will be invested there to double production capacity to 400,000 metric tons of MDI per year, a raw material used in the manufacture of polyurethane.
At the same time, Covestro says it will continue to enhance its international presence. In response to rising demand, it opened a new large-scale facility in Shanghai in July, which will boost annual capacity by 50,000 metric tons of HDI, a raw material used in the manufacture of coatings and adhesives.
In addition, Covestro is deploying CO2 on an industrial scale for the first time in the manufacture of plastics: it has invested around EUR 15 million at its Dormagen (Germany) site to produce an innovative foam component containing 20 percent CO2, saving the corresponding amount of crude oil, the raw material traditionally used in the manufacturing process. Covestro sees considerable potential here to enhance sustainability.
More good news came from Covestro’s business operations, with the company raising its forecast for the current fiscal year as recently as July. “Covestro is posting excellent growth. Since the stock market flotation, we have performed very well, sold higher volumes and enhanced our profitability,” added Lutz. “From this strong position, we have paid our shareholders a dividend from the outset and plan to pay attractive dividends going forward.”
The company continues to see potential for improvement. “Despite everything we have achieved so far, we have not reached all our goals, particularly in our business processes and some of our internal structures,” explained Lutz. So there could be a few more chapters to come in the company’s success story: the global economy is forecast to grow by an average annual rate of 2.5 percent until 2020, while demand in the areas in which Covestro is active is expected to increase by an average of 4.0 percent a year.
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