Eric Olsen, Chief Executive Officer
Eric Olsen, Chief Executive Officer

I’m delighted to welcome you to the Aliaxis Annual Report for 2023 – marking another year of strong progress in our endeavour to achieve long-term sustainable growth for the business while tackling some of the world’s most pressing water challenges.

When I joined the company as CEO in 2020, we set about creating a high-powered leadership team, and we laid out our Growth with Purpose strategy and our purpose as “finding solutions to the world’s water challenges and accelerating the transition to clean energy”.

Growth with Purpose is about driving performance through operational excellence; dramatically increasing value-creating investment; working closely with customers to create the innovative water and clean energy solutions the world needs at scale and leading on sustainability with a sense of urgency.

I’m pleased to say that our strategy, our purpose, and our behaviours which define the culture at Aliaxis – we dare, we care, we deliver – are increasingly galvanising our people across the business to achieve our ambitious 2025 targets.

Solid performance despite market slowdowns

As anticipated, market conditions were challenging throughout 2023, with volumes down globally.

We saw significant declines in housing starts in most of our markets, with decreases ranging from 6% in Canada and 8% in the US, dropping as much as 19% in France. But, thanks to our resilient business model, we were able to limit the impact of these difficult trading conditions on our financial performance while not losing focus or commitment in investing in our future.

Our operations performed strongly in North America, overcoming market declines and maintaining robust margins thanks to excellent commercial management. In Latin America, severe economic challenges hit our operations in Chile, Peru and Colombia where we saw severe market decline. Our teams have moved quickly to adjust with a leaner organisation adapted to the market challenges.

In the Pacific, we reaped the benefits from our operational excellence drive and the results continued to show an excellent trajectory despite a softening of New Zealand’s agricultural and infrastructure segments.

Revenues and earnings in the EMEA region were slightly down as building markets declined, particularly in the UK, where we have launched a comprehensive plan to improve profitability.

Volumes grew strongly in Asia, but revenues remained flat and margins sharply declined. This was largely due to an overstock of products made when resin prices were high, which became uncompetitive when those prices declined in 2023. A new leadership team is now driving our operations forward in India to tap the huge growth potential in this market and return to historic profitability levels.

Cost savings

€125 million

Over the last three years, we’ve made significant sustainable cost savings, with more in the pipeline

Making every drop count

“We maintained overall solid performance across the Group with robust profitability.”

Eric Olsen

Eric Olsen, Chief Executive Officer

In the face of market slowdowns and the impact of high inflation, we maintained overall solid performance across the Group with robust profitability. Over the last three years, we achieved €125 million in sustainable cost savings, with an additional €100 million in savings in the pipeline for 2024.

Our €4.1 billion revenue together with a recurring EBITDA margin above 15% for the fourth consecutive year, confirmed that we have maintained the tremendous step change in earnings we achieved in 2021, the first year of our Growth with Purpose strategy.

Consequently, our recurring EBITDA has remained over €600 million for three years in a row and we remain fully on track to record an EBITDA of €850 million by 2025, another of our key strategic goals.

Our strategy at work

Our operational excellence programme, with its primary focus on safety, is demonstrating real results. Our Reportable Incident Rate (RIR) reduced by more than 50% since 2020, from 9.8 to 4.7. Our ambition is to become an exemplary business when it comes to safety by 2025 and we’re well placed to do that. As well, we exceeded our ambitious operational excellence cost reduction objectives for the year.

Sustainability and innovation are at the heart of our strategy, backed by targets to ensure we take immediate action to address both climate change and water scarcity. We continued to pursue our Growth with Purpose targets rigorously in 2023 with some major successes, starting with an improved EcoVadis rating from bronze to silver.

Over a third of our operations are now powered by renewable electricity, compared to 22% in 2022. We remain on course to cut our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 75% per ton of production, mostly through transitioning to 100% renewable electricity everywhere we operate. We’re also making great progress in cutting our carbon intensity.

Our target to quadruple the amount of recycled material in our products has proved trickier to execute for two main reasons – difficulties sourcing recyclate or because available materials turn out to be too impure for our needs. Our Pacific operations have taken a lead here and we acquired Comspec, a plastic recycling specialist in New Zealand – a great example of how we are taking action to address this issue.

Our Growth with Purpose strategy is also centred on innovation. We are successfully developing the new products and systems that our customers need, with new-to-market solutions making up 8.6% of our sales. This is twice more than in 2020. In India, more than half our turnover is already coming from new products.

Innovating for our customers is just one of the ways we are trying to meet their needs as best we can. We know we are serving our customers better than ever with the results of our customer satisfaction indicator reaching record levels in 2023. Our Net Promoter Score survey reached an overall score of 50 – up from 42 last year.

Reportable Incident Rate1

-50%

We cut our RIR in half from 9.8 in 2020 to 4.7 this year

Investing with an unwavering eye on long-term value creation

We remain committed to our long-term strategy despite current trading conditions, and we continue to invest in internal growth both to serve our customers better today and to enhance our long-term growth trajectory.

We plan to invest more than €1 billion by 2025 in internal growth, and already in 2023 we have made over €800 million of cumulative investment in our plants, distribution centres and research hubs for the three-year period, 2021 to 2024.

Our new state-of-the-art Pineville plant, in North Carolina, which opened its doors in October, is one of the most advanced and efficient factories in our sector. We’ve also been building and modernising other plants in India, Australia, Switzerland, the US and Germany.

Production of TerraBrute® pipes in Canada
Internal growth investment 2021, 2022, 2023

€800 million

Investment in external growth through M&A continued this year. We were pleased to acquire two manufacturing plants and a distribution centre from the US-based Valencia Pipe Company, giving us coast-to-coast coverage to serve our customer base. In Portugal, we acquired Zypho, an innovative player in drain water heat recovery and are already working together to bring new ideas to a much wider market.

Aliaxis Next, our division to invest in or acquire disruptive water tech start-ups, has created a thriving ecosystem of nine businesses focusing on sustainable water management, resilient water infrastructure, water for food, and access to water. We have invested €75 million since 2022 and are bringing new solutions to the world’s water challenges.

Purpose and optimism

We continue to work hard to make sure that the water crisis gets the public attention it deserves, and we’re teaming-up with like-minded organisations and individuals to press for urgent action.

The climate crisis is also a water crisis, as the UN has recognised, and the search for new and better ways to manage our precious water resources must be relentless.

The statistics paint a very stark picture, with billions of people already lacking access to clean water and sanitation and over half the world’s population now experiencing extreme water stress for at least one month a year. At the occasion of the UN Water Conference in March 2023, experts warned of an imminent water crisis, with demand expected to outstrip the supply of fresh water by 40% by the end of this decade. We all need to act to the level of this terrible threat.

Such figures and predictions are daunting and it’s easy to understand why some feel these challenges are insurmountable.

Fortunately, we do not take that view at Aliaxis.

We firmly believe that through awareness, action and innovation we can indeed find solutions to world’s water challenges. But to better manage this precious resource, we need to ensure the right investment, policies and regulation needed for its proper guardianship are put in place.

We will continue to play a central role in that effort.

Our Growth with Purpose strategy has energised the business and our people have responded fantastically. I’m convinced that if we work with a sense of real purpose and optimism, we can make the progress that society demands.

I hope this report will show you that, at Aliaxis, we are fully focused on this mission.

Eric Olsen

Eric Olsen, Chief Executive Officer

CHAIRPERSON’S STATEMENT

Building a truly sustainable business

Read statement

“These last years, the development and growth of the company has moved onto a new and more dynamic trajectory.”

Thierry Vanlancker, Chairperson

1 Reportable Incident Rate (RIR): the number of reportable injuries and illnesses per million hours worked.

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