Update on dividend proposal and Shareholders'General Meeting in the context
of the Covid-19 crisis
Cergy, April 8th, 2020
In order to meet the societal challenges imposed by the Covid-19 crisis and its
effects on all our stakeholders, SPIE's Board of Directors has decided today to
propose to the Shareholders' Meeting not to pay a final dividend for 2019. The
May 29th, 2020 Combined Shareholders' General Meeting will exceptionally be
held without shareholders physical presence.
Upon a very strong set of 2019 results, combining solid revenue growth,
industry-leading EBITA margin, a sharp rebound in net income and a continued
high free cash flow generation, SPIE's Board of Directors proposed, on March
11th, 2020, a dividend of 0.61 euro per share, representing a 5.2% increase on
2018. As every year, this dividend proposal reflected a c. 40% pay-out ratio on
the Group's adjusted net income(1) and was in line with SPIE's balanced capital
allocation between external growth, deleveraging and shareholder return.
As an interim dividend of 0.17 euro per share had been paid in September 2019,
this dividend proposal implied a final dividend of 0.44 euro per share, to be
paid on June 5th, 2020, subject to shareholders approval at the May 29th, 2020
Shareholders' General Meeting.
SPIE is mindful of the responsibility imposed on us by this unprecedented
health, economic and social crisis, in which significant efforts are being
asked on all of the Group's stakeholders, notably its employees. In order to
meet the current societal challenges, the Board of directors has proposed not
to pay the final dividend for 2019. It has therefore decided to submit to the
vote of the next Shareholders' General Meeting the payment of a total dividend
limited to 0.17 euro per share, strictly corresponding to the interim dividend
which was paid in September 2019 (to be compared to the previous proposal of a
total dividend of 0.61 euro per share).
(1) Adjusted for the amortisation of allocated goodwill and exceptional items
On March 27th, 2020, SPIE announced that its activities were strongly affected
by the containment measures successively taken in several European countries in
response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Group promptly reacted by implementing
vigorous cost saving actions, and has started to make use of special government
measures designed to adjust permanent personnel costs to a lower activity level
during the crisis, while protecting employment and allowing for an efficient
restart when containment measures are lifted.
With EUR1.4 billion liquidity at the beginning of 2020, and no debt maturity
before 2023, SPIE has sufficient financial headroom to face the situation and
to meet all of its financial commitments, including the initially planned
payment of the final dividend. The decision to cancel the final dividend
payment is by no means the reflection of cash concerns from SPIE's management
and Board of directors. It is caused by the exceptional context,and dividend
will remain at the heart of SPIE's capital allocation policy going forward.
In solidarity with SPIE employees who will be affected by partial
unemployement, SPIE's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer has decided to cut
his remuneration by 25% during the containment period. All Board directors and
senior executives have also decided to substantially cut their remuneration
during this period.
In order to protect the health and safety of shareholders and employees, SPIE's
Board of directors has also decided to modify the organisation of the Group's
Combined Shareholders' Meeting on May 29th, 2020. This meeting will
exceptionnaly be held behind closed doors, without the physical presence of
shareholders. The procedure for participation to the Shareholders' Meeting will
be detailed in the convening notice to be published shortly, and will be
available on the Group's website at
https://www.spie.com/en/finance/annual-general-meeting. We strongly encourage
our shareholders to use remote voting in this particular context.
SPIE has a 120 year-long existence and has successfully gone through several
crisis of different natures. Based on the resilience and the highly
cash-generative nature of its business model, as well as its strong corporate
culture and very experienced management team, SPIE is convinced that it will
navigate the current Covid-19 crisis and come out of it with its fundamentals
A further update on the situation will be provided when SPIE publishes its
first quarter financial information, on April 29th, 2020.
As the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of
energy and communications, SPIE supports its customers to design, build,
operate and maintain energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly facilities.
With about 47,200 employees and a strong local presence, SPIE achieved in 2019
consolidated revenues of EUR6.9 billion and consolidated EBITA of EUR416
Certain information included in this press release are not historical facts but
are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on
current beliefs, expectations and assumptions, including, without limitation,
assumptions regarding present and future business strategies and the
environment in which SPIE operates, which is significantly affected by the
current health crisis. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the
date of this press release. Actual results may be materially different from
those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Forward-
looking statements are not guarantees of future performances and are subjet to
risks and uncertainties which are difficult to assess and generally outside of
the control of SPIE. In addition to the current health crisis, these risks and
uncertainties include those discussed and identified under Chapter 2.1 "Risk
factors" of the 2018 registration document of SPIE filed with the Autorité des
marchés financiers (AMF) on 17 April 2019, available on the Company's website
(www.spie.com) and the AMF's website (www.amf-france.org). This press release
includes only summary information and does not purport to be comprehensive.
Group Communications Director
Tel. + 33 (0)1 34 41 81 11
Investor Relations Director
Tel. + 33 (0)1 3441 80 72