The pipeline is optimistic about the future, despite the geopolitical crisis and high energy and raw material prices. Its orders exceed 500 million and in 2022 it hopes to exceed the pre-Covid results.
Tubacex takes it for granted that its recent "repositioning" strategy in tubes with more added value and reduction of labor costs places it in a good competitive position to face the future.
It started 2022 with an order book of 500 million euros, and expects to close this year with results above those of 2019: the ebitda will exceed 70 million (compared to 17.5 in 2021) and sales will exceed 600 million (far from the 365 of last year). In 2021, it registered "disastrous losses" of 32 million, attributable in part to the 8-month strike that the labor adjustment triggered in its Basque plants.
The new president of the Álava tube company, Francisco Javier García; and the CEO, Jesús Esmoris, explained this Thursday before the shareholders' meeting, held in Bilbao, the forecasts for the coming years and the new strategic plan until 2025.
With 20 factories in the world and a workforce of 2,200 workers, Tubacex is already in profits, except in the Basque plants due to the energy cost, which has multiplied by 4 or 5 since the explosion in prices. "In Spain we have never been the best in energy and now we have gone a little too far", commented the president in a meeting with the media prior to the meeting. The pipeline is very gas intensive in its steel mill.
In the next 4 years, the company will operate "like Swiss watchmakers": it will manufacture fewer tons but more valuable products. And fewer tons mean fewer workers, Esmoris has admitted, who, however, is sure that no more labor restructuring is planned, although neither is the creation of new jobs.
In that time horizon, Tubacex will diversify its business from oil and gas -which now account for 60% of its sales- towards multi-energy, following its energy customers, who are investing in new decarbonisation projects. Above all, the pipeline wants to get out of the oil, since the gas "remains as a transition energy," say those responsible.
In addition to taking positions in the renewable energy market, especially storage and hydrogen, the Basque group will enter premium sectors, such as food and pharmaceuticals, with its tubes and components.
This growth strategy will allow a strong rise in turnover, according to Tubacex's expectations. In 2025, sales will go from €1 billion to €1.2 billion, almost doubling the pre-pandemic ceiling of €613 million in 2019, and well above the €365 million in 2021.
This diversification strategy will be accompanied by divestments in the current less profitable businesses, which García and Esmoris have avoided materializing; as well as purchases of companies that operate in complementary sectors.
To address this inorganic growth, Tubacex is going to focus in the first phases of the new strategy on generating cash, reducing its debt and strengthening its balance sheet, the CEO has indicated.
Currently, the net financial debt is 348 million euros, and liquidity is around 150 million.