Beneficial interest Sofinim: 30%
AvH Contact: Matthias De Raeymaeker
The overseas branches are mainly active in the logistics services and distribution of chemicals. There was a general improvement in the profitability of the branches, despite worsening market conditions in countries such as Brazil, Colombia and South Africa. In 2015, Manuchar continued its strategy of maintaining control and of controlling costs throughout the value chain by using its own warehouses. Construction began of new warehouses in Brazil, Vietnam and Honduras. At the same time, Manuchar keeps expanding its own product portfolio in order to gain a top three position in the distribution of chemicals. In 2015, some profitable distribution agreements were concluded for the African continent. Plans were also finalized to open offices in Turkey and Canada, as well as joint ventures in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Manuchar Steel reported a strong year in steel trading, with turnover and margin increasing in a difficult market with sharply declining prices. Steel for international trading is increasingly sourced from China, where Manuchar has already its own purchasing office since the 1990s. This steel is sold and delivered to the growth markets in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Manuchar also actively trades in other commodities such as polymers, paper, pharmaceuticals, cement, automotive parts, and wood. Although paper remains a relatively small operation in comparison to chemicals and steel, this activity saw the strongest growth in 2015. Trading in wood products recorded a disappointing result, primarily due to decreasing prices, leading to impairments on the European wood concessions that had been acquired. Full provisions were made for those risks.
Although Manuchar saw its activities increase over 2015, it managed to control its net debt. Two-thirds of the net debt is actually attributable to 'back-to-back' trading - a self-liquidating activity that is 90% hedged by credit insurance.
The sodium sulphate production plant in Mexico, which was due to start up in 2015, suffered a slight delay and was brought into operation in February 2016. As world market leader in the distribution of sodium sulphate, Manuchar wants to meet the demand for alternative sources to the strongly China-dominated production, and at the same time ensure even better control over quality, from extraction to delivery to the customer. Manuchar keeps investing to improve its customer service. With the gradual implementation of an ERP system, the company responds to the growing demand for transparency throughout the value chain.
|19/06/2007||AvH acquires a 20%-stake in Manuchar|