‘We face the future with enormous confidence’ – Sonae CEO

  • Lusa
  • 11 November 2021

Sonae achieved profits of €158 million through September, "exceeding 2019 and 2020 figures, even if impacted by Covid-19 related constraints," the owner of Continente announced on Wednesday.

Sonae’s CEO, Cláudia Azevedo, says she faces “the future with enormous confidence” based on the results of the first nine months of this year, stressing that the group “is better prepared”.

Sonae achieved profits of €158 million through September, “exceeding 2019 and 2020 figures, even if impacted by Covid-19 related constraints”, the owner of Continente and Worten announced on Wednesday.

“In recent months, the global economy has continued to recover from the pandemic and adapt,” Cláudia Azevedo said in the statement of Sonae’s first nine months results.

“We have new challenges ahead of us, but also opportunities that energise us” and, today, “our businesses are better prepared, the group is better prepared”.

“The level of energy and motivation I see in our teams is truly exceptional, the commitment to our clients is non-negotiable and the acceleration of innovation and strategic execution is present at all levels of the organisation,” she says.

“After a first half marked by lockdown measures, the third quarter has been a period with encouraging signs” and, in Iberia, “the speed of the vaccination programme made the region a case study and marked a clear recovery of the macroeconomic situation”, continues the manager, pointing out that, in this context, “Sonae’s business portfolio continued to show very positive results” and “Sonae MC reinforced once again its leadership position and is well-positioned to continue leading the market”.

Worten “continues to lead the e-commerce market in Portugal, leveraging a truly distinctive omnichannel approach”.

It also lists Sonae Sierra’s performance, with shopping centres improving “significantly as activity restrictions were eased, in some cases already reaching performance levels above 2019, and the services business showed important signs of a return to more normalised activity”.

The manager adds that Sonae Fashion and ISRG shops “are also returning to pre-pandemic levels, but with a stronger ‘online’ performance, which continues to reach record levels.”

In turn, “Sonae FS continued with the implementation of its new business model and Sonae IM’s M&A activity continued to generate value for the group” and NOS “achieved, in the telecommunications segment, the highest net subscriber growth of the last five years, while the media and entertainment segment showed encouraging signs of recovery”.

Sonae’s turnover rose 4.7% to September to more than 5 billion euros, with EBITDA growing 23%, “due to better operational results, but also to significant capital gains from our investment activity”, continues the group’s CEO

“In this chapter, and during the third quarter, Sonae MC sold its 50% stake in Maxmat, Sonae IM monetised its stakes in BizDirect and CB4 and Sonae established a partnership with CVC through the sale of a minority stake in Sonae MC,” she points out.

In the quarter “Sonae acquired the control of Gosh!, a UK reference company in the plant-based natural food industry, which allows” the group “to invest in a high potential sector, expand its international presence and contribute to a more sustainable future”.

Sonae’s total cash flow generation in the period “led to a strong reduction in net debt and to a historically low LTV [Loan-to-Value ratio] of 9%”, concludes Cláudia Azevedo.