Profitability restored in H2 2020 in all units strong cash flow generation in FY2020

Press releasesMarch 17 2021

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  •  Sequential improvement in revenue confirmed in Q4
  • Full-year revenue of €1.5 billion, down 16.5% vs 2019
  •  Operating profit down to € (170.5) M, due to the consequences of the COVID situation and its related costs
  •  FY operating profit (adjusted)[1]: €20M
  •  Cost base reduced by €30M by year-end


  •  Strong Free Cash Flow1 generation
  • Financial debt lower than expected at year end
  • Financial structure strengthened following the completion of the reserved capital increase

[1] Definition and calculation of all Alternative Performance Measures (APM) are provided in the Appendix

Mauro Ricci, Chairman and CEO of AKKA, commented:

“2020 was an unprecedented year, in which we carried out immediate actions to protect our employees and partners while continuing to serve our customers effectively. Throughout 2020, AKKA worked hard to accelerate its transformation while strengthening its fundamentals to be better positioned than ever and emerge from the crisis with its agility restored.

We have accelerated our business repositioning with multiple initiatives to leverage our core business, diversifying our capabilities in digital across all our sectors, and in R&D with AKKA Research. On the strength of our work on getting our organisations leaner and tightly managing our cost base with a relentless focus on cash management, we are already bearing the first fruits. The profit[1] of each and every one of our business units is back in the positive territory, while the revenue growth in Q3 and in Q4 confirm the gradual recovery of the activity.

 Looking ahead, we are also prepared for the next cycle as AKKA has also taken adequate measures to strengthen its balance sheet alongside our new strategic investor. We expect the gradual and moderate upturn to continue in H1 2021 and to accelerate in H2 2021 with good momentum in our digital activities and in most of our sectors. Our solid business fundamentals coupled with our wealth of know-how and skills, firmly positions us to capitalize on the recovery in global demand that is sure to materialize.”  

[1] Operating profit (adjusted)


The AKKA Group’s Board of Directors met on March 16th, 2021 to approve the financial statements for 2020.


(In m€)20202019Change (%)
External expenses(365.4)(388.9)-6.0%
Personnel expenses(1,134.0)(1,222.6)-7.3%
Net depreciation and provision(172.8)(57.2)ns
Free shares and stock options(1.0)(3.8)-74.5%
Other operating expenses & income(0.8)(7.7)-89.3%
OPERATING PROFIT (170.5)121.2-240.6%
% Revenue-11.3%6.7% 
OPERATING PROFIT (adjusted)*19.5143.7-86.4%
% Revenue1.3%8.0% 
Financial Results(27.4)(17.5)56.5%
PRE-TAX INCOME(197.9)103.7ns
Tax expenses30.0(30.4)ns
Minority interests(0.9)(0.2)ns
GROUP NET INCOME(168.8)73.0ns

*The details of adjustments on the operating profit is provided in the Appendix



FRANCE108.2115.7167.2 -30.8% -30.8% -30.8%+6.9%
GERMANY84.683.3139.7 -40.4% -40.4% -40.4% -1.5%
NORTH AMERICA60.865.974.2 -11.2% -3.8% -3.8%+8.4%
INTERNATIONAL*56.461.587.9 -30.0% -28.6% -28.6%+9.0%
AKKA LEGACY309.9326.4469.0 -30.4% -29.3% -29.3%+5.3%
DATA RESPONS41.148.0 -1.0%+16.8%
TOTAL GROUP351.0374.5469.0 -20.2% -29.3% -26.6%+6.7%


*Excluding France, Germany, North America and Data Respons

** Data Respons has been consolidated since March 1st, 2020

  • AKKA recorded revenue of €374.5M in Q4 2020, down -20.2% or -26.6% on pro forma constant basis. As the gradual recovery that started to materialize from Q3 continued in Q4 2020 as expected, AKKA revenue increased by 6.7% in Q4 2020 compared to Q3 2020. AKKA’s mobility sectors confirmed their sequential rebound in Q4 2020 with revenue up 7% compared to 3Q 2020. This was driven by ongoing recovery in the Defence, and Aerospace sectors which posted double digit sequential growth and in Automotive in a lesser extent. AKKA’s diversification sectors such as Life Sciences and Services continued to perform with revenue up 8% and 32% respectively.


By BU:

    • In Q4 2020, France BU declined 30.8% to €115.7M. The BU was particularly penalised by its exposure to Civil Aeronautics that stabilized at low point (around -50% compared to last year, in line with the market). The BU revenue sequential increase of 6.9% was mainly driven by a rebound in Life Sciences, Defence and Railway programs, and Automotive to a certain extent.


    • In Q4 2020 the German BU experience a sequential organic decline of 1.5% compared to Q3 2020 as a direct consequence of the general lockdown measures imposed in Germany in the last quarter of 2020. Considering the lower number of working days in Q4 than in Q3 the German BU recorded broadly stable revenue sequentially.


    • AKKA North America revenue declined by 11.2% in Q4 2020, to €65.9M. This represents an 8.4% rebound sequentially compared to Q3 2020 driven by large projects with key customers.


    • The International BU Q4 2020 revenue reached €61.5M compared to €87.9M in 2019. The BU rebounded 9% over Q3 2020, driven by improved business environment in particular in Italy, Spain, the Benelux and Eastern Europe countries.


    • As expected, Data Respons returned to significant growth in Q4 2020 compared to Q3 2020. Q4 2020 revenue was €48M, up 16.8% over the previous quarter. On a pro forma basis, revenue was down 1% as the positive trend on the engineering business offset most of the ongoing pressure on the delivery of solutions.



NORTH AMERICA264.8305.0-13.2%-11.5%-11.5%
TOTAL GROUPE1,503.51,801.5-16.5%-24.7%-21.9%
    • AKKA FY 2020 revenue declined 16.5% to €1,503.5M as a direct consequence of the global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. With the sharp downturn in all business activity and loss of visibility experienced in the first half year, AKKA carried out immediate action to protect the health of its employees and partners, increase R&D efforts with the support of AKKA Research and continue to serve its customers effectively.


    • After the peak of the crisis in May, AKKA’s business activity and financial performance gradually started to recover in most sectors, except in Civil Aeronautics while the automotive industry saw mixed recovery trends from the summer.


    • In FY 2020, AKKA’s French BU revenue declined 26.2% to €488.1M, impacted by depressed revenue in the civil aeronautics industry that stabilized at a low point during the second semester. The German BU was most impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown throughout the year and notably in spring and in December, with revenue down 32.4% to €349.2M. The rebound in Q3 and the subsequent stabilization only partially offset the sharp reduction in activity in automotive in H1. AKKA North America’s revenue decline was contained to -13.2%, to €264.8M in 2020 thanks to the more balanced revenue mix and a good resilience from Defence activities. The International BU FY 2020 revenue reached €248.3M compared to €318.6M in 2019 as some countries have been strongly impacted by the COVID situation. Data Respons contributed €153.1M to Group revenues in 2020. This represent a 6.4% increase on 2019 pro forma constant revenue, benefiting from its pure player positioning in digital engineering.



    • AKKA’s operating profit decreased to € (170.5)M in 2020, impacted by the consequences of the COVID situation and its related costs, notably in the French and German BUs. This figure includes all costs that were reported as “Non-operating costs” in previous years.


    • To streamline its financial communication and in full alignment with the IFRS rules, the Group no longer reports on the “Operating profit from Ordinary operations” nor on “Non-recurring costs”. AKKA from now on publishes its Operating profit which includes costs previously reported as “Non-recurring costs”. However, for comparability purposes, the Group also publishes an “Operating profit (adjusted)1”, the aim is this is to underline the performance from operations irrespective of some events that can occur during a specific year. The calculation of the Operating profit (adjusted)1 is provided in the appendix for both 2019 and 2020.


    • The adjustments for the full-year of 2020 comprise mostly the COVID related expenses (€59.2M), the costs related to the implementation of Fit-2-Clear (€41.9M), the provisions for the restructuring plans in Germany and France (€79.6M as previously announced) and the amortization of the intangibles arising from the allocation of Data Respons purchase price (€9.0M).


    • Therefore, the Group’s adjusted operating profit was €19.5M for FY 2020, remaining positive as expected, compared to €143.7M in FY2019 thanks to the early adoption and rapid implementation of significant cost reduction measures. The Group decided to accelerate its transformation and took important steps to emerge from the crisis with a streamlined organisation, more agile BUs and significantly lighter corporate organisation. The transformation plan is already yielding results with a reduction of the Group’s cost base of €30M by year-end 2020.
    • Analysing the sequential dynamic in 2020, important is to note each and any of the BUs of the Group were back to profitability[1] in H2 2020. The International BU even achieved a margin rate exceeding that for the full year of 2019 in H2 2020, while Data Respons delivered on expectations, with a margin of 12.8% in H2. Details of the profitability by BU are provided in the Appendix.
    • The financial result was a negative €27.4M in FY2020 (versus a negative €17.5M in FY2019). This includes €19.1M of interest on borrowings, stable compared to 2019 on an organic basis. The tax item in FY2020 is a credit of €30.0M, compared to a negative amount of €30.4M in FY2019. Therefore, the Group’s consolidated net loss was €168.8M in 2020, compared to a profit of €73.0M in FY2019.



    • Protecting AKKA’s financial health has been a key priority throughout the COVID crisis, enabling the Group to generate a very strong Free Cash Flow of €142M, up 6.9% compared to 2019 despite the significant decrease in operating profit. The immediate measures the Group took enabled a positive change in working capital of €224M mostly due to €147M of social and fiscal tax payments being deferred in most countries where the Group operates and to a reduction in net customer receivables.


    • In addition, in October 2020, AKKA announced its decision to strengthen its shareholder equity through a €197M net reserved capital increase, to provide the Group with greater agility in the aftermath of the crisis.


    • Despite the disbursement of the acquisition of Data Respons during the year, the cash position at year end 2020 was €468M, stable compared to year end 2019 (€469M). With €470M of undrawn credit facility, the financing capacity at year end is intact compared to a year ago.



    • AKKA’s balance sheet structure is solid. Covenant net debt post IFRS16 stood at €309M at 31st December 2020. The Group’s shareholder equity increased to €493M from €478M corresponding to a gearing of 63% and leverage of 3.44 times (net debt / EBITDA), below the 4.5 times covenant. This net debt position does not take into account the €175 M ODIRNANE bonds, which are accounted for in equity. For more information on the definition and details of the calculation of the net debt, leverage and gearing, refer to the Appendix.
    • From the outset of the crisis AKKA intensified its discussions with its lenders on the conditions attached to its funding instruments. It resulted in the banks in the RCF giving their consent for (i) a Covenant Holiday for the Leverage covenant on 31 December 2020 and(ii) a reset at 6x for the Leverage covenant to be tested on 30 June 2021. In addition, 80% of the Schuldschein (SSD) investors gave their consent for a Covenant Holiday for the Leverage covenant on 31 December 2020. As a reminder the testing for the SSD occurs on an annual basis at year-end.



    • After a long period of sustained growth through acquisitions, AKKA streamlined operations both in the different BUs and at corporate level. In order to prepare for the next cycle, the Group accelerated the deployment of Fit2Clear to become more agile and to better adapt to the demand evolution in terms of industries and skills. The objective is to lower the Group’s breakeven point and increase the operational leverage ahead of the major clients’ re-launch of major programmes.
    • The costs related to Fit2Clear implementation are estimated at around €100m, of which €41.9m was booked and cash-out in 2020. The remainder will be accounted for in 2021. As already mentioned, AKKA’s streamlining of its organisation began to bear fruits in 2020, with a cost base reduction of €30M. On a full year basis, the measures implemented should lead to a €60 to €65M cost base reduction, with full impact expected from 2022, representing an 18-month payback.


    • Business momentum continues to improve in early 2021, however visibility remains limited due to the ongoing COVID crisis. As a consequence, AKKA currently expects 2021 to be back-end loaded, with Q1 being the latest declining quarter due to a strong comparison basis pre-COVID and due to a particular selection of high margin projects, especially in North America.
    • As already communicated in the second half of 2020, AKKA’s management across all BUs is strongly focused on profitability over revenue expansion.
    • The additional cost reductions derived from the Fit-2-Clear transformation plan, together with the first savings linked to the implementation of the restructuring plans to adapt our capacities to the foreseen demand in our largest BUs should allow for a sequential reduction in the Group’s cost base of about €70 to €75M compared to 2020.
    • The Free Cash Flow for the year is expected to be significantly negative in 2021 due to around €200M of one-off cash outflows arising from the restructuring plans, Fit2Clear implementation costs that will be spread over the fiscal years 2021 and 2022, and the social and fiscal payments deferred that have been rescheduled over 2021 to 2023. Due to the seasonality of the working capital at AKKA, and with about two-thirds of the expected one-off cash outflows for 2021 to be paid in the first semester, the net debt should increase significantly in the first half of the year 2021 and improved at the end of the year.


Cost base
  •  Reduced by €70 – 75M
Non-operating costs
  • Implementation of F2C     c. €60M
  • Other                               <1% of revenue
  • PPA Data Respons
Free Cash Flow
  •  To be significantly negative due to one-off cash outflows



In case of discrepancies between the French and English versions of the press release, only the English version shall be deemed valid.









Mar 17 2021

.pdf — 1.35 MB

Profitability restored in H2 2020 in all units strong cash flow generation in fy2020


Mar 17 2021

.pdf — 4.31 MB

Presentation FY 2020 Results