Pared back losses for Dufry in H1 but business ‘not yet where it needs to be’

By Luke Barras-hill |

Salt Lake City International Airport, where Dufry operates, welcomed new shops from Hudson in H1 2021.

Dufry Group has reported narrowing losses in its half-year turnover (-25.2%) and gross profit (-27.6%) at CHF1,187.2 million/$1,305 million and CHF666.1 million/$732.7 million, respectively, as the travel retail giant’s CEO Julián Díaz pointed to ‘clear signs of recovery’ across the regions.

Turnover was down by 22.8% (organic) versus the first half of 2020 and by 69.5% (organic) compared with first half of 2019, as international travel restrictions continued, although the Basel-headquartered firm witnessed progress in several markets including the UK.

Díaz said: “The first half of 2021 was characterised by a slow start due to ongoing restrictions. However, with the progress on vaccination in many parts of the world and the implementation of supportive travel protocols, Dufry sees clear signs of recovery in the respective regions.

“We are certainly not, where we want to be yet, but the high demand for travel retail and the unique shopping experience offered by our operations give us confidence for the months to come.”

Julián Díaz , CEO, Dufry Group.

‘DISCPLINED’ CAPEX

Operating profit clawed back CHF564.1m, from -CHF932.6m in H1 2020 to
-CHF368.5m in H1 2021.

Net debt amounted to CHF3,351.5m at the end of H1 2021 compared with CHF 3,659.4m in HY 2020 and 3,291.2 million in HY 2019.

The foreign currency effect for the first six month of 2021 stood at -2.4%, mainly attributed to the devaluation of the US dollar.

In July net sales were estimated to have reached -50.4% compared with the same month in 2019.

“Net sales for July were already back at a level of -50.4% compared to 2019,” continued Díaz.

“Even more positive was the performance in the re-opened regions with the US reporting -23.9%, Central America and Caribbean excluding the cruise business [at] -17.6% and the Mediterranean region, Eastern Europe and Middle East [at] -32.3%, all compared to 2019.”

Dufry points to its ‘disciplined’ capital allocation, with cash flow metrics improving ‘considerably’ versus H1 2020.

Adjusted operating cash flow reached -CHF47.7 million in HY 2021 compared to CHF -103.5 million in 2020, while equity free cash flow stood at -CHF275.0 million in 2021 compared with -CHF749.1 million in the previous year.

Source: Dufry Group. Click to enlarge.

Cash outflow during the first half of 2021 was mainly attributable to concession fees, financing activities and working capital changes.

Dufry’s liquidity position increased during the first six months of the year to CHF2,172m (as of 30 June) including cash and cash equivalents of CHF641.4m; committed available lines of CHF1,425.8m; and available uncommitted lines, re-confirmed by banks of CHF104.8m.

ALMOST HALF A BILLION DOLLARS OF MAG RELIEF SIGNED

MAG relief worth CHF494.5 million for 2021 has been signed, correct as of July 2021, as Dufry continues to discuss and negotiate on concession structure agreements at its locations still experiencing lower pax volumes.

Europe, Middle East and Africa turnover declined by 81.1% (reported) year-on-year to CHF376m.

Source: Dufry Group. Click to enlarge.

Asia Pacific turnover fell by 85.6% (reported) year-on-year to CHF52.1m in H1 2021.

Across the Atlantic in the Americas, turnover declined by 62.8% (reported) to CHF637.9m.

While airports continue to account for the bulk of channel revenue, downtown, hotel, railway stations and border shops increased their share compared to the same period in 2019.

Duty paid continues to witness stronger demand, driven by food, confectionary and convenience offerings, while perfumes and cosmetic remains the leading category.

Spend-per-passenger and average ticket value were higher on a location-by-location level compared with 2019.

Retail gross profit margin stood at around 60.3%, the same level as in H1 2019.

TARGETING 85% OF SALES CAPACITY BY END-AUGUST

Correct as of June, the travel retail juggernaut counted more than 1,600 stores open across its portfolio – representing more than 75% of its sales capacity.

By the end of August, Dufry hopes to have open up to 70% of its stores and be operating at near to 85% of sales capacity.

Dufry’s aligned regional organisational setup, refined internal processes and external reporting structure allowed it to generate CHF510.3m in personnel and other expenses savings during H1, with an expectation that will reach CHF710m for full-year 2021.

Source: Dufry Group. Click to enlarge.

“Our focus continues to be on cash management, with cash flows having turned positive in the months of May and June already,: continued Díaz.

“We are in a position to upgrade the equity free cash flow scenarios provided to the market earlier this year and are expecting now -CHF30m cash consumption on average per month in a -55% turnover scenario compared to 2019, and for cash flow to turn positive in a -40% scenario.

“The tight control of our performance with respect to costs and cash flow contributed to a strong liquidity position of CHF2,172m as of end June 2021.

“In addition, we have successfully concluded the refinancing of around CHF1.6bn of upcoming maturities with a well-diversified product mix to achieve best-possible terms. We are now in a position to focus on re-openings and opportunities to drive recovery and growth.”

WINS IN UK, JAMAICA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

In a trading environment that continues to be marred by the detrimental effects of Covid-19, Dufry managed to secure new concession wins, contract extensions and partnerships in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Martinique, French Guiana, Jamaica, the UK, several locations in the US and in China.

Concession victories included at Teesside International Airport, Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica; at Santiago International Airport in the Dominican Republic; at Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport; and at Cayenne Felix Eboué International Airport in French Guiana.

The current pipeline of opportunities stands at approximately 34,500sq m as of June 2021.

Total gross retail space opened during H1 2021 amounted to 5,387sq m. Highlights included the opening of Dufry’s first duty free store in Odessa, Ukraine and additional stores at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Turkey.

Other locations included new shops in Athens, Kos, Santorini, and Thessaloniki in Greece and the addition of 700sq m of space at the Porto Alegre Megastore duty paid store in March.

Meanwhile, the sales area at St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport in Russia was extended further.

In the US, Dufry-owned Hudson has rolled out its Hudson Nonstop stores featuring Amazon’s Just Walk Out Technology at Dallas Love Field and Chicaco Midway International Airports.

These form part of a broader store digitalisation roadmap, which includes Dufry’s collaboration in Hainan that features a combination of physical and digital elements as it looks toward the opening of an additional 30,000sq m of retail space at the Haikou Mova Mall complex in partnership with Hainan Development Holdings in the second half of the year.

Source: Dufry Group. Click to enlarge.

Dufry also opened new stores at Salt Lake City International Airport, a new automated retail location at Chicago Midway International Airport, and new stores at the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas.

“We are positive on the opportunities lying ahead of us as we are progressing to re-open our operations globally, continuing to focus on commercial and operational excellence, on further diversifying our business and accelerating growth,” added Díaz.

“Sustainability is at the core of the Dufry strategy implementation and we are further driving our environmental, social and governance (ESG) engagement – now also supported by a dedicated leadership position for diversity & inclusion.”

Dufry expects to over-achieve its initially targeted savings versus 2019 in personnel and other expenses.

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