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D’Ieteren is rewarding investors with a significantly higher dividend

The Elsense holding has increased its dividend from 1 to 1.35 euros per share after a year in which D’Ieteren managed to keep itself going thanks to substantial savings and the crown jewel Belron.

Belron, in which D’Ieteren

has a 54 percent interest, is best known in our country for the car window repair company Carglass. In the corona year 2020, this saw the revenue fall limited to 7.8 percent. Cars drove fewer kilometers and therefore suffered less damage to their windows.

However, the fall in sales was more than offset by cost savings and the fact that more and more car windows also have to reconfigure all kinds of sensors (from rain sensors to traffic sign cameras) when the windscreen is replaced. This is a very lucrative activity for Belron. Profit before tax rose by 48 percent to EUR 366 million.

D’Ieteren’s traditional core activity, the import and sale of cars, especially of the Volkswagen Group (VW, Audi, Skoda, Porsche, Lamborghini), also remained profitable. The number of cars delivered fell 19 percent, but thanks to drastic savings in marketing spend and an accelerated restructuring, a profit of 52 million euros was left before tax, compared to 122 million euros in 2019.

Moleskine

The notebook daughter Moleskine was already a concern child before the corona crisis and that status was further confirmed last year. The fact that the brand falls into nothingness in terms of turnover among the other two divisions, is fortunate in this case. Turnover plummeted by 37 percent to 102 million euros. Train stations and airports are ideal sales locations for the premium notebooks in normal circumstances, but it remained largely silent there last year.


The notebook daughter Moleskine was already a worry child of D’Ieteren before the corona crisis and that status was further confirmed last year.

All sales through stores collapsed by 64 percent. This could only be partially offset by online sales, which are still in its infancy at Moleskine. Thanks to substantial cost savings, including the closure of 18 of the 77 Moleskine stores, D’Ieteren was able to stop the bleeding somewhat. Of the loss before tax of 93 million euros in 2019, 35.4 million euros remained last year. Halfway through last year, D’Ieteren wrote off an extra 20 million euros on its 2016 luxury purchase.

For the entire group, this resulted in an adjusted profit before tax of 332 million euros, 11 percent more than last year. On a net basis, an adjusted profit of 232 million euros remains, almost 10 percent higher than in 2019.

Dividend increase

The share buyback program that was put on hold last year after the start of the corona crisis, will remain in the fridge for the time being. Investors are rewarded with a substantial increase in the dividend from 1 to 1.35 euros per share.

Due to the sale of a solid chunk of Belron and its interest in the car rental company Avis Europe, D’Ieteren still has an enormous bulk of cash. At the end of 2020, this was 1.45 billion euros. D’Ieteren CEO Francis Deprez kept his hand firmly on the purse last year during the crisis, but in the meantime sees ‘more prey, but the market has certainly not become cheaper’.

Despite all the uncertainty caused by the corona crisis, Deprez expects this year that the adjusted consolidated profit before tax of 332 million euros last year will increase by “at least 25 percent”.

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