The year 2020 was a challenging one. The coronavirus pandemic led us to make decisions, launch projects and implement new safety measures in record time. Thanks to our company’s ability to innovate and the resilience of our employees, we were able to maintain a safe work environment, our operational efficiency and increased sales.
Throughout the year, our priority was to preserve people’s lives. We strived to protect our employees, their families, service providers, customers and our communities from the risk of contamination by coronavirus. We worked tirelessly to maintain the safety of our teams and the uninterrupted supply of our products, ensuring the sustainability of our operations, which positively impact the lives of thousands of people.
This video of our “Your life is made to last” campaign shows how we encouraged COVID-19 prevention practices among our employees, their families and in the communities.
A message from the CEO
If we could summarize 2020 at Votorantim Cimentos in just a few words, they would be courage, resilience, dedication and overcoming. In the face of great challenges, we demonstrated our unwavering alignment with the principle of “Flexible Solidity” and ended the year with better-than-expected results.
Marcelo CastelliGlobal CEO
Our way of being
Our vision of the future is built around a concept we call “Flexible Solidity”, which captures the idea that we are a mature company that operates with excellence, safety, ethics and integrity, while remaining flexible to modernize and adapt to the current needs of society.
Strategy and Management
As leaders in the building materials market in Brazil and the seventh largest cement company in the world (excluding China), our main objective is to grow and innovate, improving the efficiency of our processes and making our products and solutions increasingly sustainable to meet the new needs of today’s world.
This means offering eco-efficient and innovative building materials and services to our customers; working in an ethical and transparent manner, in accordance with laws and regulations; providing a healthy, safe, diverse and inspiring work environment for our employees; and promoting the development of the communities where we operate to ensure that they can prosper.
In 2020, we obtained the approval of our Sustainability strategy by the company’s Board of Directors and made public our 2030 Sustainability Commitments. The document includes a set of seven pillar, with targets that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also considered an in-depth assessment of megatrends—such as demographic changes; globalization and future markets; climate change challenges; and dynamics of innovation and technology—and their impact on the building materials industry. Learn more by visiting Our 2030 Commitments.
We continued to invest in innovation as a fundamental step to increase the sustainability of our products and operations. One example is the substitution of 23.3% of the fossil fuels that our operations consume globally for alternative sources of energy—a percentage we intend to increase to 53% by 2030.
Based on our four strategic pillars (Customer Focus, Empowered People, Best-in-Class Operations and Sustainable Practices), our business model seeks to share value with our stakeholders. To achieve this goal, we consider trends, risks and opportunities. This infographic details our business model.
Caring for people
The year 2020 made it clearer than ever that we work to produce the best positive and long-term impact in everything we do. Our daily attention to preventive measures during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how we value what is really important: our people.
With regard to our employees, we spared no effort to take care of their health and well-being and to maintain our diversity and inclusion initiatives and our training and development schedule. We prioritized activities to preserve their physical and mental health, providing psychological support and safe and comfortable working conditions for everyone, whether they were working at our locations or in their homes.
For us, safety is a nonnegotiable value. We had several initiatives throughout the year to offer empathy, information, support and motivation to our employees and their families during the period of social isolation, through various programs such as: ComVC em Família, SextouComVC and others.
We ended 2020 with 11,783 employees. In a year when people management was marked by major challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, we proved how genuine and consistent our attention to people is in all countries where we operate. In 2020, we also developed a new strategic plan focused entirely on people management in the next four years.
Through solid operating results and constant financial discipline, we were able to mitigate the risks that the pandemic imposed on the global economy. Our global net revenue totaled R$ 16.7 billion and our consolidated adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) was R$ 3.8 billion, an increase of 29% and 43% respectively compared to the previous year. Our EBITDA margin was 22.9%, an increase of 2.4 percentage points compared to 2019. We also ended 2020 with a leverage (measured by the net debt/EBITDA ratio) of 1.96x, the best result in the last ten years.
In Brazil, cement sales grew 11% in 2020, according to the National Cement Association (SNIC), which also drove the recovery of prices in the local market. The positive results in North America were mainly due to the effect of the exchange rate, higher sales volume in Canada in the second quarter, solid sales volume in the United States, and a milder winter at the beginning of the year.
More impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, at different times and intensity, Europe, Asia and Africa resumed their operational performance throughout the year. In Latin America, the growth was due to a high volume of sales in Uruguay.
Our trajectory of almost a century is marked by entrepreneurship and the expansion of our businesses and borders. As leaders in the building materials industry in Brazil and one of the most important companies in this sector internationally, we seek to grow, innovate and increase the operational efficiency of our business, using sustainability as one of our strategic drivers.
As part of our sustainability journey, we actively participate in global forums that promote sustainability in the cement industry. We seek partnerships and participate in discussions with like-minded companies, associations, the academic world and other organizations that are part of our production chain and also believe in the role of concrete as a sustainable building material and on the importance of ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues.
So far, all of our efforts have enabled us to increasingly improve our environmental footprint. From 1990 to 2020, we managed to reduce our CO2 emissions per ton of cementitious product by 25%.