As a truly global ropes and advanced cords solution provider, Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group is committed to be the leading innovator and supplier of the best performing ropes and A-Cords for its customers worldwide. The unique combination of technologies in steel wire ropes, synthetic ropes and advanced cords (A-Cords) enables strong differentiation in high-end markets.
BBRG-ropes has a leading position in a very wide range of sectors, including surface and underground mining, offshore and onshore oil & gas, crane & industrial, fishing & marine, and structures.
The A-Cords business of BBRG develops and supplies fine steel cords for elevator and timing belts used in construction and equipment markets respectively, and window regulator and heating cords for the automotive sector.
2019 saw continued challenging market dynamics in BBRG’s core ropes sectors. The oil extraction companies remained in balance sheet repair mode with rather limited capital expenditure. Mining markets returned to modest growth in a transformed competitive and operating landscape, which also applied to the crane & industrial sector.
Weak automotive OEM activity affected demand for regulator and heating cords in the A-Cords business, while demand from hoisting and timing belt markets held up well.
In ropes markets, BBRG is a market and technology leader competing with four other global players and a very high number of local and regional players. Growth drivers for the ropes business of BBRG are: the activity levels and investments in mining and oil & gas; the technology shift to smart mining solutions and high-performance and long-lifetime steel; synthetic and hybrid ropes; and value creation to customers driven by a reduction in total cost of ownership and excellence in servicing.
In advanced cords (A-Cords) markets, BBRG is a market and technology leader in elevator and timing belt markets. Co-creation, continuous innovation, and investments in construction and industrial markets are considered the main growth drivers for the business.
Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group (BBRG) achieved 5.5% top line growth, which stemmed from solid organic growth (+4.2%) and favorable currency movements (+1.2%). The organic growth was the result of an improved product- and price-mix in ropes and firm sales growth in advanced cords (A-Cords).
The ropes business of BBRG booked solid sales growth in oil & gas, mining, and crane & industrial applications. In fishing and marine markets, sales volumes were about stable compared to last year. The project business applications reported lower sales than the previous year due to a slow start in construction markets at the beginning of 2019.
The ropes activities made significant progress in enhancing the business mix by focusing on quality business and by reducing their presence in the lower margin segments. This strategy accounted for a volume decrease of 8% compared with last year, while increasing revenues and margins.
The A-Cords activities saw continued strong demand in timing belt markets and an uplift in hoisting applications in the second half of the year.
Underlying EBIT and EBITDA improved significantly as a result of successful profit restoration actions. Reported EBIT was € 9 million and included € -3 million in one-offs. The EBITDA margin more than doubled from last year to reach 8.1%.
BBRG invested € 14 million in PP&E, most of which in the A-Cords platform and in the ropes plants in the UK and the US.
Profit restoration is a key priority for Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group. The actions implemented in 2019 have started to show their effect in the margins. The business unit will continue to improve its business mix by better segmentation and further innovation. Cost-efficiency actions, scale improvement and footprint optimization will add to the profitability of the business in coming years.
To develop its potential as a total solution provider, Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group has created Ropes 360 services. Through Ropes 360, we support and advise our customers throughout the lifecycle of the ropes, maximizing the safety of their operations and the ropes’ operational life and hence, reducing the cost.
Our dedicated rope technicians and engineers offer complete solutions from rope installation, over rope inspection to post-retirement feedback. This enables our customers to avoid the high costs associated with equipment downtime. The Ropes 360 model acts as an infinite continuous improvement cycle: the more we know, the better we can develop high-quality ropes and services in support of our customers.
BBRG has supplied the ropes used for the world’s largest landside crane, designed and operated by Sarens. The crane can lift 5 000 tons thanks to a maximum load moment of 250 000 tons and addresses a demand from construction clients to transport and lift pre-assembled large and heavy modules.