Braskem ended 2021 with historic results, in its recurring operating result as well as in net profit and cash generation. The year was also marked with low leverage level, the company's return to investment grade by risk ratings agencies and by progress made in the ESG (Environment, Social responsibility and Governance) agenda. "It was a year full of challenges and achievements, in which we kept focused on people's safety, serving our clients and financial health. It was also marked by major socio-environmental advances that are helping to build the Braskem of the future. We reinforced our commitment to sustainability indicators, such as reducing CO2 emissions and increasing the portfolio of recycled and renewable products", says Roberto Simões, Braskem CEO.
In Q4 2021, Braskem recorded a recurring operating result of BRL 6.3 billion, 40% higher compared to the previous year. The recurring operating result for the year was BRL 30.3 billion, 176% higher than in 2020. Net profit in Q4 was BRL 530 million, ending the year with a total profit of BRL 14 billion. Free cash generation in the last three months of 2021 was BRL 3.1 billion, reaching a record of BRL 10.7 billion for the year. Net sales revenue in 2021 also reached the historic record of BRL 105.6 billion.
In this context, corporate leverage, as measured by the adjusted net debt/recurring operating result ratio in dollars, ended 2021 at 0.94x.
In December, the risk rating agency Fitch Ratings raised the Company's risk level on a global scale, recovering the investment grade assessment. In September, Braskem had already recovered investment grade according to S&P Global Ratings (S&P).
Another highlight was the return to the B3 Sustainability Index (Índice de Sustentabilidade Empresarial, ISE), which reflects the Company's continued commitment to best practices of corporate governance, social responsibility, as well as economic-financial and environmental management. For the seventh consecutive year, Braskem also joined the ranking of leading companies in water management and climate risks of the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Program), besides achieving top ranking in "Water List" for the fifth consecutive year, keeping its position as leading company in the "Climate List" for the seventh consecutive year and in "Supply Chain" for the sixth consecutive year, reinforcing its engagement and actions with positive impact on the topic.
The highlight of the ESG agenda, in November, was the signature of the memorandum of understanding between Braskem and Lummus Technology, world leader in process technologies including ethylene, petrochemicals, energy transition, among others, for the joint licensing of Braskem's green ethylene technology for two projects: one under development in North America and another undergoing review in Thailand.
Another milestone was starting up the first mechanical recycling line in December, result of the partnership between Braskem and Valoren. The plant, located in Indaiatuba (SP), has an annual capacity of transforming around 250 million packages into 14,000 tons of high-quality post-consumer resin.
In 2021, Braskem engaged in 146 social projects, which benefited more than 800,000 people worldwide, including private social investments, donations, volunteering programs and initiatives to fight the pandemic. The company's social investment reached almost BRL 40 million in the year.
As regards social aspects, according to ranking by Forbes, Braskem is recognized as one of the best employers in the world, one of the three Brazilian companies in the ranking out of 750 participants.
By 2021, Braskem had signed a total of five renewable energy purchase contracts, which will prevent annual emissions of more than 220,000 tons of CO2 over 20 years, for a total of more than 4.4 million tons of CO2 in the period.
In addition, Braskem and the French company Veolia announced a joint investment of BRL 400 million for the production of renewable energy from eucalyptus biomass in the state of Alagoas. The project will generate 900,000 tons of steam/year for a duration of 20 years, which will represent a reduction of approximately 150,000 tons/year of CO2. In addition, it will create more than 400 direct jobs during the construction phase and approximately 100 jobs when in operation (after construction).
Finally, the Company acquired a minority shareholding interest in the Specific Purpose Entities of wind power generating companies Ventos de Santa Amélia and Ventos de Santo Abelardo, both controlled by FIP [Fundo de Investimento em Participações (Private Equity Fund)] Salus of the Casa dos Ventos group. Such shareholding acquisition is in line with the Company's strategy of increasing its use of clean energy matrices in its operations, placing the Company in the renewable energy self-production regime.
Mexico and Alagoas
In Mexico, the Q4 utilization rate of polyethylene plants was 81%, a 13% increase compared to the previous quarter and 34% higher compared to Q4 2020. This was due to the quarterly record of ethane imports from the USA through the Fast Track solution and an increase in ethane supply by the Mexican oil and gas state-owned company Pemex, in line with volumes set in the addendum to the ethane supply agreement signed in October 2021. In addition, Braskem Idesa and Braskem Board of Directors approved an investment of USD 400 million to build an ethane import terminal in Mexico.
In the state of Alagoas, work in the Financial Compensation and Resettlement Support Program proceeded, which is the result of an agreement between Braskem and the Alagoas state authorities to assist the population affected by the geological phenomenon in Maceió.
By February 2022, more than 14,000 properties had been vacated, surpassing 97% of the total area defined by Civil Defense. More than 13,000 compensation proposals have been submitted, with 99.5% acceptance. Out of these, 10,200 compensations have already been paid, for a total of BRL 2.18 billion between compensations and financial assistance. More than 3,400 compensation proposals have been submitted to merchants and businessmen.
The Company has proactively acted in all dimensions regarding the state of Alagoas, fully complying with the commitments undertaken, and also of note: conclusion of the environmental diagnostic work of the area and significant progress in social diagnosis; conclusion of the Urban Mobility Plan and start of the actions scheduled for the next quarter; beginning of demolition work of the Mutange slope; and more than 48% progress in the salt mine closing plan by filling with sand in the first two cavities.
With an eye on the future, Braskem will keep focused on its strategic pillars, which are: pursuit of greater productivity and competitiveness; geographic growth and diversification of raw materials and products; and sustainability. Therefore, for 2022, the company foresees renewables and recycling businesses as major "growth avenues" as well as enhanced productivity of existing assets.
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