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Ferroglobe PLC (GSM) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript | The Motley Fool

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Ferroglobe PLC (NASDAQ:GSM)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Mar 02, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Ferroglobe’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 earnings call. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this conference call may be recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to Beatriz Garcia-Cos, Ferroglobe’s chief financial officer. You may begin.

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining Ferroglobe’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 conference call. Joining me today are Marco Levi, our chief executive officer; Gaurav Mehta, our transformation director and EVP of strategy and investor relations; Jorge Lavin, group controller. Before we get started with some prepared remarks, I’m going to read a brief statement. Please turn to Slide 2 at this time.

The statements made by management during this conference call that are forward-looking are based on current expectations. Risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements can be found in Ferroglobe’s most recent SEC filings and exhibits to those filings, which are available on our web page, www.ferroglobe.com. In addition, this discussion includes reference to EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, gross debt, net debt, and adjusted diluted earnings per share. Which are non-IFRS measures.

Reconciliations of these non-IFRS measures may be found in our most recent SEC filings. Next slide, please. During today’s call, we will first review the highlights for the fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 as well as our business and operating environment. Then I will provide some additional details on our financial performance and key drivers behind our results.

And finally, we will provide an update on our transformation plan. At this time, I would now like to turn the call over to Marco Levi, our chief executive officer. Next slide, please.

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Thank you, Beatriz, and good morning or good afternoon to everyone. 2020 was a defining year for Ferroglobe and an extraordinary one in many ways. On the one hand, the world fighting through the challenges resulting from the global pandemic. This required our relatively new senior management team to make drastic decisions and change internal processes to support swift decision-making.

It changed the way we operated our assets and it forced us to expand and accelerate our efforts on the cost-cutting side. On the other hand, we have the clear and critical initiative which was to design a strategy for turning around the company and to push forward with this agenda while navigating an unprecedented operating environment. In many ways, the challenges we were encountering, particularly during the early days of the pandemic highlighted gaps in our business and the opportunities to align the team to drive change. All in all, our financial performance was not what we would have liked to deliver, but we do view 2020 as a success in many areas.

We made changes in management at various levels and started redesigning parts of the organization to drive results and emphasize accountability. Despite the 30% decline in sales versus 2019, we returned to positive adjusted EBITDA in 2020. This is a testament to our ability to operate this business and reinforces the potential of the asset base. Furthermore, we continued operating the business while managing our cash.

This has been a focus area for the company, and we made significant strides to operate without any disruptions during a turbulent period. We successfully refinanced our three-year account receivables securitization program, which released some previously trapped cash, but also lowered our financing costs. And lastly, we now have a robust multiyear strategy and well-defined road map for turning around this company. We have discussed our turnaround plan on recent calls and have recently published projections, we provide further details on how we are going to create value.

As we look ahead, 2021 will be the pivotal year. Not only has the operating environment improved steadily over the past few months, but we are also making substantial progress on critical priorities. So we are certainly starting the new year on a positive note. A few weeks back, we informed the market on our progress relating to proposed financing, which addresses the maturity of our senior unsecured notes and addresses the injection of new capital into the company, enriching this milestone in the financing process, we are taking steps toward ensuring that we have the resources to execute our turnaround plan.

Furthermore, it is validation, then the strategy underlining our business plan illustrates a clear path toward value recovery that is recognized by financing partners. On the turnaround plan itself, we completed most of the preparation work in 2020. At this time, we are in the execution phase across all value-creation areas. I will get more into this later in today’s presentation.

Moving ahead to Slide 6, please. For the full year, sales were $1.14 billion, which is 30% lower than $1.62 billion of sales generated in 2019. This is primarily attributable to an unforeseen impact of COVID-19 on volumes and pricing across all our products. The net loss for full-year 2020 is $194 million, including an impairment charge of $36.8 million related to the Niagara plant.

Compared to a net loss of $296 million during the full-year 2019, which includes a goodwill impairment charge of $134 million. And lastly, we returned to a positive adjusted EBITDA. For the year, we had $32.7 million of adjusted EBITDA, which compares to negative $29.2 million of adjusted EBITDA during 2019. Once again, this variance highlights the drastic changes we made to address our costs.

Likewise, for the full-year 2020, we returned to positive operating cash flow, generating $154 million throughout the year. During the fourth quarter, the company generated sales of $322 million, an increase of 22% compared to $263 million of sales during the third quarter. The net loss for the fourth quarter was $84.1 million, which compares to a net loss of $46.8 million during the prior quarter. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter was positive $5.7 million, a decrease of $22.2 million we reported for the third quarter.

Overall, Q4 marked by higher sales volumes and slightly higher prices, coupled with significantly higher costs, some of which are not recurring, resulting in margin erosion during the quarter. The higher shipped volume levels for the fourth quarter reflect improving end-market demand particularly in the later part of the quarter. We also continued our effort to reducing battery levels. The gross debt increased by $31 million during the quarter, primarily due to the bond coupon accrual.

We ended the year with gross debt of $473 million and net debt of $341 million. The cash balance was $132 million at year end with the refinancing of our pre-year securitization program, there was a cash release of the previously trapped cash in the SPV structure. So while the total cash balance is down quarter over quarter, the unrestricted cash available actually increased following their financing, improving from $78 million in Q $3 million to $130 million at year end. Next slide, please.

On the next three slides, we will discuss pricing and volume trends, earning contributions, and market observations for each of our key products. Turning first to silicon metal on Slide 7. Ferroglobe’s realized average selling price for silicon metal was $2,260 per metric ton in relatively flat from $2,248 per ton the previous quarter. The index pricing in the U.S.

gradually increased by approximately 2.6% during the quarter, while the European index increased 7.5% during the same period. Much of the pricing recoveries were seen late in the quarter as low inventories all along the value chain coupled with strong demand in both U.S. and Europe, supported pricing with some upward pressure. The volume trends chart on the top of Slide 7 shows a 7% increase in silicon metal shipments over the previous quarter to approximately 55,000 tons.

We saw deterioration in our EBITDA from the silicon metal business quarter over quarter, which was driven primarily by an increase in cost. Our silicon metal production was adversely impacted by higher winter electricity unit cost in France as well as greater specific consumption of energy at few locations. Additionally, the planned production curtailments drove lower fixed cost absorption. And finally, we had some one-off power-related penalties, resulting from a reduction in production due to COVID-19 relative to our energy commitments that anticipated a healthy production profile.

Overall, the market tension at the end of 2020 has carried over into the beginning of 2021 with the U.S. and European indices showing steady improvement. After a rather weak demand picture for most of 2020, driven by COVID, there has been a pickup in activity across the industrial sector, and we are seeing that trend in our sales into the chemical and aluminum end markets in both U.S. and Europe.

This demand improvement comes at a time when inventory levels are low throughout the value chain and logistical barriers and increased domestic consumption and limited Asian imports into our markets. As a reminder, there is a lag from the movement in the index when we realize the benefit. Overall, the momentum at the beginning of the year is favorable to our business. With regard to our ongoing silicon trade case on February 23rd, the U.S.

Department of Commerce imposed final duties of up to 160% on those silicon metal imports from Bosnia, Iceland, and Kazakhstan. Next, the International Trade Commission will vote whether to affirm the preliminary decision that these imports are injuring the U.S. industry. The ITC vote is scheduled for March 24th.

Regarding Malaysia, the investigation is proceeding. To date, commerce has imposed preliminary duties of 7.21% at the end of January. This rate may increase in the final determination, which is scheduled for announcement on June 17. The next slide, please.

Turning to silicon-based alloys on Slide 8. During the quarter, the average selling price decreased marginally by 0.4% to $1,528 per metric ton, down from $1,534 per metric ton in the third quarter of 2020. Despite this decline, Ferroglobe’s average realized price for silicon-based alloys are remaining above the U.S. and European indices.

This is due to the weighting of our higher-margin specialty ferroalloy products, which accounted for approximately half of the shipments during the fourth quarter. During the quarter, we realized a 35% increase in sales volumes. Sales volumes of silicon-based alloys were approximately 57,000 tons in Q4, about 15,000 tons higher than the previous quarter. This improvement is primarily attributable to sales of ferrosilicon, which has benefited from the start of steel capacity, especially blast furnaces in Europe.

Furthermore, our ferromanganese sales also improved on the back of granular recovery across the global automotive and market. EBITDA for our silicon-based alloys business was positively impacted by prices, volumes, and cost during the quarter. We realized a cost improvement of $8 million due to the improved fixed-cost absorption. This benefit was realized both in France and Spain, which previously suffered from lower production following the slowdown of steel demand in Europe in the second and third quarters of 2020.

Collectively, these factors resulted in an improvement in EBITDA contribution from this segment to $7.1 million in Q4, up from a negative $1.9 million in the third quarter. As you can see in the pricing trends graphs, pricing in the U.S. and Europe steadily rebounded in the second half of 2020. Overall, ferrosilicon pricing is benefiting from the rebuild of inventory along the value chain as well as a recovery in steel demand.

Next slide, please. Turning now to manganese-based alloys. During the quarter, the average selling price increased by 2.2% to $1,031 per metric ton, up from $1,009 per metric ton in the third quarter of 2020. During the quarter, the ferromanganese business had a 4.4% increase in realized prices, while realized silicon manganese pricing was 1.7% higher.

Shipments in the fourth quarter were up 58%, an increase of approximately 24,600 tons over the previous quarter. As with some of the other products, the value chain for manganese alloys also reflected low levels of inventory at the time when demand was picking up. EBITDA contribution from this business was negative $0.1 million per metric tons in Q4 versus positive $13.1 million in the third quarter. Volumes and pricing positively impacted the quarterly results by $3.1 million and $1.5 million, respectively.

On the cost side, there was an adverse net impact for the quarter of $17.8 million. Of this amount, approximately $12 million is attributable to the potential earn-out payment relating to our manganese alloy plants in Norway and France. Additionally, we faced adversely impacted by lower plant efficiency and higher fixed cost absorption cost. I would now like to turn the call over to Beatriz to review the financial results in more detail.

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Thank you, Marco. Beginning with Slide 11. Sales of $321 million during Q4 were 22% higher than the $2,063 million of sales in the prior quarter. This increase in sales was driven by a 29% increase in shipments, which more than offset the 3.5 decrease in average realized selling price across our portfolio.

During the quarter, our cost of sales increased by 36%. This is primarily attributable to the variable cost directly related to the increase in shipments during the quarter. Additionally, it also includes the $12 million charge for the mark-to-market of the earn-out liability for the manganese assets. The increase in other operating expenses of approximately 75% or approximately $20 million, this can be explained by 3 key factors.

In Q3, we realized $5 million benefit resulting from an R&D project in France. That impact was one time. So we are not getting the same benefit this quarter. Additionally, we had $6 million accrual for the potential purchase of CO2 emissions rights based on current pricing.

Finally, the remaining balance is mainly attributable to higher transportation and logistics costs, resulting from higher volume activity but also higher freight rates as a broader industrial activity has picked up. The net impact of higher sales was partially offset by higher costs, which led to an improvement in our operating loss for the quarter before adjustments to negative $26.2 million, compared to a negative $38.8 million during the prior quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was positive $5.7 million, a decline from $22.2 million in the third quarter. It should be noted that the results presented are unedited.

On November 16, 2020, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia of Galicia dismissed FerroAtlantica’s claim of petition to separate the metallurgical plants of Cee and Dumbría, the related hydroelectric power plants. The accounting impact of this decision has been considered in the Q4 results. This accounting impact is under discussion with our external auditors and could change. Next slide, please.

Quarter over quarter, we did have a decline in our adjusted EBITDA from $22.2 million in Q3 to $5.7 million in Q4. The few key elements behind this, and I will specifically stress a few items which are nonrecurring in nature and should be considered when you look at our normalized EBITDA threshold. During the quarter, we benefited from some volume pick-up late in the year, and we also benefited from improved pricing across the portfolio. Furthermore, there was an adverse impact of $9.4 million also attributable to energy costs.

This specifically relates to a $5.8 million penalty incurred in France where we consume less energy than contracted due to the unplanned production curtailments in Europe. On the other hand, we benefit from a $3 million compensation on energy last quarter as a result of energy providers being unable to secure minimum energy levels of stakes. As per the previous quarter, we had a significant mark-to-market adjustment relating to a potential earn-out liability tied to some manganese assets. The P&L impact was positive $7.5 million in Q3 and negative $2.2 million in Q4.

Hence, implied a quarter-over-quarter variance of approximately $10 million. Given the fluidity of the underlying market for manganese alloys that this liability could both back on fourth quarter to quarter and does create some noise. Hence, one must factor this into their assessment. When evaluating the quarterly performance.

Similarly, we had a $5 million benefit from the elimination of a liability tied to an R&D project in France. In the bridge, we have a negative impact of this one-off benefit realized last quarter. And lastly, we continue to make progress ahead of its cost reduction. During the quarter, this contributes $5 million.

Slide 13, please. For the full-year, adjusted EBITDA improved from negative $29.2 million in 2019 to positive $32.7 million in 2020. The most significant factor impacting this swing was cost, resulting from improved production cost. First and foremost, we continue to drive initiatives aimed at altering the raw material mix to generate savings without compromising the end quality of our finished goods.

Furthermore, by curtailing capacity and running our most competitive assets, at a higher utilization, we gained some further benefits in our overall production costs. And lastly, due to the slow industrial activity, we benefit from lower pricing for raw materials and other critical inputs. Significant pricing declines across all our core products adversely impact us year over year. And as mentioned on the prior slide, we have been extremely focused on our corporate expenses.

Focusing on both discretionary and non-discretionary spend. The net result was a benefit of $13.5 million in 2020. Next slide, please. Turning now to Slide 14.

I will review our balance sheet in greater detail, where we have made improvements to our total available cash and working capital. With a challenging market environment, these improvements are critical for our business. Cash and restricted cash totaled approximately $132 million at the end of 2020 compared to $147 million the prior quarter, while there is a decrease in the total cash amount, what is critical to the company is the available cash balance which can be accessed without any restrictions. During the quarter, our available unrestricted cash increased by $25 million from $77 million at the end of the third quarter to $103 million at the end of 2020.

In refinancing, the prior account receivable securitization facility in Europe the special proposed vehicle structure supporting the financial fell away once the facility was refinanced. This release so up some previously restricted cash. Gross debt increased by approximately $31 million over the quarter, which is primarily related to the accrual for the semi-annual bond coupon payment. Net debt increased by $46 million over the same period.

This increase is driven by lower accounting cash as the SPV trapped cash is no longer consolidated, as mentioned earlier. Total assets were approximately $1.4 billion at year-end 2020, a slight decrease of $34 million over the prior balance at the end of Q3. Ferroglobe’s working capital improved by $15.3 million in the fourth quarter, primarily as a result of our emphasis on lowering raw materials and finished goods inventories across the portfolio. Next slide, please while we have provided all the quarterly details for 2020 on this slide.

Let me first begin and bring your attention to the Q4 2020 figure. The cash flow from operating activities during the quarter was $3.5 million, the negative $0.6 million of reported EBITDA was offset by our working capital efforts, which yield net cash inflows of $13.5 million, with cash released from inventory being the biggest contributor. Cash flow from investing activities was negative $14.2 million as we had a pickup in capital expenditure during the winter months during some planned outages, mainly in Europe. And lastly, cash flow from financing activities was negative $4.7 million for the quarter.

During the quarter, we refinanced our prior account receivable securitization facility, replaced it with a new factoring facility in Europe. This yielded approximately $19.7 million of cash release at closing. Additionally, all the cash movements related with the refinancing are being considered as bank borrowings and payments in the cash flow summary. In aggregate, we had free cash flow of negative $10.7 million during Q4.

For the full year, our cash from operations was positive $8.9 million, and free cash flow was positive $122 million. Next slide, please. Now turning to Slide 16. We reduced working capital by $15 billion during the fourth quarter.

This reduction was driven by $65 million writedown in inventory and an increase in accounts receivable of $63 million and is offset by a $30 million increase in accounts payable. The positive impact from inventory was partially offset by the effect of a strengthening euro relative to the U.S. dollar. Turning to the chart on the right.

And as I mentioned, our cash balance at year end was $132 million, compared to $147 million in the prior quarter. Slide 17, please. During the quarter, both our gross debt and net debt increased. The gross debt increase is attributed to the accrual of the semiannual coupon payment under the existing senior notes.

Likewise, the decline in total costs adversely impacted by the quarter-over-quarter movement in net debt. Next slide, please. In regard to our prior account receivable securitization program in Europe, we closed on a new facility on October 1st. The new facility is slightly different than the prior securitization program and is structured as a factoring facility.

This helps with improved advance rates and eliminates the SPV structure we previously had. As a result, we were able to release $19.7 million of cash at closing, which was previously restricted within the SPV structure. Finally, the proposed financing discussions we referred to in our previous announcement on February 1st are continuing, and we hope to be able to make a further announcement about those soon. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Marco, who will provide an update on the strategic plan.

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Thank you, Beatriz. Now turning to Slide 20. At this time, I would like to take a few minutes to provide an update on our strategic plan. At this stage, we have formally transitioned from the planning and preparation phase of the strategic plan into the execution phase across all value creation areas.

The bottom-up analysis we conducted during the preparation phase was critical in validating our assumptions and financial targets. As we get deeper into the execution phase, we are also going deeper into our organization. Not only we are involving more of our workforce throughout the organization. We’re also training and empowering them to drive the change required to make improvements in their respective areas.

Equally, the company is undertaking a tremendous effort to address gaps in the business such as internal communication. These centers of engagement with our workforce ensure that the full organization has a sound understanding of what we are aiming to achieve for the turnaround plan and how it impacts them. Now I will quickly update you on where we are across the various value creation areas. On footprint optimization, our goal is to make adjustments to our installed capacity across the world by eliminating excess and uncompetitive capacity.

To date, we completed the restructuring of our Mo I Rana facility in Norway and Niagara facility in the United States. With Mo I Rana, specifically, our decision has been to idle one of the two furnaces. By doing so, we have taken action to collect the cost structure, particularly the fixed costs so that we can effectively consider this as a smaller facility in the near term while preserving the optionality to restart the second furnace. Our Niagara facility has been idled since the end of 2018.

Given our broader focus on shedding installed capacity and focusing on the most competitive plans, we have decided to permanently close this site. Several options or what we do with the property are currently under review. For 2021, we have some further actions to take and will provide updates as we begin execution in other areas. The continuous plant efficiency value creation area is an extension of our key technical metrics program.

As part of the strategic plan, we have a long backlog of specific initiatives, focusing on raw materials, general efficiency improvement, and a reduction in energy consumption. Some combination of these initiatives will be implemented at our facilities globally this year. Most recently, we completed our first pilot project at the under-four facility in France. This was a successful two-week on-site pilot to test and learn ahead of a global rollout.

What makes the program different from the way we have done KTM in the past is the preparation and planning leading up to the actual execution. Furthermore, we have launched a process aimed at employee training and engagement to create a culture centered on operational excellence and having a workforce that constantly seeks ways to move forward to remain competitive. While this level of engagement is being rolled out in all areas of the strategic plan. It has been quite noticeable in plant efficiency, particularly since it involves direct participation of our workers and the facilities and collaboration between teams from different plants around the world.

The SG&A cost reduction plan is essentially an extension of our corporate overhead reduction initiatives beyond and offices. To date, we have good success in setting up the internal infrastructure and processes to set specific targets and track progress. The improvement in discretionary spending is one specific area where we are realizing the benefit of our efforts and are taking measures to ensure there isn’t cost creep over time. In creating a centralized procurement group we have disrupted the historical approach of operating and decision-making with the aim of driving cost savings and increased efficiencies.

At this point, the new centralized procurement organization is fully up and running and most [Inaudible] at midfield. We recognize that this is a very different way of working and have invested time and resources in training our people to work under this new structure. Given the vast opportunities to capture cost savings across dozens of raw materials, consumables, and logistics expenses we incur, we have to be systematic and methodical in our approach to identify the key areas of focus and offset priorities for the current year. We are already seeing this new organization yield some positive results following the first round of tenders launched in the area of freight and logistics.

We feel confident that this reorganization will drive significant value going forward and would seek to potentially expand the rollover time. And finally, we are working on achieving commercial excellence through a number of initiatives across the portfolio aimed at improving our strategic alignment with key customers while maximizing the potential of our commercial network. This will be done by improving our planning between commercial and production, leveraging data analytics, and bolstering our market intelligence capabilities to capitalize on market movements. At the moment, we are in the process of revamping existing processes and developing new processes to support this initiative.

In a market environment like the one we are experiencing now, we’re growing demand, being more systematic and organized on this side of the business is critical to maximizing our potential. Beyond the EBITDA drivers, we have a separate workstream dedicated to cash release through working capital improvement. To date, we have created three distinct teams, focusing on inventory management, account receivable, and accounts payable. As Beatriz highlighted, we are seeing some of the benefits coming through on the inventory side.

Overall, I applaud our organization’s effort at all levels. We embarked on this journey last year in the midst of the global pandemic and against a very challenging backdrop. While we have good momentum launching an initiative in the execution phase, we realized it is very early in the year and have some very difficult tasks ahead. We are proud of our achievements for 2020 to advance the company operationally, strategically, and financially.

And we are excited to execute on the new target for this year. I certainly look forward to keeping our stakeholders updated on this journey over the coming quarters. At this time, I will ask the operator to please open the line for questions.

Questions & Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator instructions] And your first question today comes from the line of Nick Jarmoszuk of Stifel. Please ask your question.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

Hi. Good morning. Thanks for taking the questions. First one is that with the recent price strength in silicon metal and ferrosilicon, how can we think about when that improved pricing is going to flow through the income statement?

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Thank you for the question, Marco Levi speaking. When you consider silicon metal, where we have price agreements, which are indexed, there is a quarter lag. It’s also true that a large part of our business is on fixed yearly pricing. So the net effect of an index price rise doesn’t cover all our silicon sales.

Our alloys business is still far more indexed, and the lag is between two, three months.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

Yes. With the silicon metal, what’s the mix between the index and the annual contract?

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Well, approximately 70% is annual contract, but then not all the 70% as fixed price for the year.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

OK. And then can you talk about how the contracting environment was on a year-over-year basis? Was your pricing up or down? Was it flat? Steel environment is obviously very different in this time of the year than it was a year ago. So you can just talk about how that environment is?

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Yes. Well, as you know, I have a short tenure with the company about one year. But in this year, I have seen quite a lot of volatility on pricing. Maybe let me start from silicon as a reference.

Silicon price last year started at good levels. And then due to the lack of demand of second and third quarter, the index price has gone down to extremely low level. We are seeing market prices even below the EUR 1,500 per metric ton in Europe, just to give you a reference. And of course, this has impacted all the negotiations for the new year because the price started from a level of EUR 2,000, went down to EUR 1,500 at least for the indexes.

And then didn’t recover in Q3 and the recovery — we are seeing a recovery only in the Q4. So the point has been either negotiate contracts with lower volumes, committed volumes for 2021 at prices that were equal or lower than 2020, or allocate more business to metallurgical silicon, which is, by nature, a spot business. So the dynamics have been trying to negotiate the best possible price for the year in inventory, not to commit for the full volume.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

OK. A question for you on the European CO2 credits. What portion of your 2021 projected CO2 emissions do you have covered? And then what dollar amount of credits are you going to have to expend so that you’re covered on your CO2 emissions for 2021?

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Yes. Thank you. Nick, for the question. This is Beatriz speaking.

As of today, we have a part of the CO2 allocations that we need already in our balance sheet if this answered your question. It’s true that we need to purchase a certain amount of CO2 rights as of today. And what we are trying to — what we are planning to do to try to offset as much as we can the new allocation with the new purchases that we need to accomplish. Time-wise, this looks challenging at the moment, but this is what we are planning or striving for.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

So of your 2021 emissions, how much do you have credits for? And then how much are you going to have to spend so that you can get all of your European production done?

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Yes. So as I mentioned, we have part of them already in our balance sheet in a percentage basis, that may be something that I can disclose not in dollar value. And again, the issue is about the timing because we’re going to be getting the new allocation in June 2021, and we need to repurchase the CO2 by the end of April. Right? So more or less, I can say that as of today, we have a part of it already in our balance sheet.

That is true that we need to repurchase an additional amount.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

How about this? In terms of the $30 million that you monetized, I believe it was at the end of the second quarter, beginning of the third. What percentage of your 2021 emissions did that account for?

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Well, there is a relation between the two processes, but let me put it like this. So the ones that we sell in 2020. Right? It was related to the consumption in 2020. Right? The work that we’re going to be allocated in 2021 would be based on the future utilization of our plants.

So I don’t think you can connect the two, 2020, we say 2021 if I’m answering your question.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

OK. But there’s a disclosure that you accounted for a CO2 accrual of $6 million. So the accrual of $6 million for the fact that they are more expensive now, however, you’re going to be spending $6 million more than you would have in addition to some additional amount. So you could be spending — if you sold $10 million last year, now is that value of the CO2 credits now $16 million? Is that how we should think about it?

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Well, you need to see — I think the best way to answer your question is to look to the evolution of the CO2 prices on the last 12 months. So it’s true that the prices have been increasing from, I would say, EUR 27 and it has been going up to — even up to EUR 40. As of today, we are at EUR 36 per EOA, right. But this is a volatile market and what happened in the last two months, there has been a lot of appetite of investors into this market, and that’s why the prices have been increased.

Now it looks that has been softening back. So we are at a lower price level. So we are monitoring and planning our strategy to repurchase the remaining one watching carefully the evolution of the market.

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

And if I am allowed to add, the amount that we need to repurchase this year depends also on our operating footprint. And the new allocation for credits of 2021. So these are two moving parts. Right?

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

Yes. And then a question on the asset closures. When you’re exiting the Niagara facility, are there any environmental remediation liabilities that are triggered? And then do you have any sense of what the cash exit costs are going to be?

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Yes. In case we have to shut down Niagara, we have already estimated a couple of million dollars, nothing more. But at this stage, we do not expect to completely shut down the facility. We have some alternative options that we are considering.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

Yes. And then a final question on the production costs. Are you seeing any inflationary cost pressures across the manganese, silicon metal, and ferrosilicon side? And can you talk about the ability to pass this through?

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Well, for sure, we can see some of the raw materials moving up. Manganese ore has moved up a little bit market-wise between Q1 and Q4 last year. Coal is moving up slightly, up versus quarter four last year. These are the two main ones at the top of my mind.

Beatriz?

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Yes. I agree. We have nothing to add.

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

Yes. That’s all I had. Thank you.

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Your next question today comes from the line of Brian DiRubbio of Baird. Please ask your question. The line is now open, Brian.

Brian DiRubbioBaird — Analyst

Good afternoon. Maybe just starting with capital expenditures, how much do you intend to spend in 2021?

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Hi. Good morning. In 2021, our CAPEX level will go up compared with 2020, but we don’t provide the figures, but I can tell you that we’re going to be increasing our CAPEX expenditures as well our business expense in 2021. In 2020, we have been spending $30 million of CAPEX.

And we’re going to be going above this figure, I would say, well above this in 2021.

Brian DiRubbioBaird — Analyst

OK. If I can ask that maybe just another way. How much — is $30 million your maintenance level of capital expenditures? Or did you underspend on that? I’m just trying to gauge what’s the magnitude to be —

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

No. No. For two years in a row, we have spent around $33 million, $34 million of CAPEX. And this number is the number that allows us to operate our current asset footprint in a safe way.

In this CAPEX, there is almost nothing related to growth or nothing to process improvement, while related to the KTM initiative that I mentioned during my speech, we will need to spend some CAPEX to implement new technologies specifically.

Brian DiRubbioBaird — Analyst

OK. That’s helpful. Then on inflation or just cost inflation, can you give us a sense of what headwinds you’re seeing on freight and actually not even on shipping, but shipping availability? I’m hearing there is some log jams with logistics?

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Well, as you know, we have limited business in Asia. And yes, we see some inflation due to some ancillary raw materials that we need to buy, mainly for our foundry business that we buy from Asia. This is the main inflationary costs that we see. So I refer this to this move and to magnesium purchase, but it is not something really massive at this stage or really significant.

Brian DiRubbioBaird — Analyst

OK. And then with the centralized procurement group that you created, when should we start seeing the real benefits from those? This year?

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

This year, yes. Yes. It’s more — I have — it’s going to be as a slow ramp-up because most of the supply agreements were negotiated in Q3, Q4 last year for this year. But so we focus first on centralizing the organization.

But now we are working on capturing some values, for example, on the purchase of certain services or the purchase of spare parts for the plant. So we will start seeing benefits this year, but I expect a significant impact in 2022.

Brian DiRubbioBaird — Analyst

OK. And then final for me, just as we think about — I know you said prices are moving up on the indexes, and there’s going to be a little bit of a lag when should we start seeing a more meaningful rebound in volumes? Will that start occurring in the first quarter? Or is that maybe —

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

You are seeing a rebound in volume already in quarter four. Right? If you look at the volumes, our commercial part in Q4, the volumes were substantially higher than in Q3 for all the three major value centers, and we have not been out destocking. We have kept the price at the same level or pretty close to the same level. And this trend is confirmed in Q1.

Just to set the expectations, the point is that we were running our operation at a certain rate. And we have been caught by surprise in quarter four. So the demand has went up. But our inventory went down substantially.

So we started the year with extremely low inventories. And now that the demand keeps on being robust, we struggle to keep up with demand because we started with low inventories.

Brian DiRubbioBaird — Analyst

That’s helpful. Thank you so much.

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. There are no further questions at this time. Please continue.

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Yes. So if there are no other questions, Martin, that concludes our fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 earnings call. As I mentioned at the beginning of the call, we see some positive developments and meaningful market trends to monitor. This past year’s results are not what we set out to achieve, but despite the unforeseen impact of the pandemic, we made significant progress in returning back to a positive EBITDA and beginning to address a number of critical gaps to turn this company around and return us to profitability.

Thanks again for your participation. We look forward to hearing from you on the next call. Have a great day.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 57 minutes

Call participants:

Beatriz Garcia-CosChief Financial Officer

Marco LeviChief Executive Officer

Nick JarmoszukStifel Financial Corp. — Analyst

Brian DiRubbioBaird — Analyst

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