For the past two years, we have strived as a Group to explore avenues to better manage our environmental impact. We believe that it is crucial that we, as individuals, companies and consumers, become more mindful in our strategic management, as well as day-to-day decisions and activities. We also believe in offering products and services that are both innovative and more environmentally friendly.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) sensitisation

In January 2016, world leaders agreed on an action plan based on 17 goals that will help make the world a better place to live in by 2030. All countries, including Mauritius, are called upon to contribute to the protection of our planet.

Thus, our ambition is to raise awareness among the Group's employees on these 17 SDGs so they become more engaged in sustainability actions both at work and in their everyday life. Each week, for a duration of 17 weeks, an internal communication is sent for each one of the 17 SDGs, illustrating examples of simple actions that can be taken to implement them.

Simultaneously, a quiz competition is organised at regular intervals to provide a fun and engaging way to learn. In order to develop intrapreneurship, we will further encourage employees to come up with projects based on what they have learnt. The winners of the best projects will be rewarded.

Energy Management

After analysing the results and recommendations given by ISODOM regarding our transport fleet, we decided to support the migration from fossil-based energy to other alternatives such as renewable sources for our transport activities. We have modulated our car scheme to encourage our employees to switch to hybrid and electric cars. We are also promoting an incremental improvement of our fuel management system. The importance of an accurate fuel measurement system is key in helping us keep track of the fuel used by our transport fleet. We have recently implemented a card-based fuel monitoring system within the Group that will allow us to improve fuel efficiency, while sensitising vehicle users on how their driving style will impact fuel consumption, emissions, and costs.

In terms of electricity use, we observed a 10.3% reduction in Co2e emissions this year. However, this is mostly attributed to the COVID-19 lockdown, as well as some gains in efficiency at Gros Cailloux (see Resource Management overleaf). Furthermore, we are transitioning from a low-voltage metering system to medium-voltage metering at our Geoffroy and Poudre D’Or sites. This will not only help us improve efficiency but also enable us to benefit from more advantageous tariffs.


Gros Cailloux
A new irrigation system was installed at Gros Cailloux for sugarcane and vegetable cultivation. The new system ensures a more uniform water distribution for proper plant growth by supplying an optimum water flow rate at the desired pressure. This, in turn, allows for better pest and disease control. Moreover, our overall irrigation efficiency was improved in terms of labour and electricity consumption. Irrigation per hectare (Ha) is now less labour intensive and less time consuming. Our energy consumption per hectare has decreased by 30% thanks to the new system in place.


At UBP, settling ponds on our rocksand washing plants has allowed us to operate with a closed loop circuit, thus reducing our freshwater consumption. The resulting settled sludge consisting of water and fines is used to refill holes created by our de-rocking operations in fields.


Espace Maison
Since the start of the year, Espace Maison has been stepping up green actions on all fronts. Le Geste Vert d’Espace Maison was launched in order to promote recycling.

Its offices are equipped with an eco-press (to compress plastic bottles) and sorting bins for plastic and paper. Its shops are also equipped with bins for plastic bottles, used light bulbs and batteries, available to employees as well as customers. In January 2020, Espace Maison launched its e-ticketing offer for Club Espace Maison customers, who now receive their sales receipts by email, thus avoiding paper waste. Although only 1% of our loyal customers have used this service so far, we are encouraging them to go paperless.

We are also promoting the elimination of waste through resource recovery practices, namely in terms of: waste paper, used car batteries and tyres from our workshop, as well as used cooking oil generated by our canteens, which are all sent to recyclers for valorisation.


Espace Maison
Espace Maison has been committed to improving the sustainability of its offerings. We have introduced organic and bio fertilizers with the aim of phasing out all chemical fertilisers by the end of 2020.

Similarly, we are looking to introduce organic and bio pest control products to eliminate less environmental friendly products from our shelves within two years.

Our ecological stance has also led us to offer Berling paints, which are ecolabelled certified. These products use less pigments, whilst ensuring adequate coverage. The pigments are produced in accordance with strict ecological criteria and are free from heavy metals.

“These initiatives have been welcomed by our customers and employees alike. There is an increasing awareness that we need to minimise environmental impacts associated with the consumption of a product or service”

Rajnee Bhurosah, Marketing and Communication Manager.

Espace Maison
Staying faithful to our approach, we have taken steps to promote local natural products such as sea salt from Les Salines de Yemen, local craftsmanship by women, as well as natural soaps from our subsidiary, La Savonnerie Créole Ltée.

In June 2020 and after years of research, La Savonnerie Créole finally launched its range of solid shampoo products. The product comes in bar form that can either be securely wrapped in recyclable paper or not wrapped at all, thus eliminating waste (especially composite plastic bottles). Through the “Ban the bottle” tagline, La Savonnerie Créole aims to highlight its package-free products, thus responding to market demand.

The raw materials used in the product formula are themselves sourced in a responsible, sustainable way. They either come from natural sources (Ayurvedic products and vegans) or respect principles of green chemistry.

“Our raw material suppliers are AB Organic Farming Certified in order to preserve the quality of the soil, air and water, as well as the health of the producers. We are also committed to the One Voice Association against animal testing. La Savonnerie Créole is working in this direction and does everything possible to offer simple, natural products that are respectful of people and their habitat” says Lise Maujean, Manager of La Savonnerie Créole.

La Savonnerie Créole is also “Made in Moris”certified.

“For us, it is a way to promote local craftsmanship with a stronger identity, whether on the Mauritian market or on the tourism market. Mauritians are capable of doing beautiful things and together we can go further”

Lise Maujean, Manager of La Savonnerie Créole.


Flacq Associated Stone Masters Limited (FAST) Oasis: The Group owns 8.5% shares in FAST. The company is managed by UBP and shares the same corporate culture and values as the Group. Following an initiative of its Plant Manager, Mr Preetam Ramluggun, FAST has been involved in the creation of green spaces. He began by bringing plants from his home and planting them himself in the site’s yard. The effect was such that the employees followed his lead and grew a variety of plants, including fruit trees and aromatic herbs, around the site.

Following last year’s carbon emission calculations and climate risk report, UBP has also decided to get a green thumb. It is currently looking into the possibility of working in collaboration with Gros Cailloux to plant trees and shrubs on its sites across the country. Different trees have varying capacities to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but according to a study published in the Journal Nature African, tropical forests sequester 0.66 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year.

In addition, trees have the capacity to reduce temperatures on outdoor working spaces and on buildings, reducing the need for air conditioning. Lower temperatures also decrease the risk of harmful pollutants like ground level ozone that commonly spike on hot days in urban areas. And most important of all for a company like UBP is that trees are particularly effective at removing particulate matter (PM) from the air.

Another avenue we intend to explore for our future climate change adaptation strategy is the planting of mangroves near one of our subsidiaries, or alternatively in another site located close to the sea, potentially at risk in the event of rising sea levels.

Mauritius is listed in the top 15 countries at risk of Sea Level Rise. We are in touch with the local authorities to explore potential improvements we could make to contribute to the reforestation and protection of mangroves and wetlands, which are the natural protectors of our coastal systems.


The Wakashio carrier, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, ran aground at Pointe d’Esny on July 25, 2020. The ship had no payload at the time but was carrying 200 tonnes of diesel and 3,800 tonnes of bunker fuel. On August 6, 2020, the ship was breached and started leaking oil into the pristine lagoons.

As of the time of writing, we have provided material, equipment and logistics contributing towards the national clean-up effort. We have also been collaborating with other players in the private sector, NGOs and Business Mauritius, to coordinate efforts.

An aerial view taken in Mauritius on August 17, 2020, shows the MV Wakashio bulk carrier, belonging ... [+] AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES


During the year, we increased our total headcount by 7.6%, reaching a total of 1,399 employees locally. We are proud that, at the time of writing, none of our employees have lost their jobs as a direct result of COVID-19.

In terms of gender parity at Group level, we have positively noted that the gender gap is closing with an increase of 3% in women with respect to our total workforce. The biggest increase in women employment is at staff level.

Despite this improvement, we still have a disproportionate number of men (77%). We have also noted a decrease of 1% in the proportion of women occupying Senior Management positions.

It is important to highlight that the Group follows the recommendations of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and is committed to providing equal opportunities and treatment to all its employees in terms of recruitment, training, promotion, transfer, benefits, and discipline, without discriminating on the basis of any personal characteristics as enunciated by the prevailing legislations.

We have started hiring younger generations to replace those leaving our Group. This trend will be maintained over the next few years, as the youngest Baby Boomers are now 56 years old (born in 1964). Since the average retirement age lies somewhere between 61 and 65, this could create some challenges for the Human Resource function if left unmanaged. In the context of a nationally ageing population, it is imperative for us to replace our outgoing talent with the required skills and to continue renewing our workforce over the next few years for a smooth transition.

At UBP, where 21% of the workforce are Baby Boomers, a Knowledge Transfer Programme is being implemented. This is also aligned with our strategic objective of ensuring proper knowledge transfer. It is our aim to extend the programme to the whole Group.

Please refer to the Intellectual capital for further details

Developing our human capital

The total number of employees trained over the past three years has progressively increased. For FY2020, the increase is mainly due to Espace Maison’s focus on its Customer Experience Excellence training programme. This is part of the 3-year journey initiated in FY2019 towards becoming a customercentric organisation. The three main components include the development of our sales force capabilities, good product knowledge and making the Group’s values part and parcel of the work culture. An internal coordinator was hired to support the above initiatives.

The amount invested in training per employee at Group level has increased by 122%.

In addition, our per headcount training investment value has increased, especially this year, despite an increase in our total workforce. These efforts are in line with our Strategic Imperative of upskilling our staff in the use of all digital tools, and encouraging autonomy and analytical capabilities. A better trained workforce will ensure productivity and efficiency, as well as provide our employees with an upward career path within the Group.

Engagement and satisfaction

This year, we carried out an Employee Engagement survey within the Group which assessed how engaged and enabled employees feel.

The overall results were positive for the whole Group (refer to index on the next page), showing that we are above most benchmarks analysed for Mauritius and worldwide. It is worth noting that the survey highlighted not only areas in which each company is excelling, but also areas of improvement. The next steps for the Group is to analyse the least performing attributes and identify opportunities within each department and company. Focus groups are being organised to establish an action plan.

Occupational Health and Safety

We are saddened to report one fatal accident at UBP this year.

In October 2019, we lost one of our colleagues, Mr Swaley Cheekhoory after he was hit by a third party truck at our Geoffroy site. Mr Cheekhoory, 55 years old, had been working with us for over 31 years. It has been an honour and a privilege to count him as one of us and he will be deeply missed and remembered.

“This tragic event comes to remind us, in a brutal way, that some of our professions are risky, by their very nature. Our strict safety rules help mitigate, if not eliminate, most of these risks. There is no such thing as zero risk, but the only way to get as close as possible to it is to make security a state of mind, and not just a set of rules. It is our duty to all, without exception, if we are to be able to say: never again.” Stéphane Ulcoq, Group CEO.

The lagging indicators, incident and severity rates, follow the same trend as for the past three years. The lockdown period due to COVID-19 has reduced the number of working days, causing an increase in rates. One fatality increased the lost time to 260 calendar days, in addition to one road accident involving seven workers.

Our leading indicators towards creating a safer workplace

At the time of writing, 741 employees have followed the “work in complete safety” training course. Several types of hazards were discussed such as falling on the same level and from machines, electrocution, chemicals, fire, noise pollution, working at height, handling heavy objects, and more general risks which have been added such as road accidents or violence at work.

Other proactive actions were undertaken to review the different risk assessments, job safety analysis, health surveillance of our workers, performing fire drills and organizing regular meetings where workers expressed their concerns about health and safety issues.




















We have reduced overtime and travelling allowances, not basic salaries.

In May 2020, we published our ‘Back to Work’ guidelines in preparation for the post-lockdown opening of the country’s economic activities. Overall, whenever possible, we encourage the Work from Home modality and digital meetings. Luckily, at the time of writing, there are no active COVID-19 cases within the public, meaning that face-to-face meetings and working in the office have also been possible when required. At this time, no UBP employee has been tested positive.

In terms of Health and Safety on-site, the guidelines covered various topics including:

For the smooth running of operations and on-site precautions:

(1) Disinfection and cleaning of the Company’s premises, (2) Masks, gloves and safety glasses, (3) Company’s transport arrangement, (4) Time & attendance and body temperature checks, (5) Opening of doors, (6) Wearing/removing a personal protective equipment (mask, gloves and safety glasses) and (7) Getting back home.

Other day-to-day activities:

(1) Work from Home for specific employees usually not involved in production, (2) Digital meetings, (3) Deliveries, (4) Learning and training, (5) Messrooms, canteens and meeting rooms, (6) Welcoming visitors and guests and, of course, (7) What to do in the event of symptoms.

In their own words

After returning to work, we shared a survey amongst our employees, mainly amongst middle and senior management, to check in on our employees, their experience of the lockdown and their expectations from us as a Group. Some of their responses below have given us a better idea of how to ensure our employees’ well-being. In total, we received 99 responses across all companies.

Supporting our employees


Dictionaries, encyclopaedias, grammar books and novels are among the many books that will soon be at the fingertips of all our employees.

Our Book Happiness Project initiated in June 2019 has been rebranded - Nou Baz Lir.

We care for the overall experience of our employees, hence they were invited to find a name for their new library via a poll on our Facebook page.

This initiative stemmed from a partnership with the Mauritian Association ‘Food For Thoughts’ that had about 4500 books for children aged 6-17 and adults, recovered from libraries in France. These books were made available to UBP as part of a welfare project to create libraries for our employees.

Geoffroy production plant, UBP Engineering division, Espace Maison and Gros Cailloux are the first pilot sites to be equipped.



Intellectual capital

Value of a business generated by the skills, abilities, and talents of its people

Value of a business created by, inter alia, processes, systems, patents, trademarks, reputation, innovation

Value of a business as a result of, inter alia, relationships with customers, suppliers, other businesses, government


Knowledge Transfer Programme

In an increasingly competitive world, our Group is banking on the fact that employee experience is a growth driver. This is why we choose to value management based on collective intelligence. Our employees have extensive knowledge about their individual roles, business processes, the data that supports their positions, including how to work as efficiently as possible. As a number of employees are expecting to retire within the next five years, we are currently putting together a Knowledge Transfer Programme which will be integrated in our internal training academy. While the details of this programme are yet to be finalised, the aim is to enable the collective sharing of valuable experiences between our employees to guarantee a sustained improvement in the Group’s development and performance, to increase the skills of our employees, reduce the turnover rate of the new generations and to enable them to acquire new skills that promote motivation. The programme’s objective is to create connections and relationships between the different generations. This human approach is in line with our DNA as a business.


Monitoring operational performance

We have recruited a Group Financial Controller whose role is to design dashboards and develop management tools in order to better monitor performance and drive efficiency within the Group.

Data and information management

We recently hired a new Risk and Compliance Officer whose role includes ensuring compliance with the prevailing data protection laws via a well-defined Data Protection Management Programme (DPMP). She will assist in the implementation of a new SharePoint system that will allow us to better manage our data and information, in a centralised and secure way. This system will work together with our new CRM being developed within our group campanies.

ISO certifications

Following its ISO 9001 certification a few years ago, Drymix has been levelling up its accreditations as a proof of its expertise, reliability and impartiality. The new version of ISO 9001 emphasises risk management. In order to meet this requirement, Drymix has implemented a quality assurance system to minimise risks of non-conforming products.

In the same vein, Drymix’s laboratory is committed to undertaking a real quality journey. It will soon be the first local and regional laboratory to obtain the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for the testing of tile adhesives. The implementation of the ISO/ IEC 17025 standard in Drymix’s laboratory was an enriching experience for all the laboratory staff, as the standard aims at ensuring a high level of professionalism and instilling a work culture built on critical thinking and rigorous methodologies that every laboratory, accredited or not, must demonstrate in order to produce reliable testing results.

IT systems

At Espace Maison, we believe in blending digitalisation with the conventional way of doing business. The current digitalisation strategies typically focus on increasing productivity. Demonstrating agility and maintaining efficiency are, however, equally important as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over time, and now more than ever, we have understood that our future lies in digitalisation. Some of the measures we have taken this year include the introduction of a mobile app for employees in June 2020 and the launch of Club Espace Pro, a service and mobile app dedicated to professionals in the industry. Our vision for the future is to integrate Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) into our way of conducting business.

Since January 2020, the Group has shifted from onpremise solutions to a cloud Office 365 solution for a more reliable and secure backup of our data. Office 365 further enables us to create, collaborate and communicate seamlessly, thereby enhancing effectiveness within the Group. This was all the more useful in keeping everyone connected during the lockdown.

Our Application and Database servers, which were until now hosted in-house, were also relocated to a Tier 4 colocation data centre. The Tier 4 data centre certification provides us with the following advantages: 99.995% uptime per year, a fully redundant infrastructure, 96- hour power outage protection and low annual downtime of 26.3 minutes. In terms of security, redundancy, performance, infrastructure, compliance and costs, the Group will benefit greatly.

While we have progressed in the area of digitalisation, we are aware that much remains to be done. We intend to continue introducing digital tools that enhance our organisational efficiency.

We have also begun laying the foundations of our next project: UBP 2.0

UBP 2.0 refers to the digital transformation of our value creation processes. Our aim is to improve operational efficiency, business responsiveness and customer satisfaction with the help of an integrated digital environment.

An integrated solution will enable our employees to improve productivity by virtue of easier access to information. We will gain in operational efficiency by enabling cross-functional business processes to communicate through a single channel, increase data accuracy through automation and process control and hence speed up decision-making processes. We are currently in the brainstorming phase, where high-level requirements and risks are being discussed.


Building on the B2B market

At Espace Maison, the launching of Espace Pro unveiled the many potential business opportunities within the B2B segment. Consequently, appropriate strategies have to be adopted to position Espace Maison as a B2B player. We further aim at developing an annual Pro Book displaying our whole range of products and new ins. In our opinion, the B2B market offers great opportunities for growth provided that it is supported by a superior after-sales service.

At UBP, our UBP Partner Programme offers a dedicated platform to our truck owners, many of whom are our direct buyers. We provided dedicated personal support during the lockdown period, which helped strengthen our relationship with this specific segment. In a view to attract and retain customers, UBP is now looking forward to revisiting its customer journey, which will include a unique hotline concept.


In the wake of COVID-19, serving our stakeholders has never been more crucial. As inscribed in our Code of Ethics, our ambition as a national player and responsible citizen is to continue to be part of the long-term sustainable development of our communities through meaningful civic and social actions. This is in line with our values and our raison d’être “Building together a better living environment”. The Group also highly encourages the participation of employees in community activities.


Over the years, our Group has built and maintained public confidence by being committed to conducting business with the highest level of ethical standards, integrity and fairness in its dealings. This remains one of our top priorities and material matters as a Group. Our ethical obligations and responsibilities are described on our website.

For more information, please refer to the Corporate Governance report.


Total amount spent: Rs 1.9 million

Education and inclusion are two major focus areas that are at the heart of our sustainability agenda and therefore represent over 50% of our CSR budget. Our ambition is to be a committed partner to NGOs that are specifically devoted to developing and empowering future generations.


A new Sponsoring Committee was set up during the year. It comprises representatives from the Communication, Finance, Human Resources, Production, Sales and Sustainability departments. The eight members assess requests for sponsoring falling under five predefined focus areas: Exclusion, Education, Sport, Culture, Environment, and Socio-Economic Development. Sponsoring requests are submitted to the Committee, which analyses them based on set criteria before approval. Every fiscal year, the composition of the committee changes to give other employees the opportunity to get involved in sponsored projects.

Total amount spent: Rs 1.6 million

Sport has been a fundamental component of our sponsorship efforts and budget for many years. We diligently participate in major national sporting events, including the UBP National Tennis Championships, as we believe that sports is a school of life with the transformative power to drive positive change. It contributes to the holistic development of the youth by instilling values like hard work, team spirit, discipline, fair play and respect, while building capacities like leadership and communication skills.

In these troubled times, the committee has chosen to focus on projects aimed at limiting exclusion. We have responded favourably to the call of several associations for improved living conditions of vulnerable groups.


UBP is offering financial support to the Climate Launchpad Programme (CLP), led by Dynamia Associates. CLP is an international innovation competition against climate change. Initiated by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology in collaboration with Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Communities), this competition aims at helping people or start-ups get their green ideas (renewable energies, sustainable solutions) off the ground to fight climate change. As we believe we have an important role to play in the fight against climate change, being the partner of this competition is in line with the Group’s philosophy. CLP also creates the opportunity for Mauritians to express their creative genius and entrepreneurship spirit.

Komiko Comedy Club
We proudly sponsored ‘Heritaz’, the last feature film of the Komiko troupe, which tells the story of a rich ageing planter. Some of the Group’s employees were given tickets for the screening of the feature film in February 2020.

The Group’s contribution to the national COVID-19 Solidarity Fund amounted to Rs 3.0 million. Our participation in the national effort aimed at offering financial support to citizens and organisations mostly affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Will Fly
This project supports the children of Black River, assisting them with school work and meals. Will Fly’s mission is to instil a sense of confidence in these children to enable them achieve their dreams. UBP donated money for the purchase of school equipment (bags, uniforms, textbooks, shoes, among others) for the start of the 2020 school year.

It is the Group’s policy to provide its stakeholders with relevant, timely, and accurate information. We maintain open channels of communication that foster an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. The table below outlines our stakeholders’ expectations and how we engage and communicate with them:


During the year under review, we observed a decline in most of our inputs and outputs. We noted a slight decline as from January 2020, a hard crash in April, and an upward curve again in May-June as we obtained our work access permits (WAPs) to resume production after the lockdown was lifted. In the months of May to June, production and sales picked up rapidly and were slightly above the pre COVID-19 monthly average. As a result, it seems the short and medium term impact has not been overly severe.


We experienced a decrease in most of our outputs compared to FY2019, except for precast slabs. The surface area of precast slabs sold increased by 13.6%, due to the shifting of customers from traditional in-situ concrete construction to precast concrete slabs to catch up on delays in construction projects caused by the lockdown. Our precast products offered a better alternative in achieving time and quality effectiveness.

The impact of the lockdown on our aggregates and blocks sales figures are illustrated in the two graphs below. As previously mentioned, the impact on the Group was short-lived as we were able to quickly pick up steam.


The graphs below show the long-term trends in sales of aggregates and blocks. This also serves as an interesting overview of the construction sector over the past few years. As mentioned in our 2019 Integrated Report, trends in FY2019 were extremely conducive for us and we were well positioned to harness the opportunities brought to us by these economic macro-trends. The impact of COVID-19 on our Group and on the construction sector seems to be a rather short-term one; however, the pandemic is far from over and other affected sectors and the rest of the world are still reeling from the shock. Although indicators show stability for us, we remain vigilant and are continuing to work on the improvement of our strategic and operational agility.

The layout of our concrete blocks production:


In line with our strategy to adopt smart agricultural practices, we are pleased to note a decrease in our various inputs in terms of fertilizers, chemicals, and pesticides per hectare. This decrease is also due to formulation amendments that were made to correct high magnesium contents in the soil. On the other hand, the lower herbicide consumption is mainly attributed to the decrease in acreage under sugar cane.

We have reduced our sugar cane plantations due to the falling sugar prices worldwide, abandoning crops with lower yields and favouring vegetables cultivation instead. However, despite an increase in vegetables output, overall yields for our major crops were significantly lower than expected. Bad weather conditions coupled with thefts during the lockdown exacerbated the situation.

Revenue generated by our leisure park has seen a decline and has yet to return to pre COVID-19 levels.


A new facility is being set up at La Mecque, in the west of the island. The Building and Land Use Permit (BLUP) was issued in August 2020 and we aim at beginning operation by the end of 2020. The site will be equipped with one mobile crushing plant purchased during FY2019 that has been so far used as a backup unit. With the help of the mobile plant, we can quickly move from site to site, with minimal logistical hassle. We can now operate closer to the quarry site, thereby reducing transport and other recurring costs. Commissioning and start-ups of such units also require less time.

UBP main CAPEX Investments for FY2020


Rs 4.4 million


Rs 6.6 million


Rs 7.5 million


Rs 4.2 million


Rs 24.4 million


Rs 14.8 million


Rs 13.5 million


Rs 14.3 million


Rs 4.5 million


Rs 9.9 million


Rs 5.2 million



Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, our performance for FY2020 was on track to be a record one. The construction industry’s growth rate for calendar year 2019 was 8.5% (2018: 9.5%) while the forecasted growth rate for 2020 was yet encouraging with several major public infrastructure and property development projects underway and in the pipeline. Post-COVID, the latest available indicators for calendar year 2020 predicts a decline of around 20% based on a modest private sector construction-related investment and a pick-up of public infrastructure construction works during the second semester of 2020. This turnaround has impacted severely our performance and resulted in a drop of our Group net profit from Rs 207.3 million in FY2019 to Rs 21.9 million for the financial year under review.

Hence, after four years of growth, our Group revenue for FY2020 decreased by 11% to Rs 2.9 billion from Rs 3.2 billion in FY2019. This drop was mainly attributable to our core business activities segment and this despite an increase of 7% to 8% in our selling prices effective partly as from February 2020.

Between July and December 2019, our Group revenue increased by 6.1% compared to previous year, driven mainly by our core business and retail segments. During the first quarter of 2020, our core business revenue went down by 13.4% compared to the same period in 2019 due partly to delays encountered by ongoing major projects and to the bad weather conditions prevailing and also to the lockdown imposed as from March 20, 2020. Hence, our Group revenue for the nine months period ended March 31, 2020 increased by only 1% compared to previous year.

Upon resuming our activities as from mid-May 2020, our core business sales were boosted by the need for construction sites to catch up on progress of works while the revenue from our retail activities was positively impacted by higher spending from customers post-COVID and by promotional sales. Despite this, our revenue for the quarter to June 2020 dropped by 47.4% to Rs 422.5 million compared to Rs 803.7 million for the same quarter in 2019.

Consequently, our 11% Group revenue drop for the year under review was attributable respectively to a drop of 13.6% and 3.7% in our core business and retail segments revenues and an increase of 9.2% in our agricultural segment revenue, attributable mainly to our landscaping activities.

Statement of Profit or Loss

Our Group operating profit decreased drastically by 70.6% from Rs 274.1 million to Rs 80.6 million due to the downward performance of our core business and retail segments. Besides the significant impact of the pandemic, the profitability of our core business locally was also affected by an increase in production costs attributable mainly to plant repairs and maintenance. The performance of our retail segment for the year was further impacted by exceptional stock provisions and by the expected low performance of our new Beau Vallon store which was still in its launching phase since it opened in November 2019. In terms of our agricultural segment, our operating loss for the year was slightly lower than for FY2019. This negative performance was attributable mainly to a drop in yields and prices from our vegetable-growing activities added to an adverse valuation of our consumable biological assets and a drop in leisure revenue resulting from the lockdown.

This year again, our core business segment performance was impacted by the negative results of our subsidiaries operating overseas. Hence, the Board is seriously considering to exit from Sri Lanka and is reassessing our business potential in Madagascar.

Our share of results from associates for the year decreased by 57.5% compared to previous year due to the lower performance of both our ready-mixed concrete and core business entities resulting from the COVID-19 impact.

Our EBITDA decreased by 33% from Rs 540.0 million in FY2019 to Rs 361.7 million for the year under review while our Group Profit for the year dropped by 89.5% from Rs 207.3 million to Rs 21.9 million. Consequently, our Earnings Per Share decreased from Rs 7.19 in previous year to Rs 0.68 this year.

Statement of Financial Position


Our Group invested Rs 323.3 million in capital expenditure for FY2020 as detailed below:

The major part of investments made in terms of our core business segment this year related to the replacement, upgrading and extension of our existing plants to cater for increasing market demand, the reinforcement of our quarrying activities and the improvement of our block delivery service. In terms of our retail segment, the main investment made this year related to the building amenities and the fitting out of our new Espace Maison store in Beau Vallon whereas our agricultural subsidiary invested mainly in new plant and machinery for its food crop activities.

In terms of intangible assets, we pursued our digital transformation plan which included the switching to Office 365 and a new e-commerce platform for Espace Maison. Besides these, we invested in a new software for our laboratory, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, a new asset register for our core business and a new ERP for Compagnie de Gros Cailloux Limitée.

Our Group investment strategy remains focused on satisfying market demand, expanding our range of products and services by proposing innovative and full-fledged solutions to our customers, increasing our market share and maintaining our position as pioneer and leader on the market.

The significant investment in capital expenditure over the past five financial years, as compared to our yearly depreciation charge, confirms our Group’s commitment to increase its production capacity, agility and efficiency in view of meeting market demand, increasing our market share and improving our profitability.

Besides the above, our Group invested Rs 19.0 million into two new subsidiaries during the year, namely UBP Coffrages Ltée and Drymat SAS. The first entity’s activity consists of the rental of formworks whilst the second entity is a subsidiary of Drymix Ltd, incorporated in Reunion Island, in view of expanding our exports to this country. At June 30, 2020, UBP Coffrages Ltée incurred a loss of Rs 5.0 million. The market demand for such a service is well below our expectations. Hence, our investment in this entity has been impaired by Rs 13.8 million.


In October 2018, our five-year UBP Bonds worth Rs 560 million reached maturity. A five year secured Promissory Note (PN) programme was signed with a major bank for Rs 650 million so as to refund the bond holders and finance part of our increased capital expenditure needs for FY2019 while at the same time restructuring somehow our sources of finance. This year, we negotiated a moratorium on our finance leases and we increased our renewable short-term banking facilities via the Money Market Line (MML) to finance our cash flow needs resulting from the COVID-19 impact. This year also, our Group adopted IFRS16 – Lease Accounting which requires the recognition of an asset and a liability on the Statement of Financial Position for all lease agreements where our Group companies are lessees. Consequently, our Group assets increased by Rs 111.0 million (Right of Use Assets) whilst our Group liabilities increased by Rs 111.1 million (Borrowings - Lease Liabilities). The impact on the Statement of Profit or Loss for the year was Rs 27.0 million representing the depreciation of leased assets for Rs 12.8 million, the amortisation of right of use assets for Rs 8.2 million and an interest expense on lease liabilities for Rs 6.0 million.

As a result of the above and despite a drop in interest rates, our finance costs increased from Rs 40.7 million in FY2019 to Rs 44.8 million this year. In addition, our total borrowings increased by Rs 24.1 million during the year to reach Rs 1.06 billion at year end. However, given the increase in equity, our debt to equity (gearing) ratio remained stable at 0.33 at June 30, 2020.


As mentioned above, the equity attributable to shareholders increased by 4% from Rs 3.1 billion in previous year to Rs 3.2 billion this year, despite a drop in profit for the year and the payment of dividends. This increase was attributable to a surplus of Rs 367.0 million, net of tax, arising from the revaluation of land and buildings within the Group as reduced by remeasurement losses of Rs 202.0 million, net of tax, on defined benefit plans. Dividend Per Share decreased from Rs 3.80 to Rs 1.90, while our share price went down from Rs 131.25 at June 30, 2019 to Rs 128.50 at June 30, 2020. Consequently, the total shareholders’ return for the year dropped from 7.61% for FY2019 to -0.65% this year while the return on equity went down from 6.12% to 0.55%.


Cash generated from operations decreased from Rs 546.1 million to Rs 474.4 million after adjusting for a favourable movement in working capital needs, attributable mainly to inventories and trade receivables. Other significant cash flow movements comprised of the purchase of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets. The payment of dividends, which went down from Rs 100.7 million in previous year to Rs 50.4 million this year, was effected after the year end in July 2020, unlike in previous year.


Our financial risks remain linked to customers’ credit facilities, interest rates on borrowings and foreign exchange rates. In order to mitigate credit risks, we assess the credit worthiness of customers based on their financial statements and contracts in hand and seek to obtain bank guarantees as much as possible. In addition, our centralised debt recovery service monitors the situation at Group level and ensures regular follow-ups. Given the additional risk arising from the COVID-19 impact, we are considering credit insurance covers. In terms of interest rates risks, our strong asset base enables us to raise debt at very competitive rates and from various sources and our Group treasury is managed centrally. Given the COVID-19 outbreak, interest rates have dropped significantly. Exchange rates fluctuations affect the conversion of our overseas entities financial statements and more importantly our importations, which comprise mainly of spare parts for our crushing plants and products for our retail Espace Maison activities. To mitigate our exposure post-COVID, we maintain part of our excess cash in foreign currencies and deal forward in order to hedge against the risk of adverse currency fluctuations.

Value Added Statement