Brambles

Brambles’ purpose is to connect people with life’s essentials every day. Through its share and reuse model, Brambles moves more goods to more people in more places than any other organisation. That’s how Brambles contributes to a more sustainable future.

As a pioneer of the sharing economy, Brambles has created one of the world’s most sustainable logistics businesses.

Its circular business model perpetuates the share and reuse of the world’s largest pool of reusable pallets, crates and containers. This enables Brambles to serve its customers while minimising the impact on the environment and improving the efficiency and safety of supply chains around the world.

Brambles’ platforms form the invisible backbone of global supply chains, primarily serving the fast-moving consumer goods, fresh produce, beverage, retail and general manufacturing industries. The world’s largest brands trust Brambles to help them transport life’s essentials more efficiently, safely and sustainably.

Brambles uses the power of its circular business model, network advantage and unique expertise to leverage the key capital inputs into its business to generate significant value for customers, shareholders and employees.

For customers, Brambles’ end-to-end supply chain solutions deliver operational, financial and environmental efficiencies not otherwise available through one-way, single use alternatives. Further details are available on page 7.

For shareholders, Brambles delivers sustainable growth at returns well in excess of the cost of capital and seeks to generate sufficient cash flow through the cycle to fund dividends and support reinvestment in growth, innovation and the development of its people. Further details are available on page 9.

For shareholders, Brambles provides development and exciting career opportunities in over 60 countries. By fostering a culture of innovation and agility, Brambles seeks to attract and retain the talent which is integral to its success.

In a resource constrained world, circular business models like that operated by Brambles are recognised as a critical economic evolution to enable the world to trade more responsibly. By regenerating what it extracts and by providing its products via a service, Brambles helps reduce both the constant pressure on natural resources and the waste production typical of conventional linear business models. Brambles capitalises on its unique position in the supply chain to enable customer collaboration and address sustainable development challenges, such as optimising transport networks and addressing food waste and promoting sustainable use of the world’s forests. In this way, Brambles creates a circular economy, on a global scale.

As a first step towards producing an integrated value story, Brambles has used the Integrated Reporting (<IR>) ‘capitals’ framework,1 to illustrate the interaction and interdependencies between its sources of value, business model and ability to create value over time. This is outlined in the infographic below.

¹ The International Integrated Reporting <IR> Framework.

Our Share and Reuse Model

As at 30 June 2018, Brambles:

Operated in…

60+

countries

Employed...

~12,000

people

Owned...

~610 million

pallets, crates and containers

Through a network of…

850+

service centres

The way the world makes, moves and sells goods is being transformed. By connecting the global supply chain, Brambles contributes to a more sustainable future.

View CHAIRMAN’S Letter

In FY18, we addressed the fundamentals of the business and set the foundations for sustainable value creation in an increasingly challenging operating environment.

View CEO’S Letter

Operating Model

Brambles manages the world’s largest pool of reusable pallets, crates and containers. As a pioneer of the sharing economy, Brambles promotes the shared use of its platforms among multiple supply chain participants, under a circular ‘share and reuse’ model known as pooling.

Through its inherently sustainable operating model, superior network advantage and unique expertise, Brambles leads the market in smarter and more sustainable supply chains.

Inherently Sustainable Operating Model

Brambles’ share and reuse model follows the principles of the circular and sharing economies, creating more efficient supply chains by reducing operating costs and demand on natural resources. By promoting the share and reuse of assets among multiple parties in the supply chain, Brambles offers customers a more efficient and sustainable alternative to the use of disposable products or managing their own proprietary platforms.

Network Advantage and Supply Chain Expertise

Brambles’ sustainable operating model is underpinned by its superior network advantage and industry-leading supply chain expertise, developed over 70 years of managing customers’ supply chains around the world. With operations in over 60 countries, Brambles’ network advantage comprises the scale and density of its service centre network and the strength of its customer relationships in every market in which it operates. This means Brambles can be faster and more responsive to customers’ needs.

Sustainability Framework

Brambles’ sustainability framework organises the Group’s sustainability activities and goals under three broad programmes: Better Business; Better Planet; and Better Communities.

The Group’s 2020 goals are incorporated into this framework and address the material sustainability aspects of Brambles’ value chain. These goals are also aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, which aligns with Brambles’ sustainable business model. Further details of Brambles’ sustainability framework and 2020 goals are located on Brambles’ website.

In FY18, Brambles’ Sustainability Risk Committee conducted a review of the economic, environmental and social sustainability risks to which the Group is subject. This review identified material sourcing and safety as the Group’s material sustainability risks. Details of the Group’s FY18 safety performance and material sourcing are detailed on pages 10 and 11, respectively. A full review of Brambles’ sustainability risks and performance will be included in the 2018 Sustainability Review, which will be available on Brambles’ website in September 2018.

Customer Value Proposition

Brambles’ pallets, crates and containers form the invisible backbone of the global supply chain. This gives Brambles unique insights that help customers meet evolving consumer demands while minimising their environmental impact and improving the safety and efficiency of their supply chains.

With a comprehensive suite of supply chain solutions, Brambles provides customers with operational, financial and environmental efficiencies not otherwise available through the use of disposable alternatives and proprietary models.

End-to-End Supply Chain Solutions

Brambles is integral to customers’ supply chains, working closely with all participants including manufacturers, producers, growers and retailers. With end-to-end visibility, Brambles has unique insights into what impacts the safe, efficient and sustainable operation of global supply chains.

By leveraging these insights and its unmatched expertise, Brambles offers customers comprehensive solutions that improve the performance of the supply chain. This helps address the challenges associated with the increasing complexity and rapid evolution of modern supply chains. Brambles’ suite of customer solutions comprises:

Brambles offers customers the widest range of supply-chain platforms including: pallets (timber, plastic and display), Reusable Plastic Crates (RPCs), bins, specialised containers as well as unit-load containment and safe handling equipment.

By eliminating the need for customers to purchase and manage their own platforms, Brambles reduces the capital requirements and complexity of customers’ operations while simultaneously reducing waste from their supply chains.

Brambles conducts in-depth studies of customers’ supply chains to map the flow of goods, information and platforms in order to identify the causes of network inefficiencies and product damage.

By determining the optimal mix of platforms and processes for customers’ individual supply chains, Brambles can mitigate network inefficiencies and ensure the safe and sustainable transportation of goods through the supply chain.

Brambles’ superior network scale provides a unique capability to coordinate collaboration between multiple supply chain participants to deliver transport efficiencies. This includes matching and eliminating empty transport lanes, sharing transport and contracting transport for and from customers.

Brambles works closely with customers to develop storesolution strategies and consumer-facing platforms that improve the efficiency of the shared supply chain by increasing sales at lower costs to the supplier, retailer and consumer.

These merchandising and fulfilment solutions, which include full size and fractional display pallets, trays and RPCs, effectively reduce the time, labour and activity required to move goods from the point of production to the point of sale.

Using its experience in managing platforms, optimising automated facilities and packaging performance testing, Brambles has developed solutions that improve the overall performance and efficiency of customers’ facilities. These solutions include: customising customers’ platform processes; optimising how customers configure, build and protect product loads; and providing higher quality platforms and engineering services to improve the performance of automated facilities.

Environmental Benefits

Brambles’ supply chain solutions help customers address key sustainability issues by managing deforestation risks associated with sourcing of wood for pallets and preventing the carbon emissions and solid waste associated with the production, use and disposal of single-use platform solutions. In FY18, Brambles helped customers:

Eliminate 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 and 1.4 million tonnes of waste by using pallets and RPCs

Save 1.6 million cubic metres of raw materials through the repair and reuse of pallets

Save 1.7 million trees and 4,100 megalitres of water through the share and reuse of pallets and RPCs

Eliminate 4,719 tonnes of food waste through the use of RPCs

Strategic Priorities

Brambles is committed to being the global leader in platform pooling solutions, with number one market positions in all major regions of operation.

Brambles’ five strategic priorities are integral to this commitment and the delivery of superior value for customers, shareholders and employees over the long term.

Brambles’ network advantage, comprising the scale and density of its customer and service centre network and its industry-leading asset management expertise, is critical to the Group’s value proposition for both its customers and investors.

By investing in platform quality and a differentiated, value-enhancing service offering, Brambles is committed to optimising its network, growing its business and strengthening its industry-leading position.

Through a focus on Group-wide operational and organisational efficiencies, Brambles seeks to offset the impact of cost inflation and competitive price pressures. To achieve additional efficiencies, Brambles will continue to leverage its global scale and implement global best practice in areas such as procurement, plant automation and transport optimisation.

Brambles allocates capital to maintain and grow its existing businesses, to drive innovation and to diversify its portfolio of products and services. Brambles adopts a disciplined approach to capital allocation focused on: growing businesses with proven economic returns; measured expansion of new businesses achieving the right balance between nearand long-term returns; investing in innovation to deliver differentiated customer solutions; and focused strategy in relation to mergers and acquisitions.

A key strategic objective for the Group is to deliver strong and sustainable cash generation. Brambles aims to achieve this through an increased focus on improving asset utilisation, reducing equipment loss and lowering equipment damage rates.

Understanding customers’ evolving needs and providing differentiated value-enhancing solutions is core to the sustainability of Brambles’ business model and competitive advantage.

Faced with a changing retail landscape, including the expansion of e-commerce and omni-channel retail formats, Brambles is investing in new platform solutions that enable its customers to increase sales, gain greater market insights and improve operational efficiencies.

Brambles is also investing in its BXB Digital business, which is working to apply technology to collect and transform data into services that track goods, optimise transport solutions and operations, and improve supply chain efficiency.

Successfully attracting and retaining high calibre people is integral to Brambles’ ongoing success. Brambles’ key priorities for its employees are safety, engagement and capability. The Group is committed to fostering a culture of agility and innovation where employees can grow their skills and capabilities through comprehensive, world-class development programmes.

Investor Value Proposition

Brambles generates value through a virtuous circle that leverages its scale, density and expertise to achieve superior operational efficiencies.

These efficiencies in turn generate cash flow that can either be returned to shareholders or reinvested in the business to fund growth, innovation and development of its people.

Long-Term Value Creation and Superior Shareholder Returns

Brambles shares the efficiencies generated by its scale, density and expertise with its customers, providing a compelling value proposition compared to alternatives. By providing customers with supply chain solutions in over 60 countries, Brambles offers shareholders exposure to geographically diversified earning streams, primarily from the global consumer staples sector.

The supply chains served by Brambles also provide a broad range of growth opportunities including: increasing penetration of core equipment-pooling products and services in existing markets; diversifying the range of products and services; entering new and adjacent parts of existing supply chains; and exploring the digitisation of supply chains.

Within this context, Brambles is committed to striking the right balance between growing its business and delivering superior shareholder returns over the long term. By focusing on its core drivers of value, Brambles expects to deliver:

Sustainable growth and returns well in excess of the cost of capital

  • Sales revenue growth3 in the mid-single digits;
  • Underlying Profit growth3 in excess of sales revenue growth through the cycle; and
  • Strong Return on Capital Invested.

Cash generation to fund growth, innovation and shareholder returns

  • Free Cash Flow sufficient to fully fund capital expenditure and dividends.

Dividend Policy and Payment

By providing customers with supply chain solutions in over 60 countries, Brambles offers shareholders exposure to geographically diversified earning streams, primarily from the global consumer staples sector.

The Board has declared a final dividend for 2018 of 14.5 Australian cents per share, in line with the previous interim and final dividend. The 2018 final dividend will be 30% franked and is payable on 11 October 2018 to shareholders on the Brambles register at 5.00pm on 12 September 2018. The ex‑dividend date is 11 September 2018.

Total dividends for the Year were 29.0 Australian cents per share, in line with the prior year. Brambles paid the 2018 interim dividend of 14.5 Australian cents per share on 12 April 2018.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan

Brambles’ Board maintained the Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP) for the 2018 financial year. Shares issued under the DRP do not attract a discount. Any dilutive impact on earnings per share of DRP-issued shares will be neutralised through the transfer of existing shares to participating shareholders via on-market purchases rather than issuing new shares to them.

ESG Recognition

Third-party Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investor research consistently recognises Brambles’ strong governance processes and the long-term sustainability of its business model and strategies. In 2018, Brambles continues to be placed amongst the leading companies in the global industrial services sector by the following ESG research firms:

 

3 At constant-currency

Key Performance Drivers and Metrics

Brambles monitors its performance and value creation through a number of financial and non-financial metrics. These include:

Key Drivers

  • General increases in sales volumes in line with economic/industry trends;
  • The rate at which the Group expands its operations (often described as ‘net new business wins’); and
  • Movements in pricing and changes in product/customer mix.

5-Year Performance – Continuing Operations

Sales revenue of US$5,596.6 million in FY18 reflected a five-year compound annual growth rate of 7%, at fixed 30 June 2017 FX rates. This growth reflects the expansion of the global CHEP pallets and IFCO RPC businesses through the ongoing conversion of new customers to pooled solutions, new market entry and expansion of the core product offering.

Key Drivers

  • Transport, logistics and asset management costs (including external factors such as fuel and freight prices, as well as labour costs);
  • Plant operating costs in relation to management of service centre networks and the inspection, cleaning and repair of assets (including labour costs and raw materials costs);
  • Other operational expenses (primarily overheads such as selling, general and administrative expenses); and
  • Depreciation, as well as provisioning for irrecoverable pooling equipment.

5-Year Performance – Continuing Operations

Underlying Profit of US$996.7 million in FY18 reflected a five-year compound annual growth rate of 4%, at fixed 30 June 2017 FX rates. Profit growth during the period reflected sales revenue growth, direct cost efficiencies and indirect cost reductions across the Group. The lower rate of profit growth relative to sales growth is largely driven by the impact on FY17 and FY18 Underlying Profit of direct cost challenges in CHEP Americas, losses in the HFG joint venture and increased investment in BXB Digital.

Brambles’ Zero Harm Charter states that everyone has the right to be safe at work and to return home as healthy as they started the day.

5-Year Performance

Brambles gauges its safety performance through the Brambles Injury Frequency Rate (BIFR), which measures work-related incidents resulting in fatalities, lost time, modified duty or medical treatment per million hours worked.

Brambles met its target of year-on-year improvement in BIFR in FY18, recording a BIFR of 4.7, an improvement from 6.6 in FY17, with no work-related fatalities.4 Hand and finger injuries were reduced by more than 30% through targeted initiatives. This result reflects continuous improvement in the safety culture of Brambles. Brambles’ Zero Harm Charter and safety targets align with SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing.

4 The safety statistics for sites opened during any given fiscal year are tracked as required by law but not included in the Group’s overall safety reporting. For FY18, the impact of new sites was more significant than in previous years so the decision has been made to include those sites in the safety results for completeness which resulted in an increase in the reported BIFR from 4.3 to 4.7.

Key Drivers

  • Capital expenditure on pooling equipment, which is primarily dependent on the rate of sales growth. Brambles’ main capital cost exposures are raw materials, primarily wood and plastic resin;
  • Asset control factors, i.e. the amount of pooling equipment not recoverable or repairable each year (and therefore requiring replacement); and
  • Frequency with which customers return or exchange pooling equipment.

5-Year Performance – Continuing Operations

The trend in Brambles’ key return on capital metrics, ROCI and BVA, over the five-year period ended 30 June 2018 reflected the Group’s expansion through both organic growth and acquisitions. ROCI declined from 18.9% in FY14 to 16.1% in FY18. The decline since FY16 largely reflected: lower Underlying Profit margins in CHEP Americas, the impact of RPC and automotive contract losses in CHEP Australia announced in 2016; an increase in Average Capital Invested in line with higher equipment balances to support growth; and the recognition of the Group’s investment in the HFG Oil & Gas containers joint venture following its formation in FY17. Note: Pre-FY17 comparatives recognise Brambles’ Oil & Gas containers businesses in discontinued operations and are therefore not captured in this chart. The trend in BVA – a measure of economic profit over and above the cost of capital invested to create that profit – was driven by the same factors as ROCI.

Key Drivers

  • Profitability;
  • Capital expenditure; and
  • Movements in working capital.

5-Year Performance – Continuing Operations

The five years to FY18 was a period of solid overall profit growth, facilitated largely by significant investments in capital expenditure to support growth. In FY16, capital expenditure increased to support growth in the pallets operations and there was a one-time change to payment processes that increased working capital. The significant improvement in FY18 reflects increased EBITDA, strong working capital management, higher collections of asset compensations and US$150 million cash inflow related to the repayment of the HFG joint venture loan, which offset increases in cash capital expenditure.

Ongoing secure supply of materials for the production and repair of pooling equipment, in particular wood used for pallets, is critical to Brambles.

5-Year Performance – Continuing Operations

Brambles aims to source 100% of timber from certified sources by 2020. For the FY18 period, 99.4% of wood purchased was from third-party certified sources, representing a small but important 0.3% improvement towards its goal compared to FY17 results. The remaining 0.6% of lumber purchases were subject to Brambles’ stringent 24-step due diligence process. This process confirms that harvesting operations did not contribute to deforestation or that lumber was not purchased from controversial sources.

Brambles believes that increasing the volume of wood purchased under the Chain of Custody (CoC) certification helps further improve the transparency of forestry supply chains. Therefore, Brambles aims to increase CoC volumes each year with an aspirational goal to achieve 100%. In FY18, CoC results were driven by Latin America and Europe where combined volumes increased 44% on FY17, increasing its overall performance to 66%.

Brambles’ sustainable sourcing objectives seek to preserve and enhance the Group’s key resource dependency and are directly linked to SDG 15: Sustainable Use of the World’s Forests and SDG 13: Climate Action.

Strategic and Operating Risks

Brambles’ risk management framework, as described in the Corporate Governance Statement on Brambles’ website, incorporates effective risk management into its strategic planning processes and requires business operating plans to effectively manage key risks. The key risks to Brambles’ ability to achieve its financial and strategic objectives and respective mitigating actions are:

Key factors Implication Mitigating actions
Macro-economic conditions Macro-economic conditions, or economic conditions affecting the supply chain or industries in which Brambles’ customers operate, may affect demand for Brambles’ services and/or its financial performance
  • Continued focus on driving growth through investment in expanded customer value proposition and targeted diversification in opportunities with attractive long-term characteristics
  • Adoption of pricing and cost-recovery strategies to mitigate the impact of cost inflation
Industry trends in the retail, grocery and consumer goods supply chains Industry trends (e.g. fragmentation of the retail supply chain, growth of e-commerce and hard discounters, demand for different pooling equipment materials or designs) could affect demand for Brambles’ current service offerings, the value of its existing assets, and/or its financial performance

Ongoing programmes to:

  • Drive customer intimacy throughout the supply chain and uncover opportunities to leverage the Group’s unique global scale and value proposition
  • Create new products and service lines to meet customers’ requirements
Maintaining the quality of pooled equipment in line with customer needs A failure to maintain adequate quality standards may result in reduced customer satisfaction, additional costs and affect the Group’s financial performance
  • Strict adherence to equipment quality standards, including continuous monitoring of critical-to-quality metrics to assess and ensure quality of products issued to customers
Maintaining control of pooling equipment The loss of pooled equipment is inherent in Brambles’ business model. Failure to maintain appropriate asset control and recovery processes may result in additional costs and affect the Group’s financial performance
  • Dedicated asset control teams across all business units and creation of a comprehensive system of processes to increase the timely collection of assets
  • Regular schedule of customer equipment inventory audits to assess key asset recovery metrics and identify potential control issues
Network capacity The scale and strength of Brambles’ network of service centre locations is inherent to its value proposition for customers and other stakeholders. A lack of capacity within the network in a major market could adversely impact service delivery, competitive position and financial performance
  • Adoption of the plant automation project in CHEP Americas and plant network optimisation projects in major markets
Competitors Brambles operates in competitive markets. Increasing intensity of competitor activity could affect Brambles’ market penetration and financial performance
  • Leverage Brambles’ unique global scale, network advantage and sustainable business model to deliver customer value and strengthen relationships
  • Adoption of an innovation programme to enhance existing/develop new products and services
  • The establishment of BXB Digital to explore the role of technology in Brambles’ business and customer offering and to engage in innovation of products and services in the digital space
Retailer acceptance of pooled solutions Retailers are integral to Brambles’ operating model. A reduction or loss of retailer support for pooled solutions in their supply chains could result in a loss of customers and/or market penetration and adversely impact Brambles’ financial performance
  • Dedicated teams with executive-level responsibility for strengthening retailer relationships, identifying retailer-specific product requirements and ensuring retailers understand Brambles’ value proposition
  • Improving the value proposition for retailers through the implementation of joint business plans
Cyber security The unauthorised access to or use of Brambles’ IT systems could adversely impact Brambles’ ability to serve its customers or compromise customer or employee data, resulting in reputational damage, financial loss and/or adverse operational consequences
  • An IT security strategy has been implemented which utilises technologies and processes to protect systems and to detect and promptly respond to unauthorised or inappropriate activities. These controls include, but are not limited to, e-mail filtering, anti-virus software, security awareness and training, as well as the use of penetration testing across our network
  • Brambles uses the National Institute of Standards and Technologies Cyber Security Framework to monitor, track, and report progress to Senior Management
Information security Brambles relies on its IT systems to operate its business. The misuse, loss of or unauthorised access to sensitive data due to incomplete or unsuitable identification, storage, processing or disposal procedures could result in financial loss, operational disruption and/or reputational damage
  • Preventative controls have been put in place to mitigate the risk of loss or misuse of data. These controls include the encryption of laptops, e-mail data retention controls and the ability to store data in secure drives
Regulatory compliance Brambles operates in a large number of countries with widely differing legal regimes, legislative requirements and compliance cultures. A failure to comply with regulatory obligations and local laws could adversely affect Brambles’ operational and financial performance and its reputation
  • Code of Conduct which provides a framework for detailed policies addressing regulatory compliance
  • Adoption of Group-wide online compliance training programmes to supplement face-to-face training
  • Dedicated Chief Compliance Officer responsible for monitoring the implementation and ongoing application of compliance management systems
Attraction and retention of talent A failure to attract, develop and retain high performing individuals could adversely impact Brambles’ ability to implement and manage its strategic objectives
  • Detailed talent management and succession planning processes to identify high potential employees and prepare successors for senior executive positions
  • Formal mentoring programmes offered to all employees
Safety Brambles is subject to inherent operational risks, including industrial hazards, road traffic or transportation accidents that could potentially result in serious injury or fatality of employees, contractors or members of the public
  • A Zero Harm Charter which states that everyone has the right of be safe at work and to return home as healthy as they started the day
  • Safety management systems adopted at all workplaces
  • Use of safety metrics which measure work related injuries, lost time, modified duties and incidents requiring medical treatment
  • Regular reporting and monitoring by the Brambles Board