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Morgan Advanced Materials

The year was dominated by the  effects of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic

As a global company, no aspect of our activity was untouched. The spread and impact of the virus have been widely reported with national lockdowns impacting global economic activity.

In such straitened times, limiting the Group’s organic-constant-currency year on year revenue decline to just 11.4% while achieving double digit margins is a testament to the resilience and commitment of our people. I thank all our employees for their hard work, and the perseverance and dedication they have exhibited in the particularly difficult circumstances of 2020.

Governance and Social Care

As Chairman, corporate governance is one of my main concerns. Key to this is keeping in touch with our operating units which we have continued to do via electronic forums. My non-executive colleagues have joined me in ‘virtual’ meetings with employees at all levels which, in a time of severe travel restrictions, are the next best way of keeping an independent finger on the pulse of the organisation. We were also able to take a view on the mental health impacts of the lockdowns and isolation of working from home and how people were being supported by their local management. We had some interesting and candid exchange of views which we have been able to take up with the Executive Directors, who will be taking actionas a result.

Environmental

Morgan is an energy intensive business, but our products benefit the environment by making the operations of our customers significantly more energy efficient. Over the last five years we have made steady reductions to our own CO2 emissions and water consumption. Building on these improvements, the Board has now set an aspiration to align with the UK Government’s commitment as a signatory to the Paris Agreement and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and has set an intermediate target of reducing our absolute scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030. This will require intense energy efficiency work across our business, and process change: by progressively moving away from fossil fuels and adopting new technologies.

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Our Outlook

The outlook is still uncertain with lockdowns and travel restrictions being maintained around the world. The great hope is the efficacy of the vaccine roll-out but this will take time, well into 2021 in the UK and potentially beyond in other countries. Nevertheless, in the last quarter of 2020 we experienced a rising trend in order intake which has persisted into 2021.

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