Guaranteeing the sustainability of the Group

Resolutely facing the future

Resolutely facing the future
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Resolutely facing the future

John Cockerill wants to give itself the means to ensure the profitability of its activities and its long-term development. With this in mind, it has developed and hosted several initiatives in 2020 aimed at improving and boosting its governance, its innovative strength and its operational efficiency, and to set up new business models and partnerships. Combined with its financial results, these provisions have enabled the Group to support its growth.

Agile management of the Covid-19 crisis

In 2020, John Cockerill responded with agility to the threat of Covid-19 by setting up a crisis organization based on a health crisis cell, the business cells, and a solidarity cell.

Together, these teams have defined and deployed the measures and means of protection that have allowed everyone to continue working in complete safety. They coordinated business continuity and kept the Group’s finances afloat. This involves, in particular, the application of the accompanying measures put in place by the various Regions or States. They also coordinated the solidarity initiatives that emerged spontaneously across the Group. These considerable efforts have borne fruit: the compliance with the measures that were put in place has made it possible to avoid infections on our activity sites and to maintain activities and relationships with our customers, all while demonstrating the social commitment welcomed by all.

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Strengthened governance

The year 2020 saw the establishment of a new governance framework throughout the entire Group. The ‘Incontournables’ (Essentials) cover all of the global charters and policies that underpin the internal operations of the Group. They are the subject of a broad communication plan so that no member of the Group can ignore them.

These Essentials give pride of place to ethics, which is an integral part of the governance of John Cockerill. The ethics charter and policy of the Group were updated in 2020, and are now accessible to everyone via, to publicly confirm the Group’s commitment in this area. A new interactive e-learning module was produced in 2020 to continue to raise awareness among all staff of this crucial dimension of our governance. The Ethics Committee met 5 times in 2020, and handled the 19 files that were sent to it.

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Reviewed and mitigated risks

John Cockerill overhauled its internal audit function in 2020, which had been carried out by consultants until then. Now that it has been internalized, this function has a visible and legitimate team that is involved in new issues with regard to governance (compliance, ethics, etc.), and has regular interactions with the various committees and functions within the company.

Among its first objectives is the updating and professionalization of John Cockerill’s risk mapping. Strategic, financial, operational, legal and compliance risks were identified in 2020, and their mitigation measures have been defined. The next steps in 2021: to assess their probability of occurrence and their potential impact, and to then establish action plans to manage, mitigate or attenuate them. With the short-term ambition of making this risk mapping into a permanent management and anticipation tool.

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A reshuffled management team to prepare for the future

As a mark of its entrepreneurial agility, John Cockerill was able to adjust its organization and reorganize its management team in 2020. John Cockerill has put together an extended Executive Committee to support its Executive Committee. Strengthened by their proximity to the field and the complementarity of their profiles and specialties, its members are responsible for providing solutions to cross-company issues and for elucidating and challenging the decisions of the Executive Committee. Always with the future of John Cockerill in view.

The Board of Directors

From left to right: Maurice Semer, Louis Smal, Diego Aquilina, Gérard Longuet, Jean-Luc Maurange, Yves Honhon, Bernard Serin (Chairman), Paul Thonon, Nicolas Serin (Vice-Chairman) & Jean-Pol Poncelet.

The Executive Committee

From left to right and from top to bottom: Jean-Luc Maurange, Yves Honhon, Jean Jouet, Brigitte Coppens, João Felix Da Silva, Patrick Paramore, Franck Pasqualini, Thierry Renaudin & Jean Gourp. In charge of the animation of the ExCom: Anne-Françoise Laime.

Full details of the Group’s governance bodies:

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Industrya: supporting innovative start-ups

Innovation is an essential component of the DNA of John Cockerill: innovation enables it to meet the changing needs of its customers. To make a difference, and to stand out in the markets. And to also find new solutions to the major challenges of our time, including climate change. In 2020, John Cockerill completed its innovation system by launching the Industrya incubator and accelerator, its investment fund dedicated to supporting and developing start-ups and scale-ups that are active in the Industry 4.0, energy and new materials sectors. The originality of this fund consists of the association of institutional investors with a company that has a long industrial experience. The ideal breeding ground for innovative start-ups. Industrya’s first call for projects took place in the fourth quarter of 2020. 76 application files were submitted. The selection of the start-ups will take place in the first half of 2021.

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200 technologists together ... physically!

January 2020. Health measures were are not yet on the agenda in Europe.. The 11th International Technology Meeting brought together some 200 John Cockerill technologists, in person. A day of exchanges centered on innovation, and refreshing in its formula. After discovering the subjects via 20 quick pitches, each person went off to explore his/her favorite subjects in small groups through original activities (dialogs, games, demos, etc.). The result: an abundance of ideas and interactions, as enriching for the participants as for the projects.

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Cockerill Capital, for financing sustainable projects

In 2020, John Cockerill outlined the contours of Cockerill Capital, a new type of sustainable investment fund to accelerate the energy transition. This fund will be dedicated to financing industrial or collective infrastructure projects using energy production technologies, all of which will contribute positively to decarbonization or environmental preservation. The fund will be ready to welcome its first investors in autumn 2021.

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SERM, in order to be stronger together

In 2020, John Cockerill carried out structural actions to improve its operational efficiency. It has developed SERM (Shared Execution Resources & Methodology), a department that brings together the project management, engineering and purchasing teams of the Industry and Environment organizations. Supported by its Project Management Office, the objectives of this new department are to share resources and best practices (processes, methods, tools) to develop synergies, achieve economies of scale and ultimately improve operational efficiency, competitiveness and customer satisfaction. All this driven by a single theme: stronger together!

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Optimizing operations

This year, John Cockerill carried out an extensive analysis of its overheads in order to identify sustainable sources of optimization. The “Optima” approach involved around one hundred employees. The result: some thirty million euro of identified recurring savings identified, on themes as diverse as real estate, process automation, indirect purchases and the use of resources. These savings reduce fixed costs without affecting operational efficiency and contribute to John Cockerill’s competitiveness and future.

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Documents, process, services. In 2020, John Cockerill chose to digitize in all directions, to strengthen its operational excellence, to make its organization more agile, to take better care of its Talents, partners and customers and to enrich its products and services. In short, to activate its strategic levers. Several “digiDémarches (digi-procedures)” have been initiated: ”digiBuy (purchasing processes)”, ”digiPilot (performance management)”, ”digiSign (electronic signatures)”, ”digiXpense (paperless expense management)” and ”digiSales (customer relationship management)”. The deployment of the Office365 suite was also accelerated in order to maintain effective collaboration and communication between the teams that are largely telecommuting. Not forgetting the creation of John’s Cockpit, the online platform for managing data arising from the connected equipment supplied to customers.

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