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Edited Transcript of CSAN3.SA earnings conference call or presentation 17-Feb-20 2:00pm GMT

Piracicaba Mar 19, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) — Edited Transcript of Cosan SA earnings conference call or presentation Monday, February 17, 2020 at 2:00:00pm GMT

Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager

* Roberto G. Browne

* Thiago Callegari L. Duarte

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. At this time, we’d like to welcome everyone to Cosan S.A.’s Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2019 Results Conference Call. Today with us, we have Mr. Phillipe Casale, Investor Relations Executive Manager; and Mr. Joao Arthur Souza, Head of Finance. We would like to inform you that this event is recorded. (Operator Instructions)

The audio and the slide show of this presentation are available through live webcast at ir.cosan.com.br. These slides can also be downloaded from the webcast platform. Before proceeding, let me mention that forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of Cosan’s management and on information currently available to the company. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions because they relate to future events and therefore depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. Investors should understand that general economic conditions, industry conditions and other operating factors could also affect the future results of Cosan and could cause the results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements.

Now I’ll turn the conference over to Mr. Phillipe Casale. Mr. Casale, you may begin the call.

Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [2]

Good morning, and welcome to Cosan S.A.’s Fourth Quarter 2019 and Full Year 2019 Earnings Conference Call. The year was an important one for Brazil. Pension Reform was approved by Congress. Inflation remained under control, partially due to still with low economic growth allowing real interest rates to reach record lows in recent history.

Our businesses proved that they have strength against volatility, and we delivered solid results with 12% increase in pro forma adjusted EBITDA to BRL 5.6 billion. Comgás and Moove were the highlights, both slightly above the top end of our guidance range due to better performance, especially in 4Q ’19. Guidance for Raízen Energia remains the same and follows the crop year, which will end in March 2020.

Let’s move to Slide 4 to discuss the results of each business unit, starting with Raízen Combustíveis Brazil. As discussed in our last conference call, demand for fuels posted a gradual recovery in second half of ’19. Brazil’s total volume grew by 4% last year, considering the ANP figures. Again, Raízen grew above the industry average. The total volumes sold rose 5% both in the quarter and in the year. Sales measured in gasoline equivalent increased 6% in the Otto-cycle and the gasoline sales were the highlight given the contraction in previous quarters. Ethanol sales also remained strong, yet the fuel was above 70% parity in most states, implying demand resilience.

Regarding diesel sales. Raízen remained focused on increasing its customer base, always targeting the adequate profitability. Aviation sales dropped due to the winding up of one of our commercial clients. Raízen Combustíveis adjusted EBITDA rose 16% to BRL 951 million in the quarter, maintaining the usual seasonality with fourth quarter being the strongest one.

In addition to the higher volumes sold this year — or actually this quarter, we captured opportunities through Raízen’s efficient supply strategy. This includes not only the inventory management, but imports, a structural component of that strategy.

Adjusted EBITDA grew 3.5% to BRL 2.9 billion in 2019, in line with revised guidance. It’s worth noting that we adjusted the positive effect of BRL 1.1 billion from the formation of Raízen Conveniências joint venture. Since November ’19, this segment’s results are no longer consolidated by Raízen Combustíveis, being now recognized as equity pickup.

Quick reminder here. Raízen Conveniências will focus on accelerating the implementation of the C-store services — on services station under the traditional Select brand franchisee model, while also developing the proximity store model with the OXXO brand. During the first 3 years, we expect to add around 500 new stores in total, and these will require higher investments and expenses.

Raízen Combustíveis CapEx this quarter totaled BRL 250 million in maintenance, conversion, renewal of contracts with clients as well as infrastructure.

Moving to Slide 5 to discuss Raízen Argentina’s result. Note that we report this results in U.S. dollars, which is the functional currency of the downstream operation in Argentina. Our first year of operations was challenging amid a worsening political and economic scenario and fuel and oil prices freezing. The refinery processed 79,000 bbl/d, resuming operations under scheduled maintenance in previous quarters.

Despite a complex scenario, diesel and gasoline sales rose 10% year-over-year, reflecting the commercial efforts and expansion of the service stations network. The aviation sales performance reflects lower demand for flights in that period.

Adjusted EBITDA totaled $80 million in 4Q ’19. Besides higher volume of gasoline and diesel sold, a gradual unwinding of price freeze contributed to a nonrecurring gain of $13 million in the quarter. In 2019, adjusted EBITDA reached $195 million. Investments totaled $15 million in the quarter and $84 million in the year-end, most of which to maintaining and improving the refining operation.

In the next slide, we present Raízen Energia’s result. Since this is the third quarter of 2019/’20 crop year, I’ll focus on quarterly results. Crushing season ended around November and reached 60 million tons, in line with the previous crop, but below expectations.

Here, it’s worth noting that despite improved agricultural productivity, Raízen faced lower sugarcane availability, mainly on those mills acquired over the last 2 years. Raízen’s focus is to enhance the efficiency in agricultural yield through investments, which should increase sugarcane availability starting next crop year ’20/’21.

Raízen prioritizes ethanol production in the mix this year ending the crushing season at 51% of the total. Speaking of sales, let’s start with sugar. We accelerated sales in the quarter, in line with sugar commercialization strategy, aiming at maximizing profitability. Shipments were relatively lower during the first 2 quarters of the crop year. Volumes will be even stronger in fourth quarter of the crop year, as shown in the sugar graph. Average sales prices in reais were 20% higher in the quarter on the back of good hedging in reais terms.

Moving to ethanol. Sales volume came in 20% lower this quarter, also in line with the crop commercialization strategy. A relevant amount of the biofuel sales was lapped to the intercrop season, seeking higher profitability as demand remains strong. Average price came in 11% higher than previous crop, explained by favorable prices in the domestic market as well as higher export volume in the period. Hedging of part of the ethanol sales also contributed to higher average prices this quarter.

Now moving to electricity. Note that results are impacted by WX, which is Raízen ‘s electricity trading company. Our own volumes sold came in 7% higher in the quarter. Average sales prices were positively affected by favorable prices in the spot market.

Before discussing the EBITDA, I would like to highlight that the unit cash cost already normalized by the CONSECANA effect increased 2%, reflecting the product mix with higher production of white sugar and inflation, specifically this quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA came in at BRL 628 million in the 4Q ’19, 25% lower than 4Q ’18 due to lower volume of ethanol sold. Higher average prices partially offset these effects. As for sugar hedging, export volumes are fixed at BRL 0.55 per pound. And for the ’20/’21 crop season, we already hedged around 55% with an average price of BRL 0.61 per pound, almost 10% higher if you compare to this year. Recent improvement in sugar prices, combined with the Brazilian real depreciation, generated good opportunities to increase hedging. There is increasing consensus that leading producing countries faced favorable — or actually unfavorable climate affecting their production, especially in India and Thailand.

In Brazil, the demand for ethanol remains strong, sustaining a good remuneration still. The outlook for ’20/’21 crop year is that the mix will be slightly more balanced between sugar versus ethanol compared to the last 2 crop years. Raízen keeps close track of market dynamics, always capturing opportunities to improve sugar and ethanol profitability, optimizing its strategy and commercialization mix throughout the year.

Lastly, CapEx totaled BRL 656 million in the quarter, with higher intercrop maintenance figures are — as crushing period ending earlier this crop year compared to the previous one, but it’s in line with the guidance.

Now let’s discuss Comgas on Slide 7. Natural gas sales volume fell 3% in the 4Q ’19 and 1% in the year on account of lower demand from specific industrial sectors served by Comgas. On the other hand, commercial sales grew 2% in the quarter and 3% in 2019. In the residential segment, sales came in, in line with 4Q ’18 and rose by 1% in the year, driven by the addition of 103,000 new clients. Normalized adjusted EBITDA totaled BRL 507 million in the quarter and BRL 2.2 billion in 2019, driven by a more favorable sales mix with greater share of residential and commercial segments as well as margins adjusted by inflation. Regulatory current accounts recovered ending the year with BRL 5 million positioned in favor of Comgas’ clients.

Comgas invested BRL 299 million in the quarter and BRL 899 million in the year, in line with the CapEx plan, accelerating investments after the conclusion of the tariff review process.

Now let’s move to Slide 8. Improved finished product sales performance in Brazil and abroad boosted Moove’s adjusted EBITDA totaling BRL 83 million in the 4Q ’19 and BRL 321 million in 2019. Total sales volume grew 13% in the quarter and 15% in the year as a result of the company’s consistent sales strategy and growth across all countries.

Let’s move to the right side of the slide, and Cosan’s corporate segment reported G&A expense of BRL 64 million in the 4Q ’19 and BRL 227 million in 2019, in line with additional communication and marketing expenses expected for the year and general expenses concentrated in the period.

In addition, as highlighted in the 3Q ’19, the migration of the share-based compensation plan to the stock grant plan resulted in an additional and nonrecurring expense of BRL 36 million in the third Q ’19.

Other revenues and expenses composed mainly by legal expenses and contingencies printed BRL 428 million in revenue, due to the sale of credit rights and the recognition of a gain related to the exclusion of ISMS (sic) [ICMS] from the calculation basis of the PIS/COFINS taxes. This is a state tax in the federal tax basis.

Now let’s move to Slide 9. Cosan S.A’s pro forma adjusted EBITDA reached BRL 1.4 billion in the 4Q ’19 and BRL 5.6 billion in the year, reflecting growth across all lines of business. And the net income totaled BRL 793 million in the 4Q ’19 and BRL 2.4 billion in 2019, including a nonrecurring gain from Raízen Conveniências joint venture. But even excluding this effect, adjusted net income rose 24% to BRL 1.6 billion.

Free cash flow to equity totaled BRL 2.4 billion in the quarter. Main effects were, in operating cash flow, the cash generation increase at Comgas. And there was a cash inflow of BRL 410 million in Cosan Corporate, reflecting the sale of credit rights during the third and the fourth quarters. So the cash effect of the credit rights sale of the third quarter was actually recognized this quarter. Cash flow from investments, expenditures increased at Comgas, and Cosan Corporate received BRL 1.5 billion related to the Comgas capital reduction. Raízen Combustíveis also paid the last installment related to the acquisition of the asset in Argentina, totaling BRL 675 billion (sic) [BRL 675 million], that’s considering the Cosan’s 50% stake in Raízen.

In cash flow from financing, funds were raised by Raízen and Comgas. The free cash flow to shareholders totaled BRL 4.5 billion in 2019. Pro forma gross debt rose 14% in the 4Q from previous quarters due to the fundraising of BRL 2.9 billion by Raízen and BRL 2 billion by Comgas.

The cost of debt stood at 111% of the CDI on a pro forma basis or 119% of the CDI, if we exclude Raízen. The pro forma leverage ratio after the usual current account adjustments at Comgas and leasing liabilities ended 2019 in line at 2x net debt-to-EBITDA.

Now let’s move to the next slide to discuss our expectations for 2020. Better performance of Brazil’s economy, supported by unprecedented levels of cost of capital, combined with our consistent strategy should contribute to another year of EBITDA growth in all business lines. For Raízen Combustíveis Brazil, we estimate an EBITDA between BRL 2.8 billion to BRL 3 billion. This year’s scenario should be similar to what we saw in 2019, meaning challenges and opportunities due to volatility. Demand should be in line with GDP, somewhat around 3% growth.

As already mentioned, the convenience store results will no longer be consolidated in EBITDA, being now recognized under equity pickup in proportion to the 50% stake that Raízen Combustíveis has in the JV. CapEx should also come in line with last year with focus on expansion and renewal of the service stations network as well as infrastructure investment.

At Raízen Argentina, we expect an EBITDA between $160 million to $200 million, reflecting the economic instability of the country.

At Comgas, EBITDA — normalized EBITDA is estimated to range between BRL 2.25 billion to BRL 2.4 billion, in line with the regulatory plan approved by ARSESP, the regulatory agency.

At Moove, improved performance in Brazil and international operations should boost EBITDA in 2020 with BRL 330 million to BRL 350 million range.

At Raízen Energia, before discussing our projections for the next crop, we are reiterating the guidance for 2019/’20 crop, which ends in March, targeting the lower end of the guidance range. Regarding the ’20/’21 crop year, we are disclosing preliminary guidance since Raízen ‘s budget process is still underway. Crushing should improve compared to the last 2 years. EBITDA should also post another year of growth since prices are pointing to better levels. And CapEx should remain between BRL 2.85 billion to BRL 3.05 billion.

That leads to Cosan’s pro forma EBITDA between BRL 5.8 billion and BRL 6.4 billion.

To conclude the presentation, a quick update on ESG efforts and disclosure. In 2019, we increased our engagement with several agencies, answering the CDP questionnaires while applying to both B3 and Dow Jones Sustainability indexes. We published our sustainability report in accordance with GRI guidelines, while crossing each material topic of our businesses with United Nations’ Sustainability Development Guidelines. Regarding governance, we updated our code of conduct grounded on respect, ethics and transparency principles.

This concludes our presentation. We’ll now take any questions you may have.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Isabella Simonato, Bank of America.

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Isabella Simonato, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division – VP [2]

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My questions are related to the guidance for 2020 because, as you said, I mean, I think, despite the volatility, the environment seems to be better for most of the divisions, but especially for Raízen, right?

And when we look at the implied growth of EBITDA, especially for the fuel distribution part, in our view, it seems a little bit conservative. As you said, the growth could be — volume growth could be in line with GDP. And we are seeing solid demand in fuel prices. So can you go over a little bit the premises, the assumptions you used in the guidance since the implied growth seems a little bit too low in our view?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [3]

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Isabella, thank you for your question. I will start here, just pointing to 1 thing that our — we need the market to bear in mind. This year in the EBITDA guidance, we do not consider the BRL 70 million EBITDA coming from the convenience stores, that’s the EBITDA of 2019 that impacted the results. And it’s not going to be consolidated anymore in the Raízen Combustíveis as it was.

So from now on, or actually since the closing of the JV in November, the results of the convenience store segment is now coming through equity pickup and the net income besides all the OpEx and the CapEx that this entity, this segment will do. So we are not considering around BRL 70 million that impacted the EBITDA last year. So let me start to that.

And talking about the guidance as a whole. We have consistently been building this guidance with the best assumptions we have at the moment, and that’s not different now. So comparison base for 2019 growth was also weaker if we bear in mind that the volume growth in Brazil, and this is using ANP figures, was 4%.

But if we exclude really for just the base of 2018 with the truckers’ strike, we’re talking about 1% volume growth. So this is one thing. In fact, the second half of ’19 showed some organic growth, which helps volumes and the business environment. In 2020, we can expect a little better in terms of demand. So we are estimating what is embedded on our guidance is somewhere around GDP growth for volumes. And this is what basically we are looking for, for the volumes here and will be, again, consistent delivery another quite good year for Raízen Combustíveis.

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Isabella Simonato, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division – VP [4]

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When we think about margins for fuel distribution, because when we look at EBITDA growth, even excluding the BRL 70 million, the margin expansion implied it’s not significant. How you’re thinking about margins for this year?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [5]

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As we always say, the driver for margins growth is essentially the volume growth and our ability to have a scale leverage that the volume growth brings to the table. So this is what we are focusing in terms of margins, right?

We have to remember that inflation is at a different level than what we’ve seen in the past as well. And we have a commitment here to pass through inflation on the margins. So this is what

(technical difficulty)

in terms of the EBITDA.

And one thing, just to do a quick analysis here. If we look at the midpoint of the guidance, considering these adjustments of the convenience stores’ EBITDA, we’re talking about a 3.5% growth at the midpoint of the guidance and a 7% growth at the top range of the guidance, which is a scenario that we look. But this is just to bear in mind here these adjustments or this impact of the convenience stores.

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Operator [6]

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Our next question comes from Luiz Carvalho, UBS.

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Luiz Carvalho, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division – Director and Analyst [7]

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Phillipe, I have basically 2 questions here. The first one, if you can comment about the new potential investments and more specifically about the refining strategy, how you’re preparing Cosan actually to participate in this deal and then the color you could provide?

And the second one, also on the pipelines, as you just required — actually filed the requirements for a potential environmental license for one of the pipelines. So I would like to have a bit more visibility on the future investments.

The second one, it’s about Comgas. If you can comment about the receivables that were confirmed late last year in terms of the timing and also the potential way of these receivables are going to be confirmed to the company. I understand that it’s not going to be cash, but potentially the extension of the concession. So what is the latest on this front?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [8]

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Luiz, thank you — thanks for your question. Regarding the refinery, there’s no news since our last conference call, and Marcos Lutz, CEO, disclosed a little bit what is our view.

So the binding process, just an update here, the binding process has been postponed to May 2020 due to the complexity, the amount of information that needs to be analyzed. So really, nothing really changed in terms of our view to this deal. We are reviewing and understanding here the processing, if we can have an angle to monetize and use our short- and trading capacity and actively looking for good investments with the adequate return. There’s no big news on the refinery side.

In terms of the pipes, specifically on Rota 4 or Route 4, the project license — is being licensed for almost 4 years now since we first started. And we are moving to have an approval project and the environmental license at some point in time, but there’s no news regarding these projects as of now as well.

In terms of Comgas, what we know from now is the same information we stated here the last conference call. So we know there is not going to be — it’s a nontariff adjustment. But the agency needs to state by May this year how that’s going to be dealt. So there is no news on that front as well.

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Operator [9]

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Our next question comes from Regis Cardoso, Credit Suisse.

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Regis Cardoso, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division – Research Analyst [10]

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Few questions on my side. Still on the Combustíveis and looking forward, you commented you expect volume growth in line with GDP. But you’ve gained some market share throughout 2019, which means that if you were to maintain the same market share and the market grow in line with the GDP, call it, 3%, I would expect Raízen to grow faster or to grow more than just GDP. So if you could just comment on that, if you meant market growing GDP or just your volume growing GDP?

And then in that guidance you’ve provided for the Combustíveis, do you, by any means, expect any sort of difficulty in the competitive environment with lower margins and so on? Or do you say it’s mostly an effect of the JV deconsolidation, maybe inventory loss in the first quarter now? So those 2 questions in regards to the guidance.

And then on a different topic, I mean, if we look into what’s been the dynamics in the market so far, it appears that the first quarter 2020 might be a quarter of inventory loss, right? So I mean, we’ve seen these very volatile results, fourth quarter very strong. Maybe the other way around in 2020. Do you agree with that?

Likewise, it appears there is still some arbitrage opportunity for imports in the first quarter 2020? Do you see it the same way? And the dynamics for the replacement margin, so the competitive environment now in the first quarter, is it any better or any worse than fourth quarter?

So just to summarize on the first topic, guidance, do you expect any more market share loss? Do you expect any future competition? And then on the first quarter so far, inventory losses, gains on imports, and if you’ve seen any changes in the replacement margins dynamics?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [11]

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Regis, I’ll try to get all of your questions here, and thank you for them.

So first, in terms of market share, and this is something we have been saying consistently here, that market share is a consequence of the performance. And we have been pretty consistent on that. If you think about Cosan’s or Raízen’s results or volume growth in the past few years, we have been outperforming the average volume growth of the industry. So our base of comparison is also different than the average of the industry again. So there is no target of market share here. And again, this is a consequence of the performance.

In terms of the market environment, the competitiveness is still — is from the known conventional players, right? And talking here about tax evasion, quality of products and so on. So the ethanol demand being higher at some point in time helps on these dynamics. And after 3 years of rejection, the fuel market reacted in the second half of ’19, which, as I mentioned before, helps to improve market environment. So this is the scenario that we saw in the second half and probably, including GDP is slightly better than last year, we’re going to see some volume growth as well in 2020.

And in terms of inventory, volatility will keep bringing challenges and opportunities to our strategy, and we are ready to navigate in any scenario with the infrastructure and the efficiency that we have in our business. So this is what I can tell you. As you know, imports, inventory gains and loss are part of the game. And we have done investments to be efficient on that front.

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Regis Cardoso, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division – Research Analyst [12]

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Phillipe, if I may, just a follow-up. So you mean 3% volume growth in Raízen, right, not the market as a whole?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [13]

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Yes, that’s what’s implied in our guidance here.

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Regis Cardoso, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division – Research Analyst [14]

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And if I may, just one last one on Energia. Can you comment on why is CapEx growing faster than EBITDA, particularly if you’ve hedged at such a high price in the next harvest?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [15]

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Regis, we are doing some catch-up in terms of productivity in some of the areas. As we mentioned in the conference call, specifically, those assets that we recently or those areas that we recently acquired, they suffered with lower productivity. So implied under the guidance, we have an increase in the biologic asset investments, so meaning renewal and planting of sugarcane in order to capture better productivity in the following years. That can be seen already for the next year where we have implied a growth on the total sugarcane crush.

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Operator [16]

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Our next question comes from Thiago Duarte, BTG.

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Thiago Callegari L. Duarte, Banco BTG Pactual S.A., Research Division – Analyst [17]

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Actually, I have 2 follow-ups on the guidances for each of the operating units. The first one is regarding the CapEx for the Raízen Energia segment. You just commented on that, Phillipe, a little bit, but if you could just provide us color on 2 things.

Number one, can you break down the expansion CapEx in Raízen Energia in terms of sugarcane renewal? Because my understanding is that Raízen Energia’s maintenance CapEx should be in the rounds of BRL 1.9 billion to BRL 2 billion per year. So there’s a pretty big expansion and renewal CapEx embedded in the guidance that you guys provided. So if you just could give us a little bit more color on how much of that is really going into the renewing of the sugarcane fields.

And aligned with that, is there a number — you guys used to provide in the past the average age of the sugarcane field. So if you could just help us with that number. It would help us understanding a little bit more the pace of the renewing and whether this higher CapEx could also be the case for the following years and the following crops as well. So that would be the first question.

The second question on the guidance for Raízen Combustíveis. Can you — you mentioned your volume growth assumption. Can you talk a little bit of your pricing assumptions and whether you guys are using the spot price in terms of brand and ethanol? Or how you see prices for cubic meter evolving on average for this business unit will be helpful as well.

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [18]

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Thiago, thank you for your questions. Starting from the last one. Pricing and the price theory at Raízen has been consolidated for a while, right? And it’s not — I’m not going to give you what is the main assumptions because we look this as an integrated supply and commercialization strategy. So this is part of Raízen’s, let’s say, full strategy for the fuels.

In terms of your first question, you’re right, the average investment of maintenance, which is including renewal planting and intercrop maintenance, is around BRL 1.9 billion to BRL 2 billion a year. So that’s what you can consider for 2019/’20 crop and also for the next one. That’s what’s embedded for the guidance. And the target here is to bring the average age of the sugarcane fields from 2.9 to somewhere around 3.5 years, which means that we’re probably going to have 1 or 2 more years of a higher level of investment, which should gradually reduce over time.

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Thiago Callegari L. Duarte, Banco BTG Pactual S.A., Research Division – Analyst [19]

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Can you just — Phillipe, can you just clarify? Because since we are seeing in 2019, and now in 2020, the pickup in the CapEx in Raízen Energia, can you just clarify whether you should — we should still see a higher CapEx in the coming years as well? Because my understanding is that if you’re speeding up the renewing, the sugarcane renewing CapEx over this year and last year only, this higher number should also prevail in the coming years as well. So just for us to understand, how fast we should be seeing the CapEx converge into maintenance?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [20]

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Thiago, yes, I think it’s not a 1-year thing, of course. That’s not how we work in this industry. So I’ll say a couple of years of this level of renewal in planting, being more focused on improving the productivity of our fields.

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Operator [21]

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Our next question comes from Roberto Browne, Morgan Stanley.

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Roberto G. Browne, Morgan Stanley, Research Division – Research Associate [22]

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I just have a quick one on Argentina. Just trying to better understand what happened in the quarter. I know that there was a $13 million gain that was nonrecurring due to the change in the prices in Argentina. But still, even if we take out that, the results are quite good, around 70 — close to $70 million in 1 quarter.

And then considering this, it looks like that the guidance for the next year is very conservative. So just maybe trying to better understand the assumptions you have on that guidance? And maybe how recurring the results we saw this quarter, how recurring they can be?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [23]

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Roberto, thank you for your question. Argentina is still a tough economic environment. GDP points to a recession and inflation is still high. So 2019 confirmed that the quality of the assets and some resilience on the diesel and gasoline demand. But I mean, our guidance is using the best assumption we have nowadays, right? And this $160 million to $200 million EBITDA implies this assumption of a more tough economic environment. So at this point in time, this is the best assumption that we have for the Argentina downstream business.

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Roberto G. Browne, Morgan Stanley, Research Division – Research Associate [24]

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And Phillipe, were there any other positive surprises in the results of the fourth quarter besides the inventory gains?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [25]

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No. So this was basically the, let’s say, the one-off. So there was 2 — there were 2 price adjustments between November and December, which helps us to recover part of the $55 million loss of the 3Q, right? So this $13 million gain that we have, it’s just part of — it’s just a recovery of part of what we lost in the third Q. There was no other, let’s say, one-off impact in Argentina.

Also one thing that we can consider is that we have a slightly growth on our network there with new stations, which also helped on the growth of the volumes.

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Operator [26]

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Our next question comes from Alex Falcao, HSBC.

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Alexandre Pfrimer Falcao, HSBC, Research Division – SVP [27]

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I have actually 2. One is, when you design the guidance and the budget, can you walk us through a little bit what’s the vision for sugar? And specifically, for ethanol, this recent drop because of coronavirus in oil prices, how much is that a factor there in your guidance or not? And what do you think the mix is going to be for this year if this dynamics continue? So that’s question number one.

And second — question number two is, with the lower cost of debt in Brazil, do you guys plan to shift a little bit the debt structure more into local debt and a little bit away from U.S. dollar-denominated debt?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [28]

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Falcao, thank you for the questions. So the first, in terms of the sugar prices and the dynamics and what is implied in the guidance, I’ll say what I said in the call.

So there’s an increasing consensus that India and Thailand, one of the leading producing countries, are facing unfavorable climate conditions affecting their production. And that’s probably part of what is impacting this better sugar prices lately. Brazil, when you see the demand for ethanol, it remains strong, sustaining a good remuneration still, including this intercrop season, where we’re going to have more sales of ethanol including.

And the outlook for 2021 is that the mix will probably be slightly more balanced due to the sugar price recover. Even if — especially if you compare with the past 2 crops, right? We will keep at Raízen the growth track of these market dynamics. We are probably going to decide a little bit better in terms of the mix throughout the crop, right? We already hedged about 50% to 60% of the sugar to be exported for next year at a pretty good level of prices, which is somewhat 10% higher than the price of this 2019/’20 crop year.

So we’re probably going to be talking about some shift on the production, not only for Raízen but probably at Brazil as well. But we’re going to keep, again, a close track of these market dynamics, seeking always to improve the sugar and ethanol profitability and, of course, optimizing always our strategy of commercialization and mix throughout the crop year.

In terms of your second question, it’s about the lower cost of debt in Brazil. Indeed, if you look at the Opcos, we have already done a lot to reduce and to access local markets, and we are constantly looking at our liability management within the group. So there is nothing we can share as of now. But we are looking very closely into the opportunities in the — not only at the holdco, but at the Opcos as well.

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Operator [29]

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Our next question comes from Fernanda Cunha, Citibank.

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Fernanda Perez Da Cunha, Citigroup Inc, Research Division – Senior Associate [30]

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Phillipe, I just have 2 follow-ups on the energy business. The first one is, given that some of your competitors have already received the amount of [seed bills] that they will be able to sell for next crop year, can you give us any preliminary guidance of how many seed bills are you estimating that you’ll receive with your mills?

And the second question is, when we get to midpoint of your sugarcane crushing side for next crop year, you’re more or less growing 5%. Can you break down how much of this growth is related to better climate conditions? And how much is related to improvement in productivity, given the investments you have made in the past?

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [31]

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Fernanda, first, in terms of the — an overview in the [seed bills], we actually are in the process of getting all mills with a registration, right, or registered. The process is being conducted by ANP. And it should be concluded in the next following months or probably by May. So we don’t have any mills yet registered. But again, we’re in the process for all of them. So it’s not — we’re not ready to share or give any — update the guidance or anything related to the [seed bill] issues and trading. So this is one thing.

And in terms of the growth of our sugarcane crushing, it’s actually a mix of both things, right? Whether it’s too early to say how it’s going to impact the intercrop, we’re just in the half of the intercrop season here. And in terms of the investments, what we have been doing last year in terms of improving the investments on agricultural yields is part also of this crushing growth for next year. So this is basically what is embedded based on the guidance.

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Fernanda Perez Da Cunha, Citigroup Inc, Research Division – Senior Associate [32]

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Okay. And then on the second question, just a follow-up. Given that you’re investing more in planting and treatment, will you reduce the area of harvesting this year? Or you’re just going to concentrate around 15% of the area.

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [33]

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We’re probably going to maintain. It’s too early to say, but we’re probably going to maintain it.

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Operator [34]

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Our next question comes from Rodrigo Almeida, Santander.

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Rodrigo Reis de Almeida, Santander Investment Securities Inc., Research Division – Research Analyst [35]

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So I have one quick question on Combustíveis. My question is pretty much related to the inventory gains, the commercialization strategy that you had this quarter. It seems like you had a strong inventory gain. So could you just please help us quantify these inventory gains, just so we can get a better feeling together with the guidance of what a normalized EBITDA margin for the business.

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [36]

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Rodrigo, we do not disclose this type of information. This is part of the supply, the sourcing and the commercialization strategy. So this is — as we always mentioned, it’s part of the game. And we cannot disclose these effects as of now.

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Operator [37]

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With no further questions, I would like to turn the floor back over to Mr. Phillipe Casale for final remarks. Mr. Casale, you may proceed.

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Phillipe Casale, Cosan S.A. – IR Executive Manager [38]

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Thank you, all. We hope to see you in our Investors Day, our Cosan Day, which will be held in Sao Paulo on March 9 and in New York on March 13. So hope to see you all there, and thank you, everyone, for the call.

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Operator [39]

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Thank you. That concludes the question — that concludes Cosan’s audio conference for today.

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