Net sales increased by 7.3% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year and amounted to SEK 3,731 million (3,478). Organic growth was strong at 7.3%. Acquisition effects amounted to 5.1%, which is offset by currency effects amounting to -5.2%.
EBITDA amounted to SEK 377 million (309), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 10.1% (8.9%). The operating profit for the quarter amounted to SEK 263 million (197), an increase of 33% compared with the previous year. The operating margin amounted to 7.0% (5.7%).
Profit before tax was SEK 248 million (182). Net financial items are in line with previous year despite
increased borrowings in connection with completed acquisitions and costs for the granted credit capacity.
Cash flow from current activities was positive during the quarter and amounted to SEK 323 million (218). The company's liquidity remained good during the quarter and the company's balance sheet is strong, with unutilised credit amounting to SEK 1,608 million (1,383).
Profit per share before and after dilution amounted to SEK 1.42 (1.05) and SEK 1.41 (1.05) respectively, which is an increase of 35%.
At the end of 2020, the acquisition of 85% of the shares of Sinclair in the Czech Republic was completed, which is included in the group's financial statements from 1 January 2021. During the first quarter of 2021, the acquisition of all shares of Complete Air Supply in Australia and 60% of the shares of Coolair in Germany was concluded; these are included in the company's accounts from February and March 2021 respectively. In total, these companies have annual sales of approximately SEK 650 million and strengthen the group's operating margin.
Covid-19 has had a small effect on the company's results during the first quarter. The savings programme that was implemented in 2020 has led to cost savings of approximately SEK 20 million during the first quarter. The company does not expect any major impact on earnings related to Covid-19 in 2021 unless new unforeseen outbreaks occur.
The company's CEO Per Bertland announced his resignation in the first quarter and the recruitment of a successor is ongoing and is expected to be completed after summer 2021.
The company has also signed a new partnership agreement with Bitzer in Germany, which is an important supplier of compressors to the company. Beijer Ref and Bitzer are among the leaders in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry and have extended their partnership agreement for a further three years.
The annual general meeting was held on 15 April 2021 and the meeting decided, in accordance with the board's proposal, on a dividend totalling SEK 3.00, divided into SEK 1.80 with payment in April and SEK 1.20 with payment in October. The meeting also decided to perform a share split 3:1 with 26 April 2021 as the record date. The meeting also decided to introduce a long-term share-based incentive programme LTIP 2021/2024 for key employees in the group. In accordance with the board's proposal, it was decided to offer the participants in LTIP 2018/21 repurchase of purchase options.
Comments by the CEO
The first quarter of the year was strong and a clear sign of recovery. Sales amounted to SEK 3.7 billion, an increase of 7.3% compared to the same period last year and our best Q1 report ever.
Organic growth in the quarter amounted to 7.3%, which is a statement of strength, given that several of our markets are still partially closed down. This shows that our products and our offering, which have a societal function, are also in demand in the present circumstances. My assessment is that there is a pent-up need for our products on the market and that in the coming quarters there will be an increased demand for repair and maintenance work which has not been performed, provided that the restrictions are gradually lifted and we move towards normalisation.
The organic growth has a positive effect on operating profit, but the improvement in profit is also a result of the adjustments we have made in the form of efficiency improvements, which have resulted in cost savings.
Of the geographical markets, southern Europe stands out with organic sales growth of 17%. Asia Pacific has also had a strong quarter with organic growth of 10%. In terms of our product areas, HVAC accounts for the largest sales increase with organic growth of 15% in the quarter.
The OEM product area is in an expansive phase and growth was double digits during the period, especially with the environmentally-friendly product range. Beijer Ref's new production facility in Padua, Italy, has produced its first units and the group's total OEM capacity for sustainable production is now twice as large as before. This gives us a strong position in the market when the refrigeration systems of Europe and the rest of the world are to be gradually converted to become sustainable.
After ten quarters of falling purchase prices for refrigerants, which has had a sharp negative impact on earnings, the trend is that prices have started to rise, which means that the impact on earnings in the first quarter is marginal.
Beijer Ref is driven by creating growth, both organically and through acquisitions. During the period, we have consolidated our most recently added companies – the Czech company Sinclair, Complete Air Supply in Australia and Coolair in Germany – with good results. Our strong cash flow enables an even greater focus on acquisitions in the future. We continuously evaluate potential acquisitions in both existing and new markets.
At the end of last year, EQT became the new principal owner and the board was given a partly new composition. This gives Beijer Ref good conditions to continue its successful journey, which means that we will continue to have a strong focus on acquisitions, ESG matters and digitalisation. E-commerce is growing continuously and during the first quarter it amounted to approximately 9%. I am optimistic about achieving our long-term goal of e-commerce making up at least 20% of our total sales by 2023.
As I have previously announced, I have chosen to leave my role as CEO in 2021 and instead become a member of the board. The recruitment process for my successor is ongoing. I will remain in position until the new CEO takes office, which hopefully will be sometime after the summer.
We have had a good start to the year and I am looking forward to the future. We are a strong team with new principal owners, motivated employees and an offering that is in demand on the market.
Megatrends in the form of regulatory provisions and an increased need worldwide for HVAC are putting the wind in our sails. Together with the fact that after the pandemic there is a pent-up need for our products, especially when the HORECA segment also starts to reopen its operations, it gives me every reason to look forward with optimism.
First quarter of 2021
Beijer Ref increased its net sales by 7.3 per cent to SEK 3,731 million (3,478) in the first quarter of 2021. Adjusted for exchange rate changes and acquisitions, organic growth in net sales was 7.3 per cent (-3.2). Sales growth has been greatest in air conditioning and OEM as well as in the company's largest markets in southern Europe. A stronger Swedish krona resulted in negative currency effects of SEK 168 million (41), corresponding to 5.2 per cent (1.2), since most sales are in currencies other than Swedish kronor.
The company has experienced growth in all product areas, due to both price and volume increases. Refrigerants have had a less negative effect on sales during the quarter compared to previous quarters.
Air conditioning has developed strongly during the quarter and has grown organically by 14.5%, largely thanks to good collaboration with Toshiba, Mitsubishi Heavy, Carrier and Gree. Sales growth in air conditioning has been strong, with the exception of Africa and Eastern Europe.
OEM has experienced strong growth in the first quarter, thanks not least to the F-gas phasing-out programme that is underway in Europe. The group has also produced its first units at the new factory in Padua, Italy, doubling its capacity in environmentally-friendly refrigeration technology. The group's company in China have also had good sales development on the domestic market.
The group’s operating profit totalled SEK 263 million (197) during the first quarter, which is an increase of 33 per cent (-19). Negative exchange rate effects of SEK 10.3 million (3) are included in the operating profit figures. The operating margin amounted to 7.0 per cent (5.7). The improved profit is due to volume increases, implemented savings and positive acquisition effects.
Profit before tax was SEK 248 million (182). Profit for the period totalled SEK 184 million (135). Profit per share before dilution amounted to SEK 1.42 (1.05).
Cash flow from current operations before changes in working capital amounted to SEK 323 million in 2021, compared with SEK 218 million in 2020. The change is due to higher earnings during the quarter and less tax paid.
Working capital decreased by SEK 13 million during the first quarter compared with an increase of SEK 21 million the previous year. This gives cash flow from current operations of SEK 337 million (197). The change in working capital between the years is due primarily to a lower build-up of stocks during the quarter.
At the end of the period, the company had credit facilities amounting to SEK 4,273 million (4,165), of which unutilised credits amounted to SEK 1,608 million (1,383). In total, net liabilities decreased by SEK 314 million. The group has a balanced maturity structure and no loans that fall due in 2021.
Cash flow from investment activities amounted to SEK -317 million (-219), which relates primarily to business combinations and investments in fixed assets. Sinclair Global Group, Complete Air Supply and Coolair were acquired during the first quarter (ACD Trade was acquired the previous year). Thanks to the good cash flow, the group has used less of the granted credit capacity and amortised loans by SEK 111 million.
At the end of 2020, 85% of Sinclair Global Group was acquired and this is included in the group's financial statements with effect from 1 January 2021. Sinclair is headquartered in Brno in the Czech Republic with sales offices in Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. Sinclair sells air conditioning and heat pumps to a number of countries and most of the sales consist of HVAC products of its own Sinclair brand. Annual sales amounts to SEK 410M and they have 110 employees.
During the first quarter, the company acquired 100% of the shares of Complete Air Supply (CAS) in Australia. This company is active in HVAC and has a range that in particular complements ACD Trade well and which makes what Beijer offers for residential and commercial properties more comprehensive. CAS has annual sales of SEK 140 million, with 40 employees in 2 branches. The company is included in the group's financial statements with effect from 1 February 2021.
Air conditioning is a priority growth area for Beijer Ref and the group is growing steadily in this area both organically and through acquisitions. The growth strategy is strengthened by the acquisition of 60% of the shares of Coolair Klimasysteme GmbH in Germany, which has sales of approximately SEK 100 million and more than 25 employees. The company is included in the group's financial statements with effect from 1 March 2021 and strengthens Beijer Ref's presence in Germany, which is a large and important market in Europe.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS DURING AND AFTER THE QUARTER
Beijer Ref is relatively insensitive to economic cycles as about half of the company's sales are made to end customers active in the food industry. Any decline is offset by the need for the food industry to switch to environmentally friendly systems, which increases the demand for the company’s products. This, together with an increased standard of living, is driving our sales development. The company’s current assessment is that Covid-19 will have a smaller effect on earnings in 2021. Beijer Ref’s assessment is that net savings of approximately SEK 20 million had an effect during the quarter, including support measures of SEK 2 million, but that sales were not significantly affected in 2021.
Per Bertland has informed the board of Beijer Ref AB that he will step down as CEO. The transition will take place once a successor has been appointed, which is expected to occur after summer 2021.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The annual general meeting was held on 15 April 2021. The meeting decided, in accordance with the proposal of the board, on a dividend of SEK 3.00 per share for the 2020 financial year. Of the proposed amount, SEK 2.50 per share corresponds to an ordinary dividend and SEK 0.50 is an extraordinary dividend. Payment of the dividend shall be made in two instalments: the first of SEK 1.80 per share and the second of SEK 1.20 per share (0.40 after split). Total dividend amounts to SEK 379.6M based on total number of outstanding shares. The record dates are 19 April 2021 and 8 October 2021. Payment from Euroclear Sweden AB is expected to be made on 22 April 2021 for the first payment and 13 October 2021 for the second payment.
The meeting also decided to perform a share split 3:1 with 26 April 2021 as the record date. The meeting also decided to introduce a long-term share-based incentive programme LTIP 2021/2024 for key employees in the group. In accordance with the board's proposal, it was decided to offer the participants in LTIP 2018/21 repurchase of purchase options issued in LTIP 2018/2021.
Since 2 January 2019, Beijer Ref’s B share has been listed on Nasdaq OMX Stockholm's Large Cap list. The share capital in Beijer Ref totals SEK 371,685,513, made up of 127,434,690 shares, each with a quota value of SEK 2.92. There are two types of share, A shares and B shares, which represent ten and one votes respectively. Beijer Ref had 11,520 shareholders on 31 March 2021 (9,101). The proportion of foreign shareholders amounts to 4.1% (4.5), corresponding to a capital shareholding of 54.9% (59.6). As of 31 March 2021, there were 9,918,720 class A shares and 117,515,970 class B shares. The company's ten largest shareholders hold 77.2% (78.6) of the votes and 62.1% (64.5) of the capital. Average sales of the Beijer share in the quarter amounted to 149,369 shares (184,243) per day at an average purchase price of SEK 363 (233). The closing price on 31 March 2021 was SEK 383 (179). As of 31 March 2021, the market value was SEK 48.8 billion (22.8).
Beijer Ref group's operations are affected by a number of external factors whose effects on the group's operating profit can be monitored to varying degrees. The group's operations depend on general economic developments in Europe in particular, which govern demand for Beijer Ref's products and services.
Like other global companies, Beijer Ref is affected by pandemics and in 2020 the group was affected by Covid-19. The company’s assessment is that Covid-19 is having a smaller effect on earnings in 2021. The company is taking the necessary steps to reduce its impact and is following the WHO recommendations.
Acquisitions are normally associated with risks, such as loss of key personnel. Other operating risks, such as agency and supplier agreements, product liability and delivery commitments, technical development, guarantees, dependence on individuals etcetera, are continuously analysed. If necessary, measures are taken to reduce the group's risk exposure. In its operations, Beijer Ref is exposed to financial risks such as foreign exchange risk, interest rate risk and liquidity risk. The parent company's risk pattern is the same as that of the group. For further information, see the group's annual report.
This interim report was prepared in accordance with IAS 34, the Swedish Annual Accounts Act and RFR 2. Beijer Ref continues to apply the same accounting policies and valuation methods as described in the most recent annual report. Information pursuant to IAS 34.16A, in addition to disclosure in the financial reports and their associated notes, also appears in other parts of the interim report.
Financial assets and liabilities by category and level of valuation
The group's financial assets and liabilities consist of financial assets measured at fair value through other comprehensive income and financial assets and liabilities valued at accrued acquisition value.
Financial assets valued at fair value through other comprehensive income consist of three holdings, one of which (SEK 15M) refers to listed shares and is valued at market value on the balance sheet date (valuation level 1). The two other holdings (SEK 29M) is unlisted holdings and is valued at estimated fair value (valuation level 3). Financial assets valued at accrued acquisition value, such as trade receivables and other receivables, as well as cash and cash equivalents, amount to SEK 4,049M on the balance sheet date and financial liabilities valued at accrued acquisition value such as accounts payable, leasing liabilities and borrowings, as well as other long-term liabilities, amount to SEK 7,165M.
Financial interest-bearing liabilities such as loans linked to financing are entered at accrued acquisition value and are considered to constitute a good estimate of fair value taking into account the fixed terms and the setting of interest rates.
TELEPHONE CONFERENCE Q1 2021
Beijer Ref invites investors, analysts and the media to attend a web meeting at which CEO Per Bertland and CFO Maria Rydén present the interim report for the first quarter of 2021. The presentation will be held in English and lasts for about 20 minutes. The meeting is on 22 April at 10.00 CET.
Audiocast with teleconference
Teleconference: Dial-in number SE: +46 8 505 583 69
UK: +44 33 330 092 65 US: +1 833 249 8406
A presentation will be available on the company's website from 08.40 CET on 22 April.
This interim report for Beijer Ref AB (publ) has been submitted following approval by the Board of Directors.
Malmö, 22 April 2021
Beijer Ref AB (publ)
Per Bertland, CEO & President
For more information on this report:
Per Bertland, CEO – switchboard, +46 (0)40-35 89 00
Maria Rydén, CFO – switchboard, +46 (0)40-35 89 00
This information is information that Beijer Ref AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, at 08.30 CET on 22 April 2021.
This interim report has not been the subject of examination by the Company’s Auditors.
Beijer Ref in short
The Beijer Ref Group is focused on trading and distribution operations within refrigeration products, air conditioning and heat pumps. The product programme consists mainly of agency products from leading international manufacturers and, in addition, some manufacture of own products, combined with service and support for the products. The Group creates added value by contributing: technical competence to the products; accounting for knowledge and experience about the market; and by providing efficient logistics and warehousing.
Operations are carried out by region within the Beijer Ref, which comprises Beijer Ref ARW (Air conditioning, refrigeration, wholesale) and Toshiba’s distribution operation within air conditioning and heating. The Beijer Ref Group is a leading operator within the refrigeration sector in Europe and has a significant position within air conditioning in Europe. The operation is split into six geographic segments: Nordic countries, Southern Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. Growth is achieved both organically and through the acquisition of companies which supplement existing operations.
Beijer Ref’s sales are seasonally dependent as demand for refrigeration and air conditioning is at its peak during the warm months of the year. It means that demand in the northern hemisphere is at its peak during the second and third quarters whilst demand in the southern hemisphere is at its peak during the first and fourth quarters.
• The Interim Report for the second quarter 2021 will be published on 15 July 2021.
• The Interim Report for the third quarter 2021 will be published on 19 October 2021.
• The Interim Report for the fourth quarter 2021 will be published on 27 January 2022.