Ahlstrom-Munksjö interim report January-March 2019: Steps in improving competitiveness

AHLSTROM-MUNKSJÖ INTERIM REPORT RELEASE, APRIL 25, 2019 at 08:30

This release is a summary of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s’ interim report January-March 2019. The complete report is attached to this release as a pdf-file. It is also available at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Q1/2019 comparable EBITDA grew by 12.4% to EUR 75.0 million (actual EUR 66.7 million in Q1/2018)

  • Demand remained weak, partially due to destocking, but improved toward the end of the quarter

  • Ahlstrom and Munksjö integration completed, synergy benefits achieved as planned. Good progress on achieving promised synergies related to recent acquisitions.

  • New products launched, such as composite fiber fabric for the marine industry, a fiber-based solution for drinking straws

  • Closure of one paper machine to improve competitiveness in one-side coated segment

  • New business structure announced to drive strategic alignment and integration

Q1/2019 VS Q1/2018 PRO FORMA

  • Net sales EUR 758.7 million (EUR 751.0 million), an increase of 1.0%.

  • Comparable EBITDA EUR 75.0 million (EUR 86.3 million), representing 9.9% (11.5%) of net sales

  • Profitability impacted by lower sales volume, while gross margin for products improved further

  • Net profit EUR 4.1 million (EUR 24.3 million), significantly impacted by items affecting comparability related to integration and cost saving initiatives

  • Earnings per share EUR 0.03 (EUR 0.21)

  • Comparable EPS excluding depreciation and amortization arising from PPA EUR 0.21 (EUR 0.32)

  • Gearing increased mainly due to the implementation of the IFRS 16 standard and there was also a minor positive effect on the EBITDA

Key figures

Actual (IFRS) key figures, EUR million, or as indicated Q1/2019 Q1/2018 Q4/2018 2018
Net sales 758.7 572.4 712.2 2,438.0
Comparable EBITDA 75.0 66.7 72.1 277.7
Comparable EBITDA margin, % 9.9 11.7 10.1 11.4
Items affecting comparability in EBITDA -14.8 -5.0 -34.5 -55.1
EBITDA 60.2 61.7 37.5 222.6
Comparable operating result excl. depreciation and amortization arising from PPA * 45.2 44.6 46.3 186.1
Comparable operating result 32.6 37.0 34.5 151.4
Comparable operating result margin, % 4.3 6.5 4.9 6.2
Items affecting comparability in operating result -14.8 -5.0 -42.2 -62.7
Operating result 17.8 31.9 -7.7 88.7
Net profit / loss 4.1 21.2 -19.8 42.9
Earnings per share (basic), EUR 0.03 0.22 -0.20 0.43
Comparable EPS excl. depreciation and amortization arising from PPA , EUR * 0.21 0.32 0.20 1.18
Cash generated from operating activities 29.9 5.2 30.9 91.6
Depreciation, amortization and impairment 42.4 29.7 45.2 133.9
Capital expenditure 35.5 25.6 64.5 160.1
Net debt 1,052.0 395.4 971.3 971.3
Gearing ratio, % 93.6 39.8 83.6 83.6

 

Pro forma key figures, EUR million, or as indicated Actual (IFRS) Q1/2019 pro forma Q1/2018 pro forma Q4/2018 pro forma 2018
Net sales 758.7 751.0 734.8 2,996.9
Comparable EBITDA 75.0 86.3 71.4 329.9
Comparable EBITDA margin, % 9.9 11.5 9.7 11.0
Items affecting comparability in EBITDA -14.8 -4.9 -24.0 -39.6
EBITDA 60.2 81.4 47.4 290.3
Comparable operating result excl. depreciation and amortization arising from PPA * 45.2 60.0 45.3 225.5
Comparable operating result 32.6 47.9 32.9 176.6
Comparable operating result margin, % 4.3 6.4 4.5 5.9
Items affecting comparability in operating result -14.8 -4.9 -31.7 -47.3
Operating result 17.8 43.0 1.3 129.4
Net profit / loss 4.1 24.3 -10.3 63.2
Earnings per share (basic), EUR 0.03 0.21 -0.09 0.54
Comparable EPS excl. depreciation and amortization arising from PPA , EUR * 0.21 0.32 0.18 1.15
Depreciation, amortization and impairment 42.4 38.4 46.2 161.0
Capital expenditure 35.5 29.0 65.9 176.3

*Depreciation and amortization arising from PPA (purchase price allocation) comprise depreciation and amortization charges from fair value adjustments relating to the business combinations starting from 2013.

CEO COMMENTS

We experienced a pick-up in sales volumes during the latter part of the quarter and we see emerging signs of improvement in some of our product segments. Overall, the market environment is still uncertain and demand remained weak, partially due to continued destocking in the supply chain. .

Our financial performance in the first quarter of 2019 was unsatisfactory. Gross margin for products exceeded last year’s level but not enough to compensate for the short-fall in sales volumes. Our raw material costs were still significantly higher than in the first quarter of 2018. Deliveries improved seasonally from the previous quarter, but remained below the level in the first quarter of 2018. Nevertheless our gross margin for products improved and this will enable better profitability once volumes recover.

Earnings were still negatively impacted by items affecting comparability, mainly relating to the merger of Ahlstrom-and Munksjö, the acquisitions of Expera and Caieiras as well as the paper machine closure in Stenay. Without any new decisions items affecting comparability will significantly decrease for the remainder of the year.

IMPROVED COMPETITIVENESS

We are well on track with our actions to improve competitiveness and drive future profitable growth. We have completed measures to achieve the targeted cost reduction and synergy benefits relating to the integration of Ahlstrom and Munksjö. We have made good progress on achieving the promised cost and business synergies relating to the Expera and Caieiras acquisitions. Furthermore, I’m pleased that we also have continued to introduce several new value added products to our customers. Among these, a sustainable alternative material to plastic straws is a good example of our strengthened capabilities to provide an innovative fiber-based solution to customers. This also illustrates how we can realize business synergies from our acquisitions. Our common platform enables efficient operations, global reach and readiness to better meet customer needs as well as strong focus on product development.

We have today also announced a plan to implement a new business structure to promote our core business capabilities, sharpen strategic targets and align business characteristics of each business area. This is a natural next step following the completion and initial integration phase of the Expera Specialty and will further improve our competitivess and customer service.

We have leading market positions globally and a balanced exposure to a broad range of end-uses. This provides us with both stability and opportunities. We will also continue our focus on integration and delivering the promised synergies as well as cash flow.

OUTLOOK FOR 2019

Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s pro forma comparable EBITDA reached EUR 330 million in 2018. At the beginning of 2019, customers reacted to signs of slowing economic growth. Although demand growth has slowed somewhat in certain product segments, and customers have reduced inventories, market fundamentals remain relatively solid. Ahlstrom-Munksjö will continue its efforts to improve performance and competitiveness. The gross margin for products continued to increase in the first quarter of 2019 and the targeted synergy benefits and cost reduction measures are expected to contribute positively to earnings for the full year.

SHORT-TERM RISKS

Ahlstrom-Munksjö is exposed to changing market conditions and uncertainty caused by both macroeconomic and industry related events and is exposed to risks that may arise from its operations, changes in the business environment, developments in the global economy or potential changes in the legislative framework. The materialization of such risks could have a material adverse effect on the company’s operations, earnings and financial position.

The company’s significant risks and uncertainty factors mainly consist of developments in demand for and prices of sold products, the cost and availability of significant raw materials, financial risks, as well as other business factors including developments in the financial markets. The cost of key raw materials such as pulp and titanium dioxide has stayed at a high level and the company’s financial performance may be impacted by the timing of possible raw material price rises and its ability to raise selling prices. On-going trade disputes and the outcome of the Brexit increases uncertainty in the global economic outlook and this may have an effect on Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s markets.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö has recently acquired Expera and Caieiras and it may not be able to realize some or any of the anticipated benefits from those acquisitions. In addition, the company may not be able to successfully integrate the acquired operations into its existing businesses.

The company’s key financial risks include interest rate and currency risks, liquidity risk and credit risk. The Group has exposure to tax risks due to potential changes in tax laws or regulations or their application, or as a result of on-going or future tax audits or claims.

The company has operations in many countries, and sometimes disputes cannot be avoided in daily operations. The company is sometimes involved in legal actions, disputes, claims for damages and other procedures. The result of these cannot be predicted, but taking into account all available information to date, the impact is not expected to have a significant impact on the financial position of the company.

More information about risks and uncertainty factors related to Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s business and the company’s risk management is available at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Hans Sohlström, President and CEO, tel. +358 10 888 2520
Sakari Ahdekivi, Deputy CEO and CFO, tel. +358 10 888 4760
Johan Lindh, Vice President, Communications and Investor Relations, + 358 10 888 4994
Juho Erkheikki, Investor Relations Manager, tel. +358 10 888 4731

WEBCAST AND CONFERENCE CALL

A combined news conference, call and live webcast will be arranged on the publishing day, April 25, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. (CET +1) at Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s head office in Helsinki (Alvar Aallon katu 3 C). The report will be presented in English by President and CEO Hans Sohlström and Deputy CEO and CFO Sakari Ahdekivi.

WEBCAST AND CONFERENCE CALL INFORMATION

The combined webcast and teleconference can be viewed at:

https://qsb.webcast.fi/a/ahlstrommunksjo/ahlstrommunksjo_2019_0425_q1/

Finland: +358 (0)9 7479 0360
Sweden: +46 (0)8 5033 6573
UK: +44 (0)330 336 9104

Conference ID: 046099

To join the conference call, participants are requested to dial one of the numbers above 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the event. An on-demand version of the conference call will be available on Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s website later the same day. By dialing in to the conference call, the participant agrees that personal information such as name and company name will be collected. The conference call will be recorded.                                    


 

Ahlstrom-Munksjö in brief

Ahlstrom-Munksjö is a global leader in fiber-based materials, supplying innovative and sustainable solutions to its customers. Our mission is to expand the role of fiber-based solutions for sustainable every day life. Our offering include filter materials, release liners, food and beverage processing materials, decor papers, abrasive and tape backings, electrotechnical paper, glass fiber materials, medical fiber materials and solutions for diagnostics as well as a range of specialty papers for industrial and consumer end-uses. Our annual net sales is about EUR 3 billion and we employ some 8,000 people. The Ahlstrom-Munksjö share is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki and Stockholm.  

Read more at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com.

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