From the CEO
CEO Pekka Tennilä in the Q1/2018 Business Review (4 May 2018):
“The first three months of 2018 developed in line with our expectations. Net sales grew by 2.0% in constant currencies but the impact of the weak Swedish krona and Norwegian krone was EUR -1.3 million bringing the reported net sales to previous year’s level. This year, the timing of Easter has contributed positively to the first quarter’s net sales and profitability. The comparable EBITDA margin continued to improve in the first quarter and was 7.0% (5.8%). The IPO of Altia was completed as planned, and the costs related to it are impacting the reported profitability and result for the period.
The new Alcohol Act in Finland, which came into force at the beginning of the year, has opened the retail channel for Altia’s own and partner brands. In the first quarter, the focus has been to start building distribution and launching new products. In March, Altia launched Koskenkorva RTD’s (ready-to-drink), Jaloviina Long Drink and the new Leijona Long Drink in retail, and new launches are prepared from both our own and partner brands during the second quarter. Altia’s retail business has had a good early start. The retail offering will continue to develop in the coming months as retail chains are expected to expand their offering, especially in ready-to-drink products.
In exports, the focus continues to be on developing the key exports markets with the strong Nordic core brands Koskenkorva, O.P. Anderson and Larsen. Exports are showing good progress and are developing according to our expectations.
The first quarter was active with new launches in the key markets. For instance, in Finland, an innovation in the cognac category involving a unique process and new taste was launched with Renault Avec. In Sweden, Altia launched new sparkling wines in Systembolaget – Amies amies and Say Blush – and in Denmark, a new schnapps was launched: Brøndums Fadlagret. Easter is one of the annual peak seasons for both aquavit and schnapps, and the Altia brands performed well in the first quarter across the region.”
The IPO of Altia, which was completed at the end of March, attracted a lot of interest and was significantly oversubscribed. We look very much forward to the journey together with our new shareholders. We will continue to further improve our ability to develop and compete successfully in the alcoholic beverage markets in the Nordics and globally. Going forward, we will continue to focus on our strategic streams: to grow the Nordic core brands, to execute a step change in wines, and to strengthen strategic partnerships and channel expansion while continuing to improve overall efficiencies.”