In connection with the Financial Statements Bulletin, Altia has provided a short-term outlook but no guidance for 2021.
Outlook for 2021 (published on 25 Feb 2021)
The development of the Group’s business operations and profitability are affected by the competitive environment, the overall economic outlook and changes in alcohol taxation and regulation. Uncertainty related to changes in consumer buying behaviour and consumer demand continues. In addition, overall fluctuations of direct product costs affect the Group’s profitability.
COVID-19 update: Of Altia’s beverage sales channels, travel retail, exports and on-trade are restricted or closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The recovery of these channels depend on the level and extent of government restrictions and recommendations and how consumer behaviour changes. The pace of recovery is difficult to estimate and is expected to vary across sales channels. Uncertainty in the economy and operating environment is high, and the risk of an economic slowdown is high.
There are substantial seasonal fluctuations in the consumption of alcoholic beverages impacting the net sales and cash flow of Altia. The company typically generates large amounts of its revenue and cash flow during the fourth quarter of the year, whereas the first quarter of the year is significantly lower. In addition, excise taxes related to the high season at the end of the year are paid in January, resulting in large cash outflows at the beginning of the year.
Altia has decided to provide a short-term outlook but no guidance for 2021, due to the uncertainties caused by COVID-19 and the low predictability for the full year 2021.
In the first half of 2021, COVID-19 is expected to impact travel retail, exports and on-trade. The channel shift in the monopoly markets is expected to continue for as long as travel retail and on-trade continue to be restricted. The situation is expected to stabilise earliest after the summer period.
In Altia Industrial, for the first half of 2021, COVID-19 is expected to continue to impact contract manufacturing and industrial products in a significant way. The increased prices of imported ethanol puts pressure on technical ethanol margins. The barley prices have increased at the beginning of this year and the price level is expected to be higher than in 2020 until the new crop.
The recovery of the operating environment depends largely on the development of COVID-19, the progress of vaccinations, and changes in consumer behaviour.