Stock Exchange Release

Altia Plc’s Financial Statements Bulletin 2019: Solid Q4 supported full-year profitability improvement

Altia Plc  Stock Exchange Release  13 February 2020 at 8:30 am EET

Altia Plc’s Financial Statements Bulletin 2019: Solid Q4 supported full-year profitability improvement

Altia Plc  Stock Exchange Release  13 February 2020 at 8:30 am EET

Altia Plc’s Financial Statements Bulletin 2019: Solid Q4 supported full-year profitability improvement

This release is a summary of Altia Plc's Financial Statements Bulletin 2019. The complete report is attached to this release and is also available on the company website at www.altiagroup.com/investors.

January–December 2019 compared to January–December 2018

  • Reported net sales were EUR 359.6 (357.3) million
  • In constant currencies, net sales grew by 1.5% compared to previous year
  • Net sales of Finland & Exports segment declined to EUR 128.6 (133.8) million
  • Scandinavia segment’s net sales were EUR 120.7 (117.7) million; in constant currencies net sales grew by 5.3% compared to previous year
  • Altia Industrial’s net sales were EUR 110.2 (105.8) million
  • Comparable EBITDA was EUR 44.8 (40.0) million, 12.4% (11.2%) of net sales
  • Comparable EBITDA without the impact from IFRS 16 standard was EUR 41.0 million, 11.4% of net sales
  • Reported EBITDA was EUR 43.1 (34.0) million, 12.0% (9.5%) of net sales
  • Net debt / comparable EBITDA was 0.6 (1.2), excluding the IFRS 16 impact, the ratio was 0.4

October–December 2019 compared to October–December 2018

  • Reported net sales were EUR 110.1 (110.9) million
  • In constant currencies, net sales grew by 0.2% compared to previous year
  • Comparable EBITDA was EUR 19.7 (15.9) million, 17.9% (14.3%) of net sales
  • Comparable EBITDA without the impact from the IFRS 16 standard was EUR 18.8 million, 17.1% of net sales
  • Reported EBITDA was EUR 19.8 (14.4) million, 18.0% (13.0%) of net sales

Dividend proposal by the Board of Directors

In line with Altia’s dividend policy, the Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 0.42 per share be paid for the financial year 2019.

Altia’s refined strategy

In the annual strategy process Altia’s long-term strategic focus areas and growth ambitions were reviewed. The choices made in the refined strategy will support Altia’s profitable growth ambitions towards its financial targets, and strengthen Altia’s position as one of the most sustainable spirits companies and a leading Nordic drinks house. The long-term financial targets remain unchanged.

Key figures

  Q4 19 Q4 18 2019 2018
Net sales, EUR million 110.1 110.9 359.6 357.3
Comparable EBITDA, EUR million 19.7 15.9 44.8 40.0
    % of net sales 17.9 14.3 12.4 11.2
EBITDA, EUR million 19.8 14.4 43.1 34.0
Comparable operating result, EUR million 15.2 12.2 26.8 25.6
   % of net sales 13.8 11.0 7.5 7.2
Operating result, EUR million 15.3 10.7 25.1 19.7
Result for the period, EUR million 10.4 8.6 18.4 15.1
Earnings per share, EUR 0.29 0.24 0.51 0.42
Net debt / comparable EBITDA 0.6 1.2 0.6 1.2
Average number of personnel 648 701 682 718
         
Comparable EBITDA without IFRS 16 impact, EUR million 18.8 - 41.0 -
Net debt/comparable EBITDA without IFRS 16 impact - - 0.4 -

This financial statements bulletin has been prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and IAS 34 Interim Financial Reporting as approved by the EU. The figures in the report are unaudited. Reconciliation of alternative key ratios to IFRS figures is presented in the appendix on page 38.

CEO Pekka Tennilä:

“Looking back at previous year, I am pleased to see our net sales in constant currencies and our profitability to improve after a solid fourth quarter performance. Scandinavia segment, especially Sweden, showed a strong sales and profitability improvement supported by another successful Blossa season. We continued to work on our sustainability roadmap with ambitious targets set for the future. Furthermore, we have refined our strategy to support our profitable growth ambitions towards our financial targets.

In 2019, our net sales in constant currencies grew by 1.5% driven by Scandinavia and Altia Industrial segments. In the monopoly markets, Altia’s spirit sales value grew in all three markets: Finland, Sweden and Norway. The growth in wine was driven by a strong performance in Sweden. In the Altia Industrial segment net sales growth was driven by higher prices and good volume development in industrial products. In 2019, Altia’s net sales totalled EUR 359.6 million. 

Within the Nordic core brands, especially our grain-based spirits brands such as Koskenkorva Vodka and O.P. Anderson Aquavit have developed well during the year supported by successful product launches. For the Christmas season, we had a strong line-up of both traditional and novelty glöggs. Blossa had an exceptional season driven by novelties such as the sparkling Blossa in Sweden as well as new low and non-alcoholic glöggs.

Our profitability improved during the solid last quarter. In 2019, comparable EBITDA grew to EUR 44.8 million. This positive development was supported by efficiency initiatives and implemented price adjustments during the year.

I am especially pleased that our cash flow from operations significantly improved to EUR 52.6 million. The strong cash flow and our solid financial position enables a growing dividend payout. The Board of Directors proposes to increase the dividend by EUR 0.04 to EUR 0.42 per share to the Annual General Meeting.  

Sustainability has for long been a strategic priority and key success factor for Altia and forms an intregral part of our refined strategy. In December, we published Altia’s Sustainability Roadmap extending to 2030, in which our key goal is to make Altia’s production carbon-neutral by 2025. Importantly, sustainability is also at the core of our brands such as Koskenkorva Vodka, and guides our innovation work and packaging development.

In our annual strategy process, we have reviewed our long-term strategic focus areas and growth ambitions. We build our refined strategy on our two core strengths: the Nordic distillery that masters sustainable and high-quality grain-based spirits, and the best route to market and channel excellence for our brands and our partners. To strengthen our growth, we aim to take our brands to new growing markets. We are committed to carbon neutral production by 2025 and to develop more value-added products from barley.

Our financial targets remain unchanged. In the long-term, we aim for an annual net sales growth of 2% and an comparable EBITDA margin of 15%. We also aim to keep the net debt to comparable EBITDA ratio below 2.5x and to distribute at least 60% of the result to our shareholders.

For 2020, we expect comparable EBITDA to be at the same level as or higher than in 2019 (2019: EUR 44.8 million). The continued decline in market volumes in Finland puts pressure on profitability growth. The uncertainties in global travelling impacts border trade and travel retail regionally and in Asia. Guidance assumes a normal barley price level following the 2020 harvest. Industrial services are impacted by phasing of volumes between the years.”

Outlook for 2020

Market outlook

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.

Seasonality

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.

Guidance

The continued decline in market volumes in Finland puts pressure on profitability growth. The uncertainties in global travelling impacts border trade and travel retail regionally and in Asia. Guidance assumes a normal barley price level following the 2020 harvest. Industrial services are impacted by phasing of volumes between the years.

The comparable EBITDA is expected to be at the same level as or higher than in 2019 (2019: EUR 44.8 million).

Annual General Meeting 2020

Altia Plc’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2020 is planned to be held on 25 March 2020 in Helsinki. The notice to and instructions for the AGM will be available on Altia’s website.

Financial calendar 2020

The Annual Report 2019 including the financial statements, Board of Directors' report, Auditor's report, the Corporate Governance statement and the remuneration statement will be published in English and Finnish on Altia’s website during week 10 (the week starting on 2 March).

Altia Plc will publish financial reports in 2020 as follows:

  • 29 April: Business Review for January-March 2020
  • 19 August: Half-Year Report for January-June 2020
  • 6 November: Business Review for January-September 2020

Additional information:

Pekka Tennilä, CEO

Niklas Nylander, CFO

Contacts:

Analysts and investors: Tua Stenius-Örnhjelm, Investor Relations, tel. +358 40 7488864

Media: Petra Gräsbeck, Corporate Communications, tel. +358 40 767 0867

Conference call and audio webcast:

Altia will host a conference call and audio webcast for analysts and investors in English today at 11 am EET. CEO Pekka Tennilä and CFO Niklas Nylander will present the Financial Statements Bulletin 2019. To join the conference call, please dial in and register 5–10 minutes earlier on the following numbers:

FI: +358 981 710 310

SE: +46 856 642 651

UK: +44 333 300 0804

US: +1 855 857 0686

PIN: 10900613#

To access the audio webcast go to: https://altia.videosync.fi/2019-q4-teleconference

Presentation material can be found at: www.altiagroup.com/investors

Distribution:

Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd

Principal media

www.altiagroup.com

More information and contact:
Tua Stenius-Örnhjelm
Investor Relations Manager
tua.stenius-ornhjelm [at] altiagroup.com