AQ Group AB (publ), interim report January - September, 2017

Third quarter, July – September 2017
in brief 

  • Net sales increased by 28 % to SEK 923 million (723)
  • Operating profit (EBIT) increased by 21 % to SEK 64 million (53)
  • Profit after financial items (EBT) increased by 16 % to SEK 61 million (53)
  • Profit margin before tax (EBT %) 6.6% (7.3)
  • Cash flow from operating activities decreased by 14 % to SEK 57 million (67)
  • Equity ratio 62 % (64)
  • Earnings per share after tax increased by 7 % to SEK 2.77 (2.58)

Nine months, January – September 2017
in brief 

  • Net sales increased by 26% to SEK 3 002 million (2 385)
  • Operating profit (EBIT) increased by 1 % to SEK 225 million (222)
  • Profit after financial items (EBT) increased by 2 % to SEK 224 million (220)
  • Profit margin before tax (EBT %) 7.5% (9.2)
  • Cash flow from operating activities decreased by 36 % to SEK 151 million (235)
  • Earnings per share after tax decreased by 0.5 % to SEK 10.17 (10.22)

A word from the CEO

Market

The third quarter was our 92nd consecutive quarter with profit. We have increased our turnover every year since the start October 1, 1994 i.e. for 23 years.

The organic growth for the quarter was 14.7% compared to 2.1% in the same period 2016. The growth in the quarter is challenging.

There is an economic expansion in the industry. Several of AQ’s leading industrial customer show good growth. This partly explains AQ’s high organic growth in the third quarter. In parallel I believe that we are gaining market shares in several business areas.

Successively over the year several of our production units have had increased utilization. We see a need in increased investment in production capacity in several areas. During the third quarter we have:
- Bought a neighbouring property in Hungary
- Signed agreements for additional production space in Poland
- Planned for increased production space in Mexico
This is of course a positive sign, that our customers have a good order backlog and that they have confidence in AQ:

For a while we have had delayed deliveries to our customers which cost a lot of money in express transports, overtime and extra personnel. During the third quarter we have improved the situation internally, but an increasing problem is delayed deliveries of raw material and components in several sectors. Delayed deliveries don’t only cost money, the biggest cost is that it affects our customers’ confidence and it’s contrary to our value “We are reliable”.

Inventory has grown quicker than the growth of our sales. Therefore, we will initiate an inventory reduction project during the fourth quarter to reduce tied up capital and to improve our routines.

We must also continue the work to improve our margins. In the third quarter the profit margin before tax (EBT %) was 6.6%. Our goal is 8%, and accumulated for the year the EBT margin is 7.5%, which means that are right below our own goal.

AQ is not a company driven by quarterly results. Our guideline is to be a stable and profitable group in the long term. We want to have a strong financial position and entrepreneurs that run our subsidiaries. We like to do business. Customer focus is the most important thing for us.

Acquisitions

After our listing on Nasdaq in January we see an increased inflow of acquisition objects especially from abroad.

The margins of “Gerdins” are now at a comparable level with the rest of the group.

We are always looking at a number of acquisition opportunities. We would like to strengthen our presence and capabilities in the growth areas where we are already present. We also work to follow some of our important customers to completely new geographic regions.

Organisation

Our focus is always to adapt to customers’ requirements and real demands. It’s a strategy we will continue to follow, to be fast movers and adaptable no matter of market conditions.

Our organisation is built on entrepreneurship, which is a foundation in our core values.

Outlook

My assessment is that we are gaining market shares in several areas and we are also entering new markets. However, one shall be aware of the fact that AQ is acting in a global competition with subsequent price pressure.

With operations in 12 countries and 5 480 employees it is of utmost importance for us to maintain our simplicity and speed in our decision making and to minimise bureaucracy which can easily occur in a larger organisation.

AQ is well positioned for new acquisitions from a financial as well as from a management view.

With strong relations to world leading customers and engaged employees I am looking positively at the future with continued growth with a stable profit level. An important part of this is our core values and our efforts to be a reliable supplier to leading industrial customers.

Claes Mellgren
CEO

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För further information contact:
CEO, Claes Mellgren, telephone, +46 70 592 83 38
 or CFO, Mia Tomczak, telephone +4670 833 00 80 or IR, Glen Nilsson, telephone +46 70 654 40 03

AQ Group is required to make the information in this press release public in accordance with the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was released by CEO Claes Mellgren for publication at 08:00 hours CET on October 26, 2017.

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AQ in brief

AQ is a leading supplier to demanding industrial customers and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm’s main market.

The Group consists mainly of operating companies each of which develop their special skills and in cooperation with other companies, striving to provide cost effective solutions in close cooperation with the customer.

The Group headquarter is in Västerås, Sweden. AQ has, on December 31, 2016, in total about 5,100 employees in Sweden, Bulgaria, China, Estonia, Hungary, India, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Serbia and Thailand.

In 2016 AQ had net sales of SEK 3.3 billion and the group has since its start in 1994 shown profit every quarter.

AQ has the highest credit rating AAA according to Bisnode.

www.aqg.se

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About Us

To develop, manufacture and assemble components and systems for demanding industrial customers. With our commitment to Total Quality our customers become long-term partners.