Interim report January – March 2018

NET ASSET VALUE AND THE LATOUR SHARE

  • The net asset value rose to SEK 99 per share, compared with SEK 95 per share at the beginning of the year. This is an increase of 4.1 per cent. By comparison, the Stockholm Stock Exchange's Total Return Index (SIXRX) decreased by 0.5 per cent. The net asset value was SEK 97 per share at 25 April. (1)

  • In the period, the total return on the Latour share fell by 6 per cent measured against the SIXRX, which was down by 0.5 per cent.

INDUSTRIAL OPERATIONS

  • The industrial operations' order intake rose 14 per cent to SEK 2,752 m (2,426 m), which represents a 6 per cent increase for comparable entities adjusted for foreign exchange effects.

  • The industrial operations' net sales rose 15 per cent to SEK 2,553 m (2,219 m), which represents a 7 per cent increase for comparable entities adjusted for foreign exchange effects.

  • The operating profit increased by 11 per cent to SEK 279 m (251 m), which equates to an operating margin of 10.9 per cent (11.3) for continuing operations.

  • In March, Latour Industries sold its subsidiary Kabona and acquired the Swiss company Sensortec through its subsidiary Bemsiq.

THE GROUP

  • Consolidated net sales totalled SEK 2,590 m (2,269 m) and profit after financial items rose 7 per cent to SEK 656 m (611 m).

  • Consolidated profit after tax was SEK 586 m (554 m), which is equivalent to SEK 0.92 (0.87) per share. This represents an increase of 6 per cent.

  • Net debt at the end of March was SEK 4,338 m (1,598 m) and is equivalent to 6 per cent of the market value of total assets.

  • In February, Latour established a Medium Term Note (MTN) programme with an aggregate nominal amount of SEK 4 billion and, in March, implemented a successful issue of the company's first bonds with a total value of SEK 2.5 billion.

INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO

  • During the first quarter, the value of the investment portfolio increased by 4.2 per cent adjusted for dividends and net investments. The benchmark index (SIXRX) decreased by 0.5 per cent.

  • During the quarter, the ownership stake in Alimak Group increased to 28.2 per cent of the capital following the acquisition of 800,000 shares.

EVENTS AFTER THE REPORTING PERIOD

  • There were no material events subsequent to the end of the reporting period.

(1) The calculation of the net asset value on 25 April 2018 was based on the value of the investment portfolio at 1 p.m. on 25 April and the same values as at 31 March were used for the unlisted portfolio.

Comments from the CEO
“The positive trend experienced by Latour's wholly-owned industrial operations in 2017 has continued in the first quarter with both organic and acquisition-based growth. Organic order intake is up by 6 per cent and invoiced sales by 7 per cent. In total, including acquisitions, order intake grew by 14 per cent and invoiced sales by 15 per cent. The order backlog at the close of the period is SEK 1,338 m (1,219 m), up 10 per cent on the previous year's value. This strong growth means that in absolute terms we are yet again able to report the best first quarter ever, with an operating profit that rose to SEK 279 m (251 m) to give an operating margin of 10.9 per cent (11.3). The fact that part of the Easter weekend fell in March this year has affected earnings adversely to some extent.

As far as we can see, the economic climate remains strong in the markets where we are primarily represented, i.e. mainly in the Nordic countries and the rest of western Europe. There is more uncertainty about developments in North America. Outside of Europe, we are viewing developments in Asia, including China and India, with continued optimism, even though the industrial operations do not yet have a significant stake there. In the industrial operations, it is primarily Nord-Lock that is represented in Asia, where it continues to perform well with 28 per cent organic growth in the first quarter. As in the past, we are constantly investing more resources into product development, sales and marketing, and into improving the digital presence of our business areas.

During the quarter, two transactions were made in the industrial operations, both in Latour Industries. Sensortec has been acquired for Bemsiq AB, and Kabona has been sold. Read more about our acquisitions and disposals on page 4 in the report.

Thanks to our growth and stable earnings performance, we are as firmly positioned as before to think ahead and act proactively, regardless of the market climate. During the quarter, we registered a SEK 4 billion Medium Term Note (MTN) programme with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen), which gives us yet another source of finance. This was followed up in March with a successful issue of Latour's first three bonds with a total value of SEK 2.5 billion.

Most of our listed holdings are presenting their report after Latour this quarter. Those that have been presented so far are generally showing strong and stable first-quarter performances.

The growth in value on the Stock Exchange has been weak during the beginning of the year and this is also reflected in the growth in value of our holdings. In spite of this, the value of the investment portfolio has increased by 4.2 per cent, adjusted for dividends and net investments, while the SIXRX benchmark index was down 0.5 per cent. The net asset value in Latour increased by 4.1 per cent to SEK 99 per share in the same period.”

Jan Svensson
President and CEO

For further information please contact:
Jan Svensson, President and CEO, Tel. +46 705-77 16 40 or
Anders Mörck, CFO, Tel. +46 706-46 52 110

Conference call
President and CEO Jan Svensson and CFO Anders Mörck present the report and answers to questions by telephone today at 09.00 AM (CET). The conference call will be held in English.

To participate in the meeting and be able to ask questions, please call +46 (0)8 566 426 93
To follow the webcast please visit our webpage or click here.

About Us

Investment AB Latour is a mixed investment company with operations primarily carried out in two business lines; a wholly-owned industrial operation and a portfolio of nine listed holdings of which Latour is the principal owner or one of the principal owners.