Kesko’s half-year financial report for the period 1 January - 30 June 2018: Kesko’s comparable operating profit improved

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE IN BRIEF, CONTINUING OPERATIONS:

  • The Group's net sales in January-June totalled €5,086 million (€5,321 million), an increase of 3.7% in comparable terms
  • Comparable operating profit was €129.1 million (€115.3 million)
  • Operating profit was €118.2 million (€171.2 million)
  • Comparable return on capital employed was 13.7% (12.1%) (rolling 12 months)
  • Comparable profit before tax was €125.9 million (€118.4 million)
  • Comparable earnings per share were €0.96 (€0.93)
  • In comparable terms, the net sales for continuing operations for the next 12 months are expected to exceed the level of the previous 12 months. The comparable operating profit for continuing operations for the next 12-month period is expected to exceed the level of the preceding 12 months. However, investments in the expansion of logistics operations and in information systems and digital services will burden profitability during the period.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

1-6/2018 1-6/2017 4-6/2018  4-6/2017 
Continuing operations
Net sales, € million 5,086 5,321 2,673 2,763
Operating profit, comparable, € million 129.1 115.3 89.0 83.8
Operating margin, comparable 2.5 2.2 3.3 3.0
Operating profit, € million 118.2 171.2 81.6 151.8
Profit before tax, comparable, € million 125.9 118.4 86.0 82.1
Profit before tax, € million 115.0 174.3 78.5 150.0
Cash flow from operating activities, € million 179.1 83.5 139.8 131.0
Capital expenditure, € million 128.7 153.5 74.2 77.7
Return on capital employed, comparable, %, rolling 12 months 13.7 12.1 13.7 12.1
Group
Return on equity, comparable, %, rolling 12 months 11.7 10.3 11.7 10.3
Earnings per share, €, basic and diluted
Continuing operations 0.84 1.50 0.52 1.29
Discontinued operations -0.52 -0.03 -0.28 0.00
Group, total 0.32 1.48 0.24 1.29
Earnings per share, comparable, €, basic
Continuing operations 0.96 0.93 0.61 0.61
30.6.2018  30.6.2017 
Group
Equity ratio, % 46.2 47.0
Equity per share, € 19.87 20.18

PRESIDENT AND CEO MIKKO HELANDER:

Net sales and operating profit grew in all our core businesses in the second quarter. Net sales grew in comparable terms by 4.0%. The comparable operating profit totalled €89 million, and grew operatively by €11 million excluding the impact of divestments.

During the reporting period, we successfully continued acquisitions and divestments and new service launches in line with our strategy. We further defined our growth strategy first adopted in 2015, which aims at accelerating growth and profitability in all three divisions in order to increase shareholder value. In the building and technical trade, this means more clearly defined country-specific choices to ensure customer-orientation and operational efficiency under a new management model.

In the grocery trade, customer numbers rose in all K-stores thanks to successful chain redesigns. Sales grew the strongest in the neighbourhood market, thanks to the timing of Easter and warm weather early in the summer. Profitability improved thanks to the growth in net sales and realised synergies. The acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa has exceeded our expectations and the integration has now been completed as the final remaining converted stores were transferred to retailers at the end of June. We strengthened Kespro’s competitiveness in the fast-growing foodservice wholesale market by acquiring Kalatukku E. Eriksson and Reinin Liha, which specialise in premium fish and meat fresh food products, respectively.

In the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade, net sales increased and operating profit grew operatively by €3.9 million. Development was particularly strong in Finland and the Baltics. Efficiency measures taken in Sweden and changes in the store network structure in Norway reduced sales. Divestments in the speciality goods trade decreased net sales and operating profit as expected. During the reporting period, we continued acquisitions and divestments in line with our strategy. The announced acquisitions will strengthen the market position and profitability of the Byggmakker chain in Norway and Kesko Senukai’s e-commerce operations in the Baltics. We continue to focus our operations by divesting our remaining stake in machinery trade in the Baltics and agricultural machinery trade in Finland. The divestment and discontinuation of our Russian operations proceeded according to plans, and our focus in the building and technical trade is now on the Northern European markets, in line with our strategy.

In the car trade, net sales and operating profit continued to grow. The market share for Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Porsche was 19.5%. We invest strongly in both growing our current business as well as in new mobility services, for example, by making way for the era of electric cars by building a nationwide network of electric car charging points in Finland. During the reporting period, we continued preparations for the implementation of the new emissions testing system affecting the whole car industry as of September.

At the end of the second quarter, our return on capital employed was close to the 14% target level. Our financial position remains very strong.

Our good commercial performance has proven we were right in 2015 to set our strategic focus on quality, selections and services, and we are well-positioned to continue the implementation of our strongly customer-oriented strategy.

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE OF CONTINUING OPERATIONS

Net sales and profit for January-June 2018

The net sales for the Group’s continuing operations in January-June 2018 totalled €5,086 million, which is 4.4% down on the corresponding period of the previous year (€5,321 million). The net sales were significantly impacted by the divestments carried out in the first half of 2017. In comparable terms, net sales grew by 3.7% in local currencies, excluding the impact of acquisitions and divestments. The Group's net sales decreased by 4.6% in Finland, or grew by 4.7% in comparable terms. In other countries, net sales decreased by 3.8%, or grew by 0.3% in comparable terms. International operations accounted for 19.7% (19.5%) of the Group's net sales.

In the grocery trade, net sales grew by 1.3%, and were negatively affected by the transfers of the stores acquired from Suomen Lähikauppa to retailers and changes in the store site network. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 5.0%. The comparable change has been calculated by including in the net sales those stores acquired from Suomen Lähikauppa which have been in the store network during both this reporting period as well as the comparison period, and by deducting the impact of Reinin Liha, acquired on 1 June 2018.

In the building and technical trade, net sales decreased by 13.0%, impacted by the divestments carried out in the first half of 2017. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 1.8% in local currencies. The comparable change % has been calculated in local currencies and excluding the impact of divestments made during 2017. The net sales for the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade decreased by 0.6%, but grew by 1.5% in comparable terms. In the speciality goods trade, net sales decreased by 61.1% on account of divestments, while in comparable terms net sales increased by 5.0%.

Net sales for the car trade increased by 4.9% thanks to good market performance and market share development.

During the financial year 2017, Kesko Group divested the K-maatalous agricultural business on 1 June 2017, and on 30 June 2017, the Asko and Sotka furniture trade, the Yamarin boat business and the Yamaha representation. On 1 June 2018, Reinin Liha became part of Kesko Group's foodservice wholesaler Kespro via an acquisition. An agreement was also made at the time to acquire Kalatukku E. Eriksson, and the transaction was completed after the end of the reporting period on 2 July 2018. In June, Kesko Corporation’s subsidiary Byggmakker Handel AS agreed to acquire Norwegian building and home improvement trade companies Skattum Handel AS and Gipling AS. Both companies have been operating Byggmakker stores under the retailer business model. The acquisitions were completed after the reporting period in July 2018.

On 16 February 2018, Kesko announced it would be discontinuing its building and home improvement trade operations in Russia. The divested Russian operations are reported as discontinued operations and are not included in the figures for the Group’s continuing operations or the figures for the building and technical trade in this half-year report. The figures for the comparison period have been adjusted accordingly.

1-6/2018 Net sales, € million Change, % Change,
comparable, %
Operating profit,
comparable,
€ million
Change, € million
Grocery trade 2,604 +1.3 +5.0 91.5 +14.6
Building and technical trade excl. speciality goods trade 1,798 -0.6 +1.5 30.2 -0.6
Speciality goods trade 181 -61.1 +5.0 1.0 -8.8
Building and technical trade, total 1,979 -13.0 +1.8 31.2 -9.4
Car trade 502 +4.9 +4.9 19.7 +2.1
Common functions and eliminations 1 (..) (..) -13.3 +6.5
Total 5,086 -4.4 +3.7 129.1 +13.8

The Group's comparable operating profit for continuing operations for January-June was €129.1 million (€115.3 million). Profitability improved significantly in the grocery trade due to increased sales, successful chain redesigns and realised synergy benefits. In the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade, comparable operating profit was at the level of the previous year. The decrease in the speciality goods trade operating profit was affected by the divestments carried out in 2017. In the car trade, comparable operating profit strengthened compared to the year before.

Operating profit was €118.2 million (€171.2 million). Items affecting comparability totalled €-10.9 million (€55.8 million). The most significant items affecting comparability were the €5.2 million costs related to conversions of Suomen Lähikauppa's chains and changes in the store network, and the €4.0 million costs related to structural changes in the Swedish operations of the building and technical trade division. The transfer of former Suomen Lähikauppa stores to retailers was completed during the reporting period. The most significant items affecting comparability the year before were the €50.2 million gain on the divestment of real estate in the Baltics, the €20.3 million expenses related to the conversion of the Suomen Lähikauppa chains, the €12.2 million gain on the divestment of the K-maatalous agricultural business, as well as the gain on the divestment of the Asko and Sotka furniture trade amounting to €19.0 million.

Items affecting comparability 1-6/2018 1-6/2017
Operating profit, comparable 129.1 115.3
Items affecting comparability
+gains on disposal 6.7 82.1
-losses on disposal -0.0 -1.6
-impairment charges -3.4 -
+/-structural arrangements -14.2 -24.7
Items affecting comparability, total -10.9 55.8
Operating profit 118.2 171.2

The comparable profit before tax for the Group’s continuing operations in January-June was €125.9 million (€118.4 million). The profit before tax for the Group’s continuing operations in January-June was €115.0 million (€174.3 million). The earnings per share for the Group’s continuing operations were €0.84 (€1.50), and the comparable earnings per share €0.96 (€0.93). The Group's equity per share was €19.87 (€20.18).

In January-June, K Group's (Kesko and the chain stores) retail and B2B sales (VAT 0%) amounted to €6,224 million, up by 1.5% compared to the previous year (pro forma). The K-Plussa customer loyalty programme added 45,182 new households in January-June 2018. At the end of June, there were 2.4 million K-Plussa households and 3.6 million K-Plussa cardholders.

Net sales and profit for April-June 2018

The net sales for the Group’s continuing operations in April-June 2018 totalled €2,673 million, which is 3.3% down on the corresponding period of the previous year (€2,763 million). The net sales were significantly impacted by the divestments carried out in the first half of 2017. In comparable terms, net sales grew by 4.0% in local currencies, excluding the impact of acquisitions and divestments. The Group's net sales decreased by 4.0% in Finland, or grew by 4.3% in comparable terms. In other countries, net sales decreased by 0.6%, or increased by 3.1% in comparable terms. International operations accounted for 21.3% (20.7%) of the Group's net sales.

In the grocery trade, net sales were affected by the timing of Easter, which was in March this year and in April in 2017, and the changes in the Suomen Lähikauppa store site network in the K-Market chain and the transfers of the stores to retailers. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 2.9%.

In the building and technical trade, net sales decreased by 8.4%, impacted by the divestments carried out in the second quarter of 2017. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 5.4% in local currencies. The comparable change % has been calculated in local currencies and excluding the impact of divestments made during 2017. The net sales for the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade increased by 2.8%, or 4.7% in comparable terms. In the speciality goods trade, net sales decreased by 54.6% on account of divestments, while in comparable terms net sales increased by 12.2%.

In the car trade, net sales grew by 4.0%.

4-6/2018 Net sales, € million Change, % Change,
comparable, %
Operating profit,
comparable, € million
Change, € million
Grocery trade 1,327 +0.0 +2.9 52.8 +2.3
Building and technical trade excl. speciality goods trade 995 +2.8 +4.7 31.2 +3.3
Speciality goods trade 106 -54.6 +12.2 2.2 -4.6
Building and technical trade, total 1,102 -8.4 +5.4 33.4 -1.4
Car trade 244 +4.0 +4.0 8.7 +1.2
Common functions and eliminations 0 (..) -77.0 -5.9 +3.1
Total 2,673 -3.3 +4.0 89.0 +5.2

The Group's comparable operating profit for continuing operations for April-June was €89.0 million (€83.8 million). Profitability improved in the grocery trade due to increased sales and realised synergy benefits from the Suomen Lähikauppa acquisition. In the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade, comparable operating profit increased thanks to improved profitability in Onninen and Kesko Senukai. The decrease in the speciality goods trade operating profit was affected by the divestments carried out in 2017. In the car trade, operating profit strengthened compared to the year before.

Operating profit was €81.6 million (€151.8 million). Items affecting comparability totalled €-7.5 million (€67.9 million). The most significant items affecting comparability were the €4.1 million costs related to the conversion of the Suomen Lähikauppa chains and changes in the store site network. The transfer of former Suomen Lähikauppa stores to retailers was completed during the reporting period. The most significant items affecting comparability the year before were the €50.2 million gain on the divestment of real estate in the Baltics, the €10.9 million expenses related to the conversion of the Suomen Lähikauppa chains, the €12.2 million gain on the divestment of the K-maatalous agricultural business, as well as the gain on the divestment of the Asko and Sotka furniture trade amounting to €19.0 million.

Items affecting comparability 4-6/2018 4-6/2017
Operating profit, comparable 89.0 83.8
Items affecting comparability
+gains on disposal 4.3 81.8
-losses on disposal - -1.2
-impairment charges -3.4 -
+/-structural arrangements -8.4 -12.6
Items affecting comparability, total -7.5 67.9
Operating profit 81.6 151.8

The comparable profit before tax for the Group’s continuing operations in April-June was €86.0 million (€82.1 million). The profit before tax for the Group’s continuing operations in April-June was €78.5 million (€150.0 million). The earnings per share for the Group’s continuing operations were €0.52 (€1.29), and the comparable earnings per share €0.61 (€0.61).

In April-June, K Group's (Kesko and the chain stores) retail and B2B sales (VAT 0%) amounted to €3,335 million, up by 2.0% compared to the previous year (pro forma).

Finance

In January-June, the cash flow from operating activities for continuing operations was €179.1 million (€83.5 million). Cash flow was strengthened by improved profitability and the €58 million return of surplus assets paid by Kesko Pension Fund in March. The cash flow from operating activities for discontinued operations was €-3.4 million (€0.4 million). The Group’s cash flow from operating activities was €175.7 million (€83.8 million). The Group’s cash flow from investing activities was positive, €67.2 million (€63.2 million). Cash flow from investing activities includes the €167 million transaction price obtained from the divestment of properties in Russia. Cash flow from investing activities for the comparison period includes the divestment of a 45% stake of Konekesko’s Baltic subsidiaries to Danish Agro Group, and the divestments of Baltic real estate, the K-maatalous agricultural business, Asko and Sotka furniture trade, and Yamaha representation and Yamarin boat business, €192.4 million.

The Group had liquid assets of €446 million at the end of the reporting period (€367 million). Interest-bearing liabilities at the end of June totalled €592 million (€561 million) and interest-bearing net debt €146 million (€194 million). The equity ratio was 46.2% (47.0%) at the end of the period.

The net finance costs for the Group’s continuing operations in January-June totalled €0.8 million (net finance income €3.1 million). The financial items for the comparison period include dividend income and interest income on cooperative capital of €4.5 million, of which €2.3 million is interest income on cooperative capital from Suomen Luotto-osuuskunta. The share of result of associates and joint ventures, €-2.3 million, includes the loss of €2.7 million from Kesko and Oriola's joint venture, the Hehku wellbeing chain.

In April-June, the cash flow from operating activities for continuing operations was €139.8 million (€131.0 million). The cash flow from operating activities for discontinued operations was €-36.9 million (€10.1 million), weakened by the value-added tax of €25 million related to the divestment of building and home improvement store properties in Russia, paid in the second quarter. The Group’s cash flow from operating activities in April-June was €102.9 million (€141.1 million). The Group’s cash flow from investing activities totalled €-58.2 million (€97.7 million). Cash flow from investing activities for the comparison period includes the divestments of Baltic real estate, the K-maatalous agricultural business, Asko and Sotka furniture trade, and Yamaha representation and Yamarin boat business, €171.1 million.

The net finance costs for the Group were €0.9 million (€1.1 million) in April-June. The share of result of associates and joint ventures, €-2.2 million, includes the loss of €1.4 million from Kesko and Oriola's joint venture, the Hehku wellbeing chain.

Taxes 

The taxes for the Group's continuing operations were €23.6 million (€21.6 million) in January-June. The effective tax rate was 20.5% (12.4%). In April-June, the taxes for the Group's continuing operations were €16.3 million (€17.4 million) and the effective tax rate was 20.7% (11.6%). The effective tax rate for the comparison period was lowered by the tax-exempt gains on the sale of properties and subsidiaries.

Capital expenditure

The capital expenditure for the Group's continuing operations in January-June totalled €128.7 million (€153.5 million), or 2.5% (2.9%) of net sales. Capital expenditure in store sites was €60.8 million (€101.0 million), in acquisitions €4.0 million, and in IT €21.6 million (€17.2 million) and other capital expenditure totalled €42.3 million (€35.3 million).

The capital expenditure for the Group's continuing operations in April-June totalled €74.2 million (€77.7 million), or 2.8% (2.8%) of net sales. Capital expenditure in store sites was €33.4 million (€49.5 million), in acquisitions €4.0 million, and in IT €9.0 million (€8.2 million) and other capital expenditure totalled €27.8 million (€20.0 million).

Personnel 

In January-June, the average number of personnel in Kesko Group was 20,017 (22,806) converted into full-time employees.

At the end of June 2018, the number of personnel was 23,173 (27,826), of whom 12,283 (14,878) worked in Finland and 10,890 (12,948) outside Finland.

DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS

In February 2018, Kesko Corporation agreed to sell 12 K-Rauta properties in the St. Petersburg and Moscow regions to the Russian division of the French Leroy Merlin. The business operations conducted in the properties and stocks were not included within the scope of the transaction; instead, the operations were discontinued during the first year-half. The ownership of the properties was transferred to the buyer during the second quarter of 2018. Kesko discontinued the operations of its two remaining K-Rauta properties in the Moscow region, included in assets held for sale.

The divestment of the properties resulted in a positive cash flow of €171 million for Kesko Corporation in February. All divested properties had been handed over to the buyer by 30 June 2018 and the divestment of the properties resulted in a €17 million sales gain in the second quarter. The operative result after taxes for the operations was €-2 million in the first half of the year. In addition, in the first year-half a cost of €21 million related to the discontinuation of operations was recorded as were translation differences of €-39 million related to the equity financing of Russian subsidiaries.

The divested Russian building and home improvement trade operations are reported as discontinued operations and are not included in the figures for the Group’s continuing operations or the figures for the building and technical trade in this half-year report. The comparison data for the 2017 income statement, statement of cash flows and certain performance indicators have been adjusted. In 2017, Kesko’s building and home improvement trade operations in Russia recorded net sales of €184 million and a comparable operating profit of €0.6 million.

SEGMENTS

Seasonal nature of operations

The Group's operating activities are affected by seasonal fluctuations. The net sales and the operating profits of the reportable segments are not earned evenly throughout the year. Instead, they vary by quarter depending on the characteristics of each segment. In terms of the level of operating profit, the second and third quarter are the strongest, whereas the impact of the first quarter on the full year profit is smallest. The acquisitions of Suomen Lähikauppa and Onninen have increased seasonal fluctuations between quarters. The operating profit levels of Onninen and Suomen Lähikauppa are lowest for the first quarter.

Grocery trade

1-6/2018 1-6/2017 4-6/2018 4-6/2017
Net sales, € million 2,604 2,570 1,327 1,327
Operating profit, comparable, € million 91.5 76.9 52.8 50.5
Operating margin, comparable 3.5 3.0 4.0 3.8
Return on capital employed, comparable, %, rolling 12 months 25.1 22.0 25.1 22.0
Capital expenditure, € million 60.1 97.6 31.4 44.3
Personnel, average 6,089 7,137 6,187 7,111


Net sales 1-6/2018 1-6/2017 Change, % 4-6/2018 4-6/2017 Change, %
Sales to K-food stores
   K-Citymarket, food 535 514 +4.0 264 269 -2.0
   K-Supermarket 671 623 +7.7 343 326 +5.1
   K-Market* 651 720 -9.5 336 369 -8.8
K-Citymarket, non-food 260 258 +0.6 133 132 +1.1
Kespro 417 393 +6.2 214 202 +6.1
Others 70 62 +12.9 37 29 +27.5
Total 2,604 2,570 +1.3 1,327 1,327 +0.0

* Comparable change in net sales attributable to K-Market +3.3% for January-June and +1.1% for April-June.

January-June 2018

Net sales for the grocery trade in January-June amounted to €2,604 million (€2,570 million), an increase of 1.3%. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 5.0%. Net sales development in the K-Market chain was affected by changes in Suomen Lähikauppa’s store site network and the transfer of stores to retailers. The comparable change has been calculated by including in the net sales those stores acquired from Suomen Lähikauppa which have been in the store network during both this reporting period as well as the comparison period and by deducting the impact of Reinin Liha, which was acquired on 1 June 2018. The acquisition carried out on 1 June 2018 made Reinin Liha part of Kesko Group’s foodservice wholesaler Kespro, and an agreement was also made to acquire Kalatukku E. Eriksson, completed after the reporting period on 2 July 2018.

The transfer of former Suomen Lähikauppa stores to retailers was completed by the end of June 2018. 380 stores in total were transferred to retailers between August 2016 and June 2018, after the stores had first been converted into K-food stores. The synergies sought with the acquisition have been achieved.

The total grocery market in Finland (incl. VAT) is estimated to have grown by approximately 4.2% in January-June (Kesko’s own estimate) and retail prices are estimated to have risen by some 2.3%, impacted by the increases in tobacco and alcohol taxes at the start of 2018 (incl. VAT, Kesko’s own estimate based on the Consumer Price Index of Statistics Finland). K Group's grocery sales grew by 3.9% (incl. VAT), and excluding the impact of the acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa, by 5.1% (incl. VAT).

The comparable operating profit for the grocery trade in January-June was €91.5 million (€76.9 million), up by €14.6 million. Profitability in the grocery trade improved significantly due to sales growth, successful chain redesigns, and realised synergy benefits. Kespro’s sales also grew and profitability improved. The profitability of the stores acquired from Suomen Lähikauppa in 2016 improved significantly following their conversion into K-Markets and transfer to retailers and the adjustments made to the store site network. By the end of June, all 380 stores still in operation had been transferred to retailers.

Operating profit for the grocery trade was €85.9 million (€56.6 million). Items affecting comparability amounted to €-5.7 million (€-20.3 million), and they were mainly related to the restructuring of Suomen Lähikauppa, €-5.2 million (€-20.3 million).

Capital expenditure for the grocery trade in January-June was €60.1 million (€97.6 million), of which €47.9 million (€87.0 million) was in store sites.

April-June 2018

Net sales for the grocery trade in April-June amounted to €1,327 million (€1,327 million), and were at the level of the previous year. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 2.9%. Net sales development was affected by the timing of Easter, which was in March this year and in April in 2017, and in the K-Market chain, by changes in Suomen Lähikauppa’s store site network and the transfer of stores to retailers.

The total grocery market in Finland (incl. VAT) is estimated to have grown by approximately 3.1% in April-June (Kesko’s own estimate) and retail prices are estimated to have risen by some 2.3%, impacted by the increases in tobacco and alcohol taxes at the start of 2018 (incl. VAT, Kesko’s own estimate based on the Consumer Price Index of Statistics Finland). K Group's grocery sales grew by 2.9% (incl. VAT), and excluding the impact of the acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa, by 3.1% (incl. VAT).

The comparable operating profit for the grocery trade in April-June was €52.8 million (€50.5 million), up by €2.3 million. Profitability in the grocery trade improved due to sales growth, successful chain redesigns, and realised synergy benefits. The timing of Easter had a €2 million negative impact on the comparable operating profit for the second quarter. 

Operating profit for the grocery trade was €48.3 million (€39.9 million). Items affecting comparability amounted to €-4.5 million (€-10.6 million), and they were mainly related to the restructuring of Suomen Lähikauppa, €-4.1 million (€-10.9 million).

Capital expenditure for the grocery trade in April-June was €31.4 million (€44.3 million), of which €23.0 million (€40.6 million) was in store sites.

In April-June, two new K-Supermarkets and three new K-Markets were opened, two of which were replacements. Remodelling and extensions were made in a total of 52 stores.

The most significant store sites under construction are K-Supermarkets in Turku, three locations in Helsinki (Kalasatama, Laajasalo and Pasila), Nurmijärvi and Kerava.

Store numbers at 30.6. 2018 2017
K-Citymarket 81 81
K-Supermarket 241 230
K-Market 784 825
Neste K 72 69
Others 83 91

The total number of Suomen Lähikauppa stores was 380 (408), out of which 378 were K-Markets and 2 K-Supermarkets.

In addition, several K-food stores offer e-commerce services to their customers.

Building and technical trade

1-6/2018 1-6/2017 4-6/2018 4-6/2017
Net sales, € million 1,979 2,275 1,102 1,202
Building and technical trade excl. speciality goods trade 1,798 1,809 995 968
Speciality goods trade 181 466 106 234
Operating profit, comparable, € million 31.2 40.6 33.4 34.8
Building and technical trade excl. speciality goods trade 30.2 30.7 31.2 27.9
Speciality goods trade 1.0 9.8 2.2 6.8
Operating margin, comparable 1.6 1.8 3.0 2.9
Building and technical trade excl. speciality goods trade 1.7 1.7 3.1 2.9
Speciality goods trade 0.5 2.1 2.0 2.9
Return on capital employed, comparable, %, rolling 12 months 9.8 10.2 9.8 10.2
Capital expenditure, € million 22.9 32.3 16.7 21.3
Personnel, average 11,322 12,305 11,603 12,380


Net sales 1-6/2018 1-6/2017 Change, % 4-6/2018 4-6/2017 Change %
Building and home improvement trade, Finland 463 457 +1.3 253 238 +6.2
K-Rauta, Sweden 89 104 -14.4 54 60 -10.7
Byggmakker, Norway 168 209 -19.6 93 109 -14.2
Kesko Senukai, Baltics 267 230 +16.1 155 132 +18.1
OMA, Belarus 59 59 +0.2 35 34 +3.6
Onninen, Finland 424 394 +7.6 234 212 +10.7
Onninen, Sweden 78 102 -23.1 41 52 -22.0
Onninen, Norway 126 136 -7.6 62 65 -3.5
Onninen, Baltics 36 32 +11.3 19 17 +10.8
Onninen, Poland 108 97 +11.7 58 53 +7.8
Building and technical trade excl. speciality goods trade, total 1,798 1,809 -0.6 995 968 +2.8
Leisure trade, Finland 92 89 +4.2 43 37 +14.5
Machinery trade 89 99 -10.3 64 66 -3.1
K-maatalous, Indoor Group Oy and Yamaha and Yamarin - 279 - - 131 -
Speciality goods trade, total 181 466 -61.1 106 234 -54.6
Total  1,979 2,275 -13.0 1,102 1,202 -8.4

January-June 2018

Net sales for the building and technical trade in January-June totalled €1,979 million (€2,275 million), down by 13.0%. The net sales were impacted by the divestments carried out in the first half of 2017. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 1.8% in local currencies. The comparable change % has been calculated in local currencies and excluding the impact of the divestments made during 2017.

In June, Kesko Corporation’s subsidiary Byggmakker Handel AS agreed to acquire Norwegian building and home improvement trade companies Skattum Handel AS and Gipling AS. Both companies have been operating Byggmakker stores under the retailer business model. The acquisitions were completed after the reporting period in July 2018.

On 16 February 2018, Kesko announced it would be discontinuing its building and home improvement trade operations in Russia. The divested Russian operations are reported as discontinued operations and are not included in the figures for the Group’s continuing operations or the figures for the building and technical trade in this half-year report. The figures for the comparison period have been adjusted accordingly.

In Finland, net sales for the building and technical trade in January-June totalled €979 million (€1,235 million), down by 20.7%. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 3.3% in Finland. The net sales from foreign operations in January-June totalled €1,000 million (€1,040 million), down by 3.8%. In comparable terms, net sales from foreign operations grew by 0.3%. Foreign operations contributed 50.5% (45.7%) of the net sales for the building and technical trade.

Net sales for the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade operations totalled €1,798 million (€1,809 million) in January-June, a decrease of 0.6%. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 1.5%.

Net sales for the building and home improvement trade in January-June were €1,042 million (€1,055 million), a decrease of 1.2%. In local currencies, net sales increased by 0.9%. Net sales decreased in local currency in Norway by 16.0% and in Sweden by 9.5%. In Sweden, the decrease in net sales was impacted by closures of K-Rauta stores due to the ending of lease agreements, while in Norway, the decline was impacted by the expiry of one retailer agreement. In Belarus, net sales grew in local currency by 17.5%.

Onninen’s net sales in January-June totalled €770 million (€765 million), up by 0.7%. Net sales decreased in local currency in Sweden by 18.7% and in Norway by 3.4%. The decrease in net sales in Sweden was impacted by the closure of five store sites during the first half of the year. In Poland, net sales grew in local currency by 10.4%.

The market share of K Group's building and technical trade is estimated to have strengthened in Finland. K Group's building and technical trade sales in Finland increased by 4.2% and the total market (VAT 0%) is estimated to have increased by about 3.3% (Kesko's own estimate).

Net sales for the speciality goods trade in January-June totalled €181 million (€466 million), down by 61.1%. The decrease was affected by the divestments carried out in 2017. The comparable change was +5.0%. Net sales for the machinery trade in January-June amounted to €89 million (€99 million), a decrease of 10.3% from the previous year. Net sales for the machinery trade in Finland totalled €15 million, down by 56.0%. Net sales from foreign operations totalled €74 million, up by 13.2%. Net sales for the leisure trade were €92 million (€89 million), up by 4.2%. The net sales for the Asko and Sotka furniture trade, K-maatalous agricultural business, Yamarin boat business and Yamaha representation, all divested in June 2017, totalled €279 million in the comparison period.

The comparable operating profit for the building and technical trade in January-June was €31.2 million (€40.6 million), representing a decrease of €9.4 million compared to the year before, impacted by divestments in the speciality goods trade and Baltic real estate. The comparable operating profit for the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade operations totalled €30.2 million (€30.7 million) and was at the level of the previous year. Onninen’s comparable operating profit in January-June totalled €13.1 million (€8.8 million), up by €4.3 million. The impact of the properties in the Baltics, divested in May 2017, on Kesko Senukai’s comparable operating profit was €-1.7 million. The comparable operating profit for the speciality goods trade was €1.0 million (€9.8 million), down by €8.8 million. The comparable operating profit for the Asko and Sotka furniture trade, K-maatalous agricultural business and Yamarin boat business and Yamaha representation, all divested in June 2017, totalled €8.7 million in the comparison period.

Operating profit for the building and technical trade totalled €26.8 million (€118.6 million). Items affecting comparability totalled €-4.4 million (€78.0 million). The most significant items affecting comparability were the €4.0 million costs related to the restructuring of operations in Sweden and the €2.0 million gains on the disposal of real estate. The most significant items affecting comparability the year before were the €50.2 million gain on the divestment of real estate in the Baltics, the €12.2 million gain on the divestment of the K-maatalous agricultural business, as well as the gain on the divestment of the Asko and Sotka furniture trade amounting to €19.0 million.

In January-June, the capital expenditure for the building and technical trade totalled €22.9 million (€32.3 million), of which €12.8 million (€13.5 million) was in store sites.

April-June 2018

Net sales for the building and technical trade in April-June totalled €1,102 million (€1,202 million), down by 8.4%. The net sales were impacted by the divestments carried out in the first half of 2017. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 5.4%. The comparable change % has been calculated in local currencies and excluding the impact of the divestments made during 2017.

In Finland, net sales for the building and technical trade in April-June totalled €532 million (€629 million), down by 15.4%. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 8.0% in Finland. The net sales from foreign operations in April-June totalled €569 million (€573 million), down by 0.6%. In comparable terms, net sales from foreign operations grew by 3.1%. Foreign operations contributed 51.7% (47.6%) of the net sales for the building and technical trade.

Net sales for the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade operations totalled €995 million (€968 million) in April-June, an increase of 2.8%. In comparable terms, net sales increased by 4.7%

Net sales for the building and home improvement trade in April-June were €589 million (€571 million), an increase of 3.1%. In local currencies, net sales increased by 5.0%. Net sales decreased in local currency in Norway by 12.3% and in Sweden by 5.1%. In Sweden, the decrease in net sales was impacted by closures of K-Rauta stores due to the ending of lease agreements, while in Norway, the decline was impacted by the expiry of one retailer agreement. In Belarus, net sales grew in local currency by 20.3%.

Onninen’s net sales in April-June totalled €413 million (€402 million), up by 2.9%. Net sales decreased in local currency in Sweden by 16.9% and in Norway by 1.8%. The decrease in net sales in Sweden was impacted by the closure of five store sites. In Poland, net sales grew in local currency by 8.6%.

The market share of K Group's building and technical trade is estimated to have strengthened in Finland.
K Group's building and technical trade sales in Finland increased by 6.2% and the total market (VAT 0%) is estimated to have increased by about 5.6% (Kesko's own estimate).

Net sales for the speciality goods trade in April-June totalled €106 million (€234 million), down by 54.6%. The decrease was affected by the divestments carried out in 2017. The comparable change was +12.2%. Net sales for the machinery trade in April-June amounted to €64 million (€66 million), a decrease of 3.1% from the previous year. Net sales for the machinery trade in Finland totalled €10 million, down by 48.6%. Net sales from foreign operations totalled €54 million, up by 16.3%. Net sales for the leisure trade were €43 million (€37 million), up by 14.5%. The net sales for the Asko and Sotka furniture trade, K-maatalous agricultural business, Yamarin boat business and Yamaha representation, all divested in June 2017, totalled €131 million in the comparison period.

The comparable operating profit for the building and technical trade in April-June was €33.4 million (€34.8 million), representing a decrease of €1.4 million compared to the year before, impacted by divestments in the speciality goods trade and Baltic real estate. The comparable operating profit for the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade operations totalled €31.2 million (€27.9 million), up by €3.3 million, and operatively excluding divestments by €3.9 million. The comparable operating profit for the building and technical trade excluding the speciality goods trade improved thanks to the good development in the building and home improvement trade and Onninen in Finland and the improvement in Kesko Senukai’s profitability. The impact of the real estate in the Baltics, divested in May 2017, on Kesko Senukai’s comparable operating profit was €-0.7 million. Onninen’s comparable operating profit in April-June totalled €8.9 million (€6.4 million). The comparable operating profit for the speciality goods trade was €2.2 million (€6.8 million), down by €4.6 million. The comparable operating profit for the Asko and Sotka furniture trade, K-maatalous agricultural business and Yamarin boat business and Yamaha representation, all divested in June 2017, totalled €5.2 million in the comparison period.

Operating profit for the building and technical trade totalled €31.0 million (€114.6 million). Items affecting comparability totalled €-2.4 million (€79.8 million). The most significant items affecting comparability the year before were the €50.2 million gain on the divestment of real estate in the Baltics, the €12.2 million gain on the divestment of the K-maatalous agricultural business, as well as the gain on the divestment of the Asko and Sotka furniture trade amounting to €19.0 million.

In April-June, capital expenditure for the building and technical trade totalled €16.7 million (€21.3 million), of which €10.5 million (€8.7 million) was in store sites.

In April-June, two Onninen Express stores were opened in Finland, one in Oulunkylä, Helsinki and one in Oriketo, Turku. One store for business customers was opened in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The most significant store sites under construction are a joint K-Rauta and Onninen in Karlstad, Sweden, one K-Senukai store in Latvia, one K-Senukai store in Lithuania and one building and home improvement store in Belarus. Onninen’s most significant store sites under construction are one Onninen Express store in Latvia, one in Estonia and two in Poland.

Number of stores at 30.6. 2018 2017
Building and technical trade
K-Rauta, Finland                     137 139
K-Rauta, Sweden 17 18
Byggmakker, Norway 65 82
K-Rauta, Estonia 8 8
K-Senukai, Latvia 9 8
K-Senukai, Lithuania 23 22
OMA, Belarus 17 16
Onninen, Finland 56 51
Onninen, Sweden 13 18
Onninen, Norway 25 25
Onninen, Baltics 14 15
Onninen, Poland 35 35
Speciality goods trade
Intersport, Finland 56 56
Budget Sport 11 11
The Athlete’s Foot 7 5
Kookenkä 36 37

In addition, building and technical trade stores offer e-commerce services to their customers.

Two Onninen stores in Finland and one Onninen store in Sweden operate in the same store premises with K-Rauta.

Car trade 

1-6/2018 1-6/2017 4-6/2018 4-6/2017
Net sales, € million 502 479 244 234
Operating profit, comparable, € million 19.7 17.6 8.7 7.6
Operating margin, comparable 3.9 3.7 3.6 3.2
Return on capital employed, comparable, %, rolling 12 months 22.1 23.0 22.1 23.0
Capital expenditure, € million 27.2 9.0 18.5 5.4
Personnel, average 827 803 849 813


Net sales 1-6/2018 1-6/2017 Change, % 4-6/2018 4-6/2017 Change, %
K-Auto 470 453 +3.9 228 221 +3.2
AutoCarrera   32 26 +23.0 16 14 +18.4
Total 502 479 +4.9 244 234 +4.0

January-June 2018

Net sales for the car trade in January-June amounted to €502 million (€479 million), an increase of 4.9%. The combined market performance of first registrations of passenger cars and vans was +7.3% (+0.8%) in January-June. The combined market share of the Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Porsche passenger cars and vans imported by the car trade grew to 19.2% (18.7%) in January-June.

Profitability in the car trade continued to improve thanks to good sales performance. The comparable operating profit for the car trade in January-June was €19.7 million (€17.6 million), up by €2.1 million. The comparable operating profit for AutoCarrera was €2.6 million (€1.1 million). Operating profit for the car trade in January-June totalled €19.7 million (€17.6 million).

Capital expenditure for the car trade in January-June was €27.2 million (€9.0 million). Gross capital expenditure comprises primarily cars obtained for the leasing fleet and rental cars sold with repurchase commitments.

April-June 2018

Net sales for the car trade in April-June amounted to €244 million (€234 million), an increase of 4.0%. The combined market share of the Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Porsche passenger cars and vans imported by the car trade was 19.5% (19.7%) in April-June.

Profitability in the car trade continued to improve thanks to good sales performance. The comparable operating profit for the car trade in April-June was €8.7 million (€7.6 million), up by €1.2 million. The comparable operating profit for AutoCarrera was €1.2 million (€1.0 million). Operating profit for the car trade in April-June totalled €8.7 million (€7.6 million).

Capital expenditure for the car trade in April-June was €18.5 million (€5.4 million). Gross capital expenditure comprises primarily cars obtained for the leasing fleet and rental cars sold with repurchase commitments.

The new WLTP emissions testing, implemented from September onwards, may slow down car trade in Europe in the latter half of the year. 

Store numbers at 30.6. 2018 2017
K-Auto 13 10
AutoCarrera 3 3

Changes in Group composition
Reinin Liha became part of Kesko Group’s foodservice wholesale company Kespro following an acquisition carried out on 1 June 2018. 

Shares, securities market and Board authorisations

At the end of June 2018, the total number of Kesko Corporation shares was 100,019,752, of which 31,737,007, or 31.7%, were A shares and 68,282,745, or 68.3%, were B shares. On 30 June 2018, Kesko Corporation held 996,138 of its own B shares as treasury shares. These treasury shares accounted for 1.46% of the total number of B shares, 1.00% of the total number of shares, and 0.26% of votes attached to all shares in the Company. The total number of votes attached to all shares was 385,652,815. Each A share carries ten (10) votes and each B share one (1) vote. The Company cannot vote with own shares held by it as treasury shares and no dividend is paid on them. At the end of June 2018, Kesko Corporation's share capital was €197,282,584. 

The price of a Kesko A share quoted on Nasdaq Helsinki was €44.10 at the end of 2017, and €48.70 at the end of June 2018, representing an increase of 10%. Correspondingly, the price of a B share was €45.25 at the end of 2017, and €52.40 at the end of June 2018, representing an increase of 16%. In January-June 2018, the highest A share price was €49.00 and the lowest €41.00. The highest B share price was €52.40 and the lowest €42.92. The Nasdaq Helsinki All-Share index (OMX Helsinki) was up by 6% and the weighted OMX Helsinki Cap index by 6% in January-June 2018. The Retail Sector Index was up by 10%.  

The market capitalisation of A shares was €1,546 million at the end of June 2018. The market capitalisation of B shares was €3,526 million, excluding the shares held by the parent company. The combined market capitalisation of the A and B shares was €5,071 million, an increase of €607 million from the end of 2017.  

In January-June 2018, a total of 0.7 million A shares were traded on Nasdaq Helsinki. The exchange value of the A shares was €30.7 million. Meanwhile, 29.5 million B shares were traded, with an exchange value of €1,411.1 million. Nasdaq Helsinki accounted for approximately 43% of the trading of Kesko’s A and B shares in January-June 2018. Kesko shares were also traded on multilateral trading facilities, the most significant of which was the Cboe APA (source: Fidessa). 

The Board holds a valid authorisation to decide on the transfer of a maximum of 1,000,000 own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares (2016 Share issue authorisation). On 1 February 2018, the Board decided to grant own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares to persons included in the target group for Kesko’s transitional share-based incentive plan (Bridge Plan) based on this share issue authorisation and the fulfilment of the Bridge Plan performance criteria. This transfer of a total of 66,190 own B shares was communicated in stock exchange releases on 15 March 2018, 5 April 2018 and 1 June 2018.  

On 1 February 2017, Kesko Corporation's Board of Directors made a decision to establish a new share-based long-term incentive scheme for Kesko's top management and key persons selected separately. The scheme consists of a performance share plan (PSP) as the main structure, and of a restricted share pool (RSP), which is a complementary share plan for special situations. Besides the PSP, the Board made a decision to establish a share-based bridge plan to cover the transitional phase during which Kesko transfers from a one-year performance period to a longer performance period in its long-term incentive scheme structure. If the performance criteria set for the PSP 2017-2020 plan are achieved in full, the maximum number of series B shares to be paid based on this plan is 340,000 shares. This number of shares represents gross earnings, from which the applicable withholding tax is deducted and the remaining net amount is paid to the participants in shares. The new share-based compensation scheme was communicated in a stock exchange release on 2 February 2017, and the realisation of the Bridge Plan in a stock exchange release on 1 February 2018. 

The Board of Directors of Kesko Corporation decided on 20 March 2018 to initiate a performance share plan (PSP) for 2018-2021. The Board of Directors also decided that the target group for the plan will comprise 130 members of Kesko’s management and other specified key persons. The Board of Directors decided to set the development of Kesko Group's sales excluding VAT (%), Kesko Group's comparable return on capital employed (ROCE, %) and the absolute total shareholder return (TSR, %) of a Kesko B share as the performance criteria for the 2018 calendar year, matching the 2017 criteria. The performance criteria concern the performance year 2018 of the PSP 2017-2020 and PSP 2018-2021. A maximum total of 340,000 Kesko B shares may be granted in relation to the PSP 2018-2021. This number of shares represents gross earnings, from which the applicable withholding tax is deducted and the remaining net amount is paid to the participants in shares. Kesko Corporation's Board of Directors also decided on initiating an RSP (Restricted Share Pool) plan for 2018–2020. The plan includes a three-year commitment period, after which the potentially granted share awards for an individual plan will be paid to the participants in Kesko B shares, provided that their employment or service relationships with Kesko Group continue until the payment of the awards. The purpose of the restricted share plan is to serve as a complementary long-term share plan to be used as a commitment instrument for selected key persons in special situations. In addition to the above employment precondition, Kesko may set participant specific or company specific criteria, the fulfilment of which is a precondition for the payment of restricted share awards. The total maximum amount of share awards payable under the RSP 2018–2020 is 20,000 Kesko B shares. This number of shares represents gross earnings, from which the applicable withholding tax is deducted and the remaining net amount is paid to the participants in shares. Any potential share awards from the RSP beginning in 2018 will be paid out in the spring of 2021. The new PSP 2018-2021 and RSP 2018-2020 share plans were communicated in a stock exchange release on 21 March 2018.  

In January-June, a total of 1,950 shares granted based on the fulfilment of the performance criteria of the share-based compensation plan in force in 2014-2016 were returned to the Company in accordance with the terms and conditions of the share-based compensation plan. The returns during the reporting period were communicated in a stock exchange release on 28 February 2018. The share-based compensation plan in force in 2014-2016 was announced in a stock exchange release on 4 February 2014.  

Kesko's Board of Directors holds a valid authorisation granted by the Annual General Meeting held on 4 April 2016 to transfer of a total maximum of 1,000,000 own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares (2016 Share issue authorisation). Based on the authorisation, own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares can be issued for subscription by shareholders in a directed issue in proportion to their existing holdings of the Company’s shares, regardless of whether they own A or B shares. Shares can also be issued in a directed issue, departing from the shareholder's pre-emptive right, for a weighty financial reason of the Company, such as using the shares to develop the Company's capital structure, to finance possible acquisitions, capital expenditure or other arrangements within the scope of the Company's business operations, and to implement the Company's commitment and incentive scheme. Own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares can be issued either against or without payment. A share issue can only be without payment if the Company, taking into account the best interests of all of its shareholders, has a particularly weighty financial reason for it. The authorisation also includes the Board's authority to make decisions concerning any other matters related to the share issues. The amount possibly paid for the Company's own shares is recorded in the reserve of unrestricted equity. The authorisation is valid until 30 June 2020. Kesko Corporation’s Annual General Meeting on 11 April 2018 resolved that approximately 30% of the annual remuneration of the members of Kesko’s Board of Directors will be paid in B series shares in the company (Stock exchange release 11 April 2018). Kesko’s Board of Directors decided on 24 April 2018 to implement the resolution of the General Meeting regarding the payment of the share portion of the annual remuneration by transferring B shares held by the company as treasury shares to the Board members based on the 2016 share issue authorisation (Stock exchange release 25 April 2018). The shares were transferred to the Board members on 27 April 2018. A Board member cannot transfer shares obtained in this manner until either three years have passed from the day the member has received the shares or their membership on the Board has ended, whichever comes first. 

The Annual General Meeting of 11 April 2018 approved the Board's proposal for its authorisation to decide on the acquisition of a maximum of 1,000,000 of the Company’s own B shares (2018 Authorisation to acquire own shares). The B shares will be acquired with the Company's distributable unrestricted equity, not in proportion to the shareholdings of shareholders, at the market price quoted in public trading organised by Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd ("the exchange") at the time of acquisition. The shares will be acquired and paid for in accordance with the rules of the exchange. The acquisition of own shares reduces the amount of the Company's distributable unrestricted equity. The B shares will be acquired for use in the development of the Company's capital structure, to finance possible acquisitions, capital expenditure and/or other arrangements within the scope of the Company's business operations, and to implement the Company's commitment and incentive scheme for management and other personnel. The Board will make decisions concerning any other issues related to the acquisition of B shares. The authorisation is valid until 30 September 2019.  

The Board of Directors of Kesko Corporation decided in its meeting on 24 April 2018 to use the authorisation granted by the General Meeting of 11 April 2018 to acquire B shares in the Company, and established a temporary share buy-back programme for the purpose. The shares were acquired to fulfil obligations related to the Company’s share-based commitment and incentive plans. The Board also decided to implement the resolution made by the General Meeting on 11 April 2018 to pay approximately 30% of the annual remuneration for members of the Board in B series shares in the Company, by using B series shares held by the Company as treasury shares in the payment of the share portion of the remuneration. The acquisitions of the shares began on 26 April 2018 and ended on 18 May 2018. During that time, Kesko acquired 500,000 of its own B series shares for an average price per share of €48.83. Following the acquisitions, Kesko held a total of 996,325 of its own B shares, which represents approximately 1.00 per cent of all shares in Kesko Corporation and 1.46 per cent of Kesko Corporation’s B series shares. (Stock exchange releases 25.4.2018 and 21.5.2018) 

Kesko’s Annual General Meeting of 11 April 2018 also approved the Board's proposal for its authorisation to decide on the issuance of a maximum of 10,000,000 new B shares (2018 Share issue authorisation). The new shares can only be issued against payment. The new shares can be issued for subscription by shareholders in a directed issue in proportion to their existing holdings of the Company’s shares regardless of whether they hold A or B shares, or, departing from the shareholder's pre-emptive right, in a directed issue if there is a weighty financial reason for the Company, such as using the shares to develop the Company's capital structure and financing possible acquisitions, capital expenditure or other arrangements within the scope of the Company's business operations. The Board of Directors will decide the subscription price for the issued shares. The Board will also have the right to issue shares for a non-cash consideration. The subscription price is recognised in the reserve of invested non-restricted equity. The Board will make decisions regarding any other matters related to the share issues. The authorisation will be valid until 30 June 2021, and it cancelled the authorisation given to the Board by the General Meeting of 13 April 2015 to issue a total maximum of 20,000,000 new B shares, which the Board did not use. 

At the end of June 2018, the number of shareholders was 41,169, which is 1,153 less than at the end of 2017. At the end of June, foreign ownership of all shares was 33.9%, and foreign ownership of B shares 48.5%. 

Flagging notifications

There were no flagging notifications during the reporting period.

Key events during the reporting period

Kesko announced it will discontinue its building and home improvement trade operations in Russia and sell 12 building and home improvement store properties in Russia to Leroy Merlin Vostok LLC, a Russian division of the French Leroy Merlin. Leroy Merlin is the biggest building and home improvement store chain in Russia. The transaction price paid for the properties in cash is approximately RUB 12 billion (some €169 million). The ownership of the properties was transferred to the buyer in H1/2018. The operations of two K-Rauta properties in the Moscow region not included in the transaction were discontinued during H1/2018. (Stock exchange release 16.2.2018)

Kesko Corporation's Board of Directors decided that the target group for the 2018–2019 performance period of Kesko’s performance and share based commitment and incentive plan will comprise approximately 130 members of Kesko’s management and other specified key persons. The Board also confirmed the criteria for 2018 for both the 2017–2020 plan initiated in 2017 and the 2018–2021 plan. The Board also decided to initiate a restricted share-based commitment and incentive plan for 2018–2020. (Stock exchange release 21.3.2018)

In the first interim report for 2018, the discontinuation of the building and home improvement trade operations in Russia was presented as discontinued operations in accordance with IFRS 5 Non-current Assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations. The standard requires comparison data to be adjusted, thus prompting changes in the presentation of data for 2017. The stock exchange release depicted comparison figures for 2017 for key continuing operations segment data. (Stock exchange release 23.3.2018)

On 1 June 2018, Reinin Liha became part of Kesko Group's foodservice wholesaler Kespro via an acquisition. An agreement was also made at the time to acquire Kalatukku E. Eriksson, and the transaction was completed after the end of the reporting period on 2 July 2018. Both will continue operating as independent companies, and their full staff and operational management will carry on with their duties. (Press releases 1.6.2018 and 2.7.2018)

Kesko Corporation's subsidiary Byggmakker Handel AS agreed to acquire Norwegian building and home improvement trade companies Skattum Handel AS and Gipling AS. In 2017, Skattum Handel AS recorded net sales of approximately €94 million and Gipling AS net sales of some €151 million. Both companies operate Byggmakker stores under the retailer business model, and the Byggmakker chain will control the stores following the acquisitions. Once the acquisitions are completed, the Byggmakker chain will control a total of 30 Byggmakker stores, providing even greater potential for growth and increased profitability in Norway. (Press releases 7.6.2018 and 19.6.2018)

Kesko Senukai has agreed to acquire 1A Group, one of the leading online retail market players in the Baltic states, with net sales of approximately €41 million in 2017. The acquisition will make Kesko Senukai one of the leading e-commerce operators in the Baltics with online operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The completion of the acquisition is subject to the approval of the local competition authorities and the fulfilment of the other terms and conditions of the transaction. The transaction is expected to be completed during the second half of 2018. (Press release 21.6.2018)

Key events after the reporting period

Kesko will sell its remaining shares in its Baltic machinery trade subsidiaries and Konekesko Finland’s agricultural machinery trade operations to Danish Agro Group. Danish Agro Group has used its call options announced in February 2017 to buy the remaining shares in Konekesko Ltd’s Baltic subsidiaries and its agricultural machinery trade operations in Finland. As a result, Danish Agro Group becomes the full owner of Konekesko’s Baltic companies and Konekesko’s agricultural machinery operations in Finland. The transactions are expected to be completed by October 2018 at the latest. The completion of the transactions is subject to the approval of the competition authorities and the fulfilment of the other terms and conditions of the transactions. (Press release 6 July 2018)

Resolutions of the 2018 Annual General Meeting and decisions of the Board's organisational meeting 

Kesko Corporation's Annual General Meeting held on 11 April 2018 adopted the financial statements and consolidated financial statements for 2017 and discharged the Board members and the Managing Director from liability. The General Meeting also resolved to distribute, in accordance with the Board’s proposal, €2.20 per share as dividends, or a total of €218,945,469.60. The dividend pay date was 20 April 2018.

The General Meeting resolved that the number of Board members is seven (7). The General Meeting resolved to elect Jannica Fagerholm, Master of Science (Economics), Peter Fagernäs, Master of Laws (new member), Piia Karhu, Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration) (new member), retailer Esa Kiiskinen, Business College Graduate, Matti Kyytsönen, Master of Science (Economics), retailer Matti Naumanen, and retailer Toni Pokela, eMBA, as Board members for a term of three years ending at the close of the 2021 Annual General Meeting, as provided in the Articles of Association. The General Meeting resolved to change the remuneration structure of Board members so that a portion of the remuneration is paid as shares in the Company. The purpose of the change is to commit the Board members to the long-term development of the Company.

The General Meeting elected the firm of auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers Oy as the Company's Auditor, with Mikko Nieminen, APA, as the Auditor with principal responsibility.

The General Meeting approved the Board's proposals for its authorisation to decide on the acquisition of a maximum of 1,000,000 of the Company’s own B shares and for its authorisation to decide on the issuance of a maximum of 10,000,000 new B shares.

The General Meeting also approved the Board’s proposal to authorise the Board to decide on the donations in a total maximum of €300,000 for charitable or corresponding purposes until the Annual General Meeting to be held in 2019, and to decide on the donation recipients, purposes of use and other terms of the donations.

After the Annual General Meeting, Kesko Corporation's Board of Directors held an organisational meeting, in which it elected retailer Esa Kiiskinen (Business College Graduate) as Chairman of the Board and Peter Fagernäs (Master of Laws) as Deputy Chairman. Jannica Fagerholm (M.Sc. Econ.) was elected as Chairman of the Board’s Audit Committee, Matti Kyytsönen (M.Sc. Econ.) as Deputy Chairman, and Piia Karhu (Doctor of Science, Economics and Business Administration) as a Committee member. Esa Kiiskinen was elected as Chairman of the Board’s Remuneration Committee, Peter Fagernäs as Deputy Chairman, and Matti Kyytsönen as a Committee member.

The resolutions of the Annual General Meeting and the decisions of the Board's organisational meeting were communicated in more detail in stock exchange releases on 11 April 2018.

Sustainability

Kesko is committed to the EU objective of reducing the consumption of plastic bags to 40 bags per capita by 2025. To promote the target, pricing was changed so that plastic, paper and biodegradable bags now all cost the same in all K-food stores.

In April, the Finnish Basketball Association and K Group agreed on a multi-year extension to their collaboration, which so far has seen more than 42,000 children play and exercise at the Pikkusudet (Little Wolves) basketball events and the Pirkka Street Basket tour.

In May, Kesko published its animal welfare policy, which states, for example, that from the start of 2026 onwards, eggs form furnished cages are no longer accepted into Kesko's selections.

In 2018-2019, K Group will build a nationwide network of electric car charging points in Finland and begin piloting new mobility services, starting with a car sharing trial.

K Group and WWF Finland will arrange volunteering events from June to autumn to restore routes and spawning grounds in rivers and streams for the critically endangered trout and other migratory fish. This is part of the multi-year K Fishpaths collaboration between K Group and WWF Finland that aims to save Finnish migratory fish.

Risk management

Kesko Group has an established and comprehensive risk management process. Risks and their management responses are regularly assessed within the Group and reported to the Group management and the Audit Committee of Kesko’s Board of Directors. Kesko's risk management and risks associated with business operations are described in more detail on Kesko's website in the Corporate Governance section.

No material change is estimated to have taken place during the first half of 2018 in the risks described in Kesko's 2017 Report by the Board of Directors, financial statements and the risks described on Kesko's website. The most significant near-future risks in Kesko's business operations are associated with price competition in the Finnish grocery trade, integration and the realisation of synergies in acquisitions in the building and technical trade, the changes caused by digitalisation in the trading sector, and cyber threats. After the strategy update, the focus in risk management in the building and technical trade division is on the execution of country-specific strategies. The new WLTP emissions testing, implemented from September onwards, may slow down car trade in Europe in the latter half of the year.

The risks and uncertainties related to economic development are described in the outlook section of this release.

Outlook 

Estimates for the outlook for the net sales and comparable operating profit for Kesko Group's continuing operations are given for the 12-month period following the reporting period (7/2018-6/2019) in comparison with the 12 months preceding the end of the reporting period (7/2017-6/2018). 

The general economic situation and the expected trend in consumer demand vary in Kesko's different operating countries. In Finland, the trading sector is expected to grow. In the Finnish grocery trade, intense competition is expected to continue, although, as purchasing power increases, the importance of quality will be emphasised more than previously. In the building and technical trade, the growth in B2B sales is expected to continue stronger than the growth in the retail market. The market is expected to grow in the Nordic and Baltic countries, but at a somewhat slower rate.    

In comparable terms, the net sales for continuing operations for the next 12 months are expected to exceed the level of the previous 12 months. The comparable operating profit for continuing operations for the next 12-month period is expected to exceed the level of the preceding 12 months. However, investments in the expansion of logistics operations and in information systems and digital services will burden profitability during the period.

Helsinki 24 July 2018
Kesko Corporation
Board of Directors

The information in this half-year financial report is unaudited.

Further information is available from Jukka Erlund, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, telephone +358 105 322 113, Kia Aejmelaeus, Vice President, Investor Relations, telephone +358 105 322 533, and Eva Kaukinen, Vice President, Group Controller, telephone +358 105 322 338. A Finnish-language webcast of the results briefing can be viewed at 11.00 (EET) at www.kesko.fi. An English-language audio conference on the results will be held today at 14.00 (EET). The audio conference login is available on Kesko's website at www.kesko.fi.

Kesko Corporation's interim report for January-September 2018 will be published on 24 October 2018. In addition, Kesko Group's sales figures are published each month. News releases and other Company information are available on Kesko's website at www.kesko.fi.

KESKO CORPORATION

Attachments: Kesko Q2 2018 Half year report including tables section

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