Ahlstrom-Munksjö Half-Year Report January-June 2020: SOLID RESULT UNDER EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES

AHLSTROM-MUNKSJÖ OYJ HALF-YEAR REPORT RELEASE JULY 28,2020 at 12:00 noon EEST

This release is a summary of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s’ half-year financial report January-June 2020. The complete report is attached to this release as a pdf-file. It is also available at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com.

HIGHLIGHTS DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD

  • Solid comparable EBITDA and increased margin despite the decline in delivery volumes caused by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Swift response and cost reduction actions cushioned the impact of the pandemic
  • Customer activity varied within Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s broad geographical reach and product range as a result of the pandemic  
  • Strong growth in the healthcare and life science end-use segments, expansion of face mask materials production. Clear weakening in home building and furniture, transportation and industrial end uses.
  • Signs of a gradual normalization of customer activity in certain segments towards the end of the quarter
  • Improved financial flexibility and good liquidity with no major refinancing needs
  • Launch of Ahlstrom-Munksjö FortiCell®, a new range of fiber-based solutions for energy storage applications

Q2/2020 compared with Q2/2019

  • Net sales decreased by 16.6% to EUR 621.5 million (745.1), mainly due lower delivery volumes 
  • Comparable EBITDA decreased by 11.7% to EUR 74.0 million (83.8), representing 11.9% (11.2) of net sales, supported by variable and fixed costs reduction actions
  • Operating result of EUR 25.8 million (35.0)
  • Net result EUR 9.0 million (14.8)
  • Earnings per share (basic) EUR 0.07 (0.13)
  • Comparable EPS excluding depreciation and amortization arising  from PPA EUR 0.18 (EUR 0.25)

Q1-Q2/2020 compared with Q1-Q2/2019

  • Net sales decreased by 10.9% to EUR 1,339.6 million (1,502.8), negatively impacted by price, product mix and volumes 
  • Comparable EBITDA increased by 4.4% to EUR 165.7 million (158.8), representing 12.4% (10.6) of net sales, as lower variable costs more than offset lower selling prices and deliveries
  • Operating result of EUR 99.6 million (52.9), including a capital gain of EUR 32.0 million from the sale of the fine art paper business
  • Net result EUR 55.7 million (18.9)
  • Earnings per share (basic) EUR 0.46 (0.16)
  • Comparable EPS excluding depreciation and amortization arising from PPA EUR 0.48 (0.46)
  • Net debt decreased to EUR 878.7 million (885.0 in Q4/2019), supported by the sale of the fine art paper business

PPA = purchase price allocation

KEY FIGURES

Key figures Q2 Q2 Q1 Q1-Q2 Q1-Q2 Q1-Q4
EUR million, or as indicated 2020 2019 2020 2020 2019 2019
Net sales 621.5  745.1  718.1  1,339.6  1,502.8  2,915.3 
Comparable EBITDA 74.0  83.8  91.7  165.7  158.8  312.9 
Comparable EBITDA margin, % 11.9  11.2  12.8  12.4  10.6  10.7 
EBITDA 69.1  78.1  120.5  189.6  138.3  279.4 
Comparable operating result 31.8  40.7  49.1  80.9  73.3  139.0 
Operating result 25.8  35.0  73.7  99.6  52.9  103.2 
Net result 9.0  14.8  46.6  55.7  18.9  32.8 
Earnings per share (basic), EUR 0.07  0.13  0.40  0.46  0.16  0.27 
Comparable earnings per share (basic), EUR 0.10  0.16  0.21  0.31  0.29  0.50 
Comparable EPS excl. depreciation and amortization arising from PPA, EUR * 0.18  0.25  0.30  0.48  0.46  0.84 
Return on equity (ROE), rolling 12 months, % 5.9  1.7  6.5  5.9  1.7  2.9 
Comparable ROE, rolling 12 months, % 5.4  6.4  6.0  5.4  6.4  5.2 
Return on capital employed (ROCE), rolling 12 months, % 6.4  3.6  6.8  6.4  3.6  4.4 
Comparable ROCE, rolling 12 months, % 6.3  6.9  6.6  6.3  6.9  5.9 
Net cash from operating activities 8.5  63.1  11.8  20.4  92.9  286.7 
Capital expenditure 24.4  38.7  26.3  50.7  74.2  161.1 
Net debt 878.7  1,044.7  854.3  878.7  1,044.7  885.0 
Gearing ratio, % 74.3 

*Depreciation and amortization arising from PPA (purchase price allocation) comprise depreciation and amortization charges from fair value adjustments relating to the business combinations starting from 2013

CEO COMMENTS

I’m pleased with our performance in the second quarter, and particularly with our swift response and actions to mitigate the near-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Considering the exceptional circumstances,  comparable EBITDA of EUR 74 million and an improved margin of 11.9% is a good achievement. We have been able to keep our plants operational and serve our customers, while ensuring the health and safety of our employees thanks to our COVID-19 Safety Protocol. In addition, we have increased our financial flexibility and currently have good liquidity, with no major near-term refinancing needs.

VARIED IMPACT ON CUSTOMER ACTIVITY - CUSHIONING WITH ACTIONS

Within our broad product range of advanced fiber-based solutions, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on customer activity has varied. Demand remained strong in the healthcare and life science end-use segments, while it remained relatively stable in the consumer goods segment, albeit with some variation depending on end use. The biggest decline was in the home building and furniture, transportation and industrial end-use segments. All in all, the exceptional market environment led to a 10% reduction in our deliveries, which was the main driver behind the decrease in net sales and comparable EBITDA. However, we worked hard on our own actions to reduce variable and fixed costs, and this cushioned the impact of lower volumes.

I’m also pleased that we were able to drive our business forward during the pandemic. Our in-depth knowledge of fiber-based materials, agile organization and common manufacturing platform enabled us to expand our manufacturing capabilities of face mask fabrics globally to lines normally used for the production of other fiber-based materials. We also took further steps in supplying the  electric vehicle battery market by introducing a platform of fiber-based energy storage applications solutions. Our other new value-added solutions include a replaceable filter media for branded outdoor apparel used as face masks. 

Our work was awarded the EcoVadis Gold rating for the fourth consecutive year thanks to our good performance within environmental impact, labor practices, fair business practices and sustainable procurement. This reinforces our sustainability strategy.

LOOKING AHEAD

We will continue with actions to mitigate the impact of the weak market demand in the third quarter. Meanwhile, we continue to work on ensuring competitiveness in the longer term and pursuing our previously announced cost saving programs. Overall, I’m very proud of how well our organization has performed in these very exceptional circumstances. This really highlights the strengths of our company culture, which relies on entrepreneurial leadership, customer collaboration, innovation and seamless worldwide teamwork.

OUTLOOK FOR Q3/2020

The overall market environment remains uncertain, albeit with signs of a gradual normalization of customer activity in certain end-use segments. Good demand is expected to continue in the healthcare and life science end-use segments. Demand for consumer goods related products is expected to remain relatively stable, while continuing at a weak level in home building and industrial related products. Demand for furniture and transportation related products is expected to recover. Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s delivery volumes in the third quarter of 2020 are expected to be lower than in the third quarter of 2019.

In the third quarter of 2020, scheduled maintenance shutdown at the Aspa pulp mill is expected to be carried out, with a negative profit impact of approximately EUR 4 million.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s comparable EBITDA in the third quarter of 2020 is expected to be lower than in the third quarter of 2019.

SHORT-TERM RISKS

As Ahlstrom-Munksjö manages a broad portfolio of businesses and serves a wide range of end uses globally, it is unlikely to be significantly affected at a group level by individual business related factors. However, slowing global economic growth and uncertain financial market conditions could have a materially adverse effect on the Group’s financial results, operations and financial position. 

Recently, the key driver for increased uncertainty globally from an economic and social perspective has been the coronavirus pandemic. The risk of a broader economic downturn has clearly increased, and if it materializes, it may weaken demand for a wide range of Ahlstrom-Munksjö products for a longer period. According to the IMF, global growth is estimated at - 4.9% in 2020 and the pandemic has had a more negative impact on economic activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated. The recovery is projected to be gradual. The full impact of the pandemic cannot be foreseen at this stage. It will depend on both the duration and severity of the pandemic, and related measures taken to contain it.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö has assessed carrying amounts of assets and liabilities, such as goodwill and other intangible, tangible assets, inventories, deferred taxes, trade receivables and pension plans and re-assessed the need of impairment. Based on the assessments, the consequences of the pandemic has currently no impact on asset valuations.

The company’s significant risks and uncertainty factors mainly consist of developments in demand for and prices of sold products, the cost and availability of significant raw materials and energy, financial risks, as well as other business factors including developments in global politics, regulations and the financial markets. The company’s financial performance may be impacted by the timing of possible raw material price increases and its ability to raise selling prices. On-going trade disputes pose a threat to the global economy, which may have an effect on Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s markets. 

Operational risks such as personnel absences, supply of key raw materials and deliveries to customers have also increased due to the pandemic. These risks have been mitigated by a rapid and coordinated response, and the implementation of the Ahlstrom-Munksjö COVID-19 Safety Protocol. However, if the pandemic continues for a longer period, the exposure to the operational  risks may increase. 

The company’s key financial risks include interest rate and currency, liquidity and credit risks. To mitigate short-term risks, methods such as hedging and credit insurance are used. Additional credit risk assessment has been implemented for customer receivables  to evaluate the potential implications of the coronavirus pandemic. Based on the assessment, the company has not identified any significant increase in the amount of bad debt, and there has currently not been any significant change in payment delays related to Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s customer receivables. However, if the pandemic continues for a longer period, the exposure to the credit risk, such as delayed payments from the customers, may increase. 

The pandemic has increased the risk of financiers becoming more cautious and reducing banks’ willingness to provide financing. This may have an impact on refinancing and increase financing costs. Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s liquidity continues to be good, and during the second quarter, the company has signed additional financing facilities to further strengthen its liquidity position. There are no major short-term refinancing needs.

The Group is exposed to tax risks due to potential changes in tax laws or regulations or their application, or as a result of on-going or future tax audits or claims. 

The company regularly assesses the best structure for its platform of businesses and systematically evaluates M&A opportunities. In potential business combinations, substantial integration work is needed to realize expected synergies. 

The company has operations in many countries, and sometimes disputes cannot be avoided in daily operations. The company is sometimes involved in legal actions, disputes, claims for damages and other procedures. The result of these cannot be predicted, but taking into account all the available current information, no significant impact on the financial position of the company is expected.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Hans Sohlström, President and CEO, tel. +358 10 888 2520
Sakari Ahdekivi, Deputy CEO and CFO, tel. +358 10 888 4760
Johan Lindh, Vice President, Communications and Investor Relations, + 358 10 888 4994
Juho Erkheikki, Investor Relations Manager, tel. +358 10 888 4731

WEBCAST PRESENTATION

A live webcast and a conference call will be arranged on the publishing day, July 28, 2020, at 13:30 EEST. The report will be presented in English by President and CEO Hans Sohlström and Deputy CEO and CFO Sakari Ahdekivi.

WEBCAST AND CONFERENCE CALL INFORMATION

The combined webcast and teleconference can be viewed at:

https://cloud.webcast.fi/ahlstrommunksjo/ahlstrommunksjo_2020_0728_q2/

Finland: +358 (0)9 7479 0360
Sweden: +46 (0)8 5033 6573
UK: +44 (0)330 336 9104

Conference ID: 814977

To join the conference call, participants are requested to dial one of the numbers above 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the event. An on-demand version of the conference call will be available on Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s website later the same day. By dialing in to the conference call, the participant agrees that personal information such as name and company name will be collected. The conference call will be recorded.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö in brief
Ahlstrom-Munksjö is a global leader in fiber-based materials, supplying innovative and sustainable solutions to its customers. Our mission is to expand the role of fiber-based solutions for sustainable everyday life. Our offering include filter materials, release liners, food and beverage processing materials, decor papers, abrasive and tape backings, electrotechnical paper, glass fiber materials, medical fiber materials and solutions for diagnostics as well as a range of specialty papers for industrial and consumer end-uses. Our annual net sales is about EUR 3 billion and we employ some 8,000 people. The Ahlstrom-Munksjö share is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki and Stockholm. Read more at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com

About Us

Ahlstrom-Munksjö in brief Ahlstrom-Munksjö is a global leader in fiber-based materials, supplying innovative and sustainable solutions to its customers. Our mission is to expand the role of fiber-based solutions for sustainable every day life. Our offering includes filter materials, release liners, food and beverage processing materials, decor papers, abrasive and tape backings, electrotechnical paper, glass fiber materials, medical fiber materials and solutions for diagnostics as well as a range of specialty papers for industrial and consumer end-uses. Our annual net sales is about EUR 3 billion and we employ some 8,000 people. The Ahlstrom-Munksjö share is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki and Stockholm. Read more at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com.

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