Strong fourth quarter sums up a successful 2018

President and CEO Klas Balkow’s comments on the year-end report 2018:
2018 was a successful year for Axfood. We grew more than the market, achieved an operating profit of more than SEK 2 billion and took important steps in the development of our logistics, including the inauguration of our first automated warehouse. We strengthened our position in the market, where above all Willys and Axfood Snabbgross performed strongly both during the quarter and the full year.

The investments we are pursuing to develop our business give rise to capex need of approximately SEK 1.5-1.6 billion for 2019, which includes the year’s planned investments coupled to automation of the new warehouse in Stockholm. Despite major investments, we stand financially strong.

Fourth quarter summary
• Consolidated net sales amounted to SEK 12,370 m (11,826), an increase of 4.6%.
• Operating profit totalled SEK 425 m (398), an increase of 7.0%. The operating margin was 3.4% (3.4%).
• Net profit for the period totalled SEK 328 m (310), and earnings per share before dilution were SEK 1.54 (1.46).
• Axfood increased its ownership in Urban Deli from 50% to 90.7%.

Summary of January–December
• Consolidated net sales amounted to SEK 48,085 m (45,968), an increase of 4.6%.
• Operating profit totalled SEK 2,025 m (1,886), an increase of 7.4%. The operating margin was 4.2% (4.1%).
• Net profit for the period totalled SEK 1,577 m (1,467), and earnings per share before dilution were SEK 7.41 (6.98).

Significant events after the balance sheet date
• The Board of Directors proposes an unchanged ordinary dividend of SEK 7.00 per share (7.00).
• As a consequence of adoption of IFRS 16, Axfood’s equity ratio target has been adjusted to an equity ratio of at least 20% at year-end.
• Capital expenditures by Axfood are expected to amount to SEK 1,500–1,600 m excluding acquisitions and lease assets.
• Axfood plans to establish five to ten new stores.
• Monica Längbo took office as Head of Human Resources and member of the Executive Committee on 1 February 2019.

Welcome to today’s web cast/conference call where President and CEO Klas Balkow together with CFO Anders Lexmon will present 2018. The presentation starts at 9:30 a.m. CET and can be followed via axfood.se or by phone: Sweden: +46 8 566 42705, UK: +44 3333 009 274, USA: +1 646 722 4956.

For further information, contact:
Cecilia Ketels, Head of Investor Relations Axfood AB, +46 72 23 606 43
The information herein is such that Axfood AB (publ) is required to make public in accordance with the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person listed above, at 7 a.m. CET on 5 February 2019.
This document is an English translation of the Swedish original. In the event of any discrepancies, the Swedish version shall govern.

Axfood aspires to be the leader in good and sustainable food. Our family of companies includes the store chains Willys and Hemköp as well as Tempo, Handlar’n and Direkten. B2B sales are handled through Axfood Snabbgross, and our support company Dagab is responsible for the Group’s product development, purchasing and logistics. The Axfood family also includes Mat.se, Middagsfrid and Urban Deli as well as the partly owned companies Apohem and Eurocash. Together the Group has more than 10,000 employees and sales of nearly SEK 50 bn. Axfood has been listed on Nasdaq Stockholm since 1997, and the principal owner is Axel Johnson AB. Read more at www.axfood.se.

About Us

Axfood AB conducts retail trade through the wholly owned store chains Hemköp, Willys and Willys hemma and wholesale trade through Dagab and Axfood Närlivs. In addition, Axfood collaborates with a number of proprietor-run stores that are tied to Axfood through agreements.