Interim report January – March 2021

 NET ASSET VALUE AND THE LATOUR SHARE

  • The net asset value rose to SEK 166 per share, compared with SEK 153 per share at the start of the year. This is an increase of 8.1 per cent. By comparison, the Stockholm Stock Exchange's Total Return Index (SIXRX) increased by 14.3 per cent. The net asset value amounted to SEK 173 per share at 28 April.1
  • The total return on the Latour share was 13.3 per cent during the period measured against the SIXRX, which rose 14.3 per cent.

INDUSTRIAL OPERATIONS

  • The industrial operations' order intake rose 14 per cent to SEK 4,537 m (3,996 m), which represents a 14 per cent increase for comparable entities adjusted for foreign exchange effects.
  • The industrial operations' net sales rose 8 per cent to SEK 3,924 m (3,630 m), which represents a 7 per cent increase for comparable entities adjusted for foreign exchange effects.
  • The industrial operations' operating profit increased by 27 per cent to SEK 569 m (449 m), which equates to an operating margin of 14.5 (12.4) per cent for continuing operations.
  • In January, Latour Industries finalised the acquisitions of Vega S.R.L. and Elsys AB and also acquired the Danish company VM Kompensator A/S. On 1 March, Hultafors Group finalised the acquisitions of Fristads AB, Kansas A/S, Kansas GmbH and Leijona Group Oy.

THE GROUP

  • Consolidated net sales totalled SEK 3,987 m (3,676 m), and profit after financial items was SEK 1,344 m (116 m). A revaluation of Alimak has had a positive impact on this year's income statement in the amount of SEK 189 m. Items impacting comparability burdened last year's income statement in the amount of SEK -808 m.
  • Consolidated profit after tax was SEK 1,211 m (4 m), which is equivalent to SEK 1.89 (0.01) per share.
  • The Group reported net debt of SEK 6,705 m (9,193 m). Net debt, excluding lease liabilities recognised under IFRS 16, was SEK 5,874 m (8,601 m) and is equivalent to 5 (10) per cent of the market value of total assets.

INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO

  • During the first quarter, the value of the investment portfolio increased by 8.6 per cent adjusted for changes in the portfolio. The benchmark index (SIXRX) rose 14.3 per cent. 

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 28 April was based on the value of the investment portfolio at 1 p.m. on 28 April and the same values as at 31 March were used for the unlisted portfolio.

Comments from the CEO
“Latour's industrial operations made an impressive start to the year, with organic growth in both order intake and invoiced sales. The business activity was a bit slow in the beginning of the quarter, activities gradually intensified on a broad front and, by the end of March, the order backlog was again at a high level, boding well for favourable development in the coming quarters. The majority of our companies are well positioned in market segments exhibiting great growth potential. Nonetheless, the pandemic is not over and will remain a factor that we need to consider for some time to come. It does, however, affect our companies to varying degrees. Logistical challenges are probably our biggest hurdle, in terms of both increased transport costs and the difficulties of conducting service assignments at customers. We have also been affected to a certain extent by postponed project deliveries, which means we are holding stock that will not be delivered until the next quarter. As before, our operations in southern Europe have been most affected by the pandemic, while those in the Nordic countries and North America have been spared the worst.

The first-quarter order intake rose 14 per cent to SEK 4,537 m (3,996 m) while invoiced sales rose 7 per cent to SEK 3,924 m (3,630 m) when adjusted for acquisitions and exchange rate effects. Operating profit increased by 27 per cent in the quarter to SEK 569 m (449 m) with a strong operating margin of 14.5 (12.4) per cent.

This strong performance is driven to some extent by continued strict cost management but mostly by increased volumes. To maintain our competitive edge and grow our market share, we will continue to invest in product development, sales and marketing initiatives, as we have done consistently in the past, even when most affected by the pandemic. Latour has a strong financial position and the means to invest in the future.

Sustainability and digitalisation remain focus areas for driving our long-term growth. We have already made great progress, but as owners we are striving for more. At the beginning of the year, Latour became a signatory to the UN Global Compact, confirming our support of the initiative's ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. This commitment is a natural next step for Latour, as we want to make clear where we stand and what we stand for. As stated, sustainability has for a long time been an area that is close to Latour's heart, and in recent years we have further accelerated this work. In this context, we are happy to see that sustainability issues are highly prioritized on the political agenda, but at the same time we are deeply concerned about politicians' ability to bring about real change. The new EU taxonomy, for example, with a noble purpose, contains a lot of bureaucracy and regulations that only benefit those who fall within the taxonomy’s narrow definitions. Sustainable products and innovations that do not fit the definitions will thus be disadvantaged.

The level of acquisition activity is generally high. In January, Latour Industries finalised the acquisition of VEGA and Bemsiq the acquisition of Elsys, while Densiq, within Latour Industries, acquired the Danish company VM Kompensator. On 1 March, Hultafors Group finalised the acquisition of Fristads, Kansas and Leijona. Read more about our acquisitions on page 4.

Since the beginning of the year, the total return of the investment portfolio increased by 8.6 per cent when adjusted for portfolio changes, while the benchmark index (SIXRX) increased by 14.3 per cent. Among the companies that have already reported, most have exhibited favourable growth in order intake, invoiced sales and earnings. The net asset value in Latour increased during the quarter by 8.1 per cent to SEK 166 per share.

We are now in the middle of the AGM season which means that the nomination committee work for this season has been completed. As the principal owner of several listed companies, we are proud that we once again have succeeded in recruiting new competent Board members with relevant experience to several of our companies. The fact that it also leads to an improved gender equality in the Boards of our listed companies is extra satisfying and we want to emphasize that this issue is really high on the agenda. Another issue that has characterized our work in the nomination committees is the remuneration issues. For us, it is important that Board fees are well market-based. Our companies are international global organizations and we must be able to attract expertise that corresponds to this, and that must be reflected in the remuneration. In addition, we compete with unlisted companies to attract competent Board members. Also here, we believe that we have made significant progress in this year's nomination committee work.”

Johan Hjertonsson
President and CEO

For further information please contact:
Johan Hjertonsson, President and CEO, Tel. +46 702-29 77 93 or
Anders Mörck, CFO, Tel. +46 706-46 52 110

Conference call
President and CEO Johan Hjertonsson and CFO Anders Mörck present the report and answers to questions by telephone today at 10.00 AM (CEST). The conference call will be held in English.

To follow the meeting, please call +46 (0)8 505 583 54.
To follow the webcast please visit our webpage, www.latour.se, or use the link:

https://onlinexperiences.com/Launch/QReg/ShowUUID=E27E7CE4-1241-4A04-91FA-77AC2C4D4749