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Orthex Q1 2022: Sales slowed down, profitability affected by extraordinary high raw material prices

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Orthex Corporation, Stock exchange release, 11 May 2022 at 9.00 a.m. EEST

This release is a summary of Orthex Corporation’s Interim report January–March 2022. The complete report is attached to this release as a pdf-file. It is also available on Orthex’s website at https://investors.orthexgroup.com/.

January–March 2022 in Brief

  • Invoiced sales decreased by 4.2% and totalled EUR 21.5 million (22.4)
  • Net sales decreased by 4.9% to EUR 20.6 million (21.6)
  • Adjusted EBITDA was EUR 2.8 million (4.3)
  • EBITA was EUR 1.8 million (2.0)
  • Adjusted EBITA was EUR 1.8 million (3.3), representing 8.8% of sales (15.3)
  • Operating profit was EUR 1.8 million (2.0)
  • Items affecting comparability totalled EUR 0.0 million (1.3)
  • Net cash flows from operating activities were EUR 1.9 million (3.2)
  • Net debt / Adjusted EBITDA was 1.8x (1.5)
  • Earnings per share, basic was EUR 0.06 (0.08)
  • Orthex’s Lohja factory was granted an ISCC+ certificate
  • Orthex published its Sustainability Report for the year 2021 as a part of the Annual Report

Orthex has no Russian or Ukrainian suppliers nor any other business in Russia or Ukraine, so Russia’s military actions have no direct impact on Orthex’s business. However, there can be negative business impacts from volatility, customer behaviour, or cost increases due to the war.

Long-Term Financial Targets

As long-term financial targets the company has adopted to an average annual organic Net sales growth to exceed 5 per cent at the Group level and to exceed 10 per cent outside the Nordics (growth in local currencies), adjusted EBITA margin (adjusted for items affecting comparability) to exceed 18 per cent over time and net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio to stay below 2.5x. Leverage may temporarily exceed the target range (for example, in conjunction with acquisitions).

The company aims to distribute a stable and over time increasing dividend with a pay-out of at least 50 per cent of net profit, in total, on a biannual basis.

Orthex does not publish a short-term outlook.

Key figures

EUR million 1–3/2022 1–3/2021 Change 1–12/2021
Invoiced sales 21.5 22.4 -4.2% 90.6
Net sales 20.6 21.6 -4.9% 88.7
Gross margin 4.9 6.8 -27.5% 23.2
Gross margin, % 23.8% 31.3% 26.2%
EBITDA 2.8 2.9 -6.2% 13.2
EBITDA margin, % 13.4% 13.6% 14.9%
Adjusted EBITDA 2.8 4.3 -35.1% 14.8
Adjusted EBITDA margin, % 13.4% 19.7% 16.7%
EBITA 1.8 2.0 -9.3% 9.4
EBITA margin, % 8.8% 9.2% 10.6%
Adjusted EBITA 1.8 3.3 -45.3% 11.0
Adjusted EBITA margin, % 8.8% 15.3% 12.4%
Operating profit 1.8 2.0 -9.5% 9.3
Operating profit margin, % 8.7% 9.1% 10.4%
Net cash flows from operating activities 1.9 3.2 -41.3% 9.0
Net debt / Adjusted EBITDA 1.8x 1.5x 1.7x
Adjusted return on capital employed (ROCE), % 5.3% 10.4% 33.0%
Equity ratio, % 36.7% 31.1% 35.8%
Earnings per share, basic (EUR) 0.06 0.08 -16.7% 0.35
FTEs 294 314 -6.5% 314

Alexander Rosenlew, CEO:

The first quarter of 2022 was characterised by continued  rising cost and balancing between campaign sales, price increases and sales volume, on a weakening market influenced by consumer and customer uncertainty. Raw material prices continued to rise, driven by among other factors, the Russian attack on Ukraine. During the first quarter, the second round of price increases that we communicated to our customers in the third quarter of 2021, started to have an impact and we managed to partly offset the negative effects from surging material cost. During the period between December 2020 and March 2022, the raw material price index has increased by more than 77%. This is an unprecedented pace of continued increase and therefore in our view not strategically feasible to absorb directly or with one single price correction. The time between communicating a price increase and the implementation of it at our customers is approximately 4–9 months and during this period a continued cost increase has a negative impact on the result. We are committed to make price increases as costs keep on rising. The rapid cost development had an impact on Orthex’s profitability  as the adjusted EBITA margin decreased in the first quarter to 8.8% (15.3) and the adjusted EBITA to 1.8 million euros (3.3).

In the year 2021, the first quarter invoiced sales increased by 33.5%. In 2022, the conditions have been challenging, and we did not reach the sales of the previous year as invoiced sales declined by 4.2%. As already communicated, we have held back on selling campaigns at reduced prices to offset negative cost impact. This is visible in the export sales, where sales volumes declined, as focus has been on actively defending margins instead of renewing campaigns made in the first quarter of 2021. We have not lost any customers or product distribution. On the contrary, there are interesting new customer opportunities both in the export pipeline and on the Nordic market. In the times of uncertainty, customers have been more careful in their buying behaviour, and in many markets, there seems to be a reluctancy to further fill up the stores or warehouses with goods. Our view, which is based on information and feedback from customers, is that we have not lost market share, but the demand has weakened due to uncertainty in the market.

As COVID-19 came back with a new variant, our most important trade show, the Ambiente show scheduled for February, was cancelled. This has slowed down new customer acquisition opportunities in the export markets. Under current circumstances most customer meetings are centred around price increases and off-setting cost and thus the important topic of building business together and growing consumer sales does not get the undivided attention of our customers.

All the above-mentioned factors had an impact on Orthex’s sales as net sales in the first quarter decreased slightly to 20.6 million euros (21.6).

The company’s Sustainability Report for the year 2021 was published as a part of the company’s first Annual Report in March 2022. In our Sustainability Report we present, for example, the steps we have taken during 2021 to be able to reach our carbon neutrality target. Among others, we made a comprehensive calculation of the carbon footprint of our operations and value chain for the first time and all our factories switched to 100% fossil-free hydropower. We aim to be carbon neutral in our operations by 2030. In line with our strategy, to strengthen the product portfolio made in new sustainable materials, we are expanding the range of products made of old fishing nets to involve a storage concept and some additional household products.

We are committed to implementing our growth strategy with a focus on international growth and sustainability. Raw material prices reached their highest levels so far at the end of March 2022 and currently raw material prices, freight cost and energy price are all on very high levels and future development is hard to predict. There are no immediate indications of change towards more favourable cost or market conditions. In the first quarter of 2022 we again took action that will be implemented according to the schedule described earlier. Unpredictable and fast increases in raw material prices create a profitability challenge due to the delayed effects of implementing price increases or cost savings. Despite the prevailing short-term challenges and market uncertainty, our long-term target is to deliver an adjusted EBITA margin exceeding 18%, and we are committed to ensuring that our measures are in line with that long-term target.

We are putting strong efforts on finding ways to grow sales profitably as demand development is likely to remain uncertain. We believe that the operating environment will eventually stabilise over time which will help to fully focus on actively growing profitable sales on the Nordic market and accelerate business development outside of the Nordics. I want to take the opportunity to thank all our personnel for the strong commitment to navigating wisely by taking active action in the efforts to defend the margins under the current very unusual conditions. We are all prepared and eager to continue improving everyday life with practical and sustainable products.

Press conference on financial results:
Orthex’s CEO Alexander Rosenlew and CFO Saara Mäkelä will present the Interim report on 11 May 2022 at 11:00 a.m. EEST in a webcast. The webcast can be joined through this link. The webcast presentation will be held in English.

Questions to the management can be sent through the meeting chat.

Presentation material:
The presentation material will be shared in the online meeting, and it can be downloaded the same day on Orthex’s website at 

Recording of the event:

After the event a recording will be available on the company’s website at https://investors.orthexgroup.com/.

Further enquiries:
Alexander Rosenlew, CEO, Orthex Corporation
Tel. +358 (0)40 500 3826


Saara Mäkelä, CFO, Orthex Corporation
Tel. +358 (0)40 083 8782


Orthex is a leading Nordic houseware producer that strives to make consumers’ everyday life easier with its products that are presented under the consumer brands SmartStore™ in storage products, GastroMax™ in kitchenware and Orthex™ in home and plant care categories. Orthex aims to be the industry forerunner in sustainability.

Orthex’s net sales in 2021 was 88.7 million euros and operating profit 9.3 million euros. The company has customers in more than 40 countries and local sales offices in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. Orthex is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.