In the first half of 2021, the Jotul Group reached a consolidated loss of MNOK 54.1 (H1 2020: loss of MNOK 68.5). The operating loss totaled MNOK 1.2 in H1 2021 (H1 2020: loss of MNOK 60.1). The 2021 total comprehensive loss for the half-year was MNOK 56.2 (H1 2020: loss of MNOK 52.3).
Sales for the period increased by 58% (MNOK 570.3 in H1 2021 vs. MNOK 360.4 in H1 2020), mainly driven by strong market growth/recovery, alongside smoother and more matured manufacturing operations, a reasonable cold winter and high electricity prices. Additionally, whereas in H1 2020 we experienced significant market and operational disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact, the confinement measures implemented by the authorities in our core markets induced end-user focus on home improvement projects and a strong market rebound at the end of 2020 and into 2021. With the above factors mentioned, the order intake in the period is significantly up, with approximately 69%, overperforming in all key markets, most notably in the USA, in France and in Norway.
In light of the post-Covid recovery of global trade, Jotul, like the overall industry, is experiencing supply chain difficulties, in particular with securing steady supplies of raw materials, components and transport. The disbalance between offer and demand resulted in higher prices, in particular on scrap iron and other metals, alongside longer lead-time and higher prices on components. Coping with these new challenges requires much more frequent and accurate planning and puts additional pressure on the liquidity during the low season.
The Group’s gross margin improved year-on-year, mainly due to the strong demand from the markets driving the growth on sales, and a more mature organization and improved performance at the factory in Poland, despite several instances of Covid cases in the factories earlier this year negatively impacting productivity. The Group has also introduced several price increases to cover increased raw material and transport costs.
EBITDA (Earnings before interests, taxes, depreciations and amortizations: Operating result less Depreciations) was MNOK 35.8 in the first six months of 2021 (H1 2020: MNOK -23.6). This contains effect of non-recurring items of MNOK 20.2 (H1 2020: MNOK 27.1). Adjusted EBITDA (net of non-recurring items) was MNOK 56.1 in H1 2021 (H1 2020: MNOK 3.5).
In the first half of 2021 non-recurring cost are to a significant extent related to the transfer of manufacturing operations from Italy to the factory in Poland.
The Group’s capital investments in the first half of 2021 amounted to MNOK 16.7 compared to MNOK 30.3 in the first half of 2020. Higher capital expenditure in 2020 related to investments in the new factory in Poland.
Jotul AS acquired AICO S.p.A. (Italy) on 1 June 2021, and this entity had its 1-month effect on group financials in the first half of 2021. In June Aico contributed with MNOK 10.9 to net revenue and MNOK -2.0 to net loss.
In the first six months of 2021, the Group had an average of 702 full-time equivalent employees (H1 2020: an average of 489 full-time employees). The increase is driven by the significant ramp-up in production at the facility in Poland, and the partial close-down and furloughs in the same period of last year, alongside the addition of AICO in June 2021.