Lassila & Tikanoja plc
Stock exchange release
28 January 2021 at 08:00 a.m.
Lassila & Tikanoja plc: Financial Statements 1 January–31 December 2020
GOOD PERFORMANCE IN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Unless otherwise mentioned, the figures in brackets refer to the corresponding period in the previous year.
Net sales for the final quarter were EUR 199.6 million (198.9), operating profit was EUR 9.9 million (8.9) and adjusted operating profit was EUR 9.9 million (9.5)*. Earnings per share were EUR 0.20 (0.16).
Net sales for 2020 were EUR 751.9 million (784.3), operating profit was EUR 28.2 million (45.0) and adjusted operating profit was EUR 39.0 million (40.5)*. Earnings per share were EUR 0.50 (0.90). Operating profit and earnings per share were negatively affected by costs of EUR 9.0 million recognised in relation to the discontinuation of Russian operations. Earnings per share were also affected by an increase in exchange differences. Exchange differences amounted to EUR -1.4 million (0.7).
The decrease in net sales was attributable to the divestment of the L&T Korjausrakentaminen business in the second quarter of last year, included in the figures for the comparison period, and the coronavirus pandemic.
The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of EUR 0.40 per share.
*In September 2020, Lassila & Tikanoja began to use adjusted operating profit as a new alternative performance measure. The reporting of adjusted operating profit is aimed at improving comparability between reporting periods. Adjusted operating profit excludes substantial costs arising from business restructuring, gains and losses from divestments and costs arising from the discontinuation of businesses.
Outlook for the year 2021
Net sales in 2021 are estimated to be at the same level and adjusted operating profit at the same level or better compared to the previous year.
PRESIDENT AND CEO EERO HAUTANIEMI:
“The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on all businesses. Service demand was unpredictable and, in separately ordered services in particular, our volumes were substantially lower than in the comparison period throughout the year. However, there were substantial segment specific differences. Lassila & Tikanoja’s adjusted operating profit of EUR 39.0 million (40.5) in 2020 can be considered quite satisfactory, considering the exceptional nature of the year. We estimated that the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operating profit was approximately EUR 6 million, even when pension insurance contributions were temporarily reduced by EUR 3.8 million and we carried out significant adjustment measures.
We had to adapt our service production to the constantly changing situation. Anticipating customer needs required us to be active in our approach, and we were successful in this respect in light of the circumstances. We developed new service solutions to improve the hygiene safety of our customers, which helped compensate for the decline in service volumes.
Special attention was paid to ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for our employees. We were able to ensure the availability of personal protective equipment and up-to-date operating guidelines and instructions as the circumstances changed. Sickness-related absences decreased from the comparison period and there have been rather few COVID-19 infections in view of the circumstances.
Our customer and employee experience ratings improved significantly. The climate impact of our own operations, i.e. our carbon footprint, decreased, while the emissions reduced through our operations, i.e. our carbon handprint, increased. In a reputation survey for the general public, Lassila & Tikanoja’s reputation rose to a record high level.
In 2019, we carried out an organisational reform that was completed with the incorporation of our businesses effective from the beginning of 2021. The model demonstrated its strength also in the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to continue to implement our development and investment projects, that support our strategy, as planned. Our financial position remained strong throughout the year.
Our business environment is currently characterised by a large number of uncertainties that shape our markets. However, we have learned to operate in “the new normal” shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which puts us in a good position to strengthen our market share in all of our businesses. The work we did in 2020 provides a strong foundation for the continued implementation of our strategy and I look forward to 2021 with confidence.”
GROUP NET SALES AND FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
Lassila & Tikanoja’s net sales for the final quarter amounted to EUR 199.6 million (198.9), up 0.3% year-on-year. Operating profit was EUR 9.9 million (8.9), representing 5.0% (4.5) of net sales. Adjusted oerating profit was EUR 9.9 million (9.5), representing 5.0% (4.8) of net sales. Earnings per share were EUR 0.20 (0.16).
Net sales increased in all businesses except Environmental Services. The increase in operating profit was mainly due to the improved result of Facility Services in Finland. The negative profit impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was mitigated by the temporary reduction of pension insurance contributions by 2.6 percentage points from 1 May to 31 December 2020, which had an impact of approximately EUR 1.4 million in the final quarter.
In Environmental Services, net sales and operating profit decreased year-on-year. In Facility Services Finland, net sales increased and operating profit improved substantially year-on-year. In Industrial Services, net sales increased while operating profit declined year-on-year. In Facility Services Sweden, net sales and operating profit increased year-on-year.
Net sales for 2020 amounted to EUR 751.9 million (784.3), down 4.1% year-on-year. Operating profit was EUR 28.2 million (45.0), representing 3.8% (5.7) of net sales. Adjusted operating profit was EUR 39.0 million (40.5), representing 5.2% (5.2) of net sales. Earnings per share were EUR 0.50 (0.90).
The difference between operating profit and adjusted operating profit in 2020 consists of the cost effect of EUR 9.0 million recognised in relation to the discontinuation of Russian operations and costs of EUR 1.7 million arising from the incorporation of business divisions. The costs arising from the incorporation of the business divisions are due to Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s decision to incorporate the divisions as separate legal entities as of 1 January 2021. The difference between operating profit and adjusted operating profit in the comparison period consists of the EUR 4.5 million positive profit impact of the sale of L&T Korjausrakentaminen Oy.
The impact of COVID-19 on net sales is estimated to have been approximately EUR 23 million negative and on operating profit approximately EUR 6 million negative. The negative profit impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was mitigated by active adjustment measures, the temporary reduction of pension insurance contributions by 2.6 percentage points from 1 May to 31 December 2020, which was implemented as a COVID-19 recovery measure and had a positive impact of approximately EUR 3.8 million, as well as lower fuel prices.
The Group’s operating profit was improved by a gain of EUR 5.7 million recognised in the first quarter on the sale of property included in property, plant and equipment. In addition, non-recurring costs arising from the impairment of fixed assets, for example, were recognised in the total amount of EUR 4.1 million in the first quarter and EUR 0.6 million in the third quarter. The non-recurring items had a positive net effect of EUR 1.0 million on the Group’s operating profit. The items in question are not included in the figures of the business segments. Net profit was negatively affected by the depreciation of the Russian rouble and Swedish krona. Exchange differences amounted to EUR -1.4 million (0.7).
The decrease in operating profit was also attributable to a cost effect of EUR 9.0 million arising from the impairment of balance sheet items in relation to the discontinuation of operations in Russia. The discontinuation of Russian operations will have a negative impact of EUR 6.5 million on the Group’s equity. The decrease in operating profit compared to comparison period was also attributable to the EUR 4.5 million positive profit impact from the sale of L&T Korjausrakentaminen Oy recognised in 2019.
In Environmental Services, net sales decreased year-on-year and operating profit declined significantly due to cost effect of EUR 9.0 million recognised in relation to the discontinuation of Russian operations. The adjusted operating profit of Environmental Services decreased year-on-year. In Facility Services Finland, net sales declined but operating profit improved significantly year-on-year. In Industrial Services, net sales grew while operating profit decreased year-on-year. In Facility Services Sweden, net sales increased while operating profit declined year-on-year.
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NET SALES AND OPERATING PROFIT BY DIVISION
The division’s net sales for the final quarter were EUR 72.9 million (79.8). Operating profit declined year-on-year to EUR 7.6 million (8.2). The COVID-19 pandemic continued to lower the operating volumes of customer companies and, consequently, the demand for services in the final quarter.
Net sales of Environmental Services decreased to EUR 289.4 million (311.2). The decline in net sales was attributable to the lower volumes and prices of recycled raw materials, the decrease in demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the discontinuation of Russian operations. Operating profit declined to EUR 20.0 million (32.8) due to the cost effect of EUR 9.0 million recognised in relation to the discontinuation of Russian operations. Excluding Russia, the operating profit of Environmental Services declined to EUR 28.4 million (30.5). However, profitability remained at a good level due to active adjustment measures and improved productivity. Digital service use saw strong growth.
The division’s net sales for the final quarter grew to EUR 27.6 million (26.0). Operating profit declined year-on-year to EUR 1.5 million (1.9). The annual industrial maintenance work postponed from the beginning of the year was carried out to the planned extent, but at lower profitability. Operating profit was also weighed down by the decline in the price of recycled raw materials compared to the reference period.
Net sales of Industrial Services increased to EUR 101.8 million (98.9). Operating profit declined to EUR 7.1 million (9.9).
In Industrial Services, demand for services fluctuated heavily and was difficult to predict throughout the year. Scheduled maintenance breaks were postponed to the latter part of the year due to COVID-19, which weakened net sales and financial performance of the first part of the year. Fluctuating demand and lower prices for recycled raw materials reduced operating profit from the comparison period.
In the second half of the year, the division’s net sales increased due to new customer agreements and annual maintenance projects postponed from the first half of the year, and operating profit was at the previous year’s level.
Facility Services Finland
The division’s net sales for the final quarter grew to EUR 60.5 million (59.4). Operating profit improved substantially and amounted to EUR 1.9 million (-1.3).
The net sales of Facility Services Finland increased, especially in the cleaning business, thanks to the growth of the contract portfolio and the successful sales of additional services. Operating profit clearly increased in all service branches due to adjustment measures and improved operational efficiency and quality.
The net sales of Facility Services Finland decreased to EUR 232.3 million (249.1). Operating profit improved substantially and amounted to EUR 3.2 million (-4.1).
The operating profit of Facility Services Finland improved significantly due to improved operational efficiency and quality. Operating profit increased in all service branches, especially in the cleaning business. The COVID-19 pandemic weakened demand in all service branches, especially in the maintenance of technical systems. However, Facility Services Finland was able to take advantage of the opportunities created by COVID-19 and adapt its operations to the lower demand conditions resulting from the pandemic. Employee and customer satisfaction improved significantly, rising to record levels.
Facility Services Sweden
In Facility Services Sweden, net sales and operating profit in the final quarter improved substantially year-on-year. Net sales grew to EUR 40.0 million (35.8). Operating profit improved to EUR 1.5 million (0.9).
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Sweden very hard and sickness-related absences increased. Nevertheless, net sales and operating profit clearly improved due to successful sales work.
Net sales of Facility Services Sweden grew to EUR 134.5 million (131.8). Operating profit declined to EUR 3.5 million (3.8).
The result of Facility Services Sweden is good considering the difficult COVID-19 situation in Sweden. The impact of the pandemic was visible throughout the year. Operating profit during the review period was weighed down by a higher-than-usual sickness rate and the resulting increase in subcontracting costs, on the one hand, and the reduced orders of part of the customer base, on the other hand. The Swedish state’s support measures for businesses slightly compensated for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic starting from the beginning of May.
Net cash flow from operating and investing activities amounted to EUR 44.0 million (69.4). Working capital was released by EUR 2.1 million (14.2). Cash flow was reduced by an increase of EUR 9.2 million in inventories that was primarily due to the strengthening of the contract portfolio in Renewable Energy Sources. Cash flow during the review period was improved by the sale of property included in property, plant and equipment. Cash flow in the comparison period in 2019 was increased by the sale of L&T Korjausrakentaminen Oy.
At the end of the period, interest-bearing liabilities amounted to EUR 186.7 million (177.4). Net interest-bearing liabilities totalled EUR 136.5 million (135.6). The average interest rate on long-term loans excluding IFRS 16 liabilities, with interest rate hedging, was 1.3% (1.3).
Of the EUR 100 million commercial paper programme, EUR 15.0 million (0.0) was in use at the end of the year. A committed credit limit totalling EUR 30.0 million was not in use, as was the case in the comparison period. The Group renewed the credit limit during the review period. The newly signed credit facility will mature in the second quarter of 2022.
Net financial expenses in 2020 amounted to EUR 4.9 million (3.0). Exchange rate changes accounted for EUR -1.4 million (0.7) of net financial expenses. Net financial expenses were 0.7% (0.4%) of net sales. The exchange rate changes were caused by changes in the exchange rates of the Russian rouble and Swedish krona.
The equity ratio was 33.0% (35.6) and the gearing rate was 70.9% (66.8). Liquid assets at the end of the period amounted to EUR 50.2 million (41.8). The company has taken measures to ensure its liquidity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overdue trade receivables and credit losses have not increased during the pandemic.
DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS
The Annual General Meeting held on 12 March 2020 resolved that a dividend of EUR 0.92 per share be paid on the basis of the balance sheet that was adopted for the financial year 2019. The dividend, totalling EUR 35 million, was paid to shareholders on 23 March 2020.
Gross capital expenditure for 2020 totalled EUR 48.2 million (46.1), consisting primarily of machine and equipment purchases as well as investments in information systems and buildings. During the review period, L&T also invested in the construction of strategically important final disposal locations.
In the final quarter, the average number of employees converted into full-time equivalents was 7,197 (7,308). At the end of the period, L&T had 8,139 (8,207) full-time and part-time employees. Of these, 6,673 (6,479) worked in Finland and 1,466 (1,728) in other countries.
The year 2020 was exceptional due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the entire personnel.To ensure healthy and safe working conditions, occupational safety guidelines were actively updated to meet the changing pandemic situation. The value of L&T’s orders of personal protective equipment during the year was EUR 1.2 million higher than in the comparison period. L&T ordered 750,000 face masks and a total of 1.8 million pieces of various protective equipment to prevent COVID-19 infections. The sickness rate of personnel in Finland remained low and even decreased year-on-year. In Sweden, the more severe epidemiological situation substantially increased the sickness rate.
Employee well-being was also supported in a number of ways, including a dedicated COVID-19 helpline and digital chat services that help employees cope with the situation psychologically. Remote working was increased in line with the authorities’ recommendations and the company’s guidelines were revised to include regional mask recommendations and meeting restrictions.
The Group held negotiations concerning operations in Finland pursuant to the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings during the year as customers suspended or reduced their operations in response to COVID-19. At the end of the review period, the total number of temporarily laid-off employees throughout the Group was approximately 130.
However, in these exceptional circumstances, employee satisfaction increased in all businesses and the employee promoter score rose to a record high of 82% (73).
PROPOSAL FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS
According to the financial statements, Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s unrestricted equity amounts to EUR 69,045,502.61, with the operating profit for the period representing EUR 14,002,740.00 of this total. There were no substantial changes in the financial standing of the company after the end of the period, and the solvency test referred to in Chapter 13, Section 2 of the Companies Act does not affect the amount of distributable assets.
The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 0.40 per share be paid for the financial year 2020. The dividend is paid to shareholders included in the company shareholder register maintained by Euroclear Finland Oy on the record date, 22 March 2021. The Board proposes to the Annual General Meeting that the dividend be paid on 29 March 2021.
No dividend shall be paid on shares held by the company on the record date of 22 March 2021.
On the day the proposal for the distribution of assets was made, the number of shares entitling to dividend was 38,105,285, which means the total amount of the dividend would be EUR 15 242 114,00. Earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.50. The proposed dividend, EUR 0.40 per share, is 79.7% of the earnings per share.
Lassila & Tikanoja’s Annual Report, which includes the report by the Board of Directors and the financial statements for 2020, will be published in week 8 at www.lt.fi/en.
SHARES AND SHARE CAPITAL
Traded volume and price
The volume of trading during the year 2020 was 12.3 million shares, which is 32.2% (21.3) of the average number of outstanding shares. The value of trading was EUR 166.1 million (122.3). The highest share price was EUR 16.76 and the lowest EUR 10.06. The closing price was EUR 15.06. At the end of the review period, the market capitalisation excluding the shares held by the company was EUR 573.9 million (599.6).
At the end of the period, the company held 693,589 of its own shares, representing 1.8% of all shares and votes.
Share capital and number of shares
The company’s registered share capital amounts to EUR 19,399,437 and the number of outstanding shares is 38,105,285. The average number of shares excluding the shares held by the company was 38,102,992.
At the end of the period, the company had 20,731 (15,524) shareholders. Nominee-registered holdings accounted for 10.1% (19.5) of the total number of shares.
Authorisations for the Board of Directors
The Annual General Meeting held on 12 March 2020 authorised Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Board of Directors to make decisions on the repurchase of the company’s own shares using the company’s unrestricted equity. In addition, the Annual General Meeting authorised the Board of Directors to decide on a share issue and the issuance of special rights entitling their holders to shares.
The Board of Directors is authorised to purchase a maximum of 2,000,000 company shares (5.2% of the total number of shares). The repurchase authorisation is effective for 18 months.
The Board of Directors is authorised to decide on the issuance of new shares or shares which may be held by the company through a share issue and/or issuance of option rights or other special rights conferring entitlement to shares, referred to in Chapter 10, Section 1 of the Finnish Companies Act, so that under the authorisation, a maximum of 2,000,000 shares (5.2% of the total number of shares) may be issued and/or conveyed. The authorisation is effective for 18 months.
RESOLUTIONS BY THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Annual General Meeting, which was held on 12 March 2020, adopted the financial statements and consolidated financial statements for 2019 and released the members of the Board of Directors and the President and CEO from liability.
The Annual General Meeting resolved that a dividend of EUR 0.92 per share, totalling EUR 35.0 million, be paid on the basis of the balance sheet adopted for the financial year 2019. It was decided that the dividend be paid on 23 March 2020.
The Annual General Meeting confirmed the number of members of the Board of Directors as seven. Heikki Bergholm, Teemu Kangas-Kärki, Laura Lares, Sakari Lassila, Miikka Maijala and Laura Tarkka were re-elected to the Board until the end of the following Annual General Meeting, and Pasi Tolppanen was elected as a new member.
KPMG Oy Ab, Authorised Public Accountants, was elected auditor. KPMG Oy Ab named Leenakaisa Winberg, Authorised Public Accountant, as its principal auditor.
The Annual General Meeting resolved to establish a permanent Shareholders’ Nomination Board. The Nomination Board shall be responsible for preparing and presenting proposals covering the remuneration and number of members of the Company’s Board of Directors as well as proposals on the members of the Board of Directors to the Annual General Meeting and, where needed, to an Extraordinary General Meeting. The Nomination Board shall also be responsible for identifying successors to existing Board members.
The resolutions of the Annual General Meeting were announced in more detail in a stock exchange release on 12 March 2020.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The members of Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Board of Directors are Heikki Bergholm, Teemu Kangas-Kärki, Laura Lares, Sakari Lassila, Miikka Maijala, Laura Tarkka and Pasi Tolppanen. At its constitutive meeting after the Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors elected Heikki Bergholm as Chairman of the Board and Sakari Lassila as Vice Chairman.
Sakari Lassila was elected as the Chairman of the Audit Committee and Teemu Kangas-Kärki and Pasi Tolppanen as members. Heikki Bergholm was elected as the Chairman of the Personnel Committee and Laura Lares, Miikka Maijala and Laura Tarkka as members.
KEY EVENTS DURING THE REVIEW PERIOD
On 8 April, the Group announced that it has signed a new revolving credit facility of EUR 30 million. The revolving credit facility will mature in the second quarter of 2022. The agreement includes a one-year extension option. The agreement was signed with Danske Bank.
On 24 April, the company issued a profit warning, lowered its outlook for 2020 and announced the discontinuation of Russian operations. According to the updated outlook, full-year net sales for 2020 are expected to decrease year-on-year and operating profit is estimated to be EUR 30–40 million (40.5) excluding loss related to the discontinuation of Russian operations.
On 25 September, the Group announced that Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s three largest shareholders (a group of shareholders, Mandatum Life Insurance Company Limited and the Evald ja Hilda Nissin Säätiö foundation) have appointed their representatives to Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Nomination Board. The Chairman of Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Board of Directors, Heikki Bergholm, acts as the fourth member of the Nomination Board. The Nomination Board prepares proposals on the members of the Board of Directors and on the remuneration paid to them for the next Annual General Meeting.
On 23 October, the company issued a profit warning and increased its guidance for 2020. Full-year net sales for 2020 are expected to decrease year-on-year and adjusted operating profit is estimated to be EUR 35–43 million (40.5).
On 27 October, the company announced that it would streamline its group structure through incorporation. Lassila & Tikanoja plc has decided to incorporate its three divisions as separate limited liability companies. The incorporation will be carried out as a business transfer pursuant to Section 52d of the Act on the Taxation of Business Income. The newly established companies will start their operations on 1 January 2021. The aim of the incorporation is to streamline Lassila & Tikanoja’s group structure.
On 10 December, the company announced a change in the Shareholders’ Nomination Board. Mikko Maijala has resigned as Chairman of the Lassila & Tikanoja plc Nomination Board and the Nomination Board has chosen Patrick Lapveteläinen as its new Chairman.
EVENTS AFTER THE REVIEW PERIOD
The company’s management is not aware of any events of material importance after the review period that might have affected the preparation of the financial statements release.
NEAR-TERM RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES
The measures and recommendations issued by the authorities to restrict the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting customer-specific production restrictions and adjustment measures are expected to cause disruptions in service production during 2021. This is expected to be most apparent in separately ordered services, such as the maintenance of technical systems and process cleaning. The economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has been reflected in the demand for industrial services and made it difficult to predict.
The decline in industrial volume caused by COVID-19, the general economic uncertainty and the import restrictions imposed by China on recyclable materials have reduced the demand for, and prices of, key secondary raw materials. This market disruption is expected to continue in 2021, and it is anticipated to have an impact on the net sales and profitability of the Environmental Services division.
Decreasing oil prices reduce our fuel costs but, at the same time, they have a negative effect on the prices of oil-based secondary raw materials, such as recycled plastic and regenerated lubricants. However, the net effect of the lower oil price is positive at the Group level.
In the long term, challenges associated with the availability of labour may restrict business growth and increase production costs.
The company has several ERP system reform projects under way. Temporary additional costs arising from system deployments and establishing the operating model may weigh down the company’s result.
More detailed information on Lassila & Tikanoja’s risks and risk management will be provided in the 2020 Annual Report and in the Report of the Board of Directors and the consolidated financial statements.
Outlook for the year 2021
Net sales in 2021 are estimated to be at the same level and adjusted operating profit at the same level or better compared to the previous year.
LASSILA & TIKANOJA PLC
Board of Directors
President and CEO
For additional information, please contact:
Eero Hautaniemi, President and CEO, tel. +358 10 636 2810
Valtteri Palin, CFO, tel. +358 40 734 7749
Lassila & Tikanoja is a service company that is making the circular economy a reality. Together with our customers, we keep materials and properties in productive use for as long as possible and we enhance the use of raw materials and energy. This is to create more value with the circular economy for our customers, personnel and society in a broader sense. Achieving this also means growth in value for our shareholders. Our objective is to continuously grow our actions’ carbon handprint, our positive effect on the climate. We assume our social responsibility by looking after the work ability of our personnel as well as offering jobs to those who are struggling to find employment, for example. With operations in Finland and Sweden, L&T employs 8,100 people. Net sales in 2020 amounted to EUR 751.9 million. L&T is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.