Earnings in BE Group shall be used to develop the business and generate returns for the owners. The Board of Directors of BE Group has therefore set three financial targets that should be achieved for earnings to be considered adequate. Over time, the goal completion can vary depending on various phases in the Company’s development and the current business cycle.
Sales growth that exceeds the market growth
BE Group’s growth is measured as delivered tonnes in the Swedish, Finnish and Baltic markets compared with the market’s growth in delivered tonnes in these markets.
A profit margin of at least 5 percent
Profit margin is defined as the underlying EBIT margin in the past 12 months.
At least 15 percent return on capital employed
Return on capital employed is defined as operating profit in the past 12 months divided by the average capital employed (equity and interest-bearing liabilities).
Target 1: Growth
To measure growth in BE Group’s markets, the market statistics that the company receives for the distribution markets in Sweden and Finland are used. By comparing tonnage growth year on year in this data, the growth in the market is estimated. BE Group’s growth is measured in delivered tonnes in the Swedish, Finnish and Baltic markets. For Sweden, deliveries for the joint venture ArcelorMittal BE Group SSC AB are included. The target is to grow more than the market.
The market is estimated to have grown by 0.9 percent (4.0) in 2018 compared with 2017. BE Group had a growth of 2.1 percent (3.1) and thereby achieved the target for 2018. It is primarily the Swedish business that has driven the growth within reinforcement steel and long steel products.
Target 2: Profit margin
Profit margin is defined as the underlying operating margin (uEBIT%) in the past 12 months. The target level is set to at least 5 percent measured over a longer period of time. This corresponds to approximately SEK 240 M in underlying operating result (uEBIT) at current sales. The underlying operating result, i.e. the operating result excluding the impact of inventory gains or losses and items affecting comparability, is used to put focus on how the operating activities perform and develop.
The underlying operating margin amounted to 2.4 percent (1.9) for 2018. In the past five years, the operating margin has been low, and despite a clear improvement trend, there is still a long way to go to achieve the target. In 2018, a number of activities were carried out that will contribute positively to the development in the future. The improvements, including a new pricing system and savings project in direct and indirect purchasing, are expected to have an effect in the next few years.
Target 3: Return
As a measure of return, return on capital employed is used, defined as operating result in the past 12 months divided by the average capital employed (equity and interest-bearing liabilities). The target level is set to at least 15 percent considering the prevailing capital structure and interest rates. The measure is calculated based on recognized operating profit, i.e. including inventory gains and losses and items affecting comparability, to put focus on the actual returns to the owners.
The return on capital employed increased to 9.4 percent (4.2) during the year. The reason is mainly that the operating result has improved. The diagram also illustrates an adjusted return where items affecting comparability have been excluded. Calculated this way, return improved to 10.2 percent (7.9).