Comments on the report

Fourth quarter

Consolidated net sales for the period increased by 5 percent compared to last year, amounting to SEK 1,154 M (1,095). The increase is explained by organic growth of 3 percent, positive currency effects of 3 percent and negative price and mix effects of 1 percent. The negative price effect is mainly due to a somewhat changed product mix compared to last year.

Gross profit amounted to SEK 152 M (152), with a gross margin of 13.2 percent (13.9). The operating result increased to SEK 22 M (5), corresponding to an operating margin of 1.9 percent (0.5). Adjusted for inventory gains and losses of SEK 1 M (6) and items affecting comparability of SEK 4 M (-10), the underlying operating result was SEK 17 M (9). The underlying operating margin during the period was 1.4 percent (0.8). During the quarter, an agreement was reached with the landlord regarding maintenance of the warehouse in Malmö. The content of the agreement means that approximately SEK 4 M of the provision booked at the end of 2017 was released during the fourth quarter which explains the items affecting comparability mentioned above.

Full-year 2018

During the year, the Group´s net sales increased by 10 percent compared to last year and amounted to SEK 4,803 M (4,348). Tonnage in business area Sweden & Poland exceeded last year by 9 percent while Finland & Baltics delivered 1 percent less than last year. Higher average steel prices and mix effects had a positive impact on net sales of 3 percent. The price trend also led to inventory gains of SEK 27 M (27).

Gross profit amounted to SEK 669 M (619), with a gross margin of 13.9 percent (14.2). In total, the year was impacted by items affecting comparability amounting to SEK -12 M (-52) relating to the exit of the unprofitable operations in Prerov and the release of part of the provision as described in the fourth quarter. Apart from this, additional one-off costs of SEK -12 M related to adjustment for inventory and bad debt in the Baltics have affected the underlying operating result.

The operating result increased to SEK 132 M (57), which is mainly explained by the maintained gross margin and 4 percent organic tonnage growth and 10 percent higher net sales. Sales and administration expenses are in line with last year. Adjusted for items affecting comparability and inventory gains and losses, the underlying operating result increased to SEK 117 M (82). The operating margin amounted to 2.8 percent (1.3) and the underlying operating margin was 2.4 percent (1.9).

The Group´s sales growth and underlying operating result per quarter
The Group´s gross margin and gross profit per quarter