“We are now seeing a gradual market recovery combined with rising material prices”

Statement from the CEO

The weaker demand that characterised the whole year continued in the final quarter and net sales decreased by 11%. However, in recent months, we have hopefully seen a break in the trend and in December, for the first time during the year, we had net sales that were higher than last year. Despite lower sales during the quarter, the underlying operating result increased to SEK 12 M (9). This is the result of a higher gross margin in virtually all of the companies combined with good cost control.

Rising steel prices during the quarter resulted in an inventory gain of SEK 6 M, compared with an inventory loss of SEK 1 M the same period last year, and the operating result amounted to SEK 18 M. Good control of working capital resulted in a cash flow from operating activities of SEK 152 M (85).

Continued recovery

We are now seeing a gradual market recovery combined with rising material prices. In the main markets, the recovery is clear in the manufacturing industry while the construction industry is back to levels in line with the previous year. However, what will happen in 2021 as a result of Covid-19 and its development is still difficult to predict. What I do know is that BE Group will handle the situation, with a focus on customers, hard work and a belief in our basic idea and readiness to quickly shift gears both up and down.

Steel price development

The background to rising steel prices is a strong economy in Asia during 2020 with China as the net importer of steel for the first time in many years. Halfway through the year, the demand for automotive related products increased in Europe but by then, producers were cautious of building up their capacity. The alternative, to meet European demands with

imported steel, was not possible since the outside world had stronger demands and willingness to pay a significantly higher price.

With a limited availability and increasing lead times, customers started to accept rising prices during the autumn. By the end of 2020, the demand for steel accelerated further, and despite an increase in production capacity in Europe, we now see a shortage in several types of material, mainly automotive related. The shortage has led to rapid and large price increases in steel as well as raw material by the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

Future outlook

We continue to focus on building a good company with a solid foundation for the future. Major projects, such as the investment in Norrköping, the centralization of warehouse and production operations to Norrköping together with the closure of the warehouse in Malmö, have been completed and will have a positive impact on 2021. The restructuring in the Baltics is running according to plan and our e-commerce portal will have a pre launch at the end of the first quarter with a full launch in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, we also decided to broaden and increase our offering of laser-cut sheet metal in Finland through further investment in a state-of-the-art fiber laser.

In addition to the above, a lot is now about the fact that we must continuously and repeatedly implement small improvements in every part of the company. It is my absolute belief that our staff, with their commitment, persistence and flexibility, are ready to take on this task.

Peter Andersson
President and CEO


Bridge 2019-2020 operating result SEK M
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Jan-Dec
Brygga resultatutveckling 2019–2020. MSEK Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 jan-dec
Operating result 2019 Rörelseresultat 2019 34 32 14 8 88
Reversal of inventory gains (-)/losses (+)
Återläggning lagervinster (-)/förluster (+)
6 0 -1 1 6
Items affecting comparability Jämförelsestörande poster
Underlying operating result 2019
Underliggande rörelseresultat 2019
40 32 13 9 94
Change in sales Försäljningsförändring -12 -35 -32 -15 -94
Change in underlying gross margin
Underliggande bruttomarginalförändring
21 12 11 6 50
Change in overhead costs Omkostnadsförändring -7 19 22 12 46
Underlying operating result 2020
Underliggande rörelseresultat 2020
42 28 14 12 96
Reversal of inventory gains (+)/losses (-)
Återläggning lagervinster (+)/förluster (-)
-11 -2 -10 6 -17
Items affecting comparability Jämförelsestörande poster -35 -5 -40
Operating result 2020 Rörelseresultat 2020 -4 21 4 18 39