HKScan Corporation, Financial Statements Bulletin, 10 February 2022 at 8.30 am EET
- HKScan’s net sales increased by 4.0 per cent to EUR 491.6 (472.9) million. Food service sales clearly increased as Covid-19 restrictions were removed. Sales clearly increased in product categories with higher added value, such as meals and meal components.
- The Group EBIT totalled EUR 7.6 (17.5) million.
- The Group comparable EBIT totalled EUR 7.3 (12.1) million.
- In Finland, comparable EBIT totalled EUR 5.2 (10.4) million. It was clearly weakened by the rapid and significant increase in energy and other commodity prices. It was not possible to pass on cost increases to sales prices in the middle of the contract period.
- Sweden continued to improve its comparable EBIT to EUR 8.7 (7.2) million.
- In the Baltics, comparable EBIT was EUR -4.5 (0.3) million. It was clearly weakened by price pressure due to the overproduction of pork in Europe and significant increases in feed and energy prices.
- In Denmark, comparable EBIT strengthened to EUR 1.0 (-0.7) million. The strategic shift to more profitable product categories progressed as planned and supported sales increase.
- Exceptionally high price increases in energy and other production inputs drove up costs in all HKScan’s home markets.
- Cash flow from operating activities was EUR 42.1 (40.5) million.
- HKScan’s net sales totalled EUR 1,815.3 (1,781.0) million. In comparable exchange rates, net sales remained at the comparison year level. Sales clearly increased in the strategically important products with higher added value, such as meals and meal components. Growth also continued in retail sales of own branded products. Food service sales increased as pandemic restrictions were gradually removed.
- The Group EBIT totalled EUR 17.9 (21.3) million.
- The Group comparable EBIT was EUR 14.5 (17.0) million.
- In Finland, comparable EBIT improved by EUR 2.5 million to EUR 8.5 (6.0) million.
- In Sweden, comparable EBIT improved by EUR 3.9 million to EUR 22.9 (19.0) million.
- In the Baltics, a significant rise in feed and energy prices and price pressure from oversupply of pork in Europe accounted for the largest negative deviation of the profit development of the entire Group. In the Baltics, comparable EBIT was EUR -5.1 (4.0) million.
- In Denmark, a strategic shift in sales focus to poultry products with higher added value clearly reduced the negative impact of avian flu on EBIT. In Denmark, comparable EBIT was EUR 0.0 (1.1) million.
- Cash flow from operating activities was EUR 54.6 (63.7) million. The change was due to a weaker profit than in the comparison year and volatility in working capital.
- Interest-bearing net debt was EUR 314.5 (299.6) million and net gearing 95.2 (91.0) per cent.
- The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that the company pays a dividend of EUR 0.04 per share for 2021.
The figures in parentheses refer to the same period in the previous year, unless otherwise mentioned. The figures are unaudited.
Outlook for 2022
HKScan estimates that the Group’s comparable EBIT in 2022 will improve compared to 2021. Early 2022 comparable EBIT is expected to be weaker than the comparison period due to inflation, which strongly affects the company's profit development, and significant imbalances in the international meat and grain market. The full-year profit development will be significantly affected by the development of the international meat and grain market.
KEY FIGURES, NET SALES
|Net sales||491,6||472,9||1 815,3||1 781,0|
KEY FIGURES, EBIT
|- % of net sales||1,5||3,7||1,0||1,2|
|- % of net sales||1,5||2,6||0,8||1,0|
|Comparable EBIT, Finland||5,2||10,4||8,5||6,0|
|- % of net sales||2,5||5,0||1,1||0,8|
|Comparable EBIT, Sweden||8,7||7,2||22,9||19,0|
|- % of net sales||4,4||3,9||3,3||2,9|
|Comparable EBIT, Baltics||-4,5||0,3||-5,1||4,0|
|- % of net sales||-10,1||0,6||-3,0||2,3|
|Comparable EBIT, Denmark||1,0||-0,7||0,0||1,1|
|- % of net sales||2,4||-1,8||0,0||0,6|
KEY FIGURES, OTHER
|Profit/loss before taxes||5,1||15,2||6,6||12,3|
|- % of net sales||1,0||3,2||0,4||0,7|
|Profit/loss for the period||0,8||11,2||-1,2||4,8|
|- % of net sales||0,2||2,4||-0,1||0,3|
|Comparable EPS, EUR||-0,01||0,04||-0,10||-0,05|
|Cash flow from operating activities||42,1||40,5||54,6||63,7|
|Cash flow after investing activities||21,2||26,5||81,2*||-21,4*|
|Return on capital employed (ROCE) before taxes, %||3,6||3,9|
|Net Gearing %||95,2||91,0|
* 1-12/2020 includes the investment to the plot of the Vantaa unit EUR 37.7 million.
1-12/2021 includes the sale of Vantaa property (land and buildings) with EUR 76.1 million.
HKScan’s CEO Tero Hemmilä
HKScan’s three-year Turnaround programme was completed at the end of 2021. During the Turnaround, we improved the company’s comparable EBIT cumulatively by some EUR 61 million. I see our profit improvement as a good achievement, taking into account the very exceptional and unexpected changes in our operating environment.
It is clear that our profit improvement is not yet sufficient. As communicated earlier, the Turnaround will be followed by a phase of further strengthening of the company's financial base before the comprehensive implementation of the strategy. Therefore, in 2022, our focus will remain firmly on improving the competitiveness and profitability of our core business. The highly exceptional operating environment will continue to challenge us also in 2022, with high prices in feed, energy and other production inputs. This requires us to take decisive action on sales pricing and other commercial measures to increase net sales and strengthen profitability. Equally important for strengthening profitability is a significant improvement in cost efficiency and productivity in our industrial operations.
Net sales stable, performance twofold in 2021
In 2021, HKScan’s net sales were stable, but increased by four per cent in the last quarter of the year. Food service sales recovered clearly. Food service sales for the full year were up by more than six percent and for the last quarter by almost 10 percent from the comparison period. In 2021, we did well in retail with our own branded products. Our sales strengthened especially in processed meat products, meal components and meals, which has decreased our need for more cyclical and less profitable exports.
The Group’s 2021 comparable EBIT was below the comparison year in a very exceptional market environment. Covid-19 pandemic, strong cost inflation, avian flu, low market prices caused by pork overproduction in Europe and record-high feed and energy prices generated significant instability in the business. HKScan’s main market areas Sweden and Finland improved their EBIT while EBIT in Denmark and the Baltics weakened. In 2021, HKScan’s EBIT was EUR 17.9 million and EUR 21.3 million in the comparison year. Comparable EBIT was EUR 14.5 million and EUR 17.0 million in the comparison year.
The full-year profit development was twofold and the reasons for this are clear. HKScan’s key home markets Finland and Sweden continued their profit improvement. I am particularly pleased with the good development of our Swedish business. Sweden has been able to improve its comparable EBIT for 15 consecutive quarters in relation to comparison periods. In Finland, the comparable EBIT weakened, but retail sales for meals and meal components showed good development. Although the profit development in Denmark was down on the comparison period, I am satisfied with the comparable EBIT achieved, taking the market environment into account, and in particular with the last quarter of the year. In the Baltics, the full-year profit development was weak and accounted for the majority of the Group's profit deviation against our target. Exceptionally low pork prices and historically high grain prices significantly undermined the performance of our Baltic business in an operating model based on extensive vertical integration.
The good profit development in Finland and Sweden was driven by an increase in the added value of products and growth in sales of branded products. This development is also in line with our strategy of creating added value. We have been able to build differentiating added value with our Scan brand and by developing our product portfolio. The good development in Sweden has also been supported by a clear increase in the productivity of our production processes. In Finland, the poultry business continued to improve its results, although moderately. The Rauma production unit’s operational development progressed as planned, but commercial success in poultry products left room for improvement. Strong sales growth was seen in our partner and associate company Mäkitalon Maistuvat’s ready-to-eat salads.
In Denmark, the avian flu situation affecting the whole industry and resulting restrictions on exports outside the EU had a clear negative impact on our EBIT. Our strategy to strengthen our position with Danish fresh and ready-to-eat poultry products both in Denmark and Sweden has progressed well, which has contributed to strengthening our EBIT in Denmark and reducing our dependence on frozen exports outside the EU.
In the Baltics, the exceptional market situation continues to challenge our long local value chain. The overproduction of pork in Europe has strongly decreased market prices, also lowering the value of biological assets tied up in our business. At the same time, the rapid and significant rise in feed and energy prices has been very exceptional. The meat and grain market will recover once the supply and demand balance stabilises, which will also strengthen our Baltic profit.
On a journey into a versatile food company
HKScan needs a stronger balance sheet to implement a more comprehensive food company transformation as we build new food businesses alongside our existing core businesses. Strengthening the company's EBIT plays a key role in this. In addition, we are constantly assessing the role of our existing businesses as part of the Group and its strategy. These are key elements in enabling a clearer and more impactful food company transformation.
In Sweden, we signed a cooperation agreement in November 2021 with Scandinavian Aquasystems Ab, the owner of the Gårdsfisk farming concept. The aim of the partnership is to scale up fish farming based on more environmentally friendly recirculating water system on farms and to participate in the growing market for fish proteins. HKScan collaborates as both commercial and production partner in Sweden.
In Sweden, we launched cooperation in ready-to-eat meals with Maten é klar meal concept. Our highly valued, strong Scan brand is also taking new steps and will expand into new product categories, such as plant-based products, early this year.
In Finland, we have a strong position in processed meat products, meal components and poultry products. We aim to grow further in poultry products, meals and snacks. Together with our strong offering and subsidiaries – Kivikylän, Tamminen and Boltsi – our strategic target is to be increasingly consumer-engaging and a more appealing retail partner. Cooperation with our associate company, Mäkitalon Maistuvat ready-to-eat salads, will strengthen.
At the end of 2021, restaurant-level fresh meals were launched for retail service counters in Finland with the Vietävä concept. The investment in the production of snack products decided last summer is progressing as planned and new products will be available in the autumn 2022. The investment will enable our growth in the profitable snack market in Finland.
We will continue to implement our strategy to strengthen our market position in Denmark and Sweden with fresh and ready-to-eat poultry products as well as processed products.
In the Baltics, our business capability has not weakened, even though we have not been able to secure our results and adapt in a very exceptional market situation. The profitability of our Baltic poultry business and processed meat products is at a better level than in other product categories and our market position is strong, especially in poultry.
We determinedly continue the implementation of our Zero Carbon programme with the target of a carbon-neutral food chain by the end of 2040. In addition to developing our own production, we are focusing on the climate issues in primary production. We will continue to scale up good practices to reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks together with contract farmers and partners.
Challenges in the value chain of meat business continuing
The value chain of HKScan’s meat business is facing fundamental questions. The weak financial situation of meat farms is a result of the surplus in the European pork market, the sharp rise in feed and other production input prices and scarce grain harvests on farms. Increased prices for feeds and other production inputs, both on farms and in HKScan’s own operations, has widely increased costs.
We have already increased producer prices to secure the profitability of meat production and availability of meat raw material. Prices will continue to rise in the markets where the profitability of farms is particularly weak. Clear pressure for higher consumer prices for meat products will continue.
Our focus is firmly on 2022. This year, we will develop HKScan’s business comprehensively and focus on improving profitability. Our strategic target is to grow into a versatile food company creating strong shareholder value.
HKScan’s three-year Turnaround programme ended at the end of 2021. During the programme, the company has risen from a deep financial crisis to a position where its financial base is significantly more stable. The Group’s comparable EBIT improved cumulatively by some EUR 61 million during the Turnaround. However, the profit improvement achieved is not sufficient and Turnaround will therefore be followed by a phase in which the company's financial base will be further strengthened by focusing on improving the profitability of the core businesses before a more comprehensive implementation of the strategy.
In line with its strategy, HKScan is growing into a versatile food company. Implementing the strategy requires both new expertise and financial flexibility. It is therefore essential for the company to broaden the competences and continue to systematically develop its activities. Strong customer relationships and commercial renewal, as well as improved productivity and cost efficiency in the core business based on pork and beef products, processed meat products, meal components, meals and poultry products, will create the financial and operational basis for business expansion and diversification. It is also crucial to strengthen the consumer engagement through our well-known brands. Strengthening the consumer-oriented approach is central as understanding and responding to changes in consumer behaviour and customer interface are at the core of the company's strategy.
At the same time, HKScan is looking for new growth and actively pursuing new business opportunities within its financial resources, in line with the company’s strategic target to grow into a versatile food company. On its transformation journey, the company wants to maintain its current strengths. New growth and profitability will be built systematically taking localness into account. The partnership strategy plays a significant role in this. Through partnerships, HKScan expands quickly and flexibly to new business areas. The aim is to scale up new businesses by taking advantage of the company's broad commercial and production platform. Examples of long-standing partnerships include Kivikylän and Tamminen and more recently Hes-Pro, Boltsi and Mäkitalon Maistuvat in Finland, and Gårdsfisk and Maten é klar in Sweden.
To achieve a significant food company transformation, HKScan will need a stronger balance sheet as it builds new food businesses and ways to face market changes alongside its current business strongly based on poultry, pork and beef products. To increase financial flexibility, the position of each business within the Group is continuously assessed. The completed Turnaround period will be followed by a phase in which the company's balance sheet will be actively strengthened through various means to enable a more effective food company transformation.
Advanced corporate responsibility work is as an increasingly solid basis for HKScan’s business. It is the new normal in the operating environment, and its role in leading the profit and balance sheet is increasingly important. Ability to operate within the carrying capacity of the environment and nature and to build a strong social foundation for the company's operations, enables HKScan to perform well and create responsible prosperity in its home markets. HKScan continues its goal-oriented climate work through the Zero Carbon programme aiming at a carbon-neutral food chain by the end of 2040. In addition to its own production, the company will focus on climate issues in primary production and scalable ways to reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks together with the contract farmers and partners.
The key drivers of value creation in HKScan’s business are growth in the core business by increasing the added value of products and strengthening the value creation capabilities of the company’s own brands. In addition, the aim is to grow in meals, snacks, new food businesses and by taking advantage of new raw material bases. Strengthening in growing and in new sales channels is central. Food service channel has long been growing and evolving, which is further reinforced by the Covid-19 pandemic. This offers HKScan interesting opportunities to build new business models. Increasing productivity in all business processes is an important driver of value creation. Building responsibility as a value-creating basis for business plays a key role in creating differentiating value in the market.
Events after the reporting period
HKScan to start Finnish poultry meat exports to South Korea
On 21 January 2022, HKScan announced that its Rauma unit had received an export approval for Finnish poultry meat from the South Korean authorities. Exports of poultry meat from Finland to South Korea will start as soon as possible. The export licence for poultry meat is an important step for HKScan's exports, as the Rauma unit has invested in growth in recent years, also with a view to exports.
The volume of exports is estimated at 3-5 million kilos for the first years. Products exported to South Korea will be chicken legs, wings and feet. Finnish poultry meat is responsibly produced and antibiotic-free. In addition, the animal disease situation is excellent in Finland and animal welfare and environmental efficiency of production are taken into account at all stages.
HKScan plans to streamline its operating model
On 3 February 2022, HKScan announced that the company is planning to streamline the operating model between the Group functions and Business Units. In the future, HKScan’s Group functions are planned to focus more closely on the Group’s key strategic development projects and leadership as well as activities that ensure good corporate governance of a listed company. Operational business will be more clearly focused on the Business Units.
Plans to streamline the operating model of HKScan’s Group functions and the Business Unit Finland will be discussed in Finland in statutory negotiations, which may lead to an estimated 20 job reductions or changes in the employment contracts. The statutory negotiations do not concern blue-collar workers or HKScan’s businesses in Sweden, the Baltics, Denmark and Poland. The aim is to complete the negotiations during March 2022.
Board of Directors’ proposal on the distribution of profit
The parent company's distributable equity is EUR 282.5 (290.9) million, including the reserve for invested unrestricted equity of EUR 215.4 (215.1) million and the profit for the financial year 2021 of EUR -5.8 million. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that the company pays a dividend of EUR 0.04 per share, i.e. a total of EUR 3.9 million. The remaining distributable assets will be retained in equity.
Annual General Meeting 2022
HKScan’s Annual General Meeting is planned to be held in Turku on Wednesday, 30 March 2022. The invitation will be published later.
Turku, 10 February 2022
Board of Directors
In connection with its Financial Statements Bulletin 2021, HKScan will hold a webcast in Finnish for analysts, institutional investors and media on 10 February 2022 at 10 am, Finnish time. You can follow the Finnish webcast at: https://hkscan.videosync.fi/tilinpaatos-2021. HKScan’s CEO Tero Hemmilä and CFO Jyrki Paappa will present the result.
To arrange an investor call in English, please contact Heidi Hirvonen, SVP Communications, tel. +358 10 570 6072 or by email email@example.com.
For further information
Tero Hemmilä, CEO, tel. +358 10 570 2012
Jyrki Paappa, CFO, tel. +358 10 570 2512
Heidi Hirvonen, SVP Communications, tel. +358 10 570 6072