January–December 2020: Outstanding earnings and cash flow generation
Rettig Group navigated successfully through an exceptionally volatile year. Structural performance improvements and swift cost cutting measures to mitigate short-term adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to outstanding earnings and cash flow in 2020. Performance improvement continues to be the main objective for Rettig Group in 2021.
1)The definition of EBITDA has been changed in terms of certain other operating expenses that are of exceptional nature and therefore booked below EBITDA. The impact of this change was EUR 5.5 million in 2020 (2019: EUR 1 million).
2)Including adjustments as defined in Rettig Group’s senior loan terms and conditions.
Unless otherwise stated, the figures refer to 1 January–31 December 2020 and the corresponding period in 2019. All figures are audited and prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Rettig Group financial highlights
- Consolidated turnover decreased in 2020 to EUR 948 million (2019: EUR 988 million) due to weaker demand in the second quarter, which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Consolidated EBITDA grew by 32 per cent to EUR 156 million (118). The outstanding performance was supported by successfully implemented structural profitability improvement actions, swift cost cutting measures and other contingency actions to offset the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the second quarter, and by declining raw material costs in Purmo Group. The sale of Nordkalk’s excess CO2 emission rights during the first quarter further supported the EBITDA improvement.
- Operating profit (EBIT) grew by 57 per cent to EUR 93 million (59). The increase was largely attributable to the exceptionally strong EBITDA growth.
- Free cash flow improved as a result of the significant EBITDA improvement as well as lower net working capital and capital expenditure compared to the same period last year.
- Net debt and net debt / EBITDA (including adjustments defined in Rettig Group’s senior loan terms and conditions) decreased significantly due to increased free cash flow and EBITDA.
Matts Rosenberg, CEO of Rettig Group:
2020 was an outstanding year for Rettig Group, despite volatility and extraordinary market conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consolidated EBITDA improved by 32 per cent to EUR 156 million and net profit improved by 77 per cent to EUR 70 million. During the year, we continued structural performance improvement programmes in our portfolio companies, and took direct action on Rettig Group and portfolio company level to mitigate short-term adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time we continued refining Rettig Group’s strategy and investment process to support long-term value creation. I am very proud of the achievements of the Rettig Group team and all the employees in our portfolio companies. The outstanding earnings and cash flow generation during exceptional circumstances supports my confidence in our ability to create further value in 2021 and beyond.
Portfolio company highlights
PRIVATE CORE INVESTMENTS
Purmo Group – 2020 was both eventful and very successful, with EBITDA improving to EUR 85 million in 2020 (65). The second quarter was particularly challenging for the company in terms of rapidly declining customer demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. However, the company witnessed a quick rebound in demand and profitability, supported by successful contingency actions and inherent resilience in the business. In order to steer Purmo Group in its next development phase, John Peter Leesi was appointed as the new CEO and onboarded in the beginning of the third quarter. A structural performance improvement programme was launched in the latter part of the year, aiming at improving cost competitiveness and positioning the company for growth. In November, Purmo Group signed an agreement to acquire a majority share of a Bosch Thermotechnology radiator factory in Russia.
Nordkalk performed strongly in 2020, with EBITDA increasing to EUR 75 million in 2020 (58). The earnings performance was strongly influenced by cost efficiency actions undertaken already in the latter part of 2019 as well as further efficiency actions taken during 2020. As a result of the highly successful transformation programme launched in 2019, Nordkalk is now very well positioned to capture growth in its addressable markets. The COVID-19 pandemic had only limited impact on Nordkalk during 2020. Customer demand remained stable, and the company was able to run its production without notable disturbances throughout the year. Nordkalk also implemented several initiatives targeting growth in the future, by for instance strengthening its circular economy business.
Alandia’s performance improved significantly compared to the previous year. The company’s technical insurance result improved materially, driven by improvements in both the claims ratio and the expense ratio. The improvement in the technical result was a result of decisive actions undertaken since the second half of 2019. Return on investments was on a decent level in 2020. Alandia’s net asset value was EUR 168 million at year-end 2020, up 10 per cent from the corresponding level at year-end 2019 (EUR 153 million). Alandia divested its life insurance portfolio to Aktia Life during 2020. Matts Rosenberg, CEO of Rettig Group, was elected new Chairman of the Board at Alandia’s Annual General Meeting in June. Rettig Group has a 24.9 per cent ownership share in Alandia.
LISTED CORE INVESTMENTS
Terveystalo was severely impacted by COVID-19 in the second quarter of the year but returned to growth in the third quarter driven by increasing demand for preventative services and COVID-19 testing. 2020 revenues declined by 4 per cent and adjusted EBITA by 12 per cent compared to the previous year. Financial performance improved markedly in the second half of the year. In the fourth quarter, revenues increased by 4 per cent and adjusted EBITA by 22 per cent year-on-year. Terveystalo is well-positioned to create long-term value thanks to its industry-leading market position in Finland in terms of revenue, network and digital footprint. Rettig Group has a 16.5 per cent ownership share in Terveystalo.
eQ achieved an excellent performance in 2020 and eQ’s profit continued to grow for the 27th consecutive quarter in October to December 2020. 2020 revenues increased by 12 per cent and operating profit by 17 per cent in comparison to the previous year. Asset Management continues to drive eQ’s growth and in 2020 revenues of Asset Management increased by 19 per cent, while operating profit grew by 26 per cent. Rettig Group has a 15.6 per cent ownership share in eQ.
2020 was a strong year for Rettig Group’s financial investments given the circumstances, with a return on invested capital of 8.2 per cent (15.7 per cent in 2019). Our financial investments are today focused on private market investments, most notably private equity funds and co-investments. During the year RG Partners, an entity held by a group of Finnish investors where Rettig Group is the largest owner with a 30 per cent share, acquired a 10.2 percent ownership share in Aktia.
Outlook for 2021
The economic recovery in 2021 is dependent on the success of the measures to contain the COVID-19 virus. Pent-up demand and expansionary monetary and fiscal policies are expected to support the recovery. Performance improvement in the portfolio companies continues to be the main objective for Rettig Group in 2021.
Financial calendar 2021
Rettig Group will publish its January-March Interim Management Statement on 3 May 2021, January-June interim report on 20 August 2021 and January-September Interim Management Statement on 1 November 2021.
Annual report and financial statements for 2020 published
Matts Rosenberg, CEO, Rettig Group
Tel. +358 (0)40 7455276