Interim report Q3/2014: Uponor reports steady performance, continues to grow in North America
Uponor Corporation Interim report January-September 2014 29 October 2014 08.00 EET
Interim report Q3/2014: Uponor reports steady performance, continues to grow in North America
• July–September net sales totalled €277.0 (279.3) million, representing a change of -0.9%
• July–September operating profit, at €29.2 (28.2) million, up by 3.8%
• January–September’s net sales came to €772.4 (668.4) million, for a change of 15.6%
• January–September operating profit, at €51.6 (54.0) million, down by 4.4%, burdened by €3.4 million in non-recurring items
• Earnings per share in January–September amounted to €0.38 (0.41)
• January–September return on investment was 14.8% (17.9%) and gearing 41.7 (45.8)
• For January–September, cash flow from business operations was €19.3 (41.5) million
• Uponor repeats its guidance for the year 2014 announced on 14 February 2014:
the Group’s net sales and operating profit (excluding any non recurring items) are expected to improve from 2013
(This interim report has been compiled in accordance with the IAS 34 reporting standard, and is unaudited. The figures in the report apply to continuing operations unless otherwise stated. ‘Reporting period’ refers to January–September.)
President and CEO Jyri Luomakoski comments on developments during the quarter:
• Our largest segment, Building Solutions – Europe, reported stable performance despite lower net sales, thereby proving a good example of determined execution in a soft and volatile market. This shows that the cost savings and efficiency measures, some of which are still being implemented, are bearing fruit.
• The development in Building Solutions – North America continues to be highly favourable, and I am very happy with the fact that we have been able to meet the growing demand successfully while simultaneously adding to our manufacturing capacity. A key target in our planning for the future is to secure capacity that responds to future growth in demand.
• Uponor Infra completed the collaborative negotiations with personnel in Finland, the segment’s single largest market, and announced a plan for adjusting operations to meet the challenge of the contracting market and implementing savings to bring profitability back to an acceptable level.
Information on the January–September 2014 interim report bulletin
This document is a condensed version of Uponor’s January–September 2014 interim report bulletin, which is attached to this release. It is also available on the company website.
The figures in brackets are the reference figures for the equivalent period in the previous year. Figures refer to continuing operations, unless otherwise stated. Any change percentages have been calculated from the exact figures and not from the rounded figures published here.
Webcast and presentation
A webcast, in English, of the results briefing will be broadcast on 29 Oct at 10:00 a.m. EET. Connection details are available at www.uponor.com > Investors. Questions can be sent in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. The recorded webcast can be viewed at www.uponor.com > Investors shortly after publishing. The presentation document will be available at www.uponor.com > Investors > News & downloads.
The next results report
Uponor Corporation will publish its financial results for the full year 2014 on 12 February 2015. During the silent period from 1 January to 12 February, Uponor will not comment on market prospects or factors affecting business and performance, nor will the company engage in any discussion of events or trends related to the reporting period or the current fiscal period.
The overall demand situation in the building and construction markets in the third quarter – with the exception of the U.S. – was subdued and much in line with the developments in the second quarter. The U.S. building market continued its steady growth, although uncertainties related to the strength of the nation’s economic improve¬ment did not fully disappear. In Europe, a slower than anticipated economic recovery prevailed in most markets, in clear contrast to the early part of the year, in particular.
In Europe, demand in Building Solutions – Europe’s markets remained flat or showing modest revival, much as in the previous quarter. In Central Europe, the German market faced an unexpectedly weak summer, which has been attributed partly to the taking of winter holidays that had been postponed during the lively spring period, partly to diminishing domestic and export demand. Despite increasing customer demand toward the end of the quarter, the strength of the German economy abated from that of the first half of the year. South-west European markets remained weak, although positive signals were noted in Italy and Spain. The U.K. market maintained a satisfactory level of demand. As for the Nordic region, a positive demand pattern prevailed in Sweden, while demand weakened in Norway and in Finland and stayed on a low level in Denmark. In Eastern Europe, the lively demand that had prevailed in Russia until the end of the second quarter started to weaken in keeping with the region’s troubled political and economic environment during the third quarter. The repercussions were felt in other Eastern and Central European markets.
In North America, indicators reflecting the strength of the economic recovery in the U.S. have remained somewhat volatile yet clearly indicating that the nation’s growth remains on a firm track. The reviving economy has supported home sales, thereby fuelling growth in the building and construction markets. The trends in Canadian building markets have stayed rather more flat.
Demand for infrastructure solutions has mirrored general economic development in all of Uponor’s key infrastructure markets – i.e., the markets in Northern Europe and Canada. Accordingly, demand has stayed rather flat in most markets, with the declining Finnish market standing out as an exception to the general trend.
Uponor’s continuing operations reported net sales of €277.0 (279.3) million for the third quarter, thus reporting a decline of 0.9%. Excluding the impact of currency changes, the change was a modestly positive 0.4%.
Building Solutions – Europe reported weakening year-on-year development of net sales from 2013 figures, affected mainly by the slower than anticipated economic recovery in Europe. Apart from the brisk growth in net sales in the Netherlands and Russia, and to some extent also in Spain, flat or declining trend lines characterised most other markets in comparison to the third quarter of 2013. In particular, sales in France continued to suffer from the loss of business in the final quarter of 2013 as a result of a temporary cancellation of a product approval simultaneously with the market declining rapidly.
In Building Solutions – North America, year-on-year growth of net sales remained strong – in fact, slightly stronger than that from 2012 to 2013, in local currency. Most of this growth is due to the advances made in the U.S., especially in the country’s Southeast and West regions, but business in Canada grew too, even if only modestly. In both countries, a key driver for growth was plumbing solutions, the large-dimension offering in particular.
Uponor Infra reported a drop in net sales, influenced mainly by weak European business, particularly in Finland and Poland. The markets outside Europe, mainly in North America, posted growth.
Breakdown of net sales by segment (July–September):
|Building Solutions – Europe||123.5||129.3||-4.5%|
|Building Solutions – North America||54.7||46.9||16.7%|
|(Building Solutions – North America (M$)||71.8||62.4||15.1%)|
Uponor’s January–September net sales reached €772.4 (668.4) million, for growth of 15.6%, the increase coming for the most part from the establishment of the joint-venture company Uponor Infra, which started operations on 1 July 2013. The growth was also driven by the sustained double-digit-percentage growth in North America in 2014. In comparison to 2013, including the combined historic figures for Uponor Infra, the growth was 0.8%, or 3.3% when adjusted for currency changes. The currency impact on year to-date net sales, totalling -€19.2 million, was mainly from the CAD, SEK, USD and RUB.
Breakdown of net sales by segment (January–September):
|Building Solutions – Europe||366.4||367.5||-0.3%|
|Building Solutions – North America||144.7||127.9||13.2%|
|(Building Solutions – North America (M$)||195.2||168.6||15.8%)|
Results and profitability
Uponor’s operating profit in the third quarter came to €29.2 (28.2) million, for a year-on-year increase of 3.8%. Profitability measured in terms of the operating profit margin reached 10.5%, from the 10.1% reported a year ago. Operating profit excluding any non-recurring items rose from €29.2 to €29.3 million in the quarter under review.
The positive development was driven by a performance improvement in Building Solutions – North America and a modest gain also in Building Solutions – Europe, the two of which, when combined, offset the weaker performance of Uponor Infra.
Building Solutions – Europe’s operating profit was supported, in particular, by improving performance in the Eastern European and export markets, alongside performance in the Nordic countries, while continental European markets, for the most part, stayed close to the previous year’s performance levels.
Building Solutions – North America’s performance developed favourably, thanks to higher net sales, and was supported by efficient overhead management. The operating profit was adversely affected by the weakening of Canadian currency and higher plastic resin prices.
Uponor Infra’s operating profit was hit severely by weak volume development in several markets. Cost savings from the restructuring measures initiated in autumn 2013 are proceeding according to plan but they were not enough to bridge the gap in operating profit. The net impact of all non-recurring items for the third quarter, related to the 2014 Finnish restructuring initiatives as well as machinery relocation and reassembly expenses, including the proceeds from the divestment of the Ulvila premises, was a cost of €0.1 million.
Breakdown of operating profit by segment (July-September):
|Building Solutions – Europe||15.0||14.6||2.4%|
|Building Solutions – North America||9.2||7.7||19.1%|
|(Building Solutions – North America (M$)||12.1||10.2||18.0%)|
Profit before taxes for July–September totalled €27.8 (26.4) million. The effect of taxes on profits was €11.0 million, while the amount of taxes in the comparison period was €8.7 million. Profit for the third quarter came to €16.8 (17.7) million.
Operating profit for January–September was €51.6 (54.0) million, down 4.4% from the comparison period. When non-recurring items are excluded, the operating profit was €55.0 (55.1) million, a decrease of 0.2%. The operating profit margin reached 6.7%, while the equivalent figure for 2013 was 8.1%. Currency exchange rates had a €1.7 million translation impact on the operating profit for January–September.
Breakdown of operating profit by segment (January–September):
|Building Solutions – Europe||30.3||32.4||-6.8%|
|Building Solutions – North America||22.2||18.9||17.4%|
|(Building Solutions – North America (M$)||29.9||24.9||20.1%)|
Earnings per share for January–September totalled €0.38 (0.41), both basic and diluted. Equity per share was €3.10 (3.06), and diluted €3.09 (3.06).
Investments and financing
During the reporting period, Uponor continued to carry out smaller-scale technology investments to support its growth strategies. Among these were new-generation seamless aluminium composite pipe and PEX pipe extrusion lines, both due to contribute to capacity increases in Europe from early 2015 onward. In the U.S., the announced investments to increase manufacturing capacity were completed. In addition, investments mainly targeted at maintenance and development were made group-wide.
Gross investments in fixed assets in January–September came to €21.4 million, exceeding the previous year’s level of 19.1 million. This was below depreciation, which amounted to €27.0 (23.9) million.
The cash flow from business operations in January–September came to €19.3 million, from €41.5 million in 2013. The difference is mainly due to the lower result and higher seasonality of net working capital influenced by the consolidation of Uponor Infra after its establishment on 1 July 2013.
Uponor continues to take care to keep liquidity at a healthy level. The risk of bad debt has grown in Europe, due in particular to the protracted economic slowdown. To manage this risk, Uponor is actively following up on trade receivables, among other elements.
In 2014, Uponor has renewed its funding programmes, with a €50 million revolving credit facility agreement signed in April as the final step in this process. The main funding programmes in place on 30 September 2014 included an €80 million bond maturing in 2018 and a €20 million bond maturing in 2016. Uponor’s available committed bilateral credit facilities totalled €200 million, with none of this amount in use at the end of the reporting period. The amount of commercial papers issued under the €150 million domestic commercial-paper programme was zero at period-end.
The Group’s solvency ratio improved to 42.4% (41.2%). Net interest-bearing liabilities declined to €122.9 (135.2) million. The period-end cash balance totalled €21.2 (25.0) million. Gearing fell to 41.7% (45.8%).
Demand in the building market has become increasingly volatile in its month-to-month developments, and visibility of the future remains exceptionally low. Reliably forecasting developments is, therefore, particularly challenging.
Uponor does not expect any major changes to the business environment going forward. Demand in European building solutions markets, which represent very differing development trends, is expected to remain flat or modestly growing overall, thus mirroring developments in the second and third quarter, although with normal seasonal fluctuations. The biggest concern is related to the strength of the German building and construction markets, whose downside risks have been growing recently, influenced mainly by general European trends and the geopolitical turbulence in the eastern part of Europe especially. In North America, healthy recovery of the markets is expected to continue, both in the U.S. and in Canada. In terms of infra¬structure solutions, the market in Finland is anticipated to remain challenging, while the outlook in other markets is more positive.
Accordingly, Uponor remains prepared for extensive protraction of the current low to moderate activity levels, with limited expectations of market growth.
Uponor repeats its guidance for the year 2014, announced on 14 February 2014:
The Group’s net sales and operating profit (excluding any non-recurring items) are expected to improve from 2013.
Uponor’s financial performance may be affected by various strategic, operational, financial, legal, political, and hazard risks. A more detailed risk analysis is provided in the ‘Key risks associated with business’ section of the 2013 Financial Statements.
Board of Directors
For further information, please contact:
Jyri Luomakoski, President and CEO, tel. +358 20 129 2824
Riitta Palomäki, CFO, tel. +358 20 129 2822
Vice President, Communications
Tel. +358 20 129 2852
NASDAQ OMX Helsinki
Uponor is a leading international provider of plumbing and indoor climate solutions for residential and commercial building markets across Europe and North America. In northern Europe, Uponor is also a prominent supplier of infrastructure pipe systems. The Group employs approx. 4,100 persons, in 30 countries. In 2013, Uponor's net sales exceeded €900 million. Uponor Corporation is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki in Finland. http://www.uponor.com.