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Lassila & Tikanoja plc
Stock exchange release
27 July 2021 at 8:00 a.m.
GOOD GROWTH IN NET SALES
Lassila & Tikanoja plc: Half-Year Report 1 January–30 June 2021
Unless otherwise mentioned, the figures in brackets refer to the corresponding period in the previous year.
Net sales for the second quarter amounted to EUR 198.7 million (183.2). Net sales increased by 8.5 per cent, of which 6.2 per cent was organic growth. Net sales increased in all divisions.
Adjusted operating profit was EUR 10.2 million (8.7) and operating profit was EUR 10.6 million (-2.2). Earnings per share were EUR 0.21 (-0.07).
Net sales in January–June totalled EUR 390.7 million (367.5). Adjusted operating profit was EUR 13.8 million (12.3), operating profit was EUR 14.3 million (0.7) and earnings per share were EUR 0.27 (-0.07).
Earnings per share were positively influenced by a reduction in net financial expenses to EUR -1.6 million (-3.1). Exchange differences amounted to EUR 0.0 million (-1.2).
Outlook for the year 2021, updated 27 July 2021
Net sales in 2021 are estimated to grow and adjusted operating profit is estimated to be at the same level or better compared to the previous year.
PRESIDENT AND CEO EERO HAUTANIEMI:
In the first half of the year, net sales increased by 6.3 per cent from the comparison period. Organic growth accounted for 5.7 per cent. Operating profit increased across all divisions, and in addition to growth in net sales, we succeeded in enhancing our operational efficiency. All of the divisions boosted their results even though the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on all of our businesses throughout the first half of the year. In the second quarter, material volumes began to recover and the prices of secondary raw materials continued to recover. Demand in the industrial segment was strong. We are now focusing on taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the recovery of the markets.
One of our strategic targets is to continuously improve customer satisfaction. In a customer satisfaction survey conducted in Finland in April, we achieved record results and customer satisfaction improved across all of our divisions. Employee satisfaction also improved.
We carried out three business acquisitions in the second quarter, strengthening our position in Environmental Services and Facility Services Finland’s food hygiene and retail services in accordance with our strategy. The combined net sales of the acquired businesses amounted to approximately EUR 25 million in 2020. The acquisitions support our goal of annually increasing our net sales organically and through acquisitions by more than 5 per cent.
We received international recognition for our sustainability efforts. EcoVadis, a leading ratings platform for assessing sustainability, awarded the highest possible Platinum rating to L&T in its assessment. This means we are in the top 1% of the 75,000 companies analysed by EcoVadis. We also received recognition in a study by the Financial Times and Statista, which listed European companies that achieved the highest reduction in emissions relative to net sales in 2020. Lassila & Tikanoja was one of fourteen Finnish corporations on the list.
The new Waste Act entered into force in Finland on 19 July 2021. The new Waste Act implements the EU’s new and more ambitious recycling requirements for municipal waste and packaging waste in Finnish legislation and also introduces national reforms to the collection systems concerning materials collected from housing properties. The amendments will enter into force in stages by 2025 and do not have an impact on L&T in 2021.
The expansion of the sorting and separate collection obligations to businesses is estimated to increase the market for collecting and processing materials. The impact of the new Waste Act on the retail and industrial waste streams and the competitive landscape in areas will become clear by the end of 2025.
Municipalities will take on a larger role in collecting packaging materials and biowaste from residential properties. L&T’s direct customer agreements with housing properties will be transferred to municipal waste companies by the end of the transition period. The change will not have a direct impact on the collection of mixed waste from housing properties. Housing properties’ contractual waste management services accounted for slightly over 10 per cent of the net sales of Environmental Services in 2020. The amendments will enter into force in stages by the end of 2025.
It is still too early to assess the overall impact of the new Waste Act. The trend of municipalisation of waste management for residential properties has reduced the household segment’s share of the Environmental Services division’s business portfolio significantly over the past 10 years. We have been able to compensate for these losses effectively by focusing on the growing corporate market.
The amendment to the Waste Act will not result in changes in L&T’s strategy. We are continuing to focus on the organic growth in the corporate customer market and business acquisitions, with the acquisition of Sihvari Oy’s business operations in June being a good example of this.
GROUP NET SALES AND FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
Lassila & Tikanoja’s net sales for the second quarter amounted to EUR 198.7 million (183.2), up 8.5% year-on-year. Adjusted operating profit was EUR 10.2 million (8.7), representing 5.1% (4.7%) of net sales. Operating profit was EUR 10.6 million (-2.2), representing 5.3% (-1.2%) of net sales. Earnings per share were EUR 0.21 (-0.07).
Net sales grew across all of the Group’s business segments. Operating profit increased in Industrial Services and Facility Services Sweden. In Environmental Services and Facility Services Finland, operating profit was on a par with the comparison period.
Net sales for January–June increased by 6.3% from the comparison period to EUR 390.7 million (367.5). Adjusted operating profit was EUR 13.8 million (12.3), representing 3.5% (3.3%) of net sales. Operating profit was EUR 14.3 million (0.7), representing 3.7% (0.2%) of net sales. Earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.27
Net sales and comparable operating profit increased across all of the Group’s business segments.
The realisation of occupational accident expenses concerning accidents that took place prior to 2018 had a negative effect of EUR 0.8 million on the Group’s operating profit. In the comparison period, non-recurring items had a positive net effect of EUR 0.9 million on the Group’s operating profit. The items in question are not included in the figures of the Group’s businesses. In the comparison period, operating profit was improved by the temporary lowering of pension insurance contributions by 2.6 percentage points from 1 May to 31 December 2020, which had a positive impact of approximately EUR 3.8 million in 2020. Earnings per share were positively influenced by a reduction of EUR -1.6 million (-3.1) in net financial expenses.
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NET SALES AND OPERATING PROFIT BY DIVISION
The division’s net sales for the second quarter increased to EUR 77.2 million (71.9). Operating profit was EUR 7.8 million (-2.6). Operating profit in the comparison period was negatively affected by costs of EUR 10.8 million recognised in relation to the discontinuation of Russian operations. Comparable operating profit was on a par with the previous year at EUR 7.8 million (7.9).
The Environmental Services division’s net sales for the first half of the year grew to EUR 153.4 million (149.0). Operating profit increased year-on-year to EUR 12.4 million (2.1) due to costs of EUR 10.8 million recognised in relation to the discontinuation of Russian operations in the comparison period. Excluding the share of Russian operations, the net sales of Environmental Services increased to EUR 153.4 million (144.6) and its operating profit improved to EUR 12.4 million (12.2).
In the Environmental Services division, demand increased in the waste management and recycling businesses and material volumes began to recover. The prices of secondary raw materials continued to recover and demand grew. Production costs were increased by the significant increase in fuel prices. Profitability remained stable. The Environmental Services division strengthened its position in the SME market by acquiring Sihvari Oy on 1 June 2021. Investments in the customer experience and digital services continued.
The division’s net sales for the second quarter increased to EUR 26.9 million (23.4). Operating profit improved to EUR 3.2 million (1.3).
The Industrial Services division’s net sales for the first half of the year grew to EUR 46.5 million (43.7). Operating profit improved year-on-year and amounted to EUR 3.4 million (1.0).
Demand in the industrial segment was strong. The Industrial Services division strengthened its position, particularly with customers in the metal industry. The resourcing and implementation of annual maintenance breaks succeeded well, which improved the profitability of the division. Some of the annual maintenance breaks agreed for the first half of the year were postponed to the second half as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Industrial Services carried out active development of methods and invested particularly in supervisor training.
Facility Services Finland
The division’s net sales for the second quarter increased to EUR 59.0 million (56.7). Operating profit was EUR -0.4 million (-0.4).
The net sales of Facility Services Finland increased in the first half of the year to EUR 120.2 million (114.9). Operating profit improved year-on-year and amounted to EUR -1.7 million (-2.2).
The market position strengthened and customer satisfaction increased in cleaning. The operating profit of Facility Services Finland was burdened by the cost impacts of the snowy winter in the early part of the second quarter, high subcontracting costs and the elimination of the reduction in employer’s pension contributions, which was still in effect in the comparison period. Employee satisfaction increased and employee turnover decreased. The market position strengthened in the food hygiene segment following the acquisition of Serveco Oy. The market position strengthened in the retail segment and the service offering expanded with the acquisition of Spectra Oy.
Facility Services Sweden
The division’s net sales for the second quarter increased to EUR 37.1 million (32.7). Operating profit improved to EUR 0.6 million (0.3).
The net sales of Facility Services Sweden grew to EUR 73.3 million (63.1) in the first half of the year. Operating profit improved year-on-year and amounted to EUR 1.1 million (0.5).
The COVID-19 pandemic situation improved in Sweden in the second quarter and sickness-related absence returned nearly to the normal level. Net sales and operating profit improved due to the growth of the contract portfolio and improved operational efficiency.
Net cash flow from operating activities amounted to EUR -21.0 million (14.6) in the first half of the year. A total of EUR 11.6 million in working capital was committed (EUR 3.4 million committed). The cash flow in the first half of the year was reduced by business acquisitions, with a total impact of approximately EUR 22 million. Cash flow in the comparison period was favourably affected by the sale of property.
At the end of the period, interest-bearing liabilities amounted to EUR 198.6 million (194.8). Net interest-bearing liabilities totalled EUR 183.6 million (166.5). The average interest rate on long-term loans excluding IFRS 16 liabilities, with interest rate hedging, was 1.3% (1.3).
Of the EUR 100.0 million commercial paper programme, EUR 25.0 million (15.0) was in use at the end of the period. A committed credit limit totalling EUR 30 million was not in use, as was the case in the comparison period.
Net financial expenses in the first half of the year amounted to EUR -1.6 million (-3.1). The effect of exchange rate changes on net financial expenses was EUR 0.0 million (-1.2). Net financial expenses were -0.4% (-0.9%) of net sales.
The equity ratio was 31.8% (30.5%) and the gearing rate was 97.9% (99.4%). Liquid assets at the end of the period amounted to EUR 14.9 million (28.3). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group has taken measures to ensure its liquidity. Overdue trade receivables and credit losses have not increased during the pandemic.
DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS
The Annual General Meeting held on 18 March 2021 resolved that a dividend of EUR 0.40 per share be paid on the basis of the balance sheet that was adopted for the financial year 2020. The dividend, totalling EUR 15.2 million, was paid to shareholders on 29 March 2021.
Gross capital expenditure in the first half of the year totalled EUR 40.2 million (22.0). The share of business acquisitions from investments was approximately EUR 22 million and other investments consisted primarily of machine and equipment purchases as well as investments in information systems and buildings.
Climate benefits for customers created by L&T
Target to be achieved by
Carbon handprint (tCO2e)
growth faster than net sales
The carbon handprint illustrates the climate benefits of a product, process or service, i.e. the emission reduction potential for the user. L&T’s carbon handprint reduces the customer’s carbon footprint. Our services generated emission reductions for customers through, for example, customers replacing virgin raw materials with secondary raw materials and fossil fuels with biofuels and solid recovered fuels. During the period under review, we expanded our calculation to also cover the material services of the Industrial Services division more comprehensively than before.
Recycling rate and material recovery
Target to be achieved by
Recycling rate of material flows managed by L&T
The recycling rate is the weighted average of our customers’ recycling rates. It also includes materials that cannot be recycled at present. To increase our reuse and recycling rate, we actively look for new material streams whose refining rate we can increase. Reporting covers municipal waste collected from corporate customers, hazardous waste, industrial waste and construction waste in Finland. Slurry, contaminated soil and ash are excluded from reporting.
Progress towards science-based emission reduction targets, using 2018 as the baseline
Target to be achieved by
Carbon footprint (tCO2e)
Carbon footprint intensity (gCO2e/km)
L&T’s strategic objective is to halve the carbon footprint of its operations by 2030 and to reduce the indirect emissions generated by its supply chain. The emission reduction target set by L&T has been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative. The achievement of this objective will be promoted by switching to zero-emission transport technologies and fuels and by opting for renewable energy at L&T’s properties. We increased the number of biogas-powered heavy vehicles to 21 (Q1/2021: 18) and started a project to set emission reduction targets in the supply chain.
Overall accident frequency
Interim target to be achieved by
Overall accident frequency (TRIF)
We use effective proactive measures – such as risk assessments, safety observations, Safety Walks and occupational safety sessions – to improve our safety as well as the safety of our customers and other stakeholders, while also eliminating risk factors.
Well-being at work
Interim target to be achieved by
Occupational health rate (proportion of employees with no sickness-related absences)
In the first half of the year, the sickness rate among employees was lower than in the comparison period and the occupational health rate improved by two percentage points to 66 per cent (64%). Supervisors received training on remote management practices and employee well-being was supported by a dedicated COVID-19 helpline and digital discussion services to help them cope with the situation psychologically. L&T also provided COVID-19 vaccinations to employees through the occupational health provider in locations where the municipalities’ arrangements made this possible.
Current issues related to sustainability
EcoVadis, an international platform for rating corporate sustainability, awarded a Platinum rating to Lassila & Tikanoja. Only 1% of the approximately 75,000 companies assessed by EcoVadis achieve a Platinum rating. In the second quarter, the Financial Times published a list of the European companies that achieved the highest reduction in emissions relative to net sales in 2020. Lassila & Tikanoja made the list along with 13 other Finnish companies. The Upright Project, which assesses the net social impact of businesses, awarded a net impact rating of AA+/Excellent+ to L&T (on a scale of C to AAA). L&T’s rating is higher than 93.5 per cent of the rated companies. Only 5.4 per cent of the companies listed on Nasdaq Helsinki have achieved the same or higher net impact rating.
L&T updated its assessment related to the EU taxonomy on the proportion of our business operations that is related to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change. We are monitoring the development of the taxonomy and will update our assessment regularly, available on our website.
In May, Facility Services launched the More sustainable cleaning development programme aimed at promoting social and environmental responsibility at L&T and throughout the cleaning industry. L&T is participating in the CO-CARBON project, which began in spring 2021 and focuses on measuring and modelling the carbon sequestration of urban green infrastructure.
In the first half of the year, the average number of employees converted into full-time equivalents was 6,846 (7,132). At the end of the period, L&T had 8,737 (8,501) full-time and part-time employees. Of these, 7,314 (6,918) worked in Finland and 1,423 (1,583) in other countries.
Employee satisfaction developed favourably. Satisfaction with supervisory work improved in particular. Some 83 per cent of our personnel would recommend L&T as an employer.
SHARES AND SHARE CAPITAL
Traded volume and price
The volume of trading during the first half of the year was 6.2 million shares, which is 16.2% (20.0%) of the average number of outstanding shares. The value of trading was EUR 89.6 million (103.7). The highest share price was EUR 16.10 and the lowest EUR 13.46. The closing price was EUR 14.16. At the end of the review period, the market capitalisation excluding the shares held by the company was EUR 539.7 million (498.4).
At the end of the period, the company held 686,396 of its own shares, representing 1.8% of all shares and votes.
Share capital and number of shares
The company’s registered share capital amounts to EUR 19,399,437 and the number of outstanding shares is 38,112,478. The average number of shares excluding the shares held by the company was 38,107,763.
At the end of the period, the company had 23,533 (18,668) shareholders. Nominee-registered holdings accounted for 9.3% (10.1%) of the total number of shares.
Authorisations for the Board of Directors
The Annual General Meeting held on 18 March 2021 authorised Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Board of Directors to decide on the repurchase of the company’s own shares using the company’s unrestricted equity. In addition, the Annual General Meeting authorised the Board of Directors to decide on a share issue and the issuance of special rights entitling their holders to shares.
The Board of Directors is authorised to purchase a maximum of 2,000,000 company shares (5.2% of the total number of shares). The repurchase authorisation is effective for 18 months.
The Board of Directors is authorised to decide on the issuance of new shares or shares which may be held by the company through a share issue and/or issuance of option rights or other special rights conferring entitlement to shares, referred to in Chapter 10, Section 1 of the Finnish Companies Act, so that under the authorisation, a maximum of 2,000,000 shares (5.2% of the total number of shares) may be issued and/or conveyed. The authorisation is effective for 18 months.
RESOLUTIONS BY THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Annual General Meeting, which was held on 18 March 2021, adopted the financial statements and consolidated financial statements for 2020, released the members of the Board of Directors and the President and CEO from liability and approved the Remuneration Report for the Governing Bodies.
The Annual General Meeting resolved that a dividend of EUR 0.40 per share, totalling EUR 15.2 million, be paid on the basis of the balance sheet adopted for the financial year 2020. It was decided that the dividend be paid on 29 March 2021.
The Annual General Meeting confirmed the number of members of the Board of Directors as seven. Heikki Bergholm, Teemu Kangas-Kärki, Laura Lares, Sakari Lassila, Laura Tarkka and Pasi Tolppanen were re-elected to the Board until the end of the following Annual General Meeting, and Jukka Leinonen was elected as a new member.
KPMG Oy Ab, Authorised Public Accountants, was elected auditor. KPMG Oy Ab named Leenakaisa Winberg, Authorised Public Accountant, as its principal auditor.
The resolutions of the Annual General Meeting were announced in more detail in a stock exchange release on 18 March 2021.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The members of Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Board of Directors are Heikki Bergholm, Teemu Kangas-Kärki, Laura Lares, Sakari Lassila, Jukka Leinonen, Laura Tarkka and Pasi Tolppanen. At its constitutive meeting after the Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors elected Heikki Bergholm as Chairman of the Board and Sakari Lassila as Vice Chairman.
Sakari Lassila was elected as the Chairman of the Audit Committee and Teemu Kangas-Kärki, Laura Lares and Jukka Leinonen as members. Heikki Bergholm was elected as the Chairman of the Personnel and Sustainability Committee and Laura Tarkka and Pasi Tolppanen as members.
KEY EVENTS DURING THE REVIEW PERIOD
The key events are discussed in the other sections of this release.
EVENTS AFTER THE REVIEW PERIOD
The amended Waste Act entered into force in Finland on 19 July 2021.
The European Commission approved the new Action Plan for a Circular Economy in December 2015, aimed at speeding up Europe’s transition towards the circular economy, improving competitiveness, supporting sustainable economic growth and creating new jobs. As part of the Action Plan for a Circular Economy, the EU approved a waste regulation package in summer 2018, with its key goal being to enhance compliance with the waste hierarchy, or order of priority, and increase the resource-efficient use and recycling of materials. The aim is for 55 per cent of municipal waste by weight to be prepared for reuse or recycling in 2025, 60 per cent by weight in 2030 and 65 per cent by weight in 2035. The goals for the recycling rate of packaging waste were also tightened.
The EU’s new more ambitious recycling requirements for municipal and packaging waste will be implemented in Finland with the amendment to the Waste Act issued on 19 July 2021 and decrees issued under it. New obligations relating to the separate collection of waste fractions considerably stricter than the current ones will be adopted in order to achieve the recycling objectives.
In L&T’s view, stricter recycling targets that increase sorting at source, the separate collection of waste and the recycling business in Finland represent important steps forward.
However, still approximately 40% of Finns are left outside the tightening sorting obligations, living in small properties, and effective market-based instruments and incentives still under preparation are needed alongside the obligations.
The reform of the Waste Act will see municipalities take on a larger role in organising the collection of packaging materials and biowaste from housing properties. As a consequence of the reform, L&T’s direct customer agreements on the separate collection of packaging waste and biowaste with housing properties will be transferred to municipalities for competitive bidding. With regard to mixed waste, the possibility of a dual waste transport system for housing properties will remain in place, but its importance will decrease with the increase in the separate collection of packaging and biowaste. Housing properties’ contractual waste management services accounted for slightly over 10 per cent of the net sales of Environmental Services in 2020.
It is still too early to assess the overall impact of the reform. The expansion of the sorting and separate collection obligations to businesses is estimated to increase the market for collecting and processing materials. In the housing property segment, the amendments will restrict the free market. In addition to the market-based instruments, the overall impacts will be influenced by the development of the volumes of separate collections with the tightening of the obligations. The amendments will enter into force in stages between 1 July 2022 and 1 July 2024. The amendments will not have an impact on the operations of L&T in 2021.
In the future, municipalities will put up waste management services for residential properties for tender more frequently and L&T will participate in these tendering processes along with other operators. The trend of municipalisation of waste management services for residential properties has reduced the household segment’s share of the Environmental Services division’s business portfolio significantly over the past 10 years. L&T has been able to compensate for these losses by focusing on the growing corporate market. We are continuing to focus in the corporate customer segment and execute acquisitions, with the acquisition of Sihvari Oy’s business operations effective from 1 June 2021 being a good example of this.
L&T published an updated outlook for the year 2021 on 27 July 2021. The updated outlook is as follows: net sales in 2021 are estimated to grow and adjusted operating profit is estimated to be at the same level or better compared to the previous year.
NEAR-TERM RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES
The measures and recommendations issued by the authorities to restrict the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting customer-specific production restrictions and adjustment measures are expected to potentially cause disruptions in service production during 2021. Customers are adapting their service agreements to the changing circumstances and the volumes of waste and secondary raw materials decrease when customer volumes decline. The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is reflected particularly in the demand for separately ordered services and makes it difficult to predict.
Fluctuations in the price of oil influence both fuel costs and the prices of oil-based secondary raw materials, such as recycled plastic and regenerated lubricants.
The company has several ERP system renewal projects under way. Temporary additional costs arising from system deployments and establishing the operating model may weigh down the company’s result.
More detailed information on Lassila & Tikanoja’s risks and risk management will be provided in the 2020 Annual Report and in the Report of the Board of Directors and the consolidated financial statements.
Outlook for the year 2021, updated 27 July 2021
Net sales in 2021 are estimated to grow and adjusted operating profit is estimated to be at the same level or better compared to the previous year.
Previous outlook for the year 2021 (January 28, 2021)
Net sales in 2021 are estimated to be at the same level and adjusted operating profit at the same level or better compared to the previous year.
Helsinki, 27 July 2021
LASSILA & TIKANOJA PLC
Board of Directors
President and CEO
For additional information, please contact:
Eero Hautaniemi, President and CEO, tel. +358 10 636 2810
Valtteri Palin, CFO, tel. +358 40 734 7749
Lassila & Tikanoja is a service company that is putting the circular economy into practice. Together with our customers, we keep materials and properties in productive use for as long as possible and we enhance the use of raw materials and energy. This is to create more value with the circular economy for our customers, personnel and society in a broader sense. Achieving this also means growth in value for our shareholders. Our objective is to continuously grow our actions’ carbon handprint, our positive effect on the climate. We assume our social responsibility by looking after the work ability of our personnel as well as offering jobs to those who are struggling to find employment, for example. With operations in Finland and Sweden, L&T employs 8,100 people. Net sales in 2020 amounted to EUR 751.9 million. L&T is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.