Volati Year-end Report January-December 2021.
“A strong end to a successful year”
Andreas Stenbäck, President and CEO
Quarter October–December 2021
- Net sales increased by 35 percent to SEK 1,722 (1,275) million
- EBITA increased by 73 percent to SEK 159 (92) million
- Profit after tax increased by 109 percent to SEK 104 (50) million
- Earnings per ordinary share for continuing operations increased by 213 percent to SEK 1.05 (0.34)
- The acquisition of Meag Va-system for the S:t Eriks business unit was completed on 21 October
- The acquisition of the label producer Jigraf AB for the Ettiketto Group business unit was completed on 1 November
Period January-December 2021
- Net sales increased by 28 percent to SEK 6,309 (4,921) million
- EBITA increased by 58 percent to SEK 664 (421) million
- Profit after tax increased by 80 percent to SEK 442 (246) million
- Earnings per ordinary share for continuing operations increased by 105 percent to SEK 4.42 (2.15)
- The Board proposes a dividend of SEK 1.70 (1.20) per ordinary share and SEK 40 per preference share in quarterly payments of SEK 10.
Events after the reporting period
- On 17 January, the Norwegian label producer Skipnes was acquired for the Ettiketto Group business unit
Comments from the CEO
We have wrapped up a successful year with another quarter of strong growth and a 73 percent increase in EBITA. For the full year 2021, EBITA increased by SEK 243 million, corresponding to growth of 58 percent. Since 2017, we have had average annual EBITA growth of 48 percent per ordinary share. As an active owner, we continued to develop our platforms. Seven of our eight acquisitions were add-on acquisitions for existing platforms, and they also added significant value through synergies after the acquisition date. This contributed to strong organic EBITA growth of 36 percent for 2021. The return on adjusted equity was 38 percent and if we include the effect of the separate listing of Bokusgruppen, the return was 40 percent. Earnings per ordinary share for continuing operations more than doubled during the year.
Our two business areas continued to develop positively in the fourth quarter. The Industry business area increased its EBITA by 84 percent in a quarter in which all companies performed well. The growth is the result of a high acquisition rate and margin improvements, particularly through synergies from completed acquisitions. As in the third quarter, Corroventa reported strong earnings growth due to high demand for products that help customers with water damage restoration after the floods that hit Europe in 2021.
The Salix Group business area showed stable growth during the quarter, despite high comparative figures from Q4 2020 and a development that was mainly driven by organic growth. Demand in the consumer-driven area of building materials and hardware, which rose significantly during the pandemic, was stable but no longer increasing. Just as in the third quarter, we saw a stronger business-to-business market.
During the year, all Group companies experienced operational challenges in the form of component shortages, high material prices, increased freight costs and short-term absences. We did not see any signs of a trend change in the fourth quarter and we expect the current situation to persist for most of 2022. I would like to say a big thank you to my colleagues in the businesses who deal with these challenges marvellously every day. This is a key reason why we have continued to deliver strong results throughout the year. Our businesses have worked successfully on pricing of our products in order to counter increased purchase prices, which has meant that the impact on margins has been limited.
Successful acquisition model meets changed conditions
In a competitive acquisition market, we have, in recent years, adapted our acquisition model to be more focused on add-on acquisitions for existing platforms. In these cases, we are an industrial buyer with the ability to develop the businesses through, for example, synergies. The synergies also enable us to maintain a good return in a market with higher valuations of the acquisition targets. In the add-on acquisitions made in 2021, we have identified synergies that will on average improve the acquired companies’ EBITA by about 50 percent. Efforts to realise these synergies are now in progress.
In 2021, we made a total of eight acquisitions, seven of which were add-on acquisitions for existing platforms. The acquisitions added SEK 1.1 billion in annual sales and approximately SEK 800 million of this amount was attributable to add-on acquisitions. With an acquisition model that is primarily focused on add-on acquisitions, I feel confident that we will be able to maintain our current acquisition rate.
Active owner with a focus on sustainable value creation
The return on adjusted equity for continuing operations was 38 percent at the end of 2021. This gives us great confidence that our model, whereby we work actively to develop our companies through active ownership, adds significant value. It also provides evidence that our acquisition model is clearly value-creating.
An increasing proportion of Volati’s value creation now takes place when we develop our companies. Ettiketto is a good example. By making add-on acquisitions, its annual sales have increased from about SEK 250 million to about SEK 850 million in just a few years. Ettiketto’s operational model combined with synergies also enables us to improve the acquired companies’ margins. Ettiketto is an excellent platform for continued acquisition-driven growth.
We are now closing the books on a successful year in which we more than doubled earnings per ordinary share for our continuing operations. The Board proposes a dividend of SEK 1.70 per ordinary share for 2021, which is in line with our dividend policy of 10-30 percent of net profit. Despite having made eight acquisitions during the year and distributing a total of SEK 1.7 billion (including Bokusgruppen) to our shareholders, we leave the year with a low net debt/EBITDA ratio of 1.3x. This achieves our financial target by a large margin and gives us acquisition scope of over SEK 2 billion. This means that we are well placed to continue creating growth and long-term value for our shareholders.
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