Strong close despite continued global uncertainty
The fourth quarter was characterized by a clear recovery and favorable demand in several industrial customer segments. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has not had the same impact on our customers as it did during the spring. For Beijer Alma, order bookings and sales improved, returning to the previous year’s levels. Thanks to a lower cost base and a favorable product mix, the underlying operating margin was up year-on-year. Cash flow was strong. We have maintained a high level of preparedness in the event of further changes as the uncertainty regarding the future consequences of the pandemic remains.
In Lesjöfors, order bookings were higher than in the preceding year and production was fully restored in order to respond to this increase in demand. Acquisitions carried out in the Netherlands and the UK in recent years contributed to profitable growth. Demand in Chassis Springs has normalized, with the fourth quarter marking the company’s low season.
Habia Cable continued to experience weak demand in industry and telecom during the quarter, which could not be offset by project deliveries in offshore, nuclear power and defense. A lower cost level contributed to a positive earnings trend. At the same time, the company continued to invest in new unique technical solutions and products, with applications in areas such as sustainable transportation.
Beijer Tech, which operates in the Nordic region, noted a sharp increase in demand during the quarter, which impacted its order bookings both organically and among its acquired companies. The improvement was clearest in Sweden, while Finland and Denmark remained stable. Norway continued to be the market with the slowest recovery.
Strategy and sustainability
Beijer Alma’s ambition is to continue to pursue profitable growth through acquisitions, in both related and new areas. Following a period of uncertainty, the Group is investing in organic profitable and sustainable growth in its subsidiaries. During the quarter, two solar power facilities installed on factory roofs were put into operation, generating electricity that can be used directly in production.
After a strong finish to the year, we can confirm that 2020 was a highly challenging and remarkable year. The repercussions of the slowdown in the spring can clearly be seen in the Group’s development. This was also a year without in-person meetings, which we hope will be possible to have in 2021!
Henrik Perbeck, President and CEO