2019 annual report
Overall, 2019 was a strong year – and the second-best in the Group’s history. However, our performance varied between subsidiaries and business areas as well as between customer segments and markets. Net revenues increased, while operating profit decreased. Several acquisitions helped to create growth.
The uncertainty we communicated at the beginning of the year was also evident when it came to demand, which varied throughout 2019. Several segments and markets, such as the defense, engineering and offshore industries, displayed growth thanks to our broad customer base. However, we noted a clear slowdown within automotive manufacturing and aftermarket as well as telecom. Growth was created through several supplementary acquisitions rather than organically. We welcomed five new companies to Beijer Alma. These acquisitions strengthen the Group in various ways and contribute approximately MSEK 350 in sales on an annual basis.
Looking more closely at the performance of our subsidiaries, Beijer Tech and Habia Cable contributed earnings improvements and higher operating margins, while Lesjöfors’s operating margin was lower than in the preceding year. Lesjöfors’s global industrial business was stable in most regions – including the Nordic region and North America – but was also affected by a weaker trend in the automotive industry, especially in Germany. Within Chassis Springs, demand in Europe was significantly lower than in the record-breaking year of 2018. In Habia, deliveries to the offshore industry played an important role, while volumes in Telecom declined. In Beijer Tech, the rate of acquisition and organic growth in Fluid Technology helped to make 2019 a strong year.
Beijer Tech’s acquisition in Norway also enabled Fluid Technology to expand into a new, attractive market. The two acquisitions in Finland brought new industrial segments to Beijer Tech: spare parts for rock crushers and mechanical transmission products. The acquisition of Encitech, which specializes in electronic components, increased the share of manufacturing and exports. Within Lesjöfors, an acquisition in the Netherlands expanded the customer base and opened up a new market within applications for conveyor belts.
Throughout the year, a great deal of work was devoted to setting new objectives to ensure that Beijer Alma’s operations are responsible and sustainable moving forward. All production units contributed to this work by establishing their own plans and ambitions. This resulted in an increased commitment to sustainability based on our decentralized management model. Our sustainability efforts are linked to the Global Compact and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our new objectives emphasize the importance of sound business ethics. Training material was also developed in this area in 2019, taking the Code of Conduct as a starting point. In certain areas, we established more ambitious objectives, not least because climate change is an issue that concerns many of our employees.
Sights set on 2020
Several initiatives are being implemented across the Group to make us more competitive. These include increasing the degree of automation in our production operations and building new, state-of-the-art plants. Given today’s cautious economic situation as well asother uncertainty factors that could affect trade flows and the general business climate, we are focusing, as always, on the areas that we can influence. Overall, the Group is strong – both financially and in terms of our broad customer base, which limits our risks and various dependencies. In light of the prevailing uncertainty factors, the companies are also prepared for further cost adjustments.
Just like in 2019, we consider acquisitions to be an important way to continue our profitable growth going forward. We are therefore pleased to note that Lesjöfors acquired the UK company Metrol Springs in January 2020, while Beijer Tech acquired PA Ventiler via Lundgrens Sverige. The year also began with some new faces in the management team, and I would like to welcome Staffan Johansson as President of Beijer Tech and Ola Tengroth as President of Lesjöfors.
Throughout the Group, I am impressed by our employees’ efforts and commitment to our customers, and the many initiatives taken – thank you for your contributions! I would like to say a special thank you to Kjell-Arne Lindbäck for the 23 years he has spent at Lesjöfors, where he led the company through a journey of impressive growth, creating significant value for Lesjöfors, Beijer Alma and all of our shareholders.
Henrik Perbeck, President and CEO