Lassila & Tikanoja plc: Interim Report 1 January–30 September 2023
Lassila & Tikanoja plc
Stock exchange release
26 October 2023 at 8:00 a.m.
Lassila & Tikanoja plc: Interim Report 1 January–30 September 2023
SOLID PROFIT PERFORMANCE IN A CHALLENGING BUSINESS CYCLE
Unless otherwise mentioned, the figures in brackets refer to the corresponding period in the previous year.
- Net sales for the third quarter were EUR 200.9 million (204.4). Net sales decreased by 1.7%.
- Adjusted operating profit for the third quarter was EUR 21.2 million (20.3) and operating profit was EUR 21.1 million (20.2). Earnings per share were EUR 0.41 (0.38).
- Net sales for January–September totalled EUR 601.2 million (634.0). Net sales excluding the renewable energy sources business were on a par with the comparison period. Adjusted operating profit was EUR 31.8 million (31.3) and operating profit was EUR 31.7 million (30.0). Earnings per share were EUR 0.65 (0.53).
- In January–September, net cash flow from operating activities after investments per share was strong at EUR 0.74 (0.03).
- The operating profit of Facility Services Finland improved substantially year-on-year.
Outlook for the year 2023
Net sales and adjusted operating profit in 2023 are estimated to be at the same level as in the previous year even though the comparison period includes net sales from the renewable energy sources business in the amount of EUR 35.4 million.
PRESIDENT AND CEO EERO HAUTANIEMI:
“Net sales excluding the renewable energy sources business were on a par with the comparison period. Adjusted operating profit was EUR 31.8 million (31.3). Profit performance was solid in spite of the challenging business cycle.
In the Environmental Services division, the focus was heavily on B2B customers and producer responsibility organisation customers, whose number grew in the third quarter. The division improved its position in municipal contracts for waste management.
In the Industrial Services division, demand was stable in hazardous waste services and environmental construction. In process cleaning, the demand for annual maintenance break related work was strong, and significant new customer accounts were won in that business line.
The general level of economic activity continued to decline during the period under review. This reduced waste volumes particularly in the construction and retail segments. The prices and demand for recycled raw materials were lower than in the comparison period, which had a negative impact on net sales and profit in Environmental Services and Industrial Services. Improvements in operational efficiency largely compensated for the weaker market conditions.
The measures initiated in Facility Services Finland in the second half of 2022 to streamline the cost structure and improve operational efficiency continued and had a positive effect on the result. In Facility Services Sweden, the effort to simplify operating models and adapt them to the changed business environment continued according to plan.
Net cash flow from operating activities was strong, as was the company’s financial position.”
GROUP NET SALES AND FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
Net sales for the third quarter amounted to EUR 200.9 million (204.4), representing a year-on-year decrease of 1.7%. Adjusted operating profit was EUR 21.2 million (20.3), which corresponds to 10.6% (9.9%) of net sales. Operating profit was EUR 21.1 million (20.2), or 10.5% (9.9%) of net sales. Earnings per share were EUR 0.41 (0.38).
Net sales decreased in Environmental Services, Facility Services Finland and Facility Services Sweden. Net sales were on a par with the comparison period in Industrial Services. Operating profit improved in Environmental Services and Facility Services Finland, and declined in Industrial Services and Facility Services Sweden.
The result for the third quarter was affected positively by L&T’s EUR 0.3 million share of the profit of the joint venture Laania Oy.
Net sales for January–September amounted to EUR 601.2 million (634.0), a decrease of 5.2% year-on-year. Excluding the effect of the renewable energy sources business, net sales increased by 0.4%, and the rate of organic growth was 0.3%. Adjusted operating profit was EUR 31.8 million (31.3), representing 5.3% (4.9%) of net sales. Operating profit was EUR 31.7 million (30.0), or 5.3% (4.7%) of net sales. Earnings per share were EUR 0.65 (0.53).
Net sales increased in Industrial Services and decreased in Facility Services Finland and Facility Services Sweden. Net sales were on a par with the comparison period in Environmental Services (excluding the effect of the renewable energy sources business). Operating profit improved in Facility Services Finland and decreased in Environmental Services, Industrial Services and Facility Services Sweden.
The result for the review period was affected positively by the fair value of EUR 1.3 million of an interest rate swap being recognised in financial items due to the termination of the interest rate swap. The result for the review period was also affected positively by L&T’s EUR 2.5 million share of the profit of the joint venture Laania Oy.
|7-9/2023||7-9/2022||Change %||1-9/2023||1-9/2022||Change %||1-12/2022|
|Net sales, EUR million||200.9||204.4||-1.7||601.2||634.0||-5.2||844.1|
|Adjusted operating profit, EUR million||21.2||20.3||4.7||31.8||31.3||1.7||40.9|
|Adjusted operating margin, %||10.6||9.9||5.3||4.9||4.8|
|Operating profit, EUR million||21.1||20.2||4.6||31.7||30.0||5.7||42.9|
|Operating margin, %||10.5||9.9||5.3||4.7||5.1|
|EBITDA, EUR million||36.7||34.1||7.6||75.3||71.8||4.9||98.3|
|Earnings per share, EUR||0.41||0.38||6.8||0.65||0.53||22.7||0.83|
|Net cash flow from operating activities after investments per share, EUR||0.23||0.15||49.7||0.74||0.03||1.08|
|Return on equity (ROE), %||14.9||12.9||14.6|
|Capital employed, EUR million||425.1||440.1||-3.4||437.2|
|Return on capital employed (ROCE), %1||11.7||9.4||10.4|
|Equity ratio, %1||35.8||33.2||34.3|
1 The figures for the first three quarters of 2022 have been adjusted. More detailed information on the restatements are provided in the section on financial indicators in this interim report.
NET SALES AND OPERATING PROFIT BY DIVISION
The division’s net sales for the third quarter decreased to EUR 74.1 million (75.0). Operating profit was EUR 11.7 million (11.1).
The net sales of Environmental Services decreased to EUR 214.8 million (250.1) in January–September. Operating profit was EUR 23.5 million (24.1). Excluding the effect of the renewable energy sources business, net sales were on a par with the comparison period. The renewable energy sources business was reported as a part of the Environmental Services division until the end of the second quarter of 2022.
The focus of the Environmental Services division is heavily on B2B customers and producer responsibility organisation customers, and their number grew during the period under review. The division improved its position in municipal contracts for waste management.
The decline in general economic activity was reflected in lower waste volumes during the review period. Waste streams decreased particularly in the construction and retail segments. The demand and prices of recycled raw materials were at a low level. The division’s profitability remained stable. The division improved the efficiency of its operations in response to cost inflation. Change negotiations were held in the division, which led to the employment relationships of 19 employees being terminated.
There is a significant systems renewal project under way in Environmental Services, which will also include the deployment of a new ERP system. The systems renewal project will be reflected in higher fixed costs in the division throughout the year. The supplier of the ERP system was changed in 2022 and, during the period under review, the previous supplier paid a one-off compensation relating to the termination of the co-operation. A part of the expenses capitalised during the co-operation with the previous supplier were written down during the review period. The net impact on the division’s operating profit of the one-off compensation, the costs related to it and the write-down was not significant.
The division’s net sales for the third quarter totalled EUR 39.0 million (38.9). Operating profit was EUR 6.1 million (7.0).
The Industrial Services division’s net sales for January–September grew to EUR 103.1 million (95.7). Operating profit was EUR 10.2 million (10.4).
In the Industrial Services division, demand was stable in hazardous waste services and environmental construction, although operating profit decreased from the particularly high level seen in the comparison period. In process cleaning in Finland, the demand for annual maintenance break related work was strong, and significant new customer accounts were won in that business line. Resource allocation for annual maintenance breaks was successful. In Sweden, demand in the process cleaning business was solid despite being lower when compared to the high level seen in the comparison period.
Facility Services Finland
The division’s net sales for the third quarter totalled EUR 58.8 million (60.2). Operating profit was EUR 3.2 million (2.0).
The net sales of Facility Services Finland decreased to EUR 188.6 million (191.7). Operating profit improved to EUR 3.4 million (-1.3).
Unprofitable customer agreements ended in Facility Services Finland during the period under review. The measures initiated in the second half of 2022 to streamline the cost structure and improve operational efficiency continued during the period under review. In the cleaning business, the efficiency of production improved and personnel turnover continued to decrease in the third quarter. The rising costs caused by high inflation were, for the most part, passed on to customer prices.
Facility Services Sweden
The division’s net sales for the third quarter decreased to EUR 30.3 million (31.9). Operating profit was EUR 0.2 million (0.2). Operating profit before the amortisation of purchase price allocations of acquisitions was EUR 0.5 million (0.7).
The net sales of Facility Services Sweden totalled EUR 98.7 million (100.7) in January–September. The decrease in net sales was due to the depreciation of the Swedish krona. Net sales denominated in the Swedish krona increased. Operating profit decreased to EUR -2.8 million (-0.1). Operating profit before the amortisation of purchase price allocations of acquisitions was EUR -1.9 million (1.4).
Customer agreements in the Swedish business are mostly fixed-price contracts, and the division has not been able to pass the increased production costs on to customer prices. The division has a programme under way to simplify operating models and adapt them to the changed business environment. The results are expected to become visible by the end of 2024.
Net cash flow from operating activities amounted to EUR 58.5 million (38.7) in January–September. Net cash flow after investments totalled EUR 28.1 million (1.0). In the comparison period, net cash flow after investments was reduced by acquisitions, which had a total impact of approximately EUR 13 million. A total of EUR 12.3 million in working capital was committed (EUR 22.3 million committed).
At the end of the review period, interest-bearing liabilities amounted to EUR 200.6 million (229.6). Net interest-bearing liabilities totalled EUR 174.9 million (199.9). The average interest rate on long-term loans, excluding lease liabilities, with interest rate hedging, was 4.0% (2.5%). In the second quarter, the company refinanced a EUR 50 million bank loan that would have matured in the third quarter of 2024. The new bank loan is in the amount of EUR 40 million and will mature in the third quarter of 2026. In addition to the usual financial covenants, the new bank loan is linked to sustainability targets, namely L&T’s carbon footprint and accident frequency. The interest rate swap used by the company to convert part of the EUR 50 million bank loan into a fixed interest loan was terminated in connection with the refinancing of the bank loan. The fair value of the interest rate swap, EUR 1.3 million, was recognised in financial income in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the company repaid the remaining amount of EUR 17.7 million of the bond issued in 2018.
Of the EUR 100.0 million commercial paper programme, EUR 10.0 million (15.0) was in use at the end of the review period. The account limit totalling EUR 10.0 million and the committed credit limit totalling EUR 40.0 million were not in use, as was the case in the comparison period.
Net financial expenses amounted to EUR -4.2 million (-4.2). Financial expenses increased due to the rising general interest rate level, which was compensated by the fair value of EUR 1.3 million of an interest rate swap being recognised due to the termination of the interest rate swap. The effect of exchange rate changes on net financial expenses was EUR -0.1 million (-0.2). Net financial expenses were 0.7% (0.7%) of net sales.
The equity ratio was 35.8% (33.2%) and the gearing ratio was 77.9% (95.0%). The Group’s total equity was EUR 224.5 million (210.5). Translation differences caused by the depreciation of the Swedish krona affected equity by EUR -2.4 million. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period amounted to EUR 25.6 million (29.7).
The Annual General Meeting held on 23 March 2023 resolved that a dividend of EUR 0.47 per share, totalling EUR 17.9 million, be paid on the basis of the balance sheet that was adopted for the financial year 2022. The dividend was paid to shareholders on 3 April 2023.
Gross capital expenditure for the first half of the year came to EUR 46.0 million (45.8). The capital expenditure consisted primarily of machine and equipment purchases, as well as investments in information systems. Acquisitions accounted for approximately EUR 22 million of the gross capital expenditure in the comparison period.
Climate benefits for customers created by L&T
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 solid recovered fuels.
The carbon handprint of the renewable energy sources business and the joint venture Laania is not reported as part of L&T’s carbon handprint for 2022.
Progress towards science-based emission reduction targets, using 2018 as the baseline
|Q1–Q3/2022||2022||Target||Target to be achieved by|
Carbon footprint (tCO2e)
L&T’s strategic objective is to halve the carbon footprint of its operations by 2030, using 2018 as the baseline, 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. Transport operations account for 95 per cent of the emissions generated by L&T’s own operations. The use of renewable fuels increased significantly year-on-year, particularly in the Industrial Services division’s fleet of heavy vehicles.
The fuel distribution obligation was adjusted in 2022 by reducing the biofuel component by 7.5 percentage points. The change was not taken into account in the emissions calculations reported in L&T’s annual report published in March 2023, as Statistics Finland had not yet updated its fuel classification data in accordance with the change. Statistics Finland published the updated fuel classification data later in spring 2023, and they have been taken into account in the emission calculations in this report.
Total recordable incident frequency (TRIF)
|2022||Target||Target to be achieved by|
|Total recordable incident frequency|
L&T eliminates hazards and improves its own safety as well as the safety of customers and other stakeholders through effective proactive measures, such as risk assessments, safety observations, Safety Walks and occupational safety sessions. L&T has provided training on building workplace safety culture to over 80% of the company’s supervisors in Finland as part of the “Safety under the helmet” training initiative.
Well-being at work
|2022||Target||Target to be achieved by|
|Occupational health rate (proportion of employees with no sickness-related absences)|
Sickness-related absences (%)
The objective of L&T’s personnel policies and plans is to ensure that the number, competence and retention of personnel are at the level required for effective performance. For a labour-intensive company, employees’ ability to work and function and maintain it throughout their careers until retirement on old-age pension is important.
In January–September, the average number of employees converted into full-time equivalents was 6,707 (7,382). At the end of the review period, L&T had 8,540 (8,637) full-time and part-time employees. Of these, 7,197 (7,251) worked in Finland and 1,343 (1,386) in Sweden.
SHARES AND SHARE CAPITAL
Traded volume and price
The volume of trading in L&T’s shares in January–September was 3.8 million shares, which is 10.1% (20.9%) of the average number of outstanding shares. The value of trading was EUR 40.0 million (89.9). The highest share price was EUR 11.84 and the lowest EUR 9.53. The closing price was EUR 9.74. At the end of the review period, the market capitalisation excluding the shares held by the company was EUR 371.6 million (380.3).
At the end of the period, the company held 644,772 of its own shares, representing 1.7% of all shares and votes.
Share capital and number of shares
The company’s registered share capital was EUR 19,399,437 and the number of outstanding shares was 38,154,102 at the end of the period. The average number of shares excluding the shares held by the company was 38,125,851.
At the end of the review period, the company had 25,218 (23,944) shareholders. Nominee-registered holdings accounted for 9.5% (8.2%) of the total number of shares.
On 26 June 2023, Lassila & Tikanoja plc received a notification indicating that Mandatum Life Insurance Company Limited’s shareholding in Lassila & Tikanoja fell below the 5% threshold on 26 June 2023.
Authorisations for the Board of Directors
The Annual General Meeting held on 23 March 2023 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 that 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 of Lassila & Tikanoja plc was held on 23 March 2023. The resolutions of the Annual General Meeting were announced in more detail in a stock exchange release on 23 March 2023.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The members of Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Board of Directors are Teemu Kangas-Kärki, Laura Lares, Sakari Lassila, Jukka Leinonen, Anni Ronkainen and Pasi Tolppanen. Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Annual General Meeting held on 23 March 2023 elected Jukka Leinonen as the Chairman of the Board and Sakari Lassila as the Vice Chairman.
In its constitutive meeting held after the Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors elected the members of the Audit Committee and the Personnel and Sustainability Committee from amongst its members. Sakari Lassila (Chairman), Teemu Kangas-Kärki and Anni Ronkainen were elected to the Audit Committee. Jukka Leinonen (Chairman), Laura Lares and Pasi Tolppanen were elected to the Personnel and Sustainability Committee.
The company announced the composition of Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Nomination Board on 19 September 2023. Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s three largest shareholders, who are entitled to appoint a representative to Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Shareholders’ Nomination Board are the Evald and Hilda Nissin Säätiö foundation, a group of shareholders (Chemec Oy, CH-Polymers Oy, Maijala Eeva, Maijala Hannele, Maijala Heikki, Maijala Juhani, Maijala Juuso, Maijala Miikka, Maijala Mikko, Maijala Roope and Maijala Tuula), and Nordea Funds Ltd (through 11 funds managed by it). These shareholders have appointed Juhani Lassila, Miikka Maijala and Tanja Eronen as their representatives in Lassila & Tikanoja’s Nomination Board. The Chairman of Lassila & Tikanoja plc’s Board of Directors, Jukka Leinonen, acts as the fourth member of the Nomination Board. The Chairman of the Nomination Board is Juhani Lassila.
CHANGES IN THE GROUP EXECUTIVE BOARD
On 31 March 2023, the company announced that Tina Hellstadius, the Senior Vice President for Facility Services Sweden, will leave Lassila & Tikanoja on 31 March 2023.
On 18 April 2023, the company announced that Mikko Taipale (Master of Laws) has been appointed Senior Vice President, Facility Services Sweden and a member of the Group Executive Board effective from 19 April 2023.
EVENTS AFTER THE REVIEW PERIOD
On 25 October 2023 the company announced that Lassila & Tikanoja plc has completed a strategy review and decided to focus on its circular economy businesses, in addition the company initiates an evaluation of strategic alternatives for Facility Services Finland and Facility Services Sweden.
NEAR-TERM RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES
General economic uncertainty may affect the level of economic activity among customers, which may reduce the demand for L&T’s services.
Higher costs, such as the rising prices of fuel and energy, and potential interest rate hikes may have a negative impact on the company’s financial performance.
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.
Production costs may be increased by challenges related to employee turnover and labour availability.
The geopolitical situation involves continued uncertainty due to Russia’s war of aggression. The indirect impacts on overall economic activity in Finland and Sweden may have a negative impact on net sales and profit.
The Group company Lassila & Tikanoja FM AB is a claimant and a defendant in legal proceedings in Sweden concerning unpaid receivables invoiced from a former customer of the Group. In June 2022, Lassila & Tikanoja FM AB took legal action in the District Court of Solna against the former customer company of L&T, demanding payment of approximately SEK 18 million for unpaid receivables. In March 2023, the former L&T customer company in question rejected Lassila & Tikanoja FM AB’s claims and the payment obligation, and brought a counterclaim demanding compensation totalling approximately SEK 102 million from Lassila & Tikanoja FM AB. The dispute is still pending. Lassila & Tikanoja considers the counterclaim to be without merit.
More detailed information on Lassila & Tikanoja’s risks and risk management is provided in the 2022 Annual Review and in the Report by the Board of Directors and the consolidated financial statements.
Helsinki, 25 October 2023
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, manufacturing sites 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 approximately 8,300 people. Net sales in 2022 amounted to EUR 844.1 million. L&T is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.
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