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RAPALA VMC CORPORATION’S HALF YEAR REPORT H1/2019: SALES AND PROFITABILITY DECREASED FROM LAST YEAR – FULL YEAR GUIDANCE UNCHANGED

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Rapala VMC Corporation
Half year financial report
July 19, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.


 

RAPALA VMC CORPORATION’S HALF YEAR REPORT H1/2019: SALES AND PROFITABILITY DECREASED FROM LAST YEAR – FULL YEAR GUIDANCE UNCHANGED

 

January-June (H1) in brief:

  • Net sales were 141.2 MEUR, down 1% from previous year (142.5). With comparable exchange rates sales were 2% lower than last year.
  • Operating profit was 11.4 MEUR (15.3), down 25%.1)
  • Comparable operating profit* was 12.0 MEUR (15.2), down 21%. 1)
  • Cash flow from operations was 11.5 MEUR (5.9). 2)
  • Earnings per share was 0.17 EUR (0.23), down 26%.
  • Full year guidance unchanged: Full year net sales with comparable FX rates expected to be around last year’s level and comparable operating profit* to increase from last year.
  • Strong second half of the year expected: record strong order book in North America, improvements in Indonesian lure factory combined with rigorous management of fixed costs. Uncertainties and risks relate to US-China trade relations, global economic growth, Shimano sales after changes in distribution agreements and retail customers' year-end purchase behavior.

1) Application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard did not have a material impact on operating profit or comparable operating profit.
2) Figures impacted by the application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard. Excluding the impact from IFRS 16, cash flow from operations would have been 8.6 MEUR in the first half of the year.

President and CEO Jussi Ristimäki: “Our topline for the first six months of the year developed for the most part according to expectations. However, some of the sales in North America will be shifted from the first half to the second half of the year and Third Party Products sales declined in Nordics and Western European countries. Consequently our net sales decreased by 1% from last year. The positive highlights for the first half of the year were good sales development in winter sports business as well as growing sales and profitability in Russia after many years of turmoil in the market. Furthermore, cash flow from operations increased from the previous year as a result of increased focus on working capital management.

We keep our guidance unchanged for the full year 2019 and expect to increase comparable operating profit from last year. Our position with major customers in North America remains strong and we have solid underlying consumer demand and record strong order book for our products in the market. Increased profitability for the second half of the year will be driven mostly by postponed sales to certain key accounts as well as better profitability from the lure factory in Indonesia.

Execution of our strategy of improving profitability, lightening balance sheet and improving operational performance is continuing and will be intensified during the second half of the year to get us back on the growth track. The acquisition of 49% of 13 Fishing enables us to enter the worldwide rod and reel segment in fishing and we are confident in creating value in this business. One of our key near term strategic priorities is to create full scale direct access to sell Rapala products in large European fishing tackle markets in Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Benelux after the Shimano distribution agreements were terminated. Group sales organizations in these countries are being strengthened and completed during 2019. Furthermore we will manage rigorously fixed costs, drive decisively down inventory to release capital and generate a turnaround to lure manufacturing operations in Indonesia.”

* Excluding mark-to-market valuations of operative currency derivatives and other items affecting comparability. Other items affecting comparability include material restructuring costs, impairments, gains and losses on business combinations and disposals, insurance compensations and other non-operational items.

Key figures

  H1 H1 Change FY
MEUR 2019 2018   % 2018
Net sales 141.2 142.5 -1% 262.4
Operating profit 1) 11.4 15.3 -25% 14.8
% of net sales 8.1% 10.7%   5.6%
Comparable operating profit * 1) 12.0 15.2 -21% 16.7
% of net sales 8.5% 10.6%   6.4%
Cash flow from operations 2) 11.5 5.9 +95% 6.7
Gearing % 2) 81.1% 43.8%   47.8%
EPS, EUR 0.17 0.23 -26% 0.13


* Excluding mark-to-market valuations of operative currency derivatives and other items affecting comparability. Other items affecting comparability include material restructuring costs, impairments, gains and losses on business combinations and disposals, insurance compensations and other non-operational items.
  Rapala Group presents alternative performance measures to reflect the underlying business performance and to enhance comparability between financial periods. Alternative performance measures should not be considered in isolation as a substitute for measures of performance in accordance with IFRS. Definitions and reconciliation of key figures are presented in the financial section of the release.
1) Application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard did not have a material impact on operating profit or comparable operating profit.
2) Figures impacted by the application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard. Excluding the impact from IFRS 16, gearing would have been 71.4% and cash flow from operations 8.6 MEUR in the first half of the year.

 

Market Environment

During the first half of the year, trading conditions in most of the Group’s markets were mainly as expected. Demand for the Group’s products in the North American market continued to be good, albeit some sales will be shifted to the second half of the year. In Europe, trading conditions remained competitive and changes in Shimano partnership caused slight uncertainties in some markets.

Business Review January–June 2019

The Group’s net sales for the first half of the year were 1% below last year. Changes in translation exchange rates had a positive impact on the sales and with comparable translation exchange rates, net sales were organically down by 2% from the comparison period.

North America

The first half of 2019 was twofold in North America: Sales were behind the very strong comparison period but the outlook for the full year sales remains positive. Sales were 2% behind the comparison period with reported translation exchange rates and 7% with comparable translation exchange rates following the appreciation of the US and Canadian dollars compared to the first half of 2018.

The decreased sales were largely due to delivery issues of ice fishing products at the beginning of the year but also due to some sales shift to the second half of the year caused by strict inventory management of a major retail customer. The group is very well positioned with all major customers and all retail channels in North America, where fishing participation is growing.

Nordic

The sales in the Nordic market decreased from the comparison period by 4%. With comparable translation exchange rates sales were down by 3% from the first half of 2018.

The good trend in winter sports product sales in Finland continued, leading Finland to double digit sales growth. However, the strong sales figures in Finland were more than offset by disappointed hunting sales in Denmark and weak sales in Norway where especially sales of third party products decreased.

Rest of Europe

With reported translation exchange rates, the sales in Rest of Europe were 2% above the comparison period. With comparable translation exchange rates, the growth was slightly higher, sales being up by 3% from the first half of 2018.

The biggest market France remained on the same sales level as in 2018. Russia, on the other hand, was able to grow sales despite the challenging economic situation. In addition, Baltics and many of the Eastern European markets witnessed strong sales growth. Ramping up own sales operations in the major Central European markets is progressing according to plans after termination of the distribution agreements with Shimano in April.

Rest of the World

The sales in Rest of the World grew slightly from the comparison period with comparable translation exchange rates and were on 2018 level with reported translation exchange rates.

South-Africa as well as the Latin American markets contributed positively to the Rest of the World market growth. Thailand, on the other hand, witnessed declining sales numbers due to a discontinued distribution agreement.

External net sales by area

  H1 H1 Change Comparable change % FY
MEUR 2019 2018 % 2018
North America 48.6 49.6 -2% -7% 95.4
Nordic 30.9 32.3 -4% -3% 55.1
Rest of Europe 45.9 44.9 +2% +3% 78.4
Rest of the World 15.7 15.7 0% +1% 33.6
Total 141.2 142.5 -1% -2% 262.4

Financial Results and Profitability

Comparable (excluding mark-to-market valuations of operative currency derivatives and other items affecting comparability) operating profit decreased by 3.2 MEUR (21%) from the comparison period. The effect of translation exchange rates was positive and with comparable translation exchange rates, comparable operating profit decreased by 3.6 MEUR from last year. Reported operating profit decreased by 3.9 MEUR from last year and the items affecting comparability had a negative impact of 0.6 MEUR (-0.1) on reported operating profit. Application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard did not have a material impact on operating profit or comparable operating profit.

Comparable operating profit margin was 8.5% (10.6) for the first half. The decreased profitability compared to the first half of 2018 resulted from slightly lower sales and sales margin and increased operating expenses (when excluding the impact of IFRS 16 accounting standard). Especially the lower Group product sales in North America, following the delivery issues of ice products and postponed sales of some other products, had a negative impact on profitability. Furthermore, profitability of Third Party rod and reel business decreased from the comparison period. Indonesian lure factory is operationally performing better than earlier but is still having a negative impact on the Group’s profitability.

Reported operating profit margin was 8.1% (10.7) for the first half. Reported operating profit included impact of mark-to-market valuation of operative currency derivatives of -0.3 MEUR (0.3). Net expenses of other items affecting comparability included in the reported operating profit were 0.2 MEUR (0.1). Other items affecting comparability consisted mainly of restructuring costs.

Total financial (net) expenses were 1.3 MEUR (1.2) for the first half. Net interest and other financing expenses were 0.9 MEUR (0.8) and (net) foreign exchange expenses were 0.1 MEUR (0.4). Following the application of IFRS 16, financial expenses increased by 0.2 MEUR due to lease liability interests.

Net profit for the first half decreased by 2.2 MEUR and was 7.4 MEUR (9.7) and earnings per share were 0.17 EUR (0.23). The share of non-controlling interest in net profit increased by 0.1 MEUR from last year and totalled 0.4 MEUR (0.3).

Key figures

  H1 H1 Change FY
MEUR 2019 2018 % 2018
Net sales 141.2 142.5 -1% 262.4
Operating profit 11.4 15.3 -25% 14.8
Comparable operating profit * 12.0 15.2 -21% 16.7
Net profit 7.4 9.7 -24% 6.5
* Excluding mark-to-market valuations of operative currency derivatives and other items affecting comparability. Other items affecting comparability include material restructuring costs, impairments, gains and losses on business combinations and disposals, insurance compensations and other non-operational items.

Bridge calculation of comparable operating profit

  H1 H1 Change FY
MEUR 2019 2018 % 2018
Operating profit 11.4 15.3 -25% 14.8
Mark-to-market valuations of operative currency derivatives 0.3 -0.3 -200% -0.7
Other items affecting comparability 0.2 0.1 +100% 2.6
Comparable operating profit 12.0 15.2 -21% 16.7
More detailed bridge of comparable operating profit and definitions and reconciliation of key figures are presented in the financial section of the release.

Segment Review

Group Products

With comparable translation exchange rates, sales of Group Products were below the comparison period. The sales decrease was driven by North America as some sales are expected to shift to second half of the year, and to some extent by Nordic market. Group Products sales increased in Rest of Europe as well as in Rest of the World markets.

Driven by the decreased sales, the comparable operating profit for Group Products was below the comparison period.

Third Party Products

With comparable translation exchange rates the sales of Third Party Products were below the comparison period. Decreased sales were mainly driven by forthcoming changes in third party rod and reel business. Third party hunting and third party winter sports businesses increased sales from comparison period.

Followed by decreased sales, the comparable operating profit for Third Party Products was below the comparison period.

Net sales by segment

  H1 H1 Change Comparable FY
MEUR 2019 2018 % change % 2018
Group Products 95.2 94.5 +1% -2% 174.6
Third Party Products 46.0 48.0 -4% -3% 87.8
Total 141.2 142.5 -1% -2% 262.4
             

Comparable operating profit by segment

  H1 H1 Change FY
MEUR 2019 2018 % 2018
Group Products 11.7 14.0 -16% 17.2
Third Party Products 0.2 1.2 -83% -0.5
Comparable operating profit 12.0 15.2 -21% 16.7
Items affecting comparability -0.6 0.1 -700% -1.9
Operating profit / loss 11.4 15.3 -25% 14.8

Financial Position

Despite the decreased profitability, cash flow from operations increased by 5.6 MEUR from the comparison period being 11.5 MEUR (5.9). The application of IFRS 16 accounting standard had a positive impact of 3.0 MEUR on cash flow from operations when comparing current half to the first half of 2018. However, the main reason to improved cash flow from operations was the more favorable development of working capital: the impact of net change of working capital to cash flow from operations was only slightly negative (-0.3 MEUR) whereas the impact in the comparison period was much higher (-9.7 MEUR).

End of June 2019 inventory was 108.6 MEUR (96.7). The organic increase of inventory was 11.9 MEUR, as the total impact of allowance on inventory and translation exchange rates was neutral. The high inventory value resulted partly from the postponed sales but also from lower than expected third party hunting sales. In addition, higher safety buffers to secure fill-rates to key customers and the anticipation of higher tariffs on Chinese imported goods to USA led to earlier purchases and increased June inventory to some extent.

Net cash used in investing activities was on the level of the comparison period amounting to 2.8 MEUR (2.6). Capital expenditure was 3.5 MEUR (3.4) and disposals 0.7 MEUR (0.7). Disposals were related to sales of some manufacturing equipment.

Liquidity position of the Group was good. Undrawn committed long-term credit facilities amounted to 59.9 MEUR at the end of the period. Gearing ratio increased and equity-to-assets ratio weakened from last year as a result of the redemption of the 25 MEUR hybrid loan in May. The application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard increased interest-bearing debt by 12.4 MEUR. Following the higher ratio between net interest-bearing debt and reported EBITDA, the Group has agreed with its lenders on higher covenant level for the second quarter of 2019. The Group expects to fulfil the requirements of the lenders also during the second half of 2019.

On 31 May 2019, Group redeemed its hybrid loan of 25 MEUR following the permitting conditions of the bond.

Key figures

  H1 H1 Change FY
MEUR 2019 2018 % 2018
Cash flow from operations 1) 11.5 5.9 +95% 6.7
Net interest-bearing debt at end of period 1) 104.1 66.1 +57% 70.3
Gearing % 1) 81.1% 43.8%   47.8%
Equity-to-assets ratio at end of period, % 1) 40.4% 52.5%   53.2%
Definitions and reconciliation of key figures are presented in the financial section of the release.
           

1) Figures impacted by the application of the IFRS 16 accounting standard. Excluding the impact from IFRS 16, cash flow from operations would have been 8.6 MEUR and net interest-bearing debt 91.6 MEUR, gearing 71.4% and the equity to assets ratio 42.1% in the first half of the year.


Strategy Implementation

The Group updated its strategy in 2017. Following the conclusions of the strategy update, in order to build a solid financial and operational platform for long term growth, the Group’s primary focus in the coming years will be on capturing organic growth opportunities in the fishing tackle business. The Group will also take determined actions to improve its profitability, lighten balance sheet and improve operational performance. In longer term, the target is to return to a more aggressive growth track and actively seek synergistic growth opportunities also outside the fishing tackle business.

The Group’s existing assets and capabilities form the foundation for future strategies, both in short and long term. Future strategies are built upon utilizing and capitalizing the brand portfolio, manufacturing and sourcing platform, research and development knowledge, as well as the broad distribution network and strong local presence around the world supporting the sales of Group’s own and selected synergistic third party products.

The execution of the updated strategy is progressing on all levels in the Group. Several organic growth projects are ongoing in all businesses utilizing deep market and customer understanding. Special focus has been set to leverage Group’s global innovation power to address growing product categories and niches within fishing. After acquiring 49% ownership in DQC International Corporation, known as “13 Fishing”, the Group will enter the rod and reel business with a worldwide approach. The Group will invest outside USA in marketing and product development of 13 Fishing products to serve fishermen and retailers in the best possible manner. After the changes made earlier this year in distribution agreements with Shimano, the Group will also focus on growth in the large European fishing tackle markets in Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Benelux countries, previously served by Shimano.

Significant focus and resources are allocated to streamline internal supply chains and to develop sales and operations planning to achieve improved service levels and lower group-wide inventories. Consequently, improved service levels from own factories has increased product availability and fill rates to customers are record high. Furthermore, supply chain operations to new markets in Central Europe, previously served by Shimano, were centralized to an existing delivery center in France.

In order to develop global manufacturing operations, lean projects are ongoing in several factories. One of the key projects for the Group is to execute a sustainable profitability turnaround for the Indonesian lure manufacturing operations. The operational transformation project to streamline and simplify the Indonesian factory is progressing as planned. Production of certain product categories and some non-core production processes have been outsourced to specialized companies.

The Group has made investments in group-wide common IT systems and resources to increase efficiencies and enable better end-to-end supply chain and product management. The Group has also increased sales and marketing investments towards digital channels and direct consumer contacts in order to exploit these opportunities stronger in the future. Increasing proportion of Group’s products sales is reaching consumers through digital channels, either by e-tailers, omni-channel retailers or Group’s own e-commerce platform. Leveraging the experiences from Group’s US e-commerce platform, a content driven Rapala e-commerce website was successfully launched in European Union in May 2018 to promote the Rapala brand and offer improved consumer experience. In the first half of 2019 the range of Rapala products online was expanded and Sufix fishing lines were added to the European e-commerce site.

Product Development

Continuous product development and consistent innovation are core competences for the Group and major contributors to the value and commercial success of the brands. The Group has reorganized and boosted its lure product development procedure by centralizing and expanding the research and development know-how and key resources to one location in Finland that serves both the European and Asian lure manufacturing units.

Product development cycles are getting shorter which allows faster reaction to market needs and developing trends. Product launch schedules are more flexible and can be better adjusted to target specific markets’ seasons.

The most important product launches in the first half of year were a European-wide coordinated launch of a series of saltwater lures, which started in January in France and covered both Rapala-branded hard baits and Storm branded soft plastics. Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon line was launched at the European Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibition in June, where it was voted the Best New Monofilament Line. VMC Hybrid Blade hook won the Best Terminal Tackle category, in which the Rapala RCD Lure Tuning Tool was nominated as Runner Up. Rapala LureCamo Tackle Bag Magnum was nominated Runner Up in the Tackle Bag category.

Further introductions of hero lure categories were prepared for the US trade show ICAST in July.

Organization and Personnel

Average number of personnel was 2 751 (2 811) for the first half of the year. At the end of June, the number of personnel was 2 768 (2 798).

Short-term Outlook and Risks

Market outlook for North America is positive and the Group has a strong order book for the second half of 2019. The Group sees continued healthy consumer demand for its products via old and new sales channels. Furthermore, the Group’s position with major customers in North America is strong. In Europe, the outlook and visibility is somewhat cautious as the market environment remains challenging in certain countries and product segments. Overall, the Group expects to grow sales in Group Products.

The Group has launched various strategic initiatives to boost organic growth and improve cost and capital efficiency as well as operational performance in the future. These initiatives, together with projects relating to changes in Group’s partnership with Shimano and introduction of 13 Fishing products, will continue to trigger some additional expenses and investments in 2019.

The Group expects 2019 full year net sales with comparable FX rates to be around the same level as in 2018 and comparable operating profit (excluding mark-to-market valuations of operative currency derivatives and other items affecting comparability) to increase from 2018. However, there is slightly lower visibility to sales of Shimano products in 2019 in those countries which are affected by the changes in the distribution agreements. Furthermore, the continuing risk of trade war between USA and China and potential slowdown in global economic growth might have some impact on retail and consumer demand. In addition, weather changes as well as retail customers’ year-end purchase behavior may affect the sales of the Group. The guidance remains unchanged from February 15, 2019.

Short term risks and uncertainties and seasonality of the business are described in more detail in the end of this report.

Other significant events

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) kept on March 28, 2019 approved the Board of Director’s proposal that a dividend of EUR 0.06 per share is paid. The dividend will be paid in two instalments, 0.03 euro each. The first instalment 1.1 MEUR was paid on April 11, 2019. The Board of Directors will in its meeting scheduled for October 30, 2019 decide on the dividend record date and the payment date of the second instalment. The dividend record date for the second instalment would then be November 1, 2019 and the dividend payment date November 8, 2019. A separate stock exchange release on the decisions of the AGM has been given, and up to date information on the Board’s authorizations and other decisions of the AGM are available also on the corporate website.

Other

On July 9, 2019 the Group released a stock exchange release on concluding definitive agreements to acquire in total 49% of the share capital of DQC International Corporation, which is the owner of 13 Fishing rod and reel brand. The Group has also agreed to inject more capital into DQC International Corporation and to lend funds to recapitalize the company. At the same time the Group released a stock exchange release on considerations to potentially issue a hybrid bond during the third quarter of 2019.

Helsinki, July 19, 2019

Board of Directors of Rapala VMC Corporation

For further information, please contact:

Jussi Ristimäki, President and Chief Executive Officer, +358 9 7562 540
Jan-Elof Cavander, Chief Financial Officer, +358 9 7562 540
Olli Aho, Investor Relations, +358 9 7562 540

A conference call on the first half year result will be arranged today at 3:00 p.m. Finnish time (2:00 p.m CET). Please dial +44 (0)330 336 9401 or +1 646 828 8195 or +358 (0)9 7479 0359 (pin code: 869065) five minutes before the beginning of the event. A replay facility will be available for 14 days following the teleconference. The number to dial is +44 (0)207 660 0134 (pin code: 4345427). Financial information and teleconference replay facility are available at www.rapalavmc.com.

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