Kesko Group: announces another record-result in H1-2021

Kesko / FI. (kkc) Finland’s Kesko Corporation announced its half-year financial report for the period from 01 January to 30 June 2021. President and CEO Mikko Helander: «Kesko posted its best-ever quarter result in Q2-2021. Sales grew and profitability improved in all divisions. Net sales grew by 12.0 percent in comparable terms, totalling EUR 2,988.2 million. The second quarter comparable operating profit totalled EUR 219.4 million, representing a growth of EUR 77.9 million. Our growth strategy is working, and sets us up well also for upcoming years.»

Financial performance in brief

04-06/2021

  • Group net sales in April-June totalled EUR 2,988.2 million (EUR 2,814.5 million), an increase of 12.0 percent in comparable terms, reported net sales up by 6.2 percent
  • The comparable operating profit totalled EUR 219.4 million (EUR 155.2 million), up by EUR 77.9 million when Kesko Senukai is treated as a joint venture also in the comparison period (illustrative comparison figures)
  • Operating profit totalled EUR 218.1 million (EUR 154.1 million)
  • Comparable earnings per share EUR 0.40 (EUR 0.24)
  • Reported Group earnings per share EUR 0.41 (EUR 0.24)

01-06/2021

  • Group net sales in January-June totalled EUR 5,527.5 million (EUR 5,355.0 million), an increase of 9.1 percent in comparable terms, reported net sales up by 3.2 percent
  • The comparable operating profit totalled EUR 335.6 million (EUR 220.3 million), up by EUR 129.4 million when Kesko Senukai is treated as a joint venture also in the comparison period (illustrative comparison figures)
  • Operating profit totalled EUR 333.8 million (EUR 220.0 million)
  • Comparable earnings per share EUR 0.60 (EUR 0.32)
  • Reported Group earnings per share EUR 0.60 (EUR 0.33)

Key performance indicators

4-6/2021 4-6/2020 1-6/2021 1-6/2020 1-12/2020
Net sales in mio.EUR 2,988.2 2,814.5 5,527.5 5,355.0 10,669.2
Operating profit, comparable in mio.EUR 219.4 155.2 335.6 220.3 567.8
Operating margin, comparable, percent 7.3 5.5 6.1 4.1 5.3
Operating profit in mio.EUR 218.1 154.1 333.8 220.0 600.2
Profit before tax, comparable in mio.EUR 203.6 135.2 303.2 167.9 481.9
Profit before tax in mio.EUR 204.5 136.2 303.7 169.3 527.6
Cash flow from operating activities in mio.EUR 346.6 421.8 501.7 557.4 1,152.4
Capital expenditure in mio.EUR 82.7 69.1 126.9 168.2 398.4
Earnings per share, EUR , basic and diluted 0.41 0.24 0.60 0.33 1.09
Earnings per share, comparable, EUR , basic 0.40 0.24 0.60 0.32 0.97

1-6/2021 1-6/2020 1-12/2020
Return on capital employed, comparable, percent, rolling 12 months 15.0 10.1 12.0
Return on equity, comparable, percent, rolling 12 months 24.0 16.7 17.8

Kesko has reported Kesko Senukai Group, which is part of Kesko’s building and technical trade segment and operates in the Baltic countries and Belarus, as a joint venture as of 1 July 2020. Kesko Senukai Group was reported as a subsidiary until 30 June 2020. In order to enable the comparison of financial performance indicators between reporting periods, Kesko reports illustrative Group performance indicators to be used alongside indicators based on IFRS consolidated financial statements. In segment data, Kesko Senukai is reported consolidated as a joint venture also for the comparison periods, as this method is used in management reporting.

Illustrative Group performance indicators 4-6/2021* 4-6/2020 1-6/2021* 1-6/2020 1-12/2020
Net sales in mio.EUR 2,988.2 2,572.7 5,527.5 4,928.3 10,242.6
Operating profit, comparable in mio.EUR 219.4 141.5 335.6 206.2 553.6
Operating margin, comparable, percent 7.3 5.5 6.1 4.2 5.4
Operating profit in mio.EUR 218.1 140.4 333.8 205.9 540.0

(*) Reported

In this report, the comparable change percent in net sales has been calculated in local currencies and excluding the impact of Kesko Senukai and the acquisitions and divestments completed in 2020 and 2021. The comparable operating profit has been calculated by deducting items affecting comparability from the reported operating profit. The illustrative performance indicators have been calculated for the comparison periods as if Kesko Senukai had been consolidated as a joint venture.

Outlook and guidance for 2021

Kesko Group’s outlook is given for the year 2021, in comparison with the year 2020.

Kesko estimates that its comparable operating profit in 2021 will be in the range of EUR 650-750 million.

The company issued a stock exchange release on 14 June 2021 and raised its profit guidance. Before, the company estimated that its comparable operating profit would be in the range of EUR 570-670 million. In 2020, Kesko’s illustrative comparable operating profit totalled EUR 554 million.

The guidance upgrade was based on better-than-anticipated sales growth and profit development especially in the building and technical trade division, and the division’s more positive outlook for the remainder of the year.

Growth in the building and technical trade division has continued better than anticipated in both B2B trade and B2C trade in all operating countries. The division is also positively impacted by the continued strengthening of the market and general rise in prices.

In the grocery trade division, retail sales have developed well while Kespro’s foodservice business has clearly strengthened compared to the year before. In the car trade division, growth in sales and improvement in operational efficiency are proceeding as planned.

Expectations regarding the remainder of the year are more positive than before, especially in the building and technical trade. The outlook for the remainder of the year is more positive also in the grocery trade and car trade.

Due to various uncertainties, the guidance range for the 2021 comparable operating profit remains wide. Especially factors such as consumption predictability, product availability, price inflation and the duration of the pandemic make estimates for the remainder of the year more difficult.

Chief Executive’s Summary

President and CEO Mikko Helander: «Kesko posted its best-ever quarter result in Q2. Sales grew and profitability improved in all divisions. Net sales grew by 12.0 percent in comparable terms, totalling EUR 2,988.2 million. The Q2 comparable operating profit totalled EUR 219.4 million, representing a growth of EUR 77.9 million (illustrative comparison figures). Our growth strategy is working, and sets us up well also for upcoming years.

«The grocery trade division continued to perform strongly in the second quarter. The division’s net sales grew by 3.2 percent and its comparable operating profit totalled EUR 108.6 million. Profitability in grocery trade continued to improve and sales development was good. In the foodservice business, sales growth was very strong, underpinned by market recovery, and totalled 38.4 percent. Online grocery sales came in below the exceptional levels of the year before. Nonetheless, we believe online grocery is set to continue to grow in Finland, which is why we decided to invest in the first automated collection system to be built in a Finnish grocery store.

«In the building and technical trade division, growth continued strong in all operating countries especially in B2B trade. Activity was high also in B2C trade. The division’s net sales grew by 17.7 percent in comparable terms, and its comparable operating profit rose to EUR 108.4 million. Sales in Finland were strong and good development continued for both K-Rauta and Onninen. In Norway, we managed to raise sales and profitability to a whole new level. In Sweden, sales continued to grow and profitability improve in all businesses. We have been able to ensure good product availability even though global challenges related to availability have been apparent in certain product categories.

«In the car trade division we saw a clear turnaround in both sales and profitability. Demand for new cars is returning to a normal level and demand for used cars is growing. Net sales for the division grew by 50.3 percent. The good progress in car trade was attributable not only to growing customer demand but also to our competitive range, the improved availability of cars compared to the year before, and measures taken to transform and improve the efficiency of our operations. We now hold a nearly 50 percent market share in all-electric cars.

«In May, Kesko’s Board of Directors confirmed an updated version of the company’s strategy, as well as new medium-term financial targets for the company. The main conclusion of our strategy review process was to continue the execution of our growth strategy. The results we have achieved act as proof that the strategy is working and that we have made the right choices. Kesko’s growth strategy centres on profitable growth in three selected business divisions: grocery trade, building and technical trade, and car trade. The strategy also emphasises continuous improvement of customer experience and further development of digital services, corporate responsibility and sustainability, and operating as «one unified K».

«In the grocery trade, we aim to grow sales and improve profitability further by offering the best customer experience in the business and differentiating ourselves from the competition. In the building and technical trade, we continue to execute our growth strategy through sector consolidation in Northern Europe, continuously improving our operations in each operating country. Today we announced the acquisition of Byggarnas Partner, a company serving professional builders in Sweden. This acquisition further strengths our position in the Swedish building and home improvement trade market, especially in the Stockholm area. In the car trade, we aim to raise sales and profitability to a new level by offering the best customer experience in the car trade sector, transforming and updating our operations, and collaborating more closely with the Volkswagen Group.

«The new medium-term financial targets for profitability are a comparable operating margin of over 6.0 percent (previously 5.5 percent) and a comparable return on capital employed of over 14.5 percent (previously 12.5 percent).

«The outlook for this year is positive and we expect significant profit improvement also in 2021. We estimate that Kesko’s comparable operating profit in 2021 will be in the range of EUR 650-750 million.»