Strong Q4 brings ‘better than anticipated’ year for Nobia

A strong fourth quarter for Nobia has resulted in full-year results that president and CEO Jon Sintorn described as “better than I would have anticipated back in April”.

Nobia described 2020 as “a very unusual year” but said it had ended 2020 (FY January-December) on a strong note, against a backdrop of a partially closed retail store network.

Q4 figures for 2020 show that sales hit SKr3.45 billion (£299.7 million) compared with SKr3.44bn in Q4 2019, but with an operating profit of (EBIT) SKr295m (£25.6m) – up 38% on 2019.

For the full year, sales in 2020 were down 9% at SKr12.74bn against SKr13.93bn, while operating profit was virtually halved at SKr581m against SKr1.13bn the year before.

Analysed by region, net sales for the full year were SKr6.8bn in the Nordics (2019: SKr6.75bn), for the UK it was SKr4.65bn (2019: SKr5.9bn) and SKr1.29bn for Central Europe (2019: SKr1.28bn). In the UK, the operating profit of SKr345m in 2019 became a loss of SKr234m in 2020, although in the Nordics profits were only down from SKr886m to SKr765m.

Nobia president and CEO Jon Sintorn

Nobia said that it experienced large coronavirus-driven sales volume declines in the UK and Central Europe in the second quarter.

Sintorn (pictured) commented on the results: “I would like to express my deep gratitude to all our customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders. It has been a huge task on all fronts, first and foremost to ensure the health and safety of our employees, and to deal with the fast-changing business and operational conditions in 2020.

“On the one hand, we have had positive momentum and underlying demand on the back of home improvement trends, and on the other hand, the lockdowns have caused difficulties for our store network and in keeping operations steady. For most of the time, we have been able to keep our business and operations going, but not without some pain.”

He added: “Project sales continued to be strong in all markets, except the UK, where social housing and London property markets remained soft. Despite lockdowns, the positive momentum of consumer sales continued in all markets. The underlying market is deemed to remain good, although the conversion is impacted by customers’ limited access to our store network in several markets.”

Sintorn said that Nobia achieved some important strategic milestones during the year, including the initial phase of building a new factory in Jönköping (ready 2024) and the approval of its climate tagrgest vy the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI).

Sintorn concluded: “We enter this year in a stronger position than I would have anticipated back in April. We have a robust financial position. However, the more uncertain times will continue this year and it will be a balancing act, investing for the future at the same time as maintaining our more short-term financial performance. We have a solid plan, indicators suggest continued underlying demand of our products, and we have a new organisation in place to execute our strategy.”

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