The Electrolux Group’s financial targets contribute to maintaining and strengthening the company’s leading, global position in the industry, and generate a healthy total return for Electrolux shareholders.
Electrolux is focused on achieving sustainable profitability in all business areas, with high priority on securing an operating margin of at least 6% over a business cycle. This will be achieved through innovative product launches and active product portfolio management, in combination with product- and structural cost efficiencies.
Operating margin for continuing operations was 2.7% (3.6) and included non-recurring items of SEK -1,344m (-1,343). Excluding these non-recurring items, margin amounted to 3.8% (4.8). Mix improvements across business areas contributed positively to operating income, as a result of major product launches and focus on core brands to improve the product mix. However, lower volumes and manufacturing transition costs in North America, higher marketing investments as well as costs related to the preparation of the separation of Professional Products had a negative impact on earnings. Headwinds from higher raw material costs, trade tariffs and currency were fully offset by price increases.
All business areas have to achieve a sustainable profitability level before moving into targeted profitable growth, see Electrolux business model. In order to reach the growth goal, the Group continues to strengthen its positions in core markets, new markets and segments. Organic growth is complemented by acquisitions and the target is a total sales growth of at least 4% over a business cycle.
Net sales for continued operations amounted to
SEK 118,981m (115,463) and sales growth was -1.3% (1.2). Organic growth declined to -1.0% (1.2), this was primarily due to lower volumes in North America, were sales under private label declined and capacity constraints in the new facility in Anderson impacted volumes negatively. Price increases and mix improvements contributed to sales. Net contribution from acquisitions and divestments was -0.3% (0.0).
Electrolux strives to achieve an optimal capital structure in relation to the Group’s goals for profitability and growth. In recent years, efforts to reduce working capital have been intensified. This has resulted in a lower level of working capital and the goal of at least 4 times capital turnover has been exceeded. Reducing the amount of capital tied up in operations creates opportunities for profitable growth.
The capital turnover-rate for continuing operations decreased to 4.5 times (5.6) in 2019, mainly as a result of increased investments.
Return on net assets
Focusing on growth with sustained profitability and a small, efficient capital base enables Electrolux to achieve a high long-term return on capital. A capital turnover-rate of at least 4 times combined with an operating margin of at least 6% should yield a minimum return on net assets of 20%.
Return on net assets for continuing operations amounted to 12.0% (20.2). Average net assets increased to SEK 26,532m (20,722), corresponding to 22.3% (17.9) of net sales. Working capital amounted to SEK –17,390m (-17,077), corresponding to –14.8% (–14.8) of net sales. Operating working capital (inventories, trade receivables and accounts payable) was SEK 3,149m (2,279), corresponding to 2.7% (2.0) of net sales.
Electrolux places substantial focus on talent management to attract, recruit, develop, and retain excellent talents with diverse backgrounds. Teamship is the Electrolux way of working. It’s about setting aligned goals that allow clear choices and continuous improvement. It’s about knowing how to collaborate. It’s about transparency and a learning organization. Finally, it is about engagement and a passion for outstanding consumer experiences.
Electrolux employee engagement (EES) is an important tool for leaders to assess engagement, leadership, organizational capabilities and commitment to strategy and purpose. The survey allows for external comparison with other high-performing learning organizations. In 2019, a year where significant strategic and organizational changes were implemented and the intention to separate Professional Products was announced, the Engagement index increased slightly to 73 compared to 72 in 2018. The areas with strongest improvement included collaboration, leadership and organizational capabilities.
Sustainability leadership is crucial to realizing the Electrolux strategy for profitable growth. The objective is to steadily improve at meeting people’s needs and enhancing their daily lives in a sustainable way. In 2019, the company's most energy and water efficient products accounted for 23% of total products sold and accounted for 32% of gross operating margin.
Electrolux can best contribute to remediating climate change through efficient products. The absolute majority of CO2 impact during the lifetime of an appliance is from product use. Through more efficient products and operations, the Group aims to cut the CO2 impact by 50% by 2020 relative to 2005 levels. As of 2019, 16 million metric tons have been cut, representing more than half of the target.