Highlights of the fourth quarter of 2018
- Net sales amounted to SEK 34,425m (32,580). Sales growth was 2.5%, driven by price increases and mix improvements across most business areas.
- Operating income amounted to SEK 1,963m (2,065), corresponding to a margin of 5.7% (6.3). Four business areas achieved above 6% margin.
- Excluding a non-recurring item of SEK +71m relating to the completion of the French antitrust proceeding, operating income amounted to SEK 1,892m, corresponding to a margin of 5.5% (6.3).
- Positive earnings contribution from volume/price/mix across all business areas partly offset higher input costs and currency headwinds.
- Major Appliances North America faced higher cost inflation from tariffs and a decline in sales to private label.
- Operating cash flow after investments amounted to SEK 3,163m (2,078).
- Income for the period decreased to SEK 1,575m (2,002), and earnings per share was SEK 5.48 (6.97).
- The Board proposes a dividend for 2018 of SEK 8.50 (8.30) per share, to be paid in two installments.
- The Board has announced the intention to prepare a separation and listing of the Professional Products business area.
President and CEO Jonas Samuelson’s comment
I am pleased with our performance in 2018 in the face of challenging conditions. Our focus on innovation to improve the consumer experience and our high cost efficiency are key competitive assets. Combined with price increases, these factors had a positive impact on our earnings, but could not fully compensate for strong headwinds, primarily from raw materials and currency. Underlying operating income in 2018 was SEK 6,653m, corresponding to a margin of 5.4%. Sales growth was 1.7%, driven mainly by price increases and mix improvements across most business areas.
In 2018, EMEA reported strong organic sales growth and solid underlying earnings, fueled by innovative products under premium brands. Our North American operation was significantly impacted by increased raw material costs and U.S. trade tariffs as well as lower private label volumes, partly mitigated by cost-based price increases. Latin America showed high organic sales growth and improved earnings. Asia/Pacific had strong growth in Southeast Asia, while Home Care & SDA was in a product transition phase. Finally, Professional Products continued its profitable growth journey.
In the fourth quarter sales growth was 2.5%, supported by most business areas. Underlying operating margin was 5.5% and four business areas had a margin above 6%.
The overall demand trend across most markets in 2018 is expected to continue in 2019 but the visibility is impacted by increased uncertainties in the world. We anticipate market demand for appliances in Europe to be slightly positive, while in North America and Latin America to be flat to slightly negative. The positive demand trend is expected to continue in Southeast Asia and be flat in Australia.
In addition to the price increases achieved in 2018, we have started 2019 by implementing already announced price increases in key markets. This is expected to offset the significant external headwinds we face, despite the recent positive development on raw materials. We estimate the negative year-over-year impact from raw materials, tariffs and currency to be approximately SEK 2.0-2.4 bn in 2019. We are continuing to invest in product innovations and automation to support further profitable growth and expect capital expenditures to be about SEK 7 billion in 2019.
In 2019, Electrolux turns 100 and we are now taking the next step to accelerate profitable growth. We will do this by becoming sharper and even more focused on developing our consumer value proposition in terms of experience innovation, ownership solutions and the way we go to market. By transferring Home Care & SDA into our four regional business areas, we are ensuring a more unified approach to our interactions with consumers in each market, with brand storytelling and product design. As announced yesterday, the intention is to prepare a separation of Professional Products. This would allow our professional operation to focus on its own distinct opportunities and continue its profitable growth journey as a standalone, listed company.
I am confident that we are well positioned with the right business focus in this challenging cost environment to continue to deliver shareholder value. Electrolux financial targets will remain unchanged following a separation of Professional Products. Our journey towards profitable growth continues in 2019 and beyond.
Telephone conference 09.00 CET
A telephone conference is held at 09.00 CET today, February 1. The conference will be chaired by Jonas Samuelson, President and CEO of Electrolux. Mr. Samuelson will be accompanied by Therese Friberg, CFO.
Details for participation by telephone are as follows:
- Participants in Sweden should call +46 8 566 426 62
- Participants in UK/Europe should call +44 203 008 9806
- Participants in US should call +1 855 831 5945
Slide presentation for download:
Link to webcast:
For further information, please contact:
- Sophie Arnius, Head of Investor Relations +46 70 590 80 72
- Merton Kaplan, IR Manager, +46 73 885 78 03
- Arba Kokalari, Electrolux Press Hotline, +46 8 657 65 07
This is information that AB Electrolux is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, at 0800 CET on February 1, 2019.