Fourth quarter 2020
- Net sales increased by 4% to SEK 6,683m ($793.1 million), or by 13% when adjusted for changes in exchange rates. (Exits of Consumer Brands business were completed in Q3).
- Operating income was SEK –944m (–$112 million). Excluding items affecting comparability, operating income amounted to SEK –129m (–$153 million).
- Items affecting comparability amounted to SEK –815m (–$96.7 million) and relate to the supply chain efficiency measures announced in Q3 2020.
- Earnings per share after dilution amounted to SEK -1.26 (-$0.15).
- The Construction Division acquired Blastrac, a leading provider of complementing surface preparation technologies.
- The Husqvarna Division announced CEORA, an autonomous professional turf care solution for grass areas up to 50 000m2, operating within virtual boundaries.
January – December 2020
- Net sales decreased 1% to SEK 41,943m ($4.98 billion) or increased by 6% when adjusted for exits of Consumer Brands business and changes in exchange rates.
- Operating income was SEK 3,669m ($435.4 million). Excluding items affecting comparability, operating income amounted to SEK 4,484 ($533.2 million) representing a margin of 10.7%.
- Items affecting comparability amounted to SEK –815m (–$96.9 million) and relate to the supply chain efficiency measures.
- Earnings per share after dilution amounted to SEK 4.35 ($0.52).
- Direct operating cash flow* was SEK 6,071m ($721 million).
- The Board of Directors will propose a dividend for 2020 of SEK 2.40 per share ($0.29) to the AGM.
Strong Results Despite a Challenging Year
“We achieved a continued strong sales growth in our seasonally smallest fourth quarter. The growth was largely driven by our core categories robotics & battery-powered products, handheld products and watering solutions and supported by a prolonged season. This resulted in a net sales growth of 13%*. The development was particularly strong for the Husqvarna and Gardena Divisions, up 19%* and 13%*, respectively, where we strengthened our market positions. The construction industry is severely impacted by the effects of Covid-19 and the net sales of the Construction Division decreased by 2%* in the quarter.
2020 — A Successful Year
Our primary focus during 2020 has been the health and safety of the employees while decisively safeguarding the business continuity. The good performance in the fourth quarter concludes a record year where we, as a result of hard diligent work over several years, have now reached our financial targets, growth, profitability and capital efficiency, despite a volatile and challenging macro environment marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Group net sales increased by 6%* during 2020 which demonstrates our strong position and agility to adapt to rapid shifts in demand. The growth was also supported by the stay-at-home trend and an extended gardening season.
Overall, we achieved an operating margin of 10.7% for the year, excluding items affecting comparability of SEK –815m (–$96.9 million), related to the handheld supply chain efficiency measures we announced in Q3. The improved margin was driven by sales growth in all our regions, product mix effects and temporary cost avoidance activities. Direct operating cash flow* increased to SEK 6.1 billion ($725.3 million) for the year. The Board of Directors will propose a dividend of SEK 2.40 ($0.29) per share to the AGM for 2020.
Our strategic focus on sustainability has resulted in a reduction of absolute CO2 emissions across the value chain by 32% compared with the base year 2015. As we enter the new phase of Sustainovate 2025, we continue our commitment to contribute to limiting the global warming to 1.5 degrees.
Raised strategic ambitions & investing in the future
As previously announced, we are accelerating our strategic growth investments by 50% annually or SEK 250m ($29.7 million) and focus on innovative, sustainable products and solutions. We are increasing our investments in R&D, production, and go-to-market capabilities for our core categories. One example is CEORA, our latest robotic lawn mowing platform for large, commercial turf areas operating within virtual boundaries. With CEORA, we aim to transform professional green landscaping with an automated, cost-efficient, and sustainable solution. Another example is stepping up our efforts pertaining to digital services, where in 2020 we passed the milestone of one million connected customers on our digital platforms.
In conclusion, we delivered a strong fourth quarter resulting in a record year, achieving our financial targets and strengthened our market positions. I would like to sincerely thank our team around the world for tremendous efforts and commitment during the year. With the global uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation, we are well prepared to adapt to fluctuations in demand and focus to protect the health and safety of our employees and business partners. We will continue to accelerate our strategy to further strengthen our market positions and technology leadership.”
*Net sales is adjusted for changes in exchange rates, and for the Husqvarna and Gardena Divisions’, exits of the Consumer Brands business.