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A more professional Christian Berner grows strongly through key acquisitions

Last year can be summarised as yet another eventful year in Christian Berner’s 120 year journey. 2018 has begun in the same way with our important acquisition of Zander & Ingeström AB, which will make Christian Berner an even stronger player. All we do is characterised by the guide words from our brand strategy – Expect more, which means that we want and can do more.

It feels good that we were able to tell about our acquisition of Zander & Ingeström AB at the beginning of 2018, which is the result of hard and focused work in the previous year. We continuously seek stable, well-managed companies that are active in areas of interest, and have good profitability, a strong brand and a good market position. I can confirm that Zander & Ingeström AB are a high-quality company that has all of this. With the acquisition, Christian Berner is taking the next step in the company’s development. Our key performance indicators will be positively impacted at the same time that our offering is supplemented and strengthened through the acquisition. Together, both of the companies become even stronger, which is also good for our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. I am looking forward to working together with all of the employees in Zander & Ingeström AB in 2018.

Costs for the list change affected earnings

As planned, Christian Berner Tech Trade was listed on Nasdaq Stockholm Small Cap in the first quarter. I can note that the work that preceded the list change has made us more professional. The list change also means that more people can invest in the company and increases interest from the capital market and the number of owners in the company. The fact that we have become even more professional through this process will benefit us in the long term. At the same time, the list change entailed non-recurring costs that impacted earnings. The Group’s EBITA amounted to SEK 21.5 million in 2017 and profitability, measured as the EBITA margin, was 4.8 per cent. Excluding the costs for the change of listing, profit was SEK 25.8 million and the EBITA margin was 5.7 per cent. We had a good inflow of orders throughout the year, and revenue was SEK 450 million, corresponding to a growth of 4.8 per cent.

Best year ever in Finland and Denmark

In the Group’s geographic markets, it is especially pleasing to be able to note that we were able to present the best profit ever in Finland after several tough years and that all product areas contributed to this. Another pleasing subject was that the positive trend of recent years in Denmark continued. The profit was the best ever here too.

In Sweden, our largest market, we achieved a strong profit, but I think that we have even higher potential. Norway, our fourth market, was a disappointment, however. Last year, we therefore made large organisational changes, and in the future, focus will be fully on sales and marketing activities to improve earnings and strengthen profitability.

Attractive and more complex offering

It is pleasing that both of our business areas contributed to the profit. Materials Technology had a strong 2017 with stable growth and profitability in all markets. Process & Environment did not grow as much as I would have liked, however, which is due to the negative development in Norway. I can confirm that we have an attractive offering in the areas with strong growth. One example is vibration technology that benefits from a strong desire to invest in infrastructure and the construction industry. In 2017, we have also strengthened our offering with new products and suppliers, such as the collision protection solution A-Safe that we had major success with in Finland. The many advantages of the product make it both a cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice for the customers. Continued profitable growth through more sales from new suppliers and products is one of our most important priorities in 2018.

The two acquisitions we made in 2016 were fully integrated in Christian Berner last year. Both companies have contributed to more sales of our service offering through more processing of the products. This way, we add more in the value chain and supply a more complex offering, which makes us less exposed to competition. Another focus area in 2018 is continued development of these value sales, primarily through more system sales, greater processing and more service and maintenance.

Contributing sustainable solutions

In 2017, we worked a great deal on sustainability issues, in part in the form of stakeholder dialogues and materiality analyses to identify the issues most important to Christian Berner’s sustainability work. We actively work with these issues in our role as a business partner for sustainable value creation and by being an attractive workplace and a credible business partner. Our offering also includes solutions in the field of sustainability. One example is our new product that cleans ballast water from organisms, which contributes to clean water. The more stringent requirements set by the UN Ballast Water Management Convention generate a greater need for our solution.

A more professional company

In summary, we did much of what we said we would do in 2017, but earnings were negatively impacted by the development in Norway and non-recurring costs in connection with the listing change. We are not satisfied with this, but I am confidently looking forward to 2018 when we can fully focus on the opportunities in our markets. I can also confirm that we continued to develop into the high-quality company we want to be during the year. Thanks to our well-educated and skilled staff and their extensive understanding of the customers’ processes and service, we can deliver the best solution every single time. Having said this, I would like to thank all of our employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders for your extensive commitment and for our good cooperation in 2017. I am looking forward to 2018 when our stakeholders can expect even more from Christian Berner.

 

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Bo Söderqvist
Vd, Christian Berner Tech Trade AB