Sitowise's Interim Report January - March 2023: Strong quarter in a challenging market environment
Interim reports - 10.5.2023 at 8.30 UTC+2
Interim reports - 10.5.2023 at 8.30 UTC+2
Sitowise Group Plc, Interim Report, 1 January - 31 March 2023, 10 May 2023 at 8:30 am EEST
This release is a summary of Sitowise Group’s financial statements release January–December 2022. The complete financial statements release is attached, and also available on the company’s website at www.sitowise.com/investors/reports-and-presentations
January – March in brief
The figures in the interim report are unaudited. Comparative figures for the corresponding period of the previous year are in brackets. This report has been published in Finnish and English. If there are any differences between the English translation and the original Finnish version, the Finnish report shall prevail.
|EUR million||1-3/2023||1-3/2022||Change, %||1–12/2022|
|Net sales||56.0||49.2||14.0 %||204.4|
|EBITA, adjusted||6.6||5.2||26.7 %||20.4|
|% of net sales||11.8 %||10.6%||10.0%|
|Operating profit||5.5||2.9||87.1 %||13.2|
|Result for the period||3.5||1.1||207.2 %||7.9|
|Cash flow from operating activities before financial items and taxes||5.7||7.0||-18.5 %||22.7|
|Net debt||55.5||33.4||66.4 %||56.6|
|Net debt / EBITDA, adjusted||2.4x||1.5x||2.6x|
|Equity ratio, %||43.6 %||47.2%||41.6%|
|Earnings per share (EPS), EUR||0.10||0.03||204.9 %||0.22|
|Number of personnel, average||2,226||2,044||8.9 %||2,151|
CEO Heikki Haasmaa: Determined actions contributed to the strong quarter
Sitowise's Q1 was characterized by strong growth. Consolidated net sales increased by 14 percent to EUR 56.0 million and organic growth was 4 percent. The growth derived especially from the acquisitions completed during 2022.
Our Q1 adjusted EBITA increased to EUR 6.6 million, which corresponds to an 11.8 percent margin. This improvement is the outcome of our determined actions to improve pricing, control rising costs, and integrate acquired entities into our existing business. In the period under review we also had one working day more compared to Q1 2022. Our Q1 EBITA increased substantially to EUR 6.2 million, corresponding to an 11.0 percent EBITA margin. The comparison period was adversely impacted by higher items affecting comparability such as costs related to restructuring and unmaterialized acquisition.
The Group's order book decreased by 2 percent from the year-end of 2022. The decline was due to the weak market situation in the Buildings business area and a small decline in the Swedish order book. In the review period, our Infra business area grew in line with our expectations, clearly outperforming market growth, and the profitability of the business area developed well. The Digi business area had strong performance measured by any KPIs and its SaaS business saw rapid growth. In Sweden, overall demand has remained more stable than in Finland, although this market is also seeing some kind of softening in the forms of a weakening of new housing production and increased price competition.
One of the key events in Q1 was the launch of Sitowise's new strategy for the years 2023-2025. Based on discussions with our employees and external stakeholders, the new strategy and its three strategic pillars - most innovative, most sustainable, most efficient - have been welcomed positively. After the strategy launch, the focus has been, among other things, on identifying potential new smart services and new service opportunities related to sustainability, and deepening the themes related to the smartest ways to work.
We are continuing to carry out actions to strengthen our profitability this year. In all four business areas, the key growth drivers are, among others, projects related to the green transition, renovation backlog, and digitization of the industry. In the current economic climate, Sitowise now benefits from having consciously expanded its operations in less cyclical market segments – such as renovation, infrastructure, and digital services – and having secured a number of long-term projects and framework agreements that help to bring predictability.
Sitowise’s more than 2,200 experts are developing sustainable ways to overcome the challenges of tomorrow. We believe that society’s ambitious climate and biodiversity targets will continue to create more demand for bold and creative solutions. We at Sitowise want to support our clients through this transition and to be the most innovative, sustainable, and efficient operator in our field.
OUTLOOK, GUIDANCE, AND FINANCIAL TARGETS
Outlook for the year 2023
The stable long-term growth in the demand for design and consulting services to create sustainable societies is supported by megatrends such as urbanization, renovation backlog, sustainability, and digitalization.
The uncertainty in the market brought by the war in Ukraine, increasing interest rates and inflationary pressures may continue to affect the short-term decision-making of Sitowise’s clients. That said, the effects on Sitowise's technical consulting business have remained more limited than on the broader construction industry, which is one of Sitowise’s key client segments. During the first quarter of 2023, Sitowise’s order book remained at a good level.
Demand in the Digi business remains strong and the outlook for the Infra business is also relatively more positive than in the Buildings business. In the latter one the activity level has declined, especially with respect to start-up of new construction projects, due to the downturn in the wider construction industry. Overall, the market outlook has remained somewhat more stable in Sweden, although some softness is also experienced in the Swedish construction market.
In addition to the market development, cost inflation (e.g. relating to wage increases), a lower number of working days in Q2, Q3 and Q4 2023 than in the previous year, potential currency fluctuations (EUR/SEK) and higher interest expenses are expected to put pressure on Sitowise’s financial performance during the rest of 2023.
Guidance (repeated, issued on 28 February 2023)
Sitowise Group estimates that its net sales in year 2023 euros will increase compared to 2022, and that its adjusted EBITA margin (%) will be broadly at the same level as the adjusted EBITA margin of 2022.
Long-term financial targets
The Board of Directors of Sitowise Group has set the following long-term financial targets:
According to its dividend policy, Sitowise’s objective is to pay annually a dividend corresponding to 30–50 percent of net profit to its shareholders. When distributing a possible dividend, business acquisitions, the company's financial situation, cash flow and future growth opportunities are taken into account.
MAIN EVENTS AFTER PERIOD-END
Changes in the Group Management Team
On 12 April 2023, Timo Palonkoski resigned from his position as Business Area Director of the Buildings business area and as a member of the Group Management Team. Jan Tapper, Business Unit Director of special design services, temporarily took over the business area director’s tasks as of 1 May 2023. The recruitment process for a new Business Area Director has been started.
On 4 May 2023, Anna Wäck was appointed as Business Area Director for Digital Solutions and member of the Group Management Team. She joined Sitowise from the position of Head of Global Offering, Pricing and Sales Development in KONE's global maintenance business, and started in her new position on 5 May 2023.
Resolutions of the Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Sitowise Group Plc was held on 25 April 2023 in Espoo. The AGM approved the company’s annual accounts and consolidated annual accounts for the financial year 2022, discharged the members of the Board of Directors and the persons who have acted as CEO of the company from liability and resolved to approve the remuneration report for governing bodies and the updated remuneration policy for governing bodies. The AGM also resolved that a dividend of EUR 0.10 per share be paid from the company's distributable funds. The dividend was paid on 5 May 2023.
The AGM resolved that the remuneration of the Board of Directors would remain unchanged, and that the Board of Directors be composed of eight (8) members. Eero Heliövaara, Taina Kyllönen, Mirel Leino-Haltia, Elina Piispanen, Petri Rignell and Tomi Terho were re-elected to the Board of Directors and Niklas Sörensen and Mats Åström were elected as new members to the Board of Directors.
The AGM resolved that KPMG Oy Ab, a firm of authorized public accountants, be re-elected as the auditor of the company for the term of office ending at the end of the next Annual General Meeting with Kim Järvi, APA, acting as principal auditor. The remuneration for the auditor is paid according to the auditor’s reasonable invoice.
The AGM also resolved on the amendments of the Articles of Association and on the establishment of the Shareholders' Nomination Board and its remuneration.
Authorizations of the Board of Directors
The AGM authorized the Board of Directors to decide on the issuance of shares as well as the issuance of special rights entitling to shares referred to in Chapter 10, Section 1 of the Companies Act as follows: The number of shares to be issued based on the authorization shall not exceed 3,500,000 shares, which corresponds to approximately 9.8 percent of all of the shares in the company. The authorization covers both the issuance of new shares as well as the transfer of treasury shares held by the company. The Board of Directors decides on all other conditions of the issuance of shares and of special rights entitling to shares. The issuance of shares and of special rights entitling to shares may be carried out in deviation from the shareholders’ pre-emptive rights (directed issue). The authorization may be used, among other things, to finance and carry out acquisitions or other corporate transactions, to promote engagement, in incentive systems, in order to develop the company’s capital structure, to broaden the company’s ownership base, and for other purposes as determined by the company’s Board of Directors.
The AGM authorized the Board of Directors to decide on the repurchase of the company’s own shares as follows: The number of own shares to be repurchased based on the authorization shall not exceed 3,500,000 shares in total, which corresponds to approximately 9.8 percent of all the shares in the company. However, the company together with its subsidiaries cannot at any moment own more than 10 percent of all the shares in the company. Own shares can be repurchased only using the unrestricted equity of the company at a price formed in public trading on the date of the repurchase or otherwise at a price determined by the markets. The Board of Directors decides on all other matters related to the repurchase of our own shares and, inter alia, derivatives can be used for the repurchase. Own shares do not have to be acquired proportionally to the number of shares held by the shareholders (directed acquisition).
The authorizations are effective until the beginning of the next Annual General Meeting, however no longer than until 30 June 2024.
Decisions of the Board's constitutive meeting
At the constitutive meeting of the Board of Directors of Sitowise Group Plc held after the Annual General Meeting 2023, the Board of Directors elected Eero Heliövaara as its Chair and Tomi Terho as its Vice Chair.
In addition, the Board of Directors appointed members to its committees. Mirel Leino-Haltia was elected as the Chair and Taina Kyllönen and Mats Åström as the members of the Audit Committee. Eero Heliövaara was appointed as the Chair and Elina Piispanen and Niklas Sörensen as the members of the Personnel Committee. Tomi Terho was elected the Chair and Eero Heliövaara, Petri Rignell, Niklas Sörensen and Mats Åström were elected as the members of the Acquisition Committee.
Acquisition of Infrasuunnittelu Oy and directed share issue to the sellers of the company
On 2 May 2023, Sitowise Group Plc announced the acquisition of all shares in Infrasuunnittelu Oy, a company providing national-level road, street and regional designs as well as surveying and supervisory expert services and construction consulting for its clients.
In connection with the acquisition, the Board of Directors of Sitowise Group Plc decided, by virtue of the authorization granted by the AGM on 25 April 2023, to issue 37,330 own shares held by Sitowise in a directed share issue. The number of shares to be subscribed for in the share issue corresponds to approximately 0.10 per cent of shares in Sitowise.
The acquisition of Infrasuunnittelu Oy strengthens Sitowise's expertise especially in infrastructure services offered to the mining industry. Infrasuunnittelu Oy employs 17 people and in 2022 its net sales amounted to approximately EUR 1.5 million. The company will be integrated into the Infra business area.
In April and May 2023, Sitowise Group Plc received a total of 5 notifications in accordance with the Chapter 9, Section 5 of the Finnish Securities Markets Act from Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc. According to the notifications received on 19, 20 and 21 April and on 1 and 2 May, Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc’s indirect holding of shares and votes in Sitowise Group Plc had either exceeded or fallen below the 5 percent threshold of all shares and votes as a result of stock borrowing agreements. Based on the latest notification given on 2 May 2023, Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc holds through financial instruments a total of 194,211 shares, corresponding to 0.54 percent of the company’s shares and voting rights.
Sitowise Oy has a pending legal proceeding with a former client relating to a Finnish residential apartment building project from a few years back. Substantial claim has been presented to Sitowise by the counterparty, but according to the company’s view, the claim is unfounded. Sitowise has also presented a claim to the counterparty for the unpaid part of the project payment, plus with the delay interest. The company estimates that the proceedings will take years.
Espoo, 10 May 2023
Sitowise Group Plc
Board of Directors
Heikki Haasmaa, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 50 304 7765
Hanna Masala, CFO, email@example.com, tel. +358 40 558 1323
Mari Reponen, Head of IR, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 40 702 5869
Webcast for analysts, media and investors
Sitowise’s Q1 2023 earnings webcast will be held today, 10 May 2023, at 12 pm EEST. The webcast can be accessed either live or as a replay available at livekatsomo.fi/Sitowise-Q1-2023-result
The planned publication dates for Sitowise Group Plc’s financial reports in 2023 are as follows:
The company will host a Capital Markets Day on 7 June 2023.
Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd
SITOWISE IN BRIEF:
Sitowise is a Nordic expert in the built environment with strong focus on digitality. We provide design and consulting knowhow to enable more sustainable and smarter urban development as well as smooth transportation. Sitowise offers services related to real estate and buildings, infrastructure, and digital solutions both in Finland and in Sweden. Global megatrends drive huge changes that require a re-evaluation of the smartness in the built environment – therefore we have set our vision to be Redefining Smartness in Cities. The Group's net sales were EUR 204 million in 2022 and the company employs more than 2,200 experts. Sitowise Group Plc is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki under the trading symbol SITOWS.