Published: 2020-05-07 08:00:00 CEST
Nordecon
Quarterly report

2020 first quarter consolidated interim report (unaudited)

Financial results of Nordecon Group for the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the first quarter of 2019 are characterized by the significant increase in revenue, improvements in gross and operating margins and exchange losses from weakening Ukrainian hryvnia and Swedish krona. Worldwide COVID-19 virus pandemic did not have significant impact on the Group’s results in this quarter.
The Group’s revenue for the first quarter of 2020 amounted to 54,924 thousand euros, a roughly 59% improvement compared to the first quarter of 2019. Revenue grew in the Buildings segment, which increased sales by 71%, but remained practically at the same level as a year ago in the Infrastructure segment. Based on the order book at the end of 2019, revenue growth met expectations. Group’s profitability improved. Gross profit amounted to 1,188 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 46 thousand euros) and gross margin was 2.2% (Q1 2019: 0,1%). Despite the Group ending the first quarter with operating loss due to the seasonal nature of the construction activities, the figure decreased significantly as compared to the first quarter of 2019. The operating loss of the first quarter of 2020 was 643 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 1,750 thousand euros). The Group’s net loss amounted to 2,196 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 1,893 thousand euros) of which significant amount of 1,338 thousand euros is attributable to foreign exchange loss from the Group’s foreign markets. The foreign exchange differences resulted from the translation of loans provided to the Ukrainian and Swedish subsidiaries in euros into the local currency.  Ukrainian hryvnia and Swedish krona weakened against the euro by 14.7% and 5.6%, respectively. In the first quarter of 2019, the Group recognised a net exchange gain of 52 thousand euros.   

Condensed consolidated interim statement of financial position

EUR ‘00031 March 202031 December 2019
ASSETS  
Current assets  
Cash and cash equivalents7,1297,032
Trade and other receivables37,61037,563
Prepayments2,5141,813
Inventories21,38221,142
Total current assets68,63567,550
 

Non-current assets
  
Investments in equity-accounted investees8062,369
Other investments2626
Trade and other receivables8,4948,435
Investment property6,3015,530
Property, plant and equipment18,92219,002
Intangible assets14,66414,736
Total non-current assets49,21350,098
TOTAL ASSETS117,848117,648
   
LIABILITIES  
Current liabilities  
Borrowings16,27011,058
Trade payables38,66540,730
Other payables9,2527,954
Deferred income7,3016,391
Provisions835716
Total current liabilities72,32366,849
 

Non-current liabilities
  
Borrowings10,40916,326
Trade payables9898
Other payables80177
Provisions1,7431,425
Total non-current liabilities12,33018,026
TOTAL LIABILITIES84,65384,875
   
EQUITY  
Share capital14,37914,379
Own (treasury) shares -660-660
Share premium635635
Statutory capital reserve2,5542,554
Translation reserve2,4171,169
Retained earnings11,20912,383
Total equity attributable to owners of the parent30,53430,460
Non-controlling interests2,6612,313
TOTAL EQUITY33,19532,773
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND EQUITY117,848117,648

Condensed consolidated interim statement of comprehensive income

EUR ‘000 Q1 2020Q1 20192019
Revenue  

54,924
 

34,524
 

234,071
Cost of sales -53,736-34,478-222,302
Gross profit 1,1884611,769
     
Marketing and distribution expenses -128-346-784
Administrative expenses -1,799-1,493-6,837
Other operating income 14956315
Other operating expenses -53-13-193
Operating loss/profit -643-1,7504,270
     
Finance income 562711,277
Finance costs -1,579-364-1,219
Net finance costs/income -1,523-9358
     
Share of loss/profit of equity-accounted investees  -30 -50 585
     
Loss/profit before income tax -2,196-1,8934,913
Income tax expense 00-764
Loss/profit for the period -2,196-1,8934,149
     
Other comprehensive income/expense:
Items that may be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss
    
Exchange differences on translating foreign operations 1,248-44-823
Total other comprehensive income/expense 1,248-44-823
TOTAL COMPREHENSIVE EXPENSE/INCOME -948-1,9373,326
     
Loss/profit attributable to:    
- Owners of the parent -2,669-1,9623,378
- Non-controlling interests 47369771
Loss/profit for the period -2,196-1,8934,149
     
Total comprehensive expense/income attributable to:    
- Owners of the parent -1,421-2,0062,555
- Non-controlling interests 47369771
Total comprehensive expense/income for the period -948-1,9373,326
     
Earnings per share attributable to owners of the parent:    
Basic earnings per share (EUR) -0.08-0.060.11
Diluted earnings per share (EUR) -0.08-0.060.11

Condensed consolidated interim statement of cash flows

EUR ‘000Q1 2020Q1 2019
Cash flows from operating activities  
Cash receipts from customers70,30946,964
Cash paid to suppliers-63,575-43,997
VAT paid-2,936-846
Cash paid to and for employees-6,116-5,292
Income tax paid0-11
Net cash used in operating activities-2,318-3,182
   
Cash flows from investing activities  
Paid on acquisition of property, plant and equipment-58-43
Proceeds from sale of property, plant and equipment13818
Loans provided-5-9
Repayment of loans provided32
Acquisition of a subsidiary-20
Cash received on the acquisition of a subsidiary3,6050
Dividends received245238
Interest received32
Net cash from investing activities3,929208
   
Cash flows from financing activities  
Proceeds from loans received3931,737
Repayment of loans received-891-9
Lease payments made-737-828
Interest paid-276-208
Net cash used in/from financing activities-1,511692
   
Net cash flow100-2,282
   
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period7,0327,678
Effect of movements in foreign exchange rates-3-5
Increase/decrease in cash and cash equivalents100-2,282
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period7,1295,391


Financial review

Financial performance

Nordecon ended the first quarter of 2020 with a gross profit of 1,188 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 46 thousand euros) and a gross margin of 2.2% (Q1 2019: 0.1%). Due to the seasonality of the construction business, first-quarter results, particularly in the Infrastructure segment, are affected by a large share of uncovered fixed costs. Road construction, which is capital intensive, requires a certain critical amount of work to cover its fixed costs, the largest share of which is made up of costs related to asphalt concrete production and laying equipment. Although the loss of the Infrastructure segment decreased year on year, its negative result had a strong impact on the Group’s overall result. The Group’s first-quarter gross profit was earned in the Buildings segment, where the gross margin remained at the same level as in the comparative period: 4.5% (Q1 2019: 4.5%).
The Group’s administrative expenses for the first quarter of 2020 totalled 1,799 thousand euros. Compared to the same period in 2019, administrative expenses increased by around 20% (Q1 2019: 1,493 thousand euros). The rise is attributable to growth in personnel expenses and depreciation as well as the fact that Embach Ehitus OÜ became a subsidiary of the Group. The ratio of administrative expenses to revenue (12 months rolling) decreased compared to the same period last year and was 2.8% (Q1 2019: 3.1%).
The Group ended the first quarter of 2020 with an operating loss of 643 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 1,750 thousand euros). EBITDA was positive at 194 thousand euros (Q1 2019: negative at 1,018 thousand euros).
Finance costs of the period were strongly influenced by exchange rate fluctuations in the Group’s foreign markets. In the first quarter, the Ukrainian hryvnia and Swedish krona weakened against the euro by 14.7% and 5.6%, respectively. As a result, the Group recognised foreign exchange losses of 1,338 thousand euros. In the first quarter of 2019, the Group recognised a net exchange gain of 52 thousand euros. The foreign exchange differences resulted from the translation of loans provided to the Ukrainian and Swedish subsidiaries in euros into the local currency. On the other hand, the movements in foreign exchange rates increased the foreign currency translation reserve in equity by 1,248 thousand euros (Q1 2019: reduced by 44 thousand euros). The net effect of exchange differences on the Group’s net assets was a loss of 90 thousand euros (Q1 2019: a gain of 8 thousand euros).
The Group’s net loss amounted to 2,196 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 1,893 thousand euros) of which the net loss attributable to owners of the parent, Nordecon AS, was 2,669 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 1,962 thousand euros).

Cash flows

In the first quarter of 2020, operating activities produced a net cash outflow of 2,318 thousand euros (Q1 2019: an outflow of 3,182 thousand euros). Negative operating cash flow is typical of the first quarter and stems from the cyclical nature of the construction business. Larger fixed costs and preparations made for starting more active construction operations in the second quarter, particularly in the Infrastructure segment, cause outflows to exceed inflows. Operating cash flow is also strongly influenced by the fact that the contracts signed with most public and private sector customers do not require them to make advance payments while the Group has to make prepayments to subcontractors, materials suppliers, etc. Cash inflow is also reduced by contractual retentions, which extend from 5 to 10% of the contract price and are released at the end of the construction period only. The Group has concluded a frame agreement for reverse factoring which enables our subcontractors that do not have sufficient credit standing to obtain a factoring facility from a financing institution to use the Group’s facility.
Investing activities resulted in a net cash inflow of 3,929 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 208 thousand euros). The transaction with the strongest impact was the transformation of Embach Ehitus OÜ from an associate into a subsidiary, which generated cash inflow of 3,605 thousand euros. Cash flow was also influenced by payments made for the acquisition of property, plant and equipment of 58 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 43 thousand euros), proceeds from the sale of property, plant and equipment of 138 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 18 thousand euros) and dividends received of 245 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 238 thousand euros).
Financing activities generated a net cash outflow of 1,511 thousand euros (Q1 2019: an inflow of 692 thousand euros). The largest items were loan and lease payments. Proceeds from loans received totalled 393 thousand euros, consisting of the use of the overdraft facility and development loans (Q1 2019: 1,737 thousand euros), loan repayments amounted to 891 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 9 thousand euros) and lease payments totalled 737 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 828 thousand euros). Interest payments amounted to 276 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 208 thousand euros).
The Group’s cash and cash equivalents totalled 7,129 thousand euros at 31 March 2020 (31 March 2019: 5,391 thousand euros).

Key financial figures and ratios

Figure/ratio Q1 2020Q1 2019Q1 20182019
Revenue (EUR ‘000)54,92434,52443,662234,071
Revenue change59.1%-20.9%4.9%4.7%
Net loss/profit (EUR ‘000)-2,196-1,893-1,8834,149
Net loss/profit attributable to owners of the parent
(EUR ‘000)
-2,669-1,962-1,8063,378
Average number of shares31,528,58531,528,58530,913,03131,528,585
Earnings per share (EUR)-0.08-0.06-0.060.11
Administrative expenses to revenue3.3%4.3%3.8%2.9%
Administrative expenses to revenue (rolling)2.8%3.1%3.1%2.9%
EBITDA (EUR ‘000)194-1,018-9447,311
EBITDA margin0.4%-2.9%-2.2%3.1%
Gross margin2.2%0.1%1.0%5.0%
Operating margin-1.2%-5.1%-3.3%1.8%
Operating margin excluding gain on asset sales-1.2%-5.2%-3.3%1.7%
Net margin-4.0%-5.5%-4.3%1.8%
Return on invested capital-3.3%-2.9%-2.6%10.0%
Return on equity-6.7%-5.8%-5.0%12.5%
Equity ratio28.2%30.2%31.1%27.9%
Return on assets-2.1%-1.8%-1.9%3.7%
Gearing32.7%38.4%35.3%33.8%
Current ratio0.950.971.011.01
As at 31 March2020201920182019
Order book (EUR ‘000)229,018170,509143,589227,545

Performance by geographical market

The revenue contribution of foreign markets continued to grow. Revenue earned outside Estonia accounted for 14% of total revenue for the first quarter of 2020 compared with 10% for the same period in 2019.

 Q1 2020Q1 2019Q1 20182019
Estonia86%90%92%89%
Sweden8%1%4%5%
Finland5%4%1%4%
Ukraine1%5%3%2%

The revenue contribution of the Swedish market grew significantly year on year. We are currently providing general contractor’s services under three building construction contracts in Sweden. Finnish revenues remained stable compared with the same period last year and resulted from concrete works in the building construction segment. Revenue generated in the Ukrainian market and its proportionate share in our total revenue decreased. 
Geographical diversification of the revenue base is a consciously deployed strategy by which we mitigate the risks resulting from excessive reliance on one market. However, conditions in some of our chosen foreign markets are also volatile and have a strong effect on our current results. Increasing the contribution of foreign markets is one of Nordecon’s strategic targets.

Performance by business line

Segment revenues

We strive to maintain the revenues of our operating segments (Buildings and Infrastructure) as even as possible as this helps diversify risks and provides better opportunities for continuing construction operations in more challenging circumstances where the volumes of one subsegment decline sharply.
The Group’s revenue for the first quarter of 2020 amounted to 54,924 thousand euros, a roughly 59% improvement on the 34,524 thousand euros generated in the first quarter of 2019. Revenue grew in the Buildings segment, which increased sales by 71%, but remained practically at the same level as a year ago in the Infrastructure segment. Based on the order book at the end of 2019, revenue growth met expectations.
The limited volume of infrastructure construction projects, which is affecting the entire Estonian construction market, is also reflected in our revenue structure. In the first quarter of 2020, our Buildings and Infrastructure segments generated revenue of 48,954 thousand euros and 5,959 thousand euros, respectively. The corresponding figures for the first quarter of 2019 were 28,638 thousand euros and 5,791 thousand euros.

Operating segmentsQ1 2020Q1 2019Q1 20182019
Buildings89%82%86%70%
Infrastructure11%18%14%30%

Subsegment revenues

All subsegments improved their revenue compared with the same period last year.
Commercial buildings remained the largest revenue source in the Buildings segment. The subsegment’s largest projects of the period were in Tallinn: the reconstruction and extension of the building of Terminal D in the Old City Harbour, construction works in phase I and concrete works in phase II of the Porto Franco commercial and office development next to the Admiralty Basin, and the construction of a seven-floor commercial building in Rotermann City and a multi-storey car park at Sepapaja 1.  
The fastest year-on-year growth was delivered by the public buildings subsegment, which increased its revenue more than two times. The subsegment’s biggest projects were the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and the University of Tartu Learning Centre in Narva , a storage complex at the defence forces’ base at Tapa, Kindluse Kool – a new basic school in Järveküla near Tallinn and the Annelinn upper secondary school in Tartu.
A significant share of our Estonian apartment building projects is located in Tallinn. In the first quarter, the largest of them were the design and construction of the first two phases of the Kalaranna quarter and the design and construction of the Tiskreoja residential area on the western border of Tallinn. A significant contributor to the subsegment’s revenue is the Swedish market, where we continue to provide services under three housing development contracts.
We continue to build our own housing development projects in Tallinn and Tartu (reported in the apartment buildings subsegment). During the period, we continued to build a five-floor apartment building with 24 apartments at Võidujooksu 8c in Tallinn (www.voidujooksu.ee). In carrying out our own real estate development activities, we monitor closely potential risks in the housing development market.
Although the revenue of the industrial and warehouse facilities subsegment grew slightly year on year, its proportionate contribution continued to decrease. The contractual costs of projects in progress have decreased, amounting to 2 million euros on average. Based on the order book, we expect that the subsegment’s revenue contribution will remain modest in 2020.

Revenue breakdown in the Buildings segmentQ1 2020Q1 2019Q1 20182019
Commercial buildings36%39%38%36%
Public buildings30%21%23%29%
Apartment buildings27%30%25%27%
Industrial and warehouse facilities7%10%14%8%

Similarly to previous periods, the main revenue source in the Infrastructure segment was road construction and maintenance whose first-quarter revenue is generally modest due to seasonal factors. A significant share of revenue resulted from the performance of construction contracts secured in 2019: the construction of the Kernu bypass, the Kernu filling station and the Haiba junctions on the Tallinn-Pärnu-Ikla road and the construction of roads in the northern and southern parts of the defence forces’ central training area, as well as forest road improvement services provided to the State Forest Management Centre under a number of smaller contracts. We also continued to provide road maintenance services in Järva and Hiiu counties and the Kose maintenance area in Harju county.
Work continued on the construction of a 640-metre waterfront promenade at Sillamäe, which accounted for a significant share of the revenue of the specialist engineering subsegment.

Revenue breakdown in the Infrastructure segmentQ1 2020Q1 2019Q1 20182019
Road construction and maintenance77%65%85%78%
Specialist engineering (including hydraulic engineering)14%0%0%1%
Other engineering5%33%12%18%
Environmental engineering4%2%3%3%

Order book

The Group’s order book (backlog of contracts signed but not yet performed) stood at 229,018 thousand euros at 31 March 2020, an increase of around 34% year on year. In the first quarter of 2020, we signed new contracts of 43,325 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 92,556 thousand euros).

As at 31 March 202031 March 201931 March 201831 December 2019
Order book (EUR ‘000)229,018170,509 143,589227,545

At the reporting date, contracts secured by the Buildings segment and the Infrastructure segment accounted for 81% and 19% of the Group’s total order book, respectively (31 March 2019: 86% and 14%, respectively). Compared to 31 March 2019, the order book of the Buildings segment has increased by 26% and the order book of the Infrastructure segment by 84%.
Both the apartment buildings and the public buildings subsegment account for a third of the order book of the Buildings segment: 33% and 31%, respectively. A significant share of the order book of the apartment buildings subsegment is made up of a contract of around 40 million euros for the design and construction of the first two phases of the Kalaranna quarter in Tallinn. The subsegment’s order book also includes the work secured but not yet performed in Sweden where the Group continues to build two apartment buildings: one near Uppsala city centre and the other in the Bromma district in Stockholm. A major share of the order book of the public buildings subsegment is made up of contracts signed in 2019 for the construction of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences and the University of Tartu Learning Centre in Narva, the Kohtla-Järve sports and health centre, a storage complex at the defence forces’ base at Tapa and Kindluse Kool – a basic school in Järveküla near Tallinn. In 2020, the portfolio has increased by contracts for the extension of the office building of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service in Rahumäe tee in Tallinn and the construction of a family health centre and multi-storey car park for Tartu Kesklinna Perearstikeskus in Tartu. A significant share of the order book of the industrial and warehouse facilities subsegment is made up of a contract for the construction of a dairy complex for E‑Piim in Paide. The order book of the commercial buildings subsegment has decreased substantially year on year. The largest projects in progress are in Tallinn: the construction of a new seven-floor commercial building in Rotermann City and the design and construction of phase II of a multi-storey car park in Ülemiste City.
Around two thirds of the order book of the Infrastructure segment is made up of contracts secured by the road construction and maintenance subsegment. The largest projects were secured in 2019: the construction of the Kernu bypass, the Kernu filling station and the Haiba junctions on the Tallinn-Pärnu-Ikla road and the reconstruction of the Vinso-Kirmsi section of the Võru-Räpina road. In 2020, the Group as signed five contracts of 2-3 million euros each and 12 million euros in total with the National Road Administration. The Group also continues to provide road maintenance services in three road maintenance areas: Järva, Hiiu and Kose. Other engineering contracts account for 31% of the order book of the Infrastructure segment. A major share of the order book of the other engineering subsegment is made up of a contract secured in 2019 for the construction of foundations for 73 wind turbines in the Nysäter wind farm in northern Sweden, near Sundsvall.
At present it is not possible to assess the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the Group’s financial performance as a whole. Based on our order book of which around a third is made up of contracts that will continue into 2021, we expect that in 2020 the Group’s revenue will increase somewhat compared with 2019. In an environment of stiff competition, we have avoided taking unjustified risks whose realisation in the contract performance phase would have an adverse impact on the Group’s results. Despite this, where suitable opportunities arise, we strive to increase the portfolio to counteract the pressure on margins that is caused by the market situation. Our preferred policy is to keep fixed costs under control and monitor market developments closely.
Between the reporting date (31 March 2020) and the date of release of this report, Group companies have secured additional construction contracts in the region of 30,024 thousand euros, a significant part of which is made up of contracts signed by the Infrastructure segment.

People

Employees and personnel expenses

In the first quarter of 2020, the Group (the parent and the subsidiaries) employed, on average, 695 people, including 429 engineers and technical personnel (ETP). Headcount increased by around 5% compared with the same period in 2019. The number of ETP staff grew, partly due to a change in the Group’s structure: Embach Ehitus OÜ became a subsidiary.

Average number of employees at Group entities (including the parent and the subsidiaries):

 Q1 2020Q1 2019 Q1 20182019
ETP429391427414
Workers266271264273
Total average695662691687

The Group’s personnel expenses for the first quarter of 2020 including all taxes, totalled 6,660 thousand euros. The figure for the first quarter of 2019 was 5,363 thousand euros. Personnel expenses grew by around 24% due to both pay rises and the payment of performance-related bonuses.
The service fees of the members of the council of Nordecon AS for the first quarter of 2020 amounted to 47 thousand euros and associated social security charges totalled 15 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 47 thousand euros and 15 thousand euros, respectively).
The service fees of the members of the board of Nordecon AS amounted to 132 thousand euros and associated social security charges totalled 44 thousand euros (Q1 2019: 123 thousand euros and 42 thousand euros, respectively).

Labour productivity and labour cost efficiency

We measure the efficiency of our operating activities using the following productivity and efficiency indicators, which are based on the number of employees and personnel expenses incurred:

 Q1 2020Q1 2019Q1 20182019
Nominal labour productivity (rolling), (EUR ‘000)365.8315.5320.4340.6
Change against the comparative period, % 16%-1.5%13.7%4.7%
     
Nominal labour cost efficiency (rolling), (EUR)9.69.210.09.2
Change against the comparative period, %4.3%-8.4%5.4%-5.0%

The Group’s nominal labour productivity and nominal labour cost efficiency increased year on year in connection with revenue growth.

Nordecon (www.nordecon.com) is a group of construction companies whose core business is construction project management and general contracting in the buildings and infrastructures segment. Geographically the Group operates in Estonia, Sweden, Finland and Ukraine. The parent of the Group is Nordecon AS, a company registered and located in Tallinn, Estonia. The consolidated revenue of the Group in 2019 was 234 million euros. Currently Nordecon Group employs close to 700 people. Since 18 May 2006 the company's shares have been quoted in the main list of the NASDAQ Tallinn Stock Exchange.

Andri Hõbemägi
Nordecon AS
Head of Investor Relations
Tel: +372 6272 022
Email: andri.hobemagi@nordecon.com
www.nordecon.com

Attachments


NCN investor presentation Q1_2020.pdf
Nordecon_Interim_report_Q1_2020.pdf