AKI OJANEN, CEO OF ASPO GROUP, COMMENTS ON THE SECOND QUARTER
(published in the Half year financial report on August 12, 2020)
"During the second quarter, we succeeded in maintaining our operating profit at the comparative period’s level and in improving our net cash from operating activities in an extremely difficult market situation. Aspo Group produced good results considering the general market and economic situation, although decreases in the operations of customer companies had a significantly negative impact on our businesses in all operating countries. This was reflected in a historically rapid and strong decrease in net sales from March onwards.
I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all Aspo employees for the rapid launch of our new operating models and their personal flexibility and professionalism, during the most challenging times under the coronavirus crisis in April and May. Good leadership and the rapid response of our businesses to changes in market conditions were key in achieving a defensive victory during the second quarter.
Aspo’s results during the second quarter are a strong indication of our ability to protect our Group’s profitability under a major economic crisis, while being able to maintain our free cash flow at a high level. Our liquidity position remained strong, and our solid financial position protects us and allows us to implement our strategy and develop the operations of all our subsidiaries.
We expect the challenging market situation to continue at least throughout the third quarter of 2020, as production is predicted to be limited, for example, in the heavy basic industry at least until September. Nevertheless, I am cautiously optimistic regarding market development during the rest of the year. Although coronavirus restrictions have been partially lifted, we will not, as yet, give any estimate on 2020 in the form of a guidance.
The health of our employees and stakeholders has been our top priority from the very beginning of the coronavirus crisis. We have succeeded well in protecting our employees, and now that the pandemic has slightly improved, we have returned to the workplace from home offices in some of our operating countries.
The second quarter of 2020, shaken by the global coronavirus pandemic, was strong proof of Aspo’s ability to withstand crises and of the functioning of our structure as a conglomerate. When the pandemic eventually ends, our goal is to strengthen our market position further, in which we also succeeded after the financial crisis and after the collapse in the value of the Russian ruble."