AKI OJANEN, CEO OF ASPO GROUP COMMENTS ON THE FIRST QUARTER
(published in the Interim Report on May 8, 2019)
“We took a huge leap in terms of our net sales and operating profit. Aspo’s net sales increased considerably during the first quarter to EUR 142 (115) million, while operating profit improved even more in relative terms, reaching a new record at EUR 4.9 (3.7) million. The results of the significant investments and the acquisition completed in 2018 can now be seen in part. Aspo is now more balanced. Finland currently makes up clearly the largest market area where net sales increased by nearly 30%. In Scandinavia, net sales went up by as much as 64%. I am also satisfied with our continued organic growth in eastern markets where our euro-denominated net sales increased by 16% from the comparative period.
ESL Shipping, in particular, increased its operating profit. The shipping company has already achieved a high operating profit in previous years. Now, its growth was driven by higher transportation volumes and the earnings of the acquired Swedish shipping company AtoB@C. The new LNG-fueled vessels were disappointments: their cranes remained inoperable throughout the first quarter, and the vessels were unable to operate as planned. At the end of the review period, Cargotec MacGregor, the crane manufacturer, announced that it had mainly returned the cranes operational.
In addition to the shipping company, Telko also improved its operating profit. The operating profit of Leipurin decreased due to cyclical machine operations.
Aspo’s operations or risk profile did not change as a result of the adoption of the IFRS 16 standard at the beginning of 2019. The new standard presented changes to accounting principles, due to which for example the remaining rental installments of leased vessels were recognized in the balance sheet as an item increasing interest-bearing liabilities. The changes in accounting principles make it slightly more difficult to interpret certain parts of this interim report, and we have attempted to clarify any such sections and comment on them to improve their comparability.
Aspo stands at the threshold of growth. I am satisfied that our net sales and operating profit once again improved significantly. Despite any potential decreases in the economic trend, we expect 2019 to be a year of strong growth on our way towards our goals set for 2020.”