Net interest-bearing debt decreased to EUR 160.3 million (12/2021: EUR 167.4), and gearing fell to 97.6% (9/2021: 130.9%; 12/2021: 129.4%). The Group’s equity ratio at the end of the review period was 35.8% (9/2021: 31.8%; 12/2021: 32.0%). The balance sheet was strengthened as a result of improved profitability and a new hybrid bond issued in June.
Net financial expenses in January–September totaled EUR -7.0 (-2.9) million. Exchange rate fluctuations, particularly strengthening of the Russian rouble, increased in financial expenses by EUR -4.0 million. The average rate of interest-bearing liabilities, excluding lease liabilities, was 1.8% (1.6%).
The Group’s liquidity position remained strong. Cash and cash equivalents were EUR 43.7 million at the end of the review period (12/2021: EUR 17.7 million). Committed revolving credit facilities, totaling EUR 40.0 million, were fully unused, as in the comparative period. Aspo’s EUR 80 million commercial paper program was also fully unused (9/2021: EUR 5 million; 12/2021: EUR 5 million).
On June 7, 2022, Aspo issued a new hybrid bond of EUR 30 million. The coupon rate of the bond is 8.75% per annum. The bond has no maturity, but the company is entitled to redeem it in June 2025 at the earliest. Aspo’s previous hybrid bond of EUR 20 million was redeemed on May 2, 2022.
In September 2019, Aspo Plc participated in a EUR 40 million group bond guaranteed by Garantia Insurance Company with a loan unit of EUR 15 million. The loan has a maturity of five years and a fixed annual coupon rate of 0.75%. In addition to the coupon rate, Aspo will pay an annual guarantee provision to Garantia. The proceeds from the loan unit will be used to cover the Group’s general financing needs.