"The seasonal operating loss in the fourth quarter was reduced to half, from SEK -212m to SEK -108m, excluding the items affecting comparability prior year. Efficiency improvements offset the slightly lower sales in the seasonally small fourth quarter. In particular there were strong improvements in the Consumer Brands and Construction Divisions.
We are proud of the performance during 2016. Compared to the previous year, operating income has improved quarter by quarter due to the strong focus on efficiency improvements which enabled us to mitigate the negative currency headwind of some SEK 430m for the full year and at the same time step up our investments to support our profitable growth ambitions. Group operating income for 2016 improved by 8% to SEK 3,218m and the corresponding margin rose to 8.9% (8.2), excluding items affecting comparability. As a result of the continuing good earnings trend, the Board of Directors proposes that the dividend for 2016 is increased to SEK 1.95 (1.65) per share.
An example of the strength of our efficiency improvements in 2016 can be seen in the Consumer Brands Division. In a challenging environment with a 10% reduction of sales and currency headwind of some SEK -160m, we reached the milestone of a break-even result. Going forward, in parallel to continuing to focus on cost efficiency, we will pursue new profitable business opportunities.
Our other three Divisions showed a combined net sales growth of over 3% in 2016 and improved operating income. The acquisition of Pullman Ermator, finalized mid-January 2017, is an excellent strategic fit for our Construction Division and brings further growth opportunities in the attractive surface preparation segment. It also reflects our ambition to grow the Construction Division's share of the Husqvarna Group.
Another area where I am proud to see that we are increasing ambitions is in sustainability. We are one of the first Swedish companies to have our specific climate targets approved by the "Science Based Targets Initiative". Our commitment is to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris/COP21 conference and contribute with our fair share to keep global warming below 2°Celcius compared to pre-industrial levels.
I expect that we will take another step forward with respect of our financial performance in 2017 and deliver profitable growth."
Fourth quarter 2016
- Net sales amounted to SEK 5,768m (5,672), corresponding to -3% adjusted for changes in exchange rates.
- Operating income improved to SEK -108m (-212), excluding items affecting comparability.
- Net sales amounted to SEK 35,982m (36,170).
- Operating margin reached 8.9% (7.8).
- Operating income increased 14% to SEK 3,218m (2,827), despite unfavorable currency impact of approximately SEK 430m.
- Earnings per share after dilution rose to SEK 3.66 (3.28).
- The Board proposes an increase of the dividend to SEK 1.95 per share (1.65).
A combined press and telephone conference, hosted by Kai Wärn, President and CEO, and Jan Ytterberg, CFO, will be held at Husqvarna Group's office, Regeringsgatan 28, Stockholm at 10:00 CET on February 9, 2017. To participate, please dial +46 (0) 8 5033 6434 (Sweden) or +44 (0) 8444933800 (UK) ten minutes prior to the start of the conference. The conference call will also be audio cast live on www.husqvarnagroup.com/ir. A replay will be available later the same day.
Tel: +46 8 738 90 77
Investor Relations Manager,
Tel: +46 8 738 93 35
This press release contains insider information that Husqvarna AB is required to disclose under the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the contact person set out above, at 08.00 CET on February 9, 2017.
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SOURCE Husqvarna AB