We summarise a stable quarter with continued high demand. Overall sales increased by 7 percent, 2 percent of which was organic. Our focus on increased added value, a favourable product mix and good acquisition outcomes, gave EBITA growth of 7 percent with a strengthened EBITA margin of 13.6 percent (13.5). Cash flow strengthened over the quarter and we welcomed three new profitable companies, with strong niche positions, into the Group. Despite a challenging international situation, our entrepreneurial companies again showed their strength.


Overall, the business situation remained stable. The market remained strong for infrastructure products for national and regional power grids, as well as for products and solutions for the defence industry. Sales development in the electronics, engineering and building and installation segments was stable overall, and it was good in the process industry. Demand in the medical industry and special vehicles weakened slightly from high levels. In the forest industry, the willingness to invest in new projects remained at a low level, while aftermarket demand weakened. From a geographical perspective, the market situation was stable in Sweden while it weakened in Finland and Denmark but was strong in Norway. In our principal markets outside Nordic region, the business situation was weaker for our companies operating in the Benelux and DACH regions primarily due to strong comparison figures, while it remained strong in the UK. 

Cash flow from continuing operations strengthened, amounting to SEK 744 million (576) for the quarter, driven by continued earnings growth, good operating margins, as well as measures for the more efficient management of working capital. By means of a clear focus among our companies, inventory levels fell over the period and P/WC increased from already high levels to 68 percent.


Our strong balance sheet and generally positive view of the acquisitions market mean that we are continuing to fill and process our replete pipeline with attractive acquisition candidates in all business areas. Over the financial year to date, we have completed nine acquisitions representing combined annual sales SEK 800 million. Acquired in the third quarter were Control Cutter AS of Norway, which provides technical solutions for decommissioning of oil and gas wells, BV Technology A/S of Denmark, which offers customized production solutions for the automation industry and Kemic Vandrens A/S of Denmark, which is a leading supplier of water purification solutions and equipment. All three bring considerable added technical value and superior profitability in line with our strategy. 


On an overarching level, we see continued high customer activity, while there is a certain variation between segments and within them. The strength of our strategic positions and well-diversified portfolio of entrepreneurial niche companies means that we are well equipped and, despite the the varying market situation, we strengthened our order book over the quarter. The quality of our well-filled order books, combined with our strong financial position and capacity to capture potential through rapid adaptation to market changes, cause me to perceive favourable conditions for continued value growth.

Niklas Stenberg
President and CEO


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