Mayr-Melnhof Group: Results for the first Half-Year 2018 (Company news)
• Further profit growth
• High capacity utilization in both divisions
• Significant margin increase at MM Karton
• Costs weigh on profit at MM Packaging
The Mayr-Melnhof Group was able to carry forward the positive development since the beginning of the year with a strong second quarter and therefore to conclude the first half-year of 2018 significantly above the previous year.
In a balanced market environment both divisions recorded continuing high capacity utilization. The operating profit of the Group rose by around 12 % compared to the previous year’s period. Drivers derived from the cartonboard division, which benefited in particular from higher average prices. The packaging division was able to grow further, however a sharp rise in input costs, especially for cartonboard, weighed on the result. Necessary price increases are difficult to implement.
Despite a sound capacity utilization of the facilities sustaining the high earnings level will be a challenge for the second half of the year.
The Group’s consolidated sales increased by 1.8 % from EUR 1,150.3 million to EUR 1,170.6 million, with both divisions contributing.
At EUR 114.3 million, the operating profit was EUR 12.2 million or 11.9 % above the previous year’s value (1st half of 2017: EUR 102.1 million). A considerable profit increase at the cartonboard division contrasted with a decline at the packaging division. The Group's operating margin reached 9.8 %, after 8.9 % in the first six months of 2017.
Financial income amounted to EUR 0.6 million (1st half of 2017: EUR 1.3 million), financial expenses to EUR -3.0 million (1st half of 2017: EUR -2.9 million). “Other financial result − net” decreased to EUR -0.1 million after a one-off expenditure due to an accumulated currency translation of EUR 2.3 million was reported in the previous year following the deconsolidation of the Tunisian packaging companies.
Profit before tax went up accordingly by 15.3 % to EUR 111.8 million (1st half of 2017: EUR 97.0 million). Income tax expense totaled EUR 28.1 million, following EUR 25.1 million in the first half of the previous year. The effective Group tax rate of 25.1 % (1st half of 2017: 25.9 %) remained largely unchanged.
At EUR 83.7 million, the profit for the period was up 16.4 % compared to the previous year’s figure (1st half of 2017: EUR 71.9 million). This corresponds to 7.2 % (1st half of 2017: 6.3 %) of sales.
Demand on our European main markets remains balanced, however without any fresh impulses. We therefore anticipate continuing high capacity utilization in both divisions, but also increasingly intense competition. Owing to the general cost pressure, our focus remains on a consequent price policy and further rationalization in order to maintain the quality of the Group’s results. At the same time, structural improvements in the product portfolio and the strategic alignment of our plants will be further pursued, with ongoing investment activity following the long-term average. Maintaining the high profitability of the first half-year in the second half of the year is both goal and a challenge at the same time. High emphasis remains on the continuation of our long-term growth course.
DEVELOPMENT IN THE DIVISIONS
Development on the European cartonboard market in the first six months of 2018 was balanced and characterized by a positive momentum, however under continuing intense competition. With an attractive product portfolio, improved prices and high capacity utilization, MM Karton achieved a significant increase in profit compared to the previous year.
The disciplined price policy as well as the focus on increased sales of new products with high added value were consequently pursued. With MMK digital the first digital sales and service channel in the cartonboard industry was made available at the end of March, and has been received in the market with high customer acceptance since its launch.
The average order backlog of MM Karton was approximately 83,000 tons, following 76,000 tons in the same period of the previous year. At 99 % (1st half of 2017: 98 %) capacities in the division were again almost fully utilized.
With a primary focus on strict pricing, tonnage sold and produced, at 837,000 tons and 842,000 tons respectively, remained almost at the previous year’s level (1st half of 2017: 844,000 tons and 844,000 tons respectively). Around 82 % of this was sold in Europe, and 18 % in markets outside Europe (1st half of 2017: 79 %; 21 %).
On procurement markets, a decline in prices for mixed recovered paper qualities, resulting from temporarily reduced exports from Europe to Asia, contrasted with a sharp price increase for virgin fiber-related products.
Sales increased due to higher selling prices, despite slightly lower volumes, by 1.3 % to EUR 531.0 million (1st half of 2017: EUR 524.2 million). Consequently, and also as a result of lower direct costs, operating profit rose from EUR 35.1 million to EUR 55.6 million. The operating margin thus totaled 10.5 %, after 6.7 % in the first half of the previous year.
Continuing high demand so far characterized the course of the year on European folding carton markets. However, due to sufficient production capacities in the industry, the competitive situation remains highly intense.
With a broad sales range in consumer goods packaging and the specialization on the requirements of single industries, MM Packaging achieved further growth in sales and volumes as well as an overall high capacity utilization at its plants in the first half of 2018.
At the same time, however, pressure on margins continued owing to previous rises in cartonboard prices and additional cost increases, in particular for transport and logistics, since appropriate price increases are difficult to be implemented in the market. Efficiency gains resulting from rationalization programs together with increased volumes were able to relieve the pressure on profits, however not in the position to fully absorb it.
In the first half of 2018, tonnage processed increased by 5.3 % from 375,000 tons to 395,000 tons, the sheet equivalent by 4.4 % from 1,118.7 million to 1,168.3 million.
The growth in sales by 3.2 % from EUR 674.6 million to EUR 696.4 million largely reflected the volume development. At EUR 58.7 million, operating profit was 12.4 % below the comparative value of the previous year, mainly cost-related (1st half of 2017: EUR 67.0 million). The operating margin therefore came in at 8.4 % (1st half of 2017: 9.9 %).
(Mayr-Melnhof Karton Gesellschaft m.b.H.)