FIRST QUARTER – VERY STRONG START TO THE FINANCIAL YEAR
The strong business situation continued across the board in the first quarter. Our strong position in structurally growing segments generated organic growth of 17 percent and EBITA growth of 42 percent. We maintained our high acquisition rate and we strengthened our operations with an additional five acquisitions during the period. Our companies continued to handle the high level of inflationary pressure in a highly satisfactory manner, and we defended our operating margins. Despite an uncertain macro situation, our customers willingness to invest remained high and the order books were further strengthened during the quarter.
The market situation remained strong in most of our important customer segments and geographies. Sales of input components for manufacturing companies in special vehicles, as well as in the medical and mechanical industries developed very well. The market situation in the forest and process industry, particularly the willingness to invest in the sawmill industry, remained very strong, as it did for infrastructure products for national and regional grids. Demand was stable in wind power, while the business situation was favourable in the segments for electronics, electricity-related products to customers within building and installation, as well as in the waste and recycling segment.
From a geographical perspective, the market situation was favourable throughout the Nordic countries, with the strongest development in Sweden. For our companies operating outside the Nordic region, the market situation was stable.
Acquisition activity remains at a high level in all business areas. During the quarter, we supplemented and strengthened the operations with an additional five acquisitions, adding combined annual sales of about SEK 500 million. Following the end of the quarter, we made one more acquisition. In line with the strategy, we continue to increase the proportion of acquisitions outside the Nordic region, often with a clear sustainability profile. One such carefully selected acquisition is the Arruti Group, which elevates our position from being a Nordic player in material for high-voltage transmission lines and substations to being a global player. We continue to take a positive view of the acquisition market and are working actively to fill and process our attractive pipeline with companies that are successful in our strategically selected segments.
We entered the first quarter under highly favourable conditions and leave it with demand remaining strong. At present, we do not see any clear signs of a slowdown in our operations, although we are, of course, following global developments closely. Despite the uncertain macro situation with rising inflation, higher policy rates and continued disruption in value chains, my confidence is undiminished with regard to our proven business model and its capacity to generate value during an upswing, while also withstanding challenges in tougher times. I am firmly convinced that our clear positions in segments with underlying structural growth, combined with our capacity for rapid adaptation will enable our companies to continue generating profitable growth in the future.
I wish you a pleasant summer!
President and CEO