Continued strong growth in 2020
Continued strong growth in 2020
Fourth quarter in brief
• The Group's revenues in the quarter amounted to SEK 159.3 (67.5) million. An increase of 136%
• Revenues in the Swedish operations grew to SEK 118.1 (56.4) million, an increase of 110%
• The Group's profit before depreciation (EBITDA) amounted to SEK 14.5 (-3.2) million.
• The Group's operating profit (EBIT) amounted to SEK -1.3 (-13.4) million. An improvement of 90%
• Profit for the period after tax amounted to SEK -80.6 (-39.6) million. The result was affected by unrealized exchange rate differences in the Chinese operations by SEK -29.2 (-8.2) million. This does not affect cash flow
• Cash flow for the period from operating activities amounted to -30.6 (67.9)
• The period's cash flow for the Group amounted to SEK 27.2 (-1.7) million. The cash flow for the period was, among other things, positively affected by the completed new share issue
• Earnings per share amounted to SEK -0.67 (-0.71)
• No dividend is proposed
• Covid-19 had a major impact on the Swedish operations in the fourth quarter, mainly in the form of postponed projects. However, order intake remains good
• Revenues from operations in China were negatively affected in the quarter by approximately SEK 1 million as a result of the temporary price reduction for electricity introduced by the state NDRC in order to stimulate the Chinese economy after the pandemic
• During the quarter, 33.3 MW was connected and a total of 176.6 (139) MW of installed capacity (solar power plants) at the end of 2020
January – December in summary
• Total operating income amounted to SEK 500 M (303.6). An increase of 65%
• The Group's operating profit before depreciation (EBITDA) amounted to SEK 101.8 (65.4) million. An increase of 56%
• The Group's operating profit (EBIT) amounted to SEK 42.7 (24.8) million. An increase of 72%
• Profit for the year after financial items, currency effects and tax amounted to SEK -141.2 (-45.8) million. Currency effects of unrealized exchange rate differences in the Chinese operations have affected earnings by SEK -42.8 (1.8) million
• Covid-19 affected the Swedish operations during the year and mainly in the form of deferred projects driven by deferred customer meetings, orders and the fact that it took longer for customers to be able to make decisions with an estimated negative effect of approximately 15% on sales
• Covid-19 is estimated to have had a negative impact on revenues in the Chinese operations of approximately SEK 13.5 million. This is partly due to a general price reduction and that approximately 30 MW were shut down during the first and second quarters and that lower activity among customers resulted in lower electricity consumption, which led to a larger share of electricity being sold to the grid where ASAB is paid less. Furthermore, covid-19 has led to poorer conditions in the capital markets, which through poorer borrowing conditions caused higher costs than planned
Significant events during the fourth quarter
• Soltech’s subsidiary Soltech Sales & Support AB has received an order to deliver semi-transparent solar cells in four different colors to the parking garage “Mölnlycke fabriker” with end customer Wallenstam. Order value approximately SEK 7 million
• Soltech’s subsidiary Fasadsystem will contribute to the construction of a new Biltema facility in Partille, as well as the expansion of Mio furniture department store in Frölunda with a total order value of SEK 7.5 million.
• Soltech’s subsidiary NP Gruppen delivered a new waterproofing roof including solar energy and charging posts. The project is carried out together with the sister company Measol. The order value was approximately SEK 4.5 million.
• Soltech’s subsidiary Merasol begins energy conversion projects together with Nexion Enertech for HSB and BRF Solängen in Alingsås. Merasol will deliver a solar system and roof with a total order value of approximately SEK 4 million.
• Soltech’s subsidiary Swede Energy received approximately SEK 10 million of solar energy deal from MatHem / Logistic Contractor with construction starting in 2021
• Soltech’s subsidiary Takorama has signed an agreement with Tuve Bygg AB regarding the rebuilding of the roof of the operating room at Norra Älvsborgs Sjukhus (NÄL) in Trollhättan. The order value is approximately SEK 11.8 million with project start in 2021
• Investment by the Swedish state in renewable energy, which includes tax reductions for the installation of solar cells and storage for private individuals as well as an increased power limit for energy tax to 500 kW for self-used electricity
• During the quarter, Soltech’s subsidiary in China, ASRE, signed nine orders that are expected to generate a total annual revenue of SEK 13.3 million, or approximately SEK 265.5 million during the agreements’ 20-year maturities
• ASRE awarded prize in China as “Top 10 Industrial and Commercial Distributed Solar Power Station Builders in 2020”
• Soltech’s subsidiary ASAB issued additional preference shares corresponding to SEK 26.1 million during the quarter
Significant events after the reporting period
• Soltech acquired 76% of the shares in Annelunds Tak AB and 52% of the shares in Ljungs Sedum Entreprenad AB. The companies have a total of 18 employees and are expected to contribute SEK 60 million in sales and SEK 6 million in operating profit in the coming years.
• Soltech acquired the remaining 40% of the shares in the subsidiaries Swede Energy and MeraSol to create the best conditions to become an even larger player in the solar energy market. Soltech now owns 100% of both companies, which strengthens the offer in the corporate and real estate market in solar energy.
• Soltech’s subsidiary in China, ASRE, has signed orders that are estimated to generate annual revenues of just over SEK 10.2 million, or approximately SEK 203 million during the agreements’ 20-year maturities
• The effects of Covid-19 are difficult to assess and we are following developments closely
The CEO has the floor
Continued strong growth in a growing market
We are proud of our strong growth despite the difficult conditions caused by the Corona pandemic in 2020. We deliver 65 percent growth at Group level and 74 percent growth in the Swedish operations. Thus, we continue our journey towards 4.7 billion in turnover in 2024, which was communicated in November 2019.
Unfortunately, the Group's earnings on the bottom line for 2020 are strongly affected by, above all, unrealized currency losses and high interest costs in our Chinese operations. The management of Advanced Soltech is working hard to reduce these effects in the future and the project to list the company separately continues together with Carnegie and DnB. It is worth pointing out that we see good opportunities for continued strong growth in the Chinese operations, even after the completion of the special listing.
Continued strong interest from the market
We are very proud of the great interest we encounter from the stock market. We now have about 60,000 owners, which is more than most companies on the stock exchange's A-list. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all the shareholders who in the autumn participated in our successful rights issue when we raised SEK 144 million. At that time we were about 30,000 owners, so now we have been joined by as many more.
Growth continues in an expansive phase
The solar energy market with everything around in the form of storage, charging and control is growing explosively in Sweden and throughout the world. Today, about 1% of Swedish electricity comes from solar energy, which means that Sweden is far behind other comparable countries. But more and more private and commercial property owners are realizing that solar energy benefits both the climate and the economy, as evidenced by demand.
With a new green deduction for private individuals and an increase in the power limit for large roof installations, both of which will be introduced in 2021, the opportunities for continued Swedish market growth are very good. There, Soltech is well equipped to be one of the strongest players for both large property owners and the private homeowner.
Our organic growth in our subsidiaries will be good and if we add the business opportunities our acquisition strategy provides, the billion SEK barrier should be within reach. We are a growth company with ambitious goals. In 2018, we had sales of approximately SEK 50 million, two years later we have increased tenfold to approximately SEK 500 million and in November 2019 we communicated a goal to turn over SEK 4.7 billion in 2024, this goal remains.
Corona pandemic's impact on Soltech
The corona pandemic has affected the whole world, including Soltech. During the fourth quarter, we experienced greater problems with the Corona pandemic than during the first nine months. It is mainly in sales where both the opportunity to conduct physical meetings and travel is limited even more. We also experience longer decision-making processes with customers. In total, within the entire Group, we estimate that the Corona pandemic affected sales negatively by approximately 15 percent. Despite this, we reach our goal of approximately SEK 500 million in sales.
The acquisition strategy resulted in eight new subsidiaries
In just two years, Soltech has become an efficient acquisition company at the same time as dynamic development takes place in the existing companies. During the latter part of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, we see a clearly increasing trend in terms of incoming inquiries if we are interested in acquiring companies. We have succeeded in establishing ourselves as a serious, entrepreneur-friendly and decision-making buyer and this attracts direct contacts with companies, but many company brokers also come to us with their assignments. We meet companies every week and constantly have a number of negotiations underway. We look forward to more companies in the Soltech family.
Advanced Sotech, our business in China
We are proud that under very difficult conditions we managed to increase our installed base from 139 megawatts to 176.6 megawatts during the past year. Demand for our offer is high and confidence in the future is strong. However, the result on the last line is strongly affected by, above all, unrealized currency losses, high interest costs and depreciation in our Chinese operations. The management of Advanced Soltech is working hard to reduce these effects in the future and the project to list the company separately continues together with Carnegie and DnB. All shareholders will receive information about the special listing by letter when the schedule is ready.
The green recovery
The corona pandemic has fundamentally changed the world. The years 2020 and 2021 will go down in history as very difficult years, both in terms of human and financial suffering. But it also forces politicians to make strong decisions about how to stimulate the economy. For all companies in solar energy and cleantech, these are positive times when these stimuli give us great opportunities to increase our business. Now the world has a chance to invest in long-term sustainable climate-smart alternatives and we are ready to take our responsibility by growing strongly. The better it goes for Soltech, the more benefit we make in the green transition.
Our journey has just begun
We are now primarily investing in developing our thirteen subsidiaries and getting the greatest possible synergy effects. We are already seeing positive signals, not least in purchasing, sales and recruitment. Our second focus is to continuously acquire more companies in the solar energy, roofing, facade and electricity industries. After two years and thirteen acquisitions, we have created a good process and we see great opportunities in the market that we will take advantage of.
I look forward to an exciting 2021 and to leading the company into the future with the board and our competent employees. You are warmly welcome to continue with us on the journey.
Stefan Ölander, CEO