In fiscal year 2013, ALSO earned Group net profit of 50.1 million euros and thereby exceeded the previous year's level by 10.1 percent. Net sales of the ALSO Group rose by 3.2 percent to 6.5 billion euros. "Consistent implementation of the MORE strategy contributed to our closing fiscal year 2013 with an excellent result", states Gustavo Möller-Hergt, CEO of ALSO Holding AG. "By doing so, we already in 2013 attained the medium-term Group net profit target of 50 to 55 million euros that was set in 2011."
In fiscal year 2013, profit before tax (EBT) climbed by 13.4 percent from the previous year to 72.6 million euros. This enabled ALSO to improve its EBT margin to 1.1 percent after 1.0 percent last year. EBITDA rose by almost 3.7 percent to 113.5 million euros.
Fourth quarter 2013
In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013, Group net profit compared to the same quarter in the previous year increased by 14.6 percent to 24.4 million euros (previous year 21.3 million euros). Compared to the previous year, profit before tax (EBT) grew by 19.9 percent, climbing from 28.2 million euros to 33.8 million euros.
Central Europe market segment
Although the CONTEXT market research institute reported a slight contraction (-1.2 percent) of the ICT distribution market, ALSO could boost net sales in the Central Europe market segment by 6.4 percent compared to the previous year, from 4,772 million euros to 5,076 million euros. This pleasingly strong growth was achieved mainly in Germany. Profit before tax (EBT) improved by 20.3 percent from 56.0 million euros to 67.3 million euros. The EBT margin was 1.3 percent, after 1.2 percent in the previous year. In fiscal year 2013, ALSO was able to overproportionally increase its sales in the tablets, PC, and networking systems sectors. Net sales in the software and licenses and computing accessories sectors were especially pleasing.
Northern/Eastern Europe market segment
In the Northern/Eastern Europe market segment, net sales fell by 4.1 percent compared to the previous year, from 1,669 million euros to 1,601 million euros. Profit before tax (EBT) fell by 48.1 percent, from 12.5 million euros to 6.5 million euros, and the EBT margin from 0.7 percent to 0.4 percent. According to current market research data, Finland experienced a decline of 12 percent in end-user applications for devices in the mobile telephone, PC, and tablet sector. The lower net profit in the Northern/Eastern Europe market segment was mainly attributable to the slump in demand at ALSO Finland and the resulting necessary restructuring. Through strict cost management and continuous optimization, in the second half-year ALSO Finland could attain stability. The strong growth rates at ALSO Sweden and the good performance of ALSO Norway could partly compensate the downswing at ALSO Finland.
Decoupling of the business models shows first results
In the last year, the ALSO Group has made good progress with the MORE strategy and has successfully pursued decoupling of the service, solutions, and supply business models. ALSO has thereby undertaken an important step towards satisfying the customers' needs even better. In the current fiscal year, the company will resolutely continue its further development of the supply, solutions, and services business models. "We want to consistently expand our market position and, as a goal of "Enhance", will continue to consider potential acquisitions to strengthen our business models. Through targeted corporate acquisitions we intend to continuously improve the regional coverage, to further round-out the product portfolio, and to access important technologies in the digitization sector", Gustavo Möller-Hergt underscores.
Also in fiscal year 2013, ALSO continued various measures that positively impact the cost structure. These include the Process Optimization Program (POP), which through the standardization of best-practice processes will further reduce operating costs also in the coming year. In 2013, the program was successfully introduced in Germany. In view of the good project progress and rapid goals attainment, in 2014 the program will be successively introduced in France and the North European countries. The Business Intelligence Tool has been successfully initiated, with which ALSO can proactively adapt its business even better to changing markets and customer requirements. In virtually all countries, conversion to the SAP platform is complete; in France, SAP will be implemented in the first quarter of 2014.
Distribution to the shareholders
In view of the positive development and the good prospects for fiscal year 2014, the Board of Directors proposes that at the Annual General Meeting of March 13, 2014, the shareholders shall vote upon a disbursement of reserve from contribution in kind of 1.40 Swiss francs per registered share. This represents a payout ratio of 29 percent.
For 2014 in the traditional distribution sector, ALSO expects a further shift towards mobility and the associated necessary developments in the networking, software, and security sectors, increasing importance of the cloud business, and further digitization of the distribution business.
In the medium term, ALSO is striving for Group net profit of 60 to 65 million euros and profit before tax (EBT) of 82 to 89 million euros. This forecast is based on a number of assumptions, above all that net sales in the Group develop as expected, particularly in those business sectors that react strongly to changes in the economic environment.
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