Sweden’s BE Group posts strong start to 2018

Swedish steel distributor BE Group says that it has had a strong start to 2018. In a first-quarter results statement monitored by Kallanish, the company says that it has delivered the highest underlying operating result since Q3 2008.

“With this quarter’s results, we show that we are heading in the right direction and that all the effort that the organisation has put in is beginning to pay off,” says president and ceo Anders Martinsson.

Demand in the next quarter is expected to remain strong in its main markets, primarily construction and engineering, the company says in a brief outlook. “The turbulence that occurred on a macro level with regard to trade barriers has so far resulted in continued price increases,” he continues.

The company’s internal improvement measures have also assisted the group’s performance, Martinsson says. Improved cash flow means that “… net debt is thereby 5% lower than the same time last year and we are continuing to strengthen the balance sheet,” the ceo adds.

Shipped tonnage increased by 5% in Sweden and Poland in Q1 2018 the company says without giving figures. Net sales to these countries increased by 20%, BE adds. Net sales also increased in Finland and the Baltics by 5% despite stiffening competition in thin sheets, which constitutes a significant part of the group’s business there.

Net sales increased year-on-year by 8% to SEK 1,226 million ($138m) versus SEK 1,138m in Q1 2017. The underlying operating result increased to SEK 48m from SEK 30m, same basis, due to higher sales and a higher underlying gross margin.