Altia sales drop 4.8% in 2020

25th February, 2021 by Owen Bellwood

Nordic drinks group Altia saw reported net sales decline 4.8% in 2020 as Covid-19 restrictions hit travel retail, exports and the on-trade.

Altia CEO Pekka Tennilä thanked employees for ‘delivering such strong results’

Between January and the end of December 2020, Altia’s net sales decreased 4.8% to €342.4 million (US$418.4m).

During the period, sales across the Finland-and-exports segment declined to €117.2m (US$143.4m) after a drop in exports and travel retail, but the sales in the monopoly channel grew, driven by strong spirits sales.

Across Scandinavia, sales grew 3.9% to reach €123.9m (US$151.5m) and were driven by strong results in the monopolies, which offset declines in the on-trade sector.

Altia Industrial’s net sales declined due to lower contract manufacturing volumes and were valued at €101.2m (US$123.8m) for the period.

CEO Pekka Tennilä said: “Last year was exceptional for us, with the outbreak of Covid-19 into a global pandemic and the challenges it brought to our business, and to the health and safety of our employees.

“We have managed the situation very well and I am proud of the great achievements our employees have reached and for the strong commitment they have shown during this difficult year.

“We ended the year with a fourth quarter largely in line with our own expectations with the Covid-19 restrictions still impacting travel retail and on-trade.”

Altia saw its profitability increase through 2020, with reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) valued at €40.3m (US$49.3m).

Tennilä added: “Our financial position has been solid throughout the whole year with good cash flow development and strong liquidity. Net cash flow from operations improved to €56.1 million (US$68.6m), driven by the positive development of working capital.”

‘Significant uncertainties’

Looking to the year ahead, Altia said it expects Covid-19 restrictions to continue to hit travel retail, exports and the on-trade during the first half of the year. But the group said channel shift in the monopoly markets is expected to continue for as long as travel retail and the on-trade are restricted.

Across its industrial arm, Altia said the pandemic could impact contract manufacturing in H1. Price increases for imported ethanol and higher barley prices could also affect the business.

Tennilä added: “Looking ahead, we expect significant uncertainties in our operating environment due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions. Forecasting the recovery of the operating environment is difficult as it depends largely on the development of Covid-19, the progress of vaccinations, and changes in consumer behaviour.

“Due to these uncertainties the predictability is weak for the full-year 2021, and we have decided to provide a short-term outlook but no guidance for 2021.”

In 2021, Altia will also finalise its planned merger with Linie aquavit owner Arcus to create a new company, called Anora Group.

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