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Given the (growing) market uncertainties, the Q2 results were good

  • 22 Aug 16

Despite the brewing economic uncertainty in Europe (and the UK), Mayr-Melnhof Karton (MMK) reported a healthy Q2 16 performance. Sales were up 5.7% yoy to €566m, though mostly driven by the acquisition-related higher volumes (+8.5%) in MM Packaging. Sequentially, sales were down 1.7% as overall packaging markets remained competitive. Still, the group managed to sustain its profit momentum, with adjusted EBIT coming in at €56m (+14%; +0.7% qoq). MM Packaging was a key contributor (adjusted EBIT of €37m (+38%; +4.9% qoq)), primarily benefiting from a good product mix. On the other hand, MM Karton suffered (adjusted EBIT of €19m (-15%; -6.4% qoq)) due to the continuation of weak order backlogs (50kt in H1 16 vs. 91kt in H1 15) and higher recovered paper prices. Net profit was up 29% (and 4.1% qoq) to €41m as further support emanated from materially lower net financial expenses. In addition to the profitability resilience, lower working capital requirements (€8m vs. €25m and €22m in Q2 15 and Q1 16, respectively) helped reported OCFs gallop (+70%; +34% qoq) to €56m. Net debt remained largely unchanged (at €42m) due to the dividend payment for FY15. Given a precarious macro situation and growing packaging competition across Europe, management continues to maintain a cautious outlook and anticipates the business environment will remain challenging in H2 16.

Impressive performance continues

  • 23 Mar 16

Drawing curtains for the AV paper and packaging universe results season, Mayr-Melnhof Karton (MMK) reported strong Q4 and FY15 results – thereby maintaining its performance momentum over the years. The results were broadly in line with AV estimates and slightly ahead of the market expectations. Healthy top-line… Sales: Q4 – €564m (+9.2% yoy; +2.9% qoq); 2015 – €2.2bn (+4.5%) Healthy top-line growth has been a hallmark of MMK’s performance and 2015 was no exception to that trend. In fact, 2015 sales were the highest the group has achieved over the past decade, despite Europe continuing to be at the core of its operations. Apart from close to one-fifth of the annual sales growth coming from the Ileos acquisition, annual (and quarterly) volumes in both Karton and Packaging divisions were up 4.7% (11%) and 3.8% (7%), respectively. While capacity utilisation in Karton remained impressive (98% in 2015 vs. 97% in 2014), Packaging capitalised on technological production innovations to counter fierce market competition. …supported by continuation of cost efficiencies Adjusted EBIT – €45m (+3.7%; -22%); 2015 – €203m (+13%) Higher productivity and cost improvements across both divisions helped 2015 group margins to improve 70bp to 9.3%. Although increasing recovered paper prices (a key input – accounting for c.80% of MMK’s annual fibre consumption) are believed to have impacted the Q4 performance to some extent – with the effect being more visible on a sequential basis. With the operating benefits percolating down, full-year net profit came in at €142m (+8%). Visible balance sheet strength The reported OCFs were up 25% to €207m while capex was down 8.4% to €128m. With the completion of the Ileos acquisition, cash at end-2015 was down 20% yoy to €255m, while borrowings were up 10% to €293m. Yet overall leverage is well within control and more (opportunistic) acquisitions are being targeted for 2016, while organic expansion plans would continue unabated. After declaring an interim dividend of €1.6 per share, a final dividend of €1.2 per share was announced. As a result, full-year dividend was up 7.7% to €2.8 per share. The much-awaited “FOODBOARD” (a high quality coated cartonboard for food packaging) has been launched during Q1 16.

Productivity gains help sustain strong performance momentum

  • 18 Nov 15

Even in the absence of material forex benefits (unlike the other AV paper companies), Mayr-Melnhof Karton (MMK) has continued to deliver a strong performance. Q3 sales came in at €548m (+1.9% yoy; +2.3% qoq) driven by healthy volumes (Karton: +1.5%; Packaging: +4.5%) and slightly higher carton prices. Although packaging prices continue to remain under pressure due to intensifying competition. The continuation of productivity gains in both the segments and optimal capacity utilisation (99%) in Karton resulted in adjusted EBIT improving further (+22%; +19% qoq) to €58m. Net profit came in at €41m (+12%; +29% qoq) as higher other financial expenses trimmed some of the operating gains. Reported OCFs galloped 75% (+95% qoq) to €65m as working capital efficiencies (use of only €6m vs. use of €21m and €25m in Q3 14 and Q2 15, respectively) added to the profitability gains. Consequently, net cash position has further strengthened from €8m at the end of Q2 15 to €36m at the end of Q3 15. However, with the completion of the Ileos acquisition (€85m paid in cash) and an interim dividend payment of €32m after the close of Q3, the group should eventually revert to a net debt position. Despite the slowing Karton segment order-book, management guides for earnings improvement to continue on the back of further efficiencies being targeted. Greater confidence in earnings delivery resulted in the group announcing its first interim dividend – in effect prepaying one half of its full-year dividend – in October 2015.

Operating improvements continue, despite no material uptick in economic activity

  • 16 Sep 15

Bucking the Q2 trend of the AV universe paper and packaging companies, Mayr-Melnhof Karton (MMK) reported yet another quarter of strong operating performance. More importantly, the company realised real operating improvements, rather than just benefiting from favourable forex movements. Q2 sales came in at €536m (+5.2% yoy; flat qoq), driven by strong performances in both the ‘Karton’ and ‘Packaging’ divisions. Sequentially, however, sales were flat as gradual price increases in the Karton business (passing on some of the higher input costs to customers) were offset by lower deliveries in both divisions. Apart from a resilient top-line, adjusted EBIT of €46m (+15% yoy; -3.7% qoq) was also supported by the continuation of strong Karton division capacity utilisation (99%) and a growing focus on cost optimisation across facilities. Here again, sequentially, there was some disappointment as the European recovery is yet to deliver tangibly. Despite €3.2m of restructuring expenses in Packaging (pertaining to the integration of facilities), net profit increased 8.9% (though -11% qoq) to €31m. Buoyed by good profitability and working capital efficiencies (use of €25m vs. €38m in Q2 14), reported OCFs galloped 1.2x to €33m. A comfortable net cash position of €7.9m at the end of H1 15 helped the group announce a €80m acquisition (to be completed in H2 15) of folding carton operations of a French packaging company, Ileos SA.