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Message from CEO

From the Q1 2024 interim report.

Solid Start to the New Year

Caroline_vd_231020-1650

The first quarter of 2024 started in a similar way as the same quarter last year. We continue to see the strength of our diversified business, both in terms of resilience in tougher times, as well as increasingly strong cash flow. With a strong balance sheet behind us, we are ready to take on the new year.

As commented in the previous report, 2023 ended with somewhat cautious order intake, especially in Technology & Distribution, driven by uncertainty about interest rates and the direction of the economy. As the quarter progressed, we saw gradual improvements in several places, even though, for example, our Finnish customers in Technology & Distribution were affected by strikes in the first quarter. During the quarter we also completed the outsourcing of our IT functions, which affected most of the companies in Technology & Distribution and one of the companies in Energy & Environment. The aim has been to create more robust and efficient management of our internal support.
Energy & Environment continued its strong performance, increasing its sales in the quarter by 13%, driven by full momentum in most units. Bullerbekämparen kept a somewhat slower pace during the quarter as they implemented a new business system, renovated and optimized their production facilities, and launched a new website. The conditions are now in place for continued growth in the future.

Business development in the light of sustainability efforts

As more and more people recognize our vision of solving society’s technology challenges, we are constantly thinking about the challenges we face, whether it’s access to energy, responsible management of natural resources, or our own impact on the world. It was therefore exciting to start work on the double materiality analysis under the new regulatory framework during the quarter. The work so far has given us many exciting discussions about our activities and future priorities. It’s great to be able to delve into societal challenges together with our highly skilled employees, with the breadth of knowledge and experience they possess.

Strong cash flow provides opportunities going forward

In addition to organic business opportunities, we work tirelessly to court potential acquisitions. In general, we find that the acquisition markets have loosened up more and more in recent quarters and that there are more opportunities out there. At the same time, our efforts to increase cash flow have continued to strengthen the balance sheet. Our net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is now at a low 0.5 before IFRS effects, giving us ample room for acquisitions.

Caroline Reuterskiöld
President and CEO, Berner Industrier AB