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Year-end report 2022

The fourth quarter confirmed growth in order intake and revenue, as well as improved earnings. Christian Berner Tech Trade ended the year on a high note. Both business areas had double-digit organic growth figures in the quarter. We help our customers address their issues using leading technology and the strong growth confirm their trust.

Fourth quarter 2022
• The order intake was SEK 257.6 (201.1) million, an increase of 28.1 per cent.
• Net revenue for the fourth quarter was SEK 247.7 (192.6) million, an increase of 28.6 per cent, of which organic growth amounts to 26.6 percentage points.
• EBITA was SEK 5.4 (-4.5) million. The EBITA margin amounted to 2.2 (-2.3) per cent.
• Earnings per share before and after dilution were SEK 0.10 (-0.27).
• Cash flow from operating activities was SEK 21.2 (-3.7) million. Total cash flow for the period was SEK 11.0 (6.2) million.
• The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of SEK 0,60 (0,75) per share, distributed on two occasions.

1 January – 31 December 2022
• The order intake was SEK 915.7 (739.1) million, an increase of 23.9 per cent.
• The Group’s net revenue was SEK 842.0 (743.2) million, an increase of 13.3 per cent, of which organic growth amounts to 9.3 percentage points.
• EBITA was SEK 40.5 (30.9) million. The Group EBITA margin amounted to 4.8 (4.1) per cent.
• Earnings per share before and after dilution were SEK 1.30 (1.21).
• Cash flow from operating activities was SEK 25.1 (22.4) million. Total cash flow for the period was SEK -24.1 (29.0) million.

Significant events during the reporting period
• During the year, revenue was reduced by SEK 14 million due to changes in estimates regarding revenue that was reported at a higher level in previous years with a profit impact of SEK 5 million. A further SEK 2 million was charged to profit for completed deliveries where cost levels exceeded previous estimates.
• In December, a new business area structure and Group management were launched to strengthen the Group’s decentralised model enabling more effective governance.
• On 13 October, the Christian Berner Group celebrated its 125th anniversary, including all employees.
• During the quarter, an agreement was reached with Katarina Munter as the new Managing Director of Bullerbekämparen, beginning on 1 January 2023. An agreement was also reached with Even Magnus Moholdt as the new Managing Director of the subsidiary Christian Berner AS, Norway, with a start date of no later than 1 May 2023.

Events after the end of the reporting period
• There were no significant events after the end of the reporting period.

Decentralisation for greater strength
The covid restrictions have gradually eased and the world has increasingly re-opened. At the same time, we have been reminded that we should not take our freedoms for granted. War in our vicinity, high inflation, and resulting higher interest rates than we have been used to in recent years are placing new demands on our ability to adjust and be flexible. We do not, however, experience any cancellations or postponements from our customers’ side.

In times of market turmoil, we rely on our diversified customer base, with primarily eight different operating units in different industries. Our exposure is mainly in areas less sensitive to economic fluctuations, such as energy & infrastructure, water & sewage, and general industry.

Increased demand
Orders booked continued to increase in the fourth quarter (+28% compared with the previous year). New agencies signed during the year e.g., Ultraaqua, have been successfully launched, replacing another solution, which shows the organisation’s flexibility and agility. Subsidiaries with their own production such as Bullerbekämparen are scaling up production. We also see potential in the climate transition as several of our offerings contribute to our customers’ transformation. In fact, it is an important part of our business to constantly seek more sustainable solutions for our customers’ challenges.

Decision-making close to the customer
Since I started at the end of the first six months 2022 one of my main goals has been to free up the strength and potential that exists in our organisation. Through greater decentralisation we get more out of the technical know-how, experience and dedication already within the Group, while at the same time becoming more agile and therefore less vulnerable in times of fluctuations. In line with this, we launched a new business area setup in December and are working to simplify internal administration. We are finding our way back to the entrepreneurship and businessmanship that our founder Christian Berner injected into the organisation when he founded the company 125 years ago.

Exciting new recruitments
During the year, we also had changing of the guard in several parts of the Group. We welcome several driven individuals supplementing us, including a new CFO, new managing directors at Zander & Ingeström and Swedenborg, and after the end of the year also at Bullerbekämparen and Christian Berner AS in Norway. The management team is committed and driven, where everyone has their own clear goals, but is also driven by a joint effort to strengthen th group as a whole. During the year, the group’s first option programme was launched, involving subsidiary managing directors and key employees. At the same time, we have increased governance in certain areas, implementing clearer internal control to ensure that we comply with the high standards of sustainable business and governance that our stakeholders rightly place on us. This is a long-term effort, but we took several important steps forward during the year. One area we have addressed is the management of major projects, particularly in the Energy & Environment business area. As announced in previous quarterly reports, we completed some older projects in the second half of the year. A few of them were accompanied by some problems from previous years and these were dealt with during the autumn. This negatively impacted earnings during the second half of the year by SEK 7 million. We now stand significantly stronger heading into 2023.

Towards sustainable businesses in every aspect
The focus for 2023 is to continue on the chosen path, with a focus on sustainable businesses in every aspect and to continue to develop an efficient and entrepreneurial organisation. We have a long-term goal of acquiring good companies and being a good harbour for them for a long time to come. In the autumn, we noted that the price expectations were somewhat dampened and expect slightly better conditions in 2023. We have a strong history of acquisitions with Swedenborg, Zander & Ingeström and Empakk as great additions to the Group and are happy to wait for the best companies. Overall, we summarize a 2022 that stands for a reboot and regrouping and we are looking forward to 2023 with confidence.

Caroline Reuterskiöld
CEO, Christian Berner Tech Trade AB

For the full details, please see attached pdf-file.