CEO Comments, Q4 2021
Demand in the Nordic kitchen markets remained strong in the quarter. In the UK the business climate was continued volatile with the project market considerably below pre-pandemic levels, whilst the trade segment grew. The central European markets were impacted by further corona restrictions in the quarter.
In the Nordics we end the year with a full-year growth of 10%, an EBIT-margin of 13.7% and a solid order book in both retail and projects going into 2022. Our retail performance in particular has been very strong, supported by successful product launches and solid performance in all the Nordic countries. I am pleased to see that our new regional organisation has generated cross-border collaboration and scale benefits in manufacturing as well as in commercial activities.
Central Europe had another good year with 12% organic growth and an EBIT margin of 11% for the second year in a row. The acquisition of Bribus in 2018 has proven to be a perfect fit with Nobia and our Austrian operation has completed its turnaround and is now generating solid earnings growth.
In the UK organic growth for the year was 6% with a margin of 0.5%. Continued good development in Magnet trade whilst project business being considerably down in both London and social housing. Going forward in the UK we will put higher focus on Magnet. To drive profitable growth with the brand we are further strengthening our organisation, upgrading our product portfolio and selective parts of our retail network, investing in marketing and improving product availability. We have also exited unprofitable business and are reviewing our project business. Currently Magnet has a good trading momentum during Winter sales.
Across our markets we have been successful in compensating the inflationary pressure by improving our price points albeit with a lag in the Nordics due to the long order book. We expect to fully compensate for the oncost starting from Q1 2022.
With good cash generation and a strong balance sheet, the Board of Directors propose that the dividend is increased to SEK 2.50 per share (2.00).
We made plenty of progress on our strategic agenda in 2021. With a state-of-the-art factory in the Nordics progressing according to plan, new product introductions with strong focus on design and sustainability and initiatives to drive profitable growth in all our regions. We will make even more progress in 2022.
President and CEO