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Sweden – Sluggish end to Uniflex’s Q4

04 February 2014

Swedish staffing firm Uniflex AB (UFLXB: SS) reported revenue for the fourth quarter ending 31 December of SEK 336.5 million (€38.1 million), a fall of -10.3% compared with SEK 375.3 million (€42.5 million) for the same period last year.

However, the company achieved an operating profit of SEK 2.1 million (€237,623), an improvement from an operating loss of SEK 1.5 million (€169,731) in Q4 2012. Uniflex reported a profit after tax of SEK 500,000 (€56,577) compared with a loss after tax of SEK 1.8 million (€203,677) a year ago.

On an annual basis, the company reported a -11.4% drop in revenue from SEK 1.6 billion (€181 million) last year to SEK 1.4 billion (€158.4 million) this year. The company’s operating profit rose by +4.9% to SEK 21.5 million (€2.4 million), up from SEK 20.5 million (€2.3 million) in 2012. Uniflex’s annual profit after tax rose by +4%, year-on-year, from SEK 12 million (€1.36 million) in 2012 to SEK 12.5 million (€1.4 million) in 2013. 

Jan Bengtsson, CEO of Uniflex, commented: “In Sweden the quarter started strongly but toward the end there was a noticeably unstable demand from our customers. As a result of fewer working days and many holiday days in December we had many unallocated workers. It hit the operating profit for the quarter. We know when the economy improves it will increase our sales and profits. So far we have not seen any stable economic improvement without which demand for our services is still unstable.”

Uniflex generated SEK 300.1 million (€34 million) in revenue in Sweden during the fourth quarter, a decline of -15.2% from SEK 353.8 million (€40 million) a year ago. During the fourth quarter, Uniflex acquired 100% of recruitment firm Poolia’s subsidiary Development House (Utvecklingshuset).  

Bengtsson continued: “In Norway, thanks to good sales and good cost control, we have achieved both growth and profit in the fourth quarter. We predict that we will continue to grow and make money in Norway. In Finland, sales have not increased as we had expected and our operating income is still negative.”

Revenues rose in Norway, year-on-year, by +13.1% to SEK 21.6 million (€2.4 million) from SEK 19.1 million (€2.2 million) in Q4 2012. Finnish revenue declined by -4.2% to SEK 2.3 million (€260,254) down from SEK 2.4 million (€271,569) last year.

A year-on-year comparison for Uniflex’s German business is not possible as the business was acquired in March 2013. Bengtsson explained: “On 1 March we acquired our German operations. Revenue continues to grow and during the fourth quarter nearly reached SEK 13 million (€1.5 million). The operating result was a loss of SEK 2.7 million (€305,516), which is lower than expected. The reason is that we have made some changes within the administration, which has led to redundancy costs, and also to German customers during the period showing some restraint in demand, similarly to Sweden. We had an unusually high number of unallocated workers in December. Our earlier forecast that we will make profit in Germany during 2014 remains unchanged,” Mr Bengtsson concluded.

In trading today, the company’s share price fell by -6.9% to SEK 29.50 (€3.34), a fall of -0.3% compared with a year ago. Based on its current share price, the company has a market value of SEK 550.4 million (€62.3 million).   

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