- Preliminary operating results for 2020 confirmed: consolidated revenues, consolidated EBIT and consolidated EBITDA within the forecast range
- Proposed dividend of EUR 0.13 per share
- Revenues and results at the previous year’s level expected for the 2021 financial year
Haselünne, March 25, 2021 – Berentzen-Gruppe Aktiengesellschaft, which is listed on the regulated market (General Standard) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ISIN: DE0005201602), today published its Annual Report for the 2020 financial year.
In the report, the Group confirms its preliminary operating results published on February 3, 2021 for the past financial year. Based on those figures, the corporate group recorded consolidated revenues of EUR 154.6 million (2019: EUR 167.4 million). Consolidated earnings before interest and taxes (consolidated EBIT) amounted to EUR 5.2 million in the 2020 financial year (2019: EUR 9.8 million), consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (consolidated EBITDA) to EUR 14.1 million (2019: EUR 18.4 million).
“Despite the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our business activities, we succeeded in bringing even the 2020 financial year to a profitable close,” is how Oliver Schwegmann, one of Berentzen-Gruppe Aktiengesellschaft’s Executive Board members, sums up the situation. Against this backdrop, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board had decided that a dividend of EUR 0.13 per share (previous year: EUR 0.28 per share) be proposed to the annual general meeting to be held on May 11, 2021. “This means that we stand by our shareholder-friendly dividend policy, even in challenging times”, said Schwegmann.
The Berentzen Group’s business segments impacted to varying degrees by the coronavirus pandemic
Business developed differently in the individual segments of the Berentzen Group over the course of the 2020 financial year. The Spirits segment just about reached the level of revenues seen in the previous year (-0.4%). “Many of our spirits products, specifically our Berentzen and Puschkin branded spirits, stand for cheeriness and celebrating in the company of others. In the pandemic year 2020, however, many of these occasions for consumption did not take place – whether seasonal highlights such as Easter or New Year’s Eve, traditional shooting fairs and music festivals, or even private parties. Consequently, both our domestic and international business with branded spirits suffered significantly during the pandemic”, Schwegmann explained. The fact that the Spirits segment just about reached the previous-year level of revenues, nevertheless, was a result of strong revenue growth in premium spirits. “Many consumers reached for high-quality luxury spirits over the past year. In this context, the attractive value for money offered by our premium dealer brands was the perfect answer to the highest demands being placed on quality at the same time as pandemic-related price sensitivity”, Schwegmann continued. This is one area where our strategy of moving towards premium products that was launched already three years ago completely paid off.”
Divergent developments were apparent even within the Non-alcoholic Beverages segment, which reported a fall in revenues on the previous year totalling 11.8%. The temporary closures of hospitality venues as part of the lockdowns led to significant declines in unit sales and revenues, in particular in the franchise business. “With regard to the sales volumes of our own branded products in the Non-alcoholic Beverages segment, in contrast, we succeeded in generating stronger growth rates overall than the general market for non-alcoholic beverages in Germany, even in the challenging year 2020, which we find a very pleasing development”, Schwegmann explained and went on to say: “Mio Mio, for instance, once again recorded double-digit sales growth, even though student life outside the home, which is very important for the brand, had likewise virtually come to a standstill, to name one example.”
The segment that suffered most from the coronavirus pandemic was the Fresh Juice Systems segment with a fall in revenues of 25.0% in comparison to the previous year. Here again, sales of fruit presses through the hospitality and hotel sales channel, in particular, came almost completely to a standstill at times in all markets of relevance to the Berentzen Group. “But the food retailing sector also faced many challenges over the past year with regard to maintaining operations and implementing standards of hygiene. Consequently, it was not the right time for many trade partners to look into a capital-intensive purchase such as our fruit presses”, Schwegmann continued. Due to the ongoing growth in consumer demand for healthy food and drink additionally fuelled by the pandemic, and the increasing pressure on the brick-and-mortar food retail trade to differentiate itself from the dynamically growing online trade meant that the greatest opportunities for future growth lay, at the same time, in the Fresh Juice Systems segment, nevertheless.
“In summary, we can say that the coronavirus pandemic did, of course, take its toll on us as a corporate group. However, our broad positioning across various categories of beverages, our extensive brand and product portfolio and our ability to cover various distribution channels meant that the fall in revenues within the Group was comparatively moderate at 7.7 percent enabling us to bring the financial year to a profitable close”, said Schwegmann.
Outlook on the 2021 financial year
The Berentzen Group anticipates negative effects from the coronavirus pandemic also for the 2021 financial year. “The ongoing restrictions imposed on private and social life will continue to be tangibly reflected in our business activities so that the 2021 financial year will as a whole be similar to the year 2020 and a comparable level of revenues and earnings is consequently to be expected”, said Schwegmann. Specifically, the corporate group expects consolidated revenues in a range between EUR 152.0 million and EUR 158.0 million, consolidated EBIT of between EUR 4.0 million and EUR 6.0 million and consolidated EBITDA of between EUR 13.0 million and EUR 15.0 million. EBIT and EBITDA are thus forecast to remain in exactly the same range as in the previous year.
The lockdown situation currently prevailing and repeatedly being extended is expected to have a significant negative impact particularly in the first two quarters of the year 2021. “We are convinced, however, that the cheery high spirits and celebrating in the company of others will return to people’s lives, albeit initially in small steps, as more and more people are vaccinated. Within the corporate group, we are already preparing for this time with a number of measures”, continued Schwegmann and went on to say that these included, among other things, the further expansion of the Group’s own sales field organisation, Berentzen-Vivaris Vertriebs GmbH (launched in the past year), the start of sales on the German market of the premium cider brand Goldkehlchen (acquired in 2020) and the contract bottling partnership with Imnauer Mineralquellen, which has just begun, with a view to further building up the distribution of MioMio in Southern Germany. “Over and above this, we are working at full speed in all segments to develop new products. As a corporate group, we are preparing to return to our growth trajectory of the last few years prior to the coronavirus”, said Schwegmann in conclusion.