- Preliminary operating results for 2021 confirmed: considerable growth in consolidated EBIT and consolidated EBITDA within the forecast range
- Proposed dividend of EUR 0.22 per share
- 2022 financial year: revenues expected to climb significantly and results forecast at the previous year’s level
Haselünne, March 24, 2022 –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 2021 financial year. In the report, the Group confirmed its preliminary operating results for the past financial year, published on February 3, 2022. Based on those figures, the corporate group generated consolidated revenues of EUR 146.1 million (2020: EUR 154.6 million). Consolidated earnings before interest and taxes (consolidated EBIT) rose to EUR 6.7 million (2020: EUR 5.2 million) in the 2021 financial year, while consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (consolidated EBITDA) climbed to EUR 15.4 million (2020: EUR 14.1 million).
“Despite the considerable impacts of the second year of the pandemic on our business activities, we again managed to close the 2021 financial year on a profitable note, with our earnings ratios increasing significantly”, summarises Oliver Schwegmann, member of the Executive Board of Berentzen-Gruppe Aktiengesellschaft. Against this backdrop, the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board have decided that a dividend of EUR 0.22 per share (nearly 70% higher than the dividend of EUR 0.13 per share in the previous year) be proposed to the annual general meeting on May 18, 2022. “It is very important to us that our shareholders share extensively in our earnings growth”, explains Schwegmann.
By contrast, consolidated revenues declined in the 2021 financial year, a trend Schwegmann attributes to the termination of a contract bottling agreement in the Non-alcoholic Beverages segment, which has already been reported on many times. Meanwhile, a significantly higher consolidated gross profit is behind the considerable climb in consolidated earnings and decline in revenues, he says. “High-margin products generated growth in our portfolio, while a large-scale but lower-margin contract bottling agreement was discontinued at the end of the first quarter of the previous year, which caused the gross profit to increase”, says Schwegmann. “This shows the continued success of our profitability strategy in the 2021 financial year.”
“On the whole, however, we have not yet managed to return to the dynamic growth trajectory seen from 2017 to 2019”, says Schwegmann. This is due to further restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, he continues, which have negatively impacted the Berentzen Group’s business activities, particularly in light of the lockdown at the beginning of the year, which lasted several months, and the reintroduction of restrictions at the end of the year, as well as given that many of the corporate group’s products are intended to be consumed during social occasions.
Varying developments in the Berentzen Group’s business areas
Business developed very differently in the individual segments of the Berentzen Group over the course of the 2021 financial year. The Spirits segment just about reached the level of revenues seen in the previous year (-0.3%). “Our two umbrella brands Berentzen and Puschkin performed very well, recording significant growth of over 5% – despite the cancellation of numerous consumption occasions such as Karneval, New Year’s Eve, traditional target shooting fairs, music festivals and private parties. Our extensive liqueur campaign, launched last year, proved to be a success”, says Schwegmann. Business with high-value private-label spirits was also enhanced further in the 2021 financial year, he continues.
Meanwhile, revenues in the Non-alcoholic Beverages segment dropped by around 22%. “This is due exclusively to the discontinuation of the low-margin contract bottling business mentioned earlier. By contrast, revenues from our proprietary brands increased, despite the aforementioned coronavirus restrictions and poor weather over the summer”, Schwegmann says. Mio Mio again drove growth, with revenues from products under this brand climbing by around 10%. “Revenues from our regional mineral water brands were also up”, he says.
Moving onto the Fresh Juice Systems segment, revenues grew by 2.6% in the 2021 financial year. “This is predominantly due to higher revenues from fruit and bottles”, Schwegmann explains. By contrast, he points to a noticeable reluctance among customers to purchase investment goods such as fruit presses, a trend driven by the pandemic. “However, we saw strong revenue growth re-emerging in important focus markets. In Germany, for example, revenues from equipment were up 31% compared with the previous year”, he says.
“In summary, we can attribute our very successful performance over the past year to our strategic focuses – from the liqueur campaign and premium spirits to the Mio Mio brand and an emphasis on core markets in the Fresh Juice Systems segment – which play an especially important role ensuring in sustainable, profitable business development”, says Schwegmann.
Outlook for the 2022 financial year
These strategic focuses offer the greatest potential for growth and profitability and will continue to play an important role in ensuring positive performance in the 2022 financial year, Schwegmann summarises. The Berentzen Group therefore expects consolidated revenues to be significantly higher than in the 2021 financial year – despite the current Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the current war in Ukraine. “We believe that social life and thus also our business volume will take off again over the further course of the year”, Schwegmann explains.
For the 2022 financial year, the corporate group expects to achieve consolidated revenues in the range of EUR 154.0 million to EUR 162.0 million, a consolidated EBIT between EUR 5.0 million and EUR 8.0 million and a consolidated EBITDA between EUR 14.0 million and EUR 17.0 million. The earnings ratios consolidated EBIT and consolidated EBITDA are therefore forecast to reach roughly the same level as in the previous year, despite the increase in revenues forecast. This is partly due to massive, unprecedented hikes in the costs of energy, raw and other materials, Schwegmann says, linked to the direct and indirect impacts of the war in Ukraine, among other factors. “From a sales perspective, the war – which we as a company condemn in the strongest possible terms – has not yet had any significant impacts on the Berentzen Group since we only conducted business in Russia and Ukraine to a marginal extent”, he explains. The unpredictability of the impacts of the war means that the assumptions underlying the forecast could become obsolete and vary based on how challenges in the sourcing markets develop further and whether they come to a head.
“Despite the current price hikes and further hikes expected in the future, and the resulting uncertainties for our sourcing markets, we have decided, after two years of the pandemic and the strict cost management approach taken as a result, to again invest even more heavily in personnel, sales and marketing with a view to facilitating long-term growth. This is because, despite current events, we remain fundamentally optimistic about the future and believe firmly in the long-term, sustainable success of our business model”, says Schwegmann.