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Finnish manufacturer of professional furniture, Martela, reported its figures for the first half year of 2013.

Martela’s consolidated revenue and operating result are down on January–June of the previous year.

As a result, Martela revised its outlook for the full year: “The Martela Group expects its revenue for 2013 to be down year on year and its operating result to be at or slightly below the 2012 level.”

Consolidated revenue and results

Martela H1 2013 results

Consolidated revenue for the second quarter was EUR 29.3 million (35.1), a decrease of 16.6 per cent on the previous year.

Net revenue for January–June was EUR 61.1 million (67.1), a decline of 8.9% per cent.
Most of the decline took place in Finland, where revenue was affected by lower demand and by the fact that customer projects were timed more towards the second half of the year.
In Poland, however, revenue remained at the 2012 level, while in Sweden revenue was significantly higher than in 2012.
In the other markets, the transfer of the Danish business at the end of 2012 from the Martela subsidiary to a dealer slightly reduced (2.1%) consolidated revenue for the period.
In Russia, significant year-on-year revenue growth continued, but revenue still remains low in terms of euros.

The operating result for the second quarter was EUR -2.6 million (‑0.9).
The operating result for January–June was EUR -4.0 million (-1.8).
The consolidated operating result was substantially lower than the previous year due to lower revenue and a reduced sales margin on products.
The lower sales margin is the result of a different product breakdown compared to the comparison period.

In the second quarter, profitability in Finland was also weakened by the new ERP system implemented at the beginning of May. The issues have since been resolved and the system is now fully operational and should improve productivity in the future.

Martela’s fixed costs decreased on the previous year due to adjustment measures taken already in 2012, including the discontinuation of the subsidiary in Denmark.
In addition, the cost reduction effect of the personnel reductions and lay-offs agreed in the co-determination negotiations concluded in January 2013 began to have a gradual effect in the second quarter.

According to Martela, its ‘result has not developed in a satisfactory manner and it is apparent that economic conditions will remain uncertain in the near future. At the same time, our operational environment has changed. Importance of customized, service and trading products has clearly increased.’

As a consequence, Martela will adjust its operations to correspond to the changing conditions. Martela has begun planning for measures to reduce its costs. The goal is to reduce costs by an annual level of EUR 6 million by the end of 2014.

In addition to reducing fixed costs, Martela is also preparing measures to improve its delivery and supply chains in order to reduce its variable costs. Opportunities to lower costs will be sought in various cost groups and it is likely that there will be an effect on personnel.
The principal measures under consideration are transfers of production between business locations and merging of support functions, and reorganising and improving the productivity of poorly performing businesses.

At the same time, Martela plans to invest resources in improving its ability to offer even better comprehensive solutions, including services, especially to meet the growing customer need for ‘activity based office solutions’.

Profit before taxes for January–June was EUR -4.6 million (-2.3), and profit after taxes was EUR -4.5 million (-2.3).

Market update

In Finland, the demand for office furniture in the first half of 2013 was lower than in 2012. At present, demand focuses largely on various office alteration and enhancement projects instead of new offices.

Among the other market areas Poland still showed some positive signs, and in Sweden the market was somewhat positive in the first half of the year, but there also were some signs of uncertainty.

Over the last 12 months, demand from major corporations in Finland and Sweden in particular has increasingly focused on comprehensive solutions, which include both products and services.

Statistics on office construction are available for the first quarter of 2013, and according to these, 68% fewer office buildings were completed in Finland in terms of square metres in the first quarter of 2013 than the previous year.

At the same time, however, only very few building permits (-94%) were granted, and there were 82% fewer new office building starts. In other words, the construction of office buildings was at a very low level in the first quarter.
On the other hand it is not possible to make significant conclusions based on one quarter’s statistics because there might be big variances in quarterly statistics.

You can download the full report here (pdf).

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