Oslo, 28 February 2017 – Fourth quarter group net operating revenues increased by 5.5 per cent to NOK 685.5 million, compared to the same quarter last year. The increase in revenues was driven by higher production from an increased workforce in Norway, as well as improved project activity in the international segment and LINK arkitektur. Challenging project execution resulted in write-downs on certain projects. The billing ratio remained stable at 69.0 per cent. Billing rates are at a similar level as last year. For the full year 2016, net operating revenues increased by 15.9 per cent to NOK 2 604.6 million.
Underlying EBITDA* for the quarter was NOK 29.7 million, a decrease of 42.0 per cent compared to the same period last year. The decrease is mainly explained by higher operating expenses in the quarter. For the year 2016 as a whole, underlying EBITDA* was NOK 225.5 million, a decrease of 14.4 per cent from the previous year.
With effect from 1 January 2017, the parent company has changed its pension plan for the remaining 280 employees, who were on the defined pension benefit plan. The new contribution plan now includes all employees. The change has resulted in a positive non-recurring effect calculated, in line with IFRS, to NOK 107.3 million on reported EBITDA in the fourth quarter and full year 2016. The change does not have any short-term cash effect.
The Board of Directors will propose to the annual general meeting a dividend of NOK 3.00 per share for 2016, in line with the dividend policy.
On 12 December 2016, Multiconsult, through its subsidiary LINK arkitektur AS, acquired the Danish architect company aarhus arkitekterne. The total purchase price was DKK 49.2 million. The acquisition was settled in cash and financed through Multiconsult’s existing credit facilities.
– As we look at the full year 2016, I am pleased to see the strong growth in revenues and improvement in our billing ratio in a challenging market environment. The acquisition of aarhus arkitekterne paves way for an even stronger business, focused on the 3-2-1 GO strategic objectives, says CEO of Multiconsult ASA Christian Nørgaard Madsen.
The order backlog remains strong at the end of the year and was NOK 1 793.1 million (NOK 1 727.5 million), an increase of 3.8 per cent year on year. LINK arkitektur had a strong contribution year on year.
Order intake during the fourth quarter increased by 28.1 per cent to NOK 947.1 million (NOK 739.6 million). All business areas increased except Transportation & Infrastructure. Among the new contracts this quarter were Åsane high school, Concept study E39 Bjørnafjorden, Kongsvinger railway and high schools in Tvedestrand and Horten in Norway. Add-ons to existing contracts such as New Airbase Ørland and Campus Ås in Norway, as well as Kamuzu Barrage in Malawi were also recorded in the quarter. Order intake year to date as of 31 December 2016 was NOK 3 084.7 million (NOK 2 808.0 million).
The company successfully completed the employee share purchase programme in the fourth quarter, in which approximately 34 per cent of employees across the Multiconsult group signed up for shares. Per 31 December 2016, the employees represented 20 per cent of the share ownership in the company. “It is very inspiring to see that the employees across the Multiconsult group continue to participate in the employee share purchase programme, now successful for the second year in a row”, says CEO of Multiconsult ASA Christian Nørgaard Madsen.
Group balance sheet remains solid as of 31 December 2016 with total assets of NOK 1 381.6 million and total equity of NOK 507.5 million. The group had cash and cash equivalents of NOK 176.0 million, while net interest bearing debt was negative NOK 116.5 million, i.e. an asset.
The overall market outlook for 2017 is fairly positive. Current market rates have stabilised, however the continued increase in salaries for the Norwegian workforce has led to challenging profitability for the industry in general.
Multiconsult’s strong market position, flexible business model and wide service offering provides a sound base for further growth, both domestic and international.
A presentation of the fourth quarter 2016 results will be held today, 28 February, at 09:00 CET at Hotel Continental, Stortingsgaten 24/26, Oslo. CEO Christian Nørgaard Madsen and CFO Anne Harris will host the presentation.
A live webcast from the presentation can be accessed at www.multiconsult-ir.com and http://webtv.hegnar.no/presentation.php?webcastId=44476287
*Underlying EBITDA; The company has with effect from 1 January 2017 settled the defined benefit pension plan. The settlement resulted in a non-recurring positive effect calculated, in line with IFRS, to NOK 107.3 million lower employee benefit expense excluded from the underlying results in 2016.
For further information, please contact:
Mirza Koristovic, Head of Investor Relations
Phone: +47 93 87 05 25
Gaute Christensen, VP Communications
Phone: +47 91 17 01 88