2015 tough on some companies, kinder to others

Maersk and FLSmidth challenged as Pandora and Novo Nordisk soar

It’s been a busy week or two for the finance departments at Denmark’s top companies following record rises and falls in the C20-Cap Index and the release of their annual financial results for 2015.

Rough seas for Maersk
For Maersk, the financial seas were a bit rough. The shipping and oil giant did exit 2015 with positive results on its bottom line at 20.5 billion kroner, but that was down 9.3 billion kroner compared to 2014.

Additionally, the company’s profit fell by nearly 28 billion kroner compared to the previous year, primarily due to record-low shipping rates and low oil prices.

“We are satisfied with the good operational performance across our businesses in 2015,” said its chief executive, Nils S Andersen. “Despite the very challenging market conditions in our industries, all business units delivered positive underlying profits and the Maersk Group achieved an underlying result of 20.5 billion kroner.”

“Given our expectation that the oil price will remain at a low level for a longer period, we have impaired the value of a number of Maersk Oil’s assets by 17.2 billion kroner after tax. We will continue to strengthen the group’s position through strong operational performance and growth investments.”

During the last quarter of 2015, the company endured a loss of 60 million kroner – the first time in several years that the company has experienced a quarterly loss.

READ MORE: Maersk Line cost-cutting includes significant fleet reduction

Pandora’s golden box
The news was less bleak for Pandora, which enjoyed a considerable growth in turnover in 2015 – a 40.2 percent increase to 16.7 billion kroner compared to 2014.

The jewellery company unveiled a result of 3.7 billion kroner thanks to strong performances in a number of markets, including Asia (up 58 percent), Europe (up 42.3 percent) and the Americas (up 31.8 percent).

Much of the positive development is down to the strong dollar and the expansion of its network of shops. Its concept shops now make up almost two-thirds of its total turnover.

“With 2015, another great year for Pandora has come to an end,” said Anders Colding Friis, the CEO of Pandora.

“A strong top-line development added almost 5 billion kroner to our revenue, which was broadly distributed between geographic regions and product groups, all delivering double digit growth rates.”

READ MORE: Novo Nordisk production plants to be 100 percent sustainable by 2020

Breaking Novo ground
The good times keep on rolling for pharmaceutical giants Novo Nordisk.

The company showed a record result for 2015 of almost 35 billion kroner after tax – an increase of 8.4 billion kroner compared to the year before.

The result was posted thanks to a record turnover of 107.9 billion kroner, the first time the company has exceeded the 100 billion kroner mark.

“Despite market access challenges, we ended the year with sales growing by 8 percent and operating profit by 21 percent – both in local currencies,” said Lars Rebien Sørensen, the CEO of Novo Nordisk.

“Sales growth was primarily driven by Victoza, aided by the high growth of the GLP-1 market, but other products also did well, including Levemir, NovoRapid, Tresiba and our human growth hormone Norditropin.”

And while Novo Nordisk has been forced to downgrade its predicted growth from 15 to 10 percent for 2016, the company still sees a bright year ahead.

READ MORE: FLSmidth hauls in lucrative Algerian order

FLSmidth challenged
The Danish engineering company FLSmidth saw its financial result dip by 48 percent to 425 million kroner compared to 2014 due to a challenging market.

Turnover fell from 20.5 to 19.6 billion kroner, and as the price of commodities fell throughout 2015, the company’s cement and mining customers scaled back their investments.

“With the annual report published today, we showed that we are managing the cyclical downturn well,” said FLSmidth’s CEO Thomas Schulz.

“Despite a very challenging market situation, our performance is solid and our products and services provide a stable and profitable business. The financial result is in line with our guidance, our order intake is up, and we have a positive free cash flow. We will continue to invest in our people and to streamline our footprint to ensure that FLSmidth has an organisation that is geared for the future.”

The news comes a week after the company signed a lucrative EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract in Algeria worth an estimated 1.5 billion kroner.

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