Interim Review, January – March 2023
Comments from Lars Hellberg, President & CEO
Our strategic ambition is to actively increase offerings to the US market – we have assigned a specific business development team to explore our GoWest strategy.
The first quarter of 2023 remained positive for us. Our customers’ good order intake was reflected in our business, which continued on a healthy level throughout the first quarter. Recently, we managed to win new customers and products in, for example, the defense industry. New businesses are now in the implementation phase, contributing to the increasing net sales outlook in 2023. Our net sales also increased by approximately 30 percent, compared to the same period in 2022.
At the end of the last year, we managed to transfer essentially all extraordinary cost increases related to energy and salary to our customer contracts. We also continued the geographical regionalization of our business. Our customers are increasingly focused on Europe, Asia, and the United States. Our strategic ambition is to actively increase offerings to the US market, and therefore we have assigned a specific business development team to explore our GoWest strategy.
Among our customer segments, the mining industry continued to be strong, but the marine, offshore and energy markets remained at a disappointingly low level. Demand in the container handling, forestry, and material handling segments was at a stable level. We see strong growth opportunities, especially in the defense sector.
Despite uncertainties in the global situation, we have a healthy business outlook for 2023.
Our new business area, Zero Emission Solutions, focuses, among other things, on the development of fossil-free steel applications and components for customers. It also offers solutions for integrated thermal management, both for the air conditioning of operator cabins and the charging of electric vehicle batteries. In addition, we are exploring opportunities for charging on-grid, as well as off-grid solutions, in close cooperation with professional OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).
Our investment in additional capacity at Business Site Holic in Slovakia, is progressing at full speed. Our partnership with Buisard Cabins is maturing and more business opportunities are in the pipeline. The SAP S4/Hana -project is progressing as planned. The definition phase of “One Fortaco” business processes will be completed in the third quarter, and the first planned deployment will take place in January 2024.
We employ almost 2,500 people in eight different countries. The availability of skilled labor is currently challenging, and there is a shortage of welders and machine operators in particular. During the current year, we will strengthen our competence in terms of sustainable development in order to enhance measures to reduce global warming by 1.5 degrees.
Despite uncertainties in the global situation, we have a healthy business outlook for 2023. Our strategy is to grow both organically and inorganically and continue offering added value products and solutions to our customers internationally.