NOHO PARTNERS PLC’S HALF-YEAR REPORT 1 JANUARY–30 JUNE 2022: The best quarter in the company’s history – turnover and profitability at record-high levels

Tampere, FINLAND


NoHo Partners Plc

HALF-YEAR REPORT 9 August 2022 at 8:15 a.m.

NOHO PARTNERS PLC’S HALF-YEAR REPORT 1 JANUARY–30 JUNE 2022

The best quarter in the company’s history – turnover and profitability at record-high levels

APRIL–JUNE 2022 IN BRIEF

Entire Group

• Turnover increased by 161.5% to MEUR 90.2 (MEUR 34.5).
• EBIT increased by 991.2% to MEUR 16.1 (MEUR -1.8).
• The EBIT percentage was 17.9% (-5.2%)
• The result for the financial period was MEUR 10.5 (MEUR -4.3), an increase of 347.4%.
• Earnings per share were EUR 0.45 (EUR -0.18), an increase of 349.0%.
• Operational EBITDA increased by 2,533.4% to MEUR 18.3 (MEUR 0.7).

JANUARY–JUNE 2022 IN BRIEF

Entire Group

• Turnover increased by 153.8% to MEUR 138.7 (MEUR 54.7).
• EBIT increased by 228.4% to MEUR 14.8 (MEUR -11.5).
• The EBIT percentage was 10.7% (-21.1%)
• The result for the financial period was MEUR 7.0 (MEUR -15.0), an increase of 146.5%.
• Earnings per share were EUR 0.27 (EUR -0.67), an increase of 140.8%.
• Operational EBITDA increased by 422.7% to MEUR 19.4 (MEUR -6.0).

Unless otherwise stated, figures in parentheses refer to the corresponding period last year.

KEY FIGURES        
NoHo Partners Group, total        
(MEUR) 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2021 Change 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2021 Change 1 Jan.-31 Dec.
2021
 
Turnover 90.2 34.5 161.5% 138.7 54.7 153.8% 186.1 
Operational EBITDA 18.3 0.7 2,533.4% 19.4 -6.0 422.7% 11.3 
EBIT 16.1 -1.8 991.2% 14.8 -11.5 228.4% -0.9 
EBIT, % 17.9% -5.2%  10.7% -21.1%  -0.5% 
Result of the financial period 10.5 -4.3 347.4% 7.0 -15.0 146.5% -10.3 
Earnings per share (EUR) for the review period attributable to the owners of the company 0.45 -0.18 349.0% 0.27        -0.67 140.8% -0.55 
Interest-bearing net liabilities excluding IFRS 16 impact    126.9 163.7 -22.5% 151.9 
Gearing ratio excluding IFRS 16 impact, %    138.7% 231.3%  203.1% 
Material margin, % 75.1% 74.0%  74.8% 72.8%  74.4% 
Personnel expenses, % 31.9% 37.0%  34.0% 41.2%  36.0% 

FUTURE OUTLOOK

Profit guidance as of 22 June 2022:

NoHo Partners estimates that, during the financial period 2022, it will achieve total turnover of approximately MEUR 300 and an EBIT margin of over 8% in the restaurant business.

The Group’s long-term guidance remains unchanged: The Group aims to achieve turnover of approximately MEUR 400 and an EBIT margin of approximately 10% during 2024. The company aims for the ratio of net debt to operational EBITDA, adjusted for IFRS 16 lease liability, to be under 3 and for dividends to be paid during the strategy period 2022–2024.

The company published its last monthly report on the development of its business for June 2022. Going forward, the company will report on the development of its business and publish financial information on a quarterly basis.

Previous profit guidance (10 May 2022):

NoHo Partners estimates that, during the financial period 2022, it will achieve a total turnover of approximately MEUR 300 and an EBIT margin of approximately 7% in the restaurant business.

The Group aims to achieve turnover of approximately MEUR 400 and an EBIT margin of approximately 10% during 2024. The company aims for the ratio of net debt to operational EBITDA, adjusted for IFRS 16 lease liability, to be under 3 and for dividends to be paid during the strategy period 2022–2024.

The Group will update the estimate for the next financial period on an annual basis in conjunction with the publication of the financial statements release. The company will provide monthly reports on the development of its business during the second quarter of 2022.

The market

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the company’s business operations, market and the restaurant industry as a whole. In the first quarter of 2022, the company operated in a highly restricted or closed business environment in all of its operating countries. Following the lifting of the restrictions, private consumption in restaurants recovered rapidly and demand in the second quarter was strong as the market normalised. Corporate sales and event sales have recovered gradually.

The business outlook for the tourism and restaurant sector has improved as the pandemic has eased, but the outlook and consumer confidence have been weakened by the uncertain geopolitical climate and the general rise in costs. The company will continue to take active measures to prepare for potentially rapid changes in the market situation by actively monitoring operational efficiency and pricing points, using centralised procurement agreements and engaging in regular dialogue with suppliers and other partners. In spite of the uncertainties in the market, the company expects the demand for restaurant services to remain at a good level during the rest of 2022.

In a normal operating environment in the restaurant business, most of the profits are made during the second half of the year due to the seasonal nature of the business.

REVIEW BY THE CEO

The second quarter of 2022 was the first period to be free of business restrictions in the company’s markets since 2019. The measures taken over the past two years to develop the Group’s restaurant portfolio and improve the cost structure are now fully evident as demand and volume grow. All of the Group’s key figures are now at a higher level than before the COVID-19 crisis. Our relative profitability for the quarter was high at 17.9%. That figure includes MEUR 4.3 in compensation paid by the Finnish state for the business restrictions that were in place in January–February, which was recognised during the review period. Without the compensation received from the state, the Group’s EBIT percentage was at an all-time high of 13.1% in the second quarter.

The excellent profit performance was driven by strong consumer demand as well as the Group’s determined efforts to develop its portfolio. We have been successful in launching new concepts and eliminated less profitable units from our portfolio. Major individual factors underpinning the strong profit performance also included Nokia Arena – which had a particularly good start to its operations by hosting Finnish league ice hockey playoff games and the Ice Hockey World Championships – as well as the turnaround achieved in the Danish operations and the strong demand for the entertainment venues.

The company’s financial position has also developed in the right direction, driven by strong growth and profitability. Supported by strong cash flow, the company has amortised its loans ahead of schedule and strengthened its equity by converting the Tesi loan taken out during the COVID-19 pandemic into equity in an arrangement valued at over MEUR 10. The parties that invested in the company in the arrangement included not only the largest shareholders but also the company’s senior management and new members of the Board of Directors. The ratio of net debt to operational EBITDA has fallen below 3.5, which reduces interest expenses in accordance with the company’s financing agreement. During the review period, a computational expense of MEUR 0.8 was recognised in financial items in relation to a change in the market price of Eezy shares, which are classified as an asset held for sale.

The outlook for the rest of the year is overshadowed by economic uncertainties and pressures on consumer purchasing power. During the first half of the year, we have been very successful in protecting sales margins through purchasing agreements and dynamic pricing. This provides more of a buffer and room to manoeuvre with regard to pricing and marketing, particularly in the fast food segment. The booking situation for the final quarter – which is the most important period of the year – looks good, especially as far as weekends are concerned. In the autumn, the company will launch an extensive recruitment campaign that is aimed at finding new personnel to meet the labour shortages affecting the entire industry.

During the review period, the company strengthened its organisation and focused particularly on the priorities highlighted in its growth strategy by creating a separate organisation focused on the fast food business and by strengthening the country organisations in Denmark and Norway. After two difficult years, the company had a flying start to the second quarter and a return to the path of profitable growth, where the goal is to achieve turnover of MEUR 400 and EBIT of MEUR 40 by the end of 2024.

Aku Vikström
CEO, NoHo Partners

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGY

After the COVID-19 pandemic has eased and restrictions have been lifted, the company has continued to implement a strategy of profitable growth.

Strategic priorities:
        • Profitable growth in the Norwegian restaurant market through acquisitions
        • Scaling up the Friends & Brgrs chain to a national level
        • Large and profitable urban projects

The goal is to accelerate growth in the Norwegian restaurant market through acquisitions. The Wiigen restaurant was opened in Oslo’s Aker Brygge district in the second quarter.

The goal is to scale around 10 new restaurants in the Friends & Brgrs chain on an annual basis. Four new restaurants in the chain were opened during January–July 2022.

With regard to large and profitable urban projects, the capacity of Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, was fully utilised during the lively spring of playoff competition in the Finnish ice hockey league, and the Ice Hockey World Championships in May went very well and generated turnover of approximately MEUR 5.7.

BUSINESS SEGMENTS

As of 1 January 2022, NoHo Partners’ business consists of two business segments, which are reported separately:

• Finnish operations
• International business

TURNOVER AND INCOME

JANUARY–JUNE 2022

Entire Group

During the second quarter, the company operated in an unrestricted business environment in all of its operating countries. The Group’s turnover in April–June 2022 was MEUR 90.2, which represents an increase of 162% compared to the corresponding period in 2021 and an increase of 33% compared to the corresponding period in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. In January–June 2022, turnover amounted to MEUR 138.7, representing growth of 154% compared to the corresponding period in the previous year and growth of 15% compared to the corresponding period in 2019, in spite of the restricted business environment in the first months of the year.

The lifting of restaurant restrictions was reflected in strong customer demand and turnover growth in the second quarter. Growth was further boosted by the release of pent-up demand and the Ice Hockey World Championships held in the company’s main markets in Finland, Helsinki and Tampere, which had an effect of approximately MEUR 5.7 on the company’s turnover in May.

Operational EBITDA reached an all-time high in April–June 2022: MEUR 18.3, including MEUR 4.3 in retrospectively confirmed government assistance from the Finnish state in relation to the business restrictions that were in place in January–February 2022. The operational EBITDA for January–June 2022 was MEUR 19.4, representing an increase of 423% compared to the previous year.

EBIT in April–June 2022 also reached an all-time high of MEUR 16.1 (17.9%), or MEUR 11.8 (13.1%) adjusted for the financial support received from the Finnish state. The result for April–June 2022 was MEUR 10.5, representing growth of 347% compared to the corresponding period last year. The result for the review period was affected by an expense of MEUR 0.8 recognised in financial items due to the market value of Eezy Plc shares, classified as held for sale, falling below the book value.

In January–June 2022, EBIT was MEUR 14.8 (10.7%) and the result was MEUR 7.0, representing an increase of 147% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Finnish operations

There was a strong recovery in consumer demand after restrictions were lifted in March, and consumer demand remained strong throughout the second quarter. Corporate sales and event sales returned to normal during the review period.

At the end of June 2022, the operations consisted of 211 restaurants across Finland. Restaurants represented 44% of the turnover of Finnish operations in the second quarter, with entertainment venues representing 41% and fast food restaurants 15%. The excellent profit performance of entertainment venues and the company’s largest urban project, Nokia Arena, helped the business achieve a record-high result. Nokia Arena’s share of turnover in the first half of the year was over MEUR 10, or approximately 9%.

In April–June 2022, turnover increased by 144% compared to the corresponding period last year and by 29% compared to the corresponding period in 2019. In January–June 2022, turnover increased by 121% compared to the corresponding period last year and by 5% compared to the corresponding period in 2019, in spite of the restrictions that were in place in the first months of the year.

EBIT in April–June 2022 was MEUR 14.6 (20.0%), or MEUR 10.3 (14.1%) when adjusted for the retrospectively confirmed financial support from the Finnish state, representing the highest level the company has ever achieved. In January–June 2022, EBIT was MEUR 12.2 (11.1%). The EBIT achieved by the company is strong evidence of successful portfolio development and the improvement of relative profitability.

The company has been able to balance the effects of inflation on its business through centralised purchasing agreements and price increases, and the general rise in prices has not affected the material margin for the time being. In spite of the labour shortages in the sector, the company also performed well in recruitment and resource allocation during the first half of the year, and the growth in turnover has kept personnel expenses at a good level.

KEY FIGURES, FINNISH OPERATIONS        
(MEUR) 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2021 Change 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2021 Change 1 Jan.-31 Dec. 2021 
Turnover 72.9 29.9 144.0% 110.2 49.9 120.8% 158.1 
Operational EBITDA 15.9 1.3 1,162.9% 15.1 -4.2 458.4% 9.3 
EBIT 14.6 -0.2 8,655.1% 12.2 -7.8 256.6% 1.0 
EBIT, % 20.0% -0.6%  11.1% -15.6%  0.6% 
Material margin, % 75.1% 73.7%  74.6% 73.1%  74.6% 
Personnel expenses, % 31.5% 35.4%  33.2% 38.1%  34.7% 

International business

At the end of June 2022, the business consisted of 40 restaurants: 21 in Norway and 19 in Denmark. The restaurants in Norway generated 64% and the restaurants in Denmark 36% of the turnover in April–June 2022.

Business in Norway and Denmark recovered quickly after the restrictions were lifted in February 2022. In the early part of the year, while restrictions were still in place, government support measures continued in both countries in proportion to the reduction in turnover.

The international business is progressing according to forecasts and the Group’s strategy. The long-term development of the portfolio and operational activities is reflected in strong turnover and profitability in Norway and and EBIT in Denmark returning to positive territory by a clear margin in the first half of the year, which is a strong indication that the implementation of the turnaround programme has been successful.

KEY FIGURES, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS       
(MEUR) 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2021 Change 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2021 Change 1 Jan.-31 Dec. 2021 
Turnover 17.3 4.6 274.9% 28.5 4.8 500.0% 28.0 
Operational EBITDA 2.4 -0.6 534.2% 4.3 -1.8 339.2% 2.0 
EBIT 1.5 -1.6 194.4% 2.6 -3.7 169.5% -1.9 
EBIT, % 8.9% -35.5%  9.1% -78.6%  -6.6% 
Material margin, % 75.1% 76.1%  75.6% 70.1%  73.4% 
Personnel expenses, % 33.5% 47.6%  37.1% 73.7%  43.7% 

TURNOVER BY BUSINESS AREAS

In accordance with the reorganisation measures announced on 9 June 2022, the company now uses the term “fast food business” for the business that was previously referred to as the “fast casual” business. The allocation of units to the business area has been adjusted in accordance with the new structure, and this has also been taken into account in the comparison figures.

FINNISH OPERATIONS1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2021 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2021 1 Jan.-31. Dec. 2021 
Restaurants      
Turnover, MEUR 32.2 11.7 49.4 21.1 72.7 
Percentage of total turnover 35.7% 34.0% 35.6% 38.5% 39.1% 
Change in turnover 174.8% 134.6% -  -
Units, number 92 86 92 86 96 
Entertainment venues      
Turnover, MEUR 29.9 9.8 41.3 12.9 50.6 
Percentage of total turnover 33.1% 28.5% 29.8% 23.6% 27.2% 
Change in turnover 204.4% 219.9% 
Units, number 71 63 71 63 72 
Fast food restaurants      
Turnover, MEUR 10.8 8.3 19.4 15.9 34.8 
Percentage of total turnover 12.0% 24.2% 14.0% 29.1% 18.7% 
Change in turnover 29.5% 22.2% 
Units, number 48 41 48 41 45 
 
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Apr.-30 Jun. 2021 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2022 1 Jan.-30 Jun. 2021 1 Jan.-31 Dec. 2021 
Norway      
Turnover, MEUR 11.1 2.1 19.0 2.3 16.8 
Percentage of total turnover 12.3% 6.1% 13.7% 4.1% 9.0% 
Change in turnover 425.3% 737.2% 
Units, number 21 18 21 18 21 
Denmark      
Turnover, MEUR 6.2 2.5 9.5 2.5 11.2 
Percentage of total turnover 6.9% 7.2% 6.9% 4.5% 6.0% 
Change in turnover 147.5% 283.6% -
Units, number 19 21 19 21 19 

THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE GROUP’S BUSINESS

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the Group’s business since March 2020. The restrictions imposed on the restaurant industry by governments in order to mitigate the pandemic and the impacts of the pandemic on customer demand have had a highly negative effect on NoHo Partners’ business operations and financial results. The Group has taken determined action to reduce the pandemic’s impacts, uncertainties and risks and to secure the Group’s financial position and sufficient financing.

In Finland, strict restrictions on restaurants were in place in January and continued until 14 February 2022, after which alcohol service ended at 11 p.m. and opening hours ended at midnight for all restaurants. At the same time, restrictions on assembly were lifted. The restaurant restrictions in Finland were lifted completely on 1 March 2022.

In Denmark, restaurants had to close at 11 p.m. in January, with alcohol service ending at 10 p.m. Customer capacity was restricted to half of normal and nightclubs were closed. All restaurant restrictions were lifted on 1 February 2022.

In Norway, the ban on the sale of alcohol lasted one month and ended on 14 January 2022, after which all restaurants were allowed to serve alcohol until 11 p.m. and stay open until midnight. Customer capacity was restricted to half of normal and table service was required. The restaurant restrictions, with the exception of the prohibition of dancing and the requirement to maintain safe distances of one metre, were lifted on 1 February 2022, and the remaining restrictions were lifted on 12 February 2022.

A report on the impacts of the pandemic and changes in restaurant restrictions for the comparison period 2021 is presented in the section Accounting principles, Note 1 of the Financial statements release 2021.

Government assistance during the state of emergency

In April–June 2022, the company received retrospectively confirmed government assistance from the Finnish state in the amount of MEUR 4.3. The government assistance was intended for medium-sized and large enterprises and concerned the January–February 2022 period, during which business activities were restricted or completely blocked by government orders.

The support received from the Danish state in January–June 2022 amounted to approximately MEUR 0.8 and the support received from the Norwegian state amounted to MEUR 1.7. Government assistance received by the Group totalled approximately MEUR 6.9 in January–June 2022.

A more detailed account of government assistance and the distribution thereof is presented in Note 4 Government grants in the half-year report.

CASH FLOW, INVESTMENTS AND FINANCING

The Group’s operating net cash flow in January–June 2022 was MEUR 32.8 (MEUR 12.8). The total half-year change in working capital is not material, although the amount of working capital has fluctuated significantly during January-June 2022 due to the business restrictions that were in place in the early months of the year and their subsequent lifting.

The investment net cash flow in January–June 2022 was MEUR -2.2 (MEUR 0.7) including MEUR 4.2 of positive cash flow from the sale of Eezy Plc’s shares, which were classified as held for sale. The investment net cash flow also included the opening of four new Friends & Brgrs restaurants, the opening of the Wiigen restaurant in Oslo, Norway and the acquisition of the restaurant Origo in Hanko, Finland.

Financial net cash flow amounted to MEUR -33.4 (MEUR -9.0), including MEUR 12.8 in amortisation of financial institution loans, of which an instalment of MEUR 4.0 due in August was paid in advance. Financial cash flow also includes the repayment of a loan of MEUR 1.8 related to the Tesi arrangement.

The Group’s interest-bearing net liabilities excluding the impact of IFRS 16 liabilities decreased in the first half of the year by MEUR 25 and amounted to MEUR 126.9. The decrease was attributable to the strong profit performance in the second quarter and the Tesi convertible loan arrangement carried out in May, which reduced net debt by over MEUR 10. The Group’s gearing ratio excluding the impact of IFRS 16 liabilities decreased from 203% at the beginning of the financial period to 139%.

Adjusted net finance costs in January–June were MEUR 6.9 (MEUR 6.3), of which the share of IFRS 16 interest expenses was MEUR 3.6 (MEUR 2.8).

BRIEFING FOR THE MEDIA, ANALYSTS AND INVESTORS AT 10:00 A.M.

A briefing for the media, analysts and investors will be organised today, Tuesday 9 August 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Allas Sea Pool, Helsinki. In the briefing, NoHo Partners CEO Aku Vikström will review NoHo Partners Plc's Q2/2022 financial performance, key events, the current state of business and the outlook.

The briefing is available as a live webcast at https://noho.videosync.fi/2022-q2-tulos. The briefing will be held in Finnish. The presentation materials and a recording of the briefing will be available on the company’s website later today.

NoHo Partners’ full Half-year Report for January–June 2022 is attached to this release as a PDF file. The Half-year Report is also available at www.noho.fi.

Tampere, 9 August 2022

NOHO PARTNERS PLC

Board of Directors

More information is available from:
Aku Vikström, CEO, tel. +358 44 235 7817
Jarno Suominen, Deputy CEO, tel. +358 40 721 5655

NoHo Partners Plc
Hatanpään valtatie 1 B
FI-33100 Tampere

www.noho.fi

NOHO PARTNERS PLC is a Finnish group established in 1996, specialising in restaurant services. The company, which was listed on NASDAQ Helsinki in 2013 and became the first Finnish listed restaurant company, has continued to grow strongly throughout its history. The Group companies include some 250 restaurants in Finland, Denmark and Norway. The well-known restaurant concepts of the company include Elite, Savoy, Teatteri, Sea Horse, Stefan’s Steakhouse, Palace, Löyly, Hanko Sushi, Friends & Brgrs, Campingen and Cock’s & Cows. Depending on the season, the Group employs approximately 2,100 people converted into full-time employees. The Group aims to achieve turnover of MEUR 400 by the end of 2024. The company’s vision is to be the leading restaurant company in Northern Europe.

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