The consolidated net revenues of the Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube Group amounted to € 1,431 million, an increase of 21% compared to the previous year (2020: € 1,178 million). This growth is partly due to an increase in the delivered tonnage, which grew by 5% to 699,000 metric tons (2020: 666,000 metric tons). On the other hand, this is due to an increase of 16% in the average sales price to € 2,047 per metric ton. The Industry segment contributed 73% to total sales (2020: 69%), while the Energy segment contributed 27% (2020: 31%).
The operating result improved considerably, amounting to € 78.9 million (2020: € 15 million). Three key factors underly this improvement: first, the substantial growth in volume; second, improved trading margins and finally a shift in product mix, as well as between market segments.
Total operating costs also increased and amounted to € 1,352 million (2020: € 1,163 million). The key reasons for this are the increased costs of finished product combined with higher volumes, and the costs of absence due to illness, primarily caused by the corona pandemic. Increased machine and energy costs also played a role. Finally, depreciation charges increased due to the investments made in recent years in warehouses and machines to strengthen our logistics network and treatment facilities.
The financial income and expenses decreased by € 0.9 million (29%), primarily due to an improved liquid asset and bank debt structure. The tax expense amounted to € 14.3 million, which resulted in an effective tax rate of 18.6%. This represents a decrease in comparison to 2021 due to the higher valuation of carry forward losses.
The result from participating interests amounted to € 1.7 million (2020: € 1.0 million) and relates to our 50% participating interest in Polarputki, a leading pipe and tube distributor in Finland.
The strong operating result and the lower financial expenses resulted in a net result of € 64.1 million in 2021 (2020: € 9.4 million).
The higher prices and increased volumes had a substantial effect on operating working capital. The operating working capital amounted to € 359 million at year-end 2021 (2020: € 262 million). The inventory increased by € 109 million to € 346 million (2020: € 237 million) and trade accounts receivable increased by € 56 million, partially offset by an increase in trade accounts payable of € 69 million.
The net cash position was € 8 million (2020: € 22 million). Group equity amounted to € 331 million (2020: € 253 million). Solvency increased to 40.7% (2020: 36.8%).
The Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube Group’s cash position and bank facilities are sufficient to meet financing requirements.
Debts to credit institutions amounted to € 20 million (2020: € 59 million) and decreased due to repayments.
In 2021 there was another release of negative goodwill with a net effect of € 10.0 million. This negative goodwill was created in 2019 due to the acquisition of Benteler Distribution. Of this amount € 7.3 million is related to the costs of integration and € 2.7 million to the amortization of negative goodwill.