Financial results

The consolidated net revenues of the Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube Group were € 1,672 million, an increase of 17% over the previous year (2021: € 1,431 million). The revenue growth was driven by the strong increase of average sales price per ton. By contrast, volume dropped by 12%. This was primarily caused by a reduction in direct volumes from mills, because we did not have any large projects in 2022.

The operating result improved from € 79 million in 2021 to € 104 million in 2022. This was due to the higher net revenues, while the margin percentage stayed relatively stable at a very good 21.6% (2021: 21.7%). As a result, the total gross margin improved from € 310 million in 2021 to € 361 million in 2022. The increase in the total gross margin was partly offset by an increase in total expenses. Wages and salaries increased by 9% through a combination of salary increments, higher profit sharing and an increase in the number of FTEs. Other operating expenses also increased, primarily due to the higher costs for energy and consumables. Finally, depreciation costs were higher due to the investments we made in recent years to expand our network and strengthen our treatment capacity.

Financial expenses increased by € 1.1 million to € 3.3 million (2021: € 2.2 million) because of higher interest rates and the additional financing required for the working capital due to higher prices. The financing need was moderated as we further optimized our cash structure. All of our operating companies now are incorporated into a cash pool structure. The effective tax rate decreased to 14.4% (2021: 18.6%) and, in comparison to last year, was positively impacted by the mix of country tax rates in the composition for the 2022 result. Another positive effect came from the utilization and on balance sheet recognition of carry forward losses that had previously not been fully recognized given the uncertainty of available profits. The result from participating interests amounted to € 2.0 million (2021: € 1.8 million) and relates to our 50% participating interest in Polarputki, a leading pipe and tube distributor in Finland.

The higher gross margin resulted in a net result of € 88 million in 2022 (2021: € 64 million). This result includes a release of negative goodwill in the amount of € 7.0 million (2021: € 10.0 million). Of this amount, € 2.7 million (2021: € 2.7 million) related to the pro-rated amortization and € 4.3 million (2021: € 7.3 million) related to integration costs.

The higher prices have had a very significant upward effect on the working capital in 2022, resulting in an increase in trade receivables with € 30 million and in an increase of inventory with € 71 million. Accounts payable reduced by € 2 million and this had a slight negative impact on working capital.

The higher working capital absorbed the cash generated by the strong operating result. The cash outflow from investing activities significantly increased with € 19 million to a level of € 30 million. Total cash flow was € 28 million negative. The negative cash flow in 2022 affected the balance of cash and borrowings: from a net cash position of € 8 million in 2021 to a net debt position of € 71 million in 2022. The liquidity position remained good and the current ratio at the end of the year was 1.9 (2021: 2.1). Solvency improved considerably to 42.9% (2021: 40.7%).

The Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube Group’s cash position and bank facilities are sufficient to meet financing requirements.

De hogere brutomarge resulteerde in een nettoresultaat van € 88 miljoen in 2022 (2021: € 64 miljoen). Dit resultaat is inclusief een vrijval van de negatieve goodwill van € 7,0 miljoen (2021: € 10,0 miljoen). Van dit bedrag hield € 2,7 miljoen (2021: € 2,7 miljoen) verband met de tijdsevenredige afschrijving en € 4,3 miljoen (2021: € 7,3 miljoen) met integratiekosten.

De hogere prijzen hebben een zeer sterk opwaarts effect gehad op het werkkapitaal in 2022, resulterende in een stijging van de handelsdebiteuren met € 30 miljoen en een toename van de voorraden met € 71 miljoen. Crediteuren daalden met € 2 miljoen en dit had ook een (geringe) negatieve impact op het werkkapitaal.

De door het sterke bedrijfsresultaat gegenereerde cash werd opgenomen in het hogere werkkapitaal. De uitgaande cashflow uit investeringsactiviteiten nam met € 19 miljoen fors toe tot een niveau van € 30 miljoen. De totale cashflow was € 28 miljoen negatief. De negatieve cashflow in 2022 had gevolgen voor het saldo van cash en leningen: van een nettokaspositie van € 8 miljoen in 2021 tot een nettoschuldpositie van € 71 miljoen in 2022. De liquiditeitspositie bleef goed en de current ratio aan het eind van het jaar was 1,9 (2021: 2,1). De solvabiliteit verbeterde sterk tot 42,9% (2021: 40,7%).

De kaspositie en bankfaciliteiten van de Van Leeuwen Buizen Groep zijn voldoende om in de financieringsbehoeften te voorzien.