Hearing aid manufacturer GN Store Nord released its 2018 Annual Report and announced that the company continued to deliver strongly on its 2017– 2019 strategy: Hear more, Do more, Be more. Organic revenue growth was 13% based on what the company said was strong execution in both GN Hearing and GN Audio. EPS increased 15%. With important product launches during the year, GN reports that is “well-positioned for 2019 and beyond.”
During 2018, the company reports that GN Hearing continued the successful commercialization of the ReSound LiNX 3D family of premium products, with the launch of ReSound LiNX Quattro. GN reports 7% organic revenue growth from the previous year, with 10% organic growth in Q4, creating a strong growth platform for 2019 and onwards.
According to the report, GN Audio continued to strengthen its position in the Call Center & Office (CC&O) market during 2018, with very strong performance across regions and channels driven by new product launches leading to 21% organic revenue growth and 26% growth in EBITA. GN Audio achieved very significant growth in the CC&O segment with strong organic revenue growth in all three sales regions. GN Audio’s ongoing repositioning of the consumer business resulted in strong organic revenue growth, driven among other, by the wireless Jabra Elite family.
Financial highlights Q4 2018 include:
- GN Store Nord delivered 19% revenue growth in Q4 2018. Organic growth was 18%. EBITA increased by 9% to DKK 688 million ($105 million USD), equal to an EBITA margin of 21.6%
- GN Hearing delivered 10% revenue growth in Q4 2018. Organic growth was also 10%, driven by continued strong performance in the independent market. EBITA decreased by 3% to DKK 385 million ($59 million USD), with the EBITA margin reaching 23.4%, reflecting development from foreign exchange rates and R&D capitalization fluctuations as a function of timing of product launches
- GN Audio delivered 31% revenue growth in Q4 2018. Organic growth was 28%, driven by strong performance across the CC&O and the consumer business. EBITA increased by 28% to DKK 348 million ($53 million USD), with the EBITA margin reaching 22.6%
Shareholder returns – Dividend and share buyback proposal
During 2018, GN reports that it has distributed around DKK 1.2 billion ($183 million USD) to shareholders in 2018 via dividends and share buybacks.
At the Annual General Meeting on March 21, 2019, the Board of Directors will propose to pay out DKK 1.35 ($.21 USD) per share in dividend for the fiscal year 2018, compared to DKK 1.25 ($.19 USD) per share in 2017.
The current one-year DKK 1 billion ($152 million USD) share buyback program will be concluded no later than March 14, 2019. As communicated in the Annual Report 2016, the Board of Directors intends to buy back shares worth DKK 3 billion ($457 million USD) during GN’s 2017-2019 strategy period. At the upcoming Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors will propose a new one-year share buyback program of DKK 1 billion ($152 million USD).
Financial guidance 2019
GN is entering the last year of the strategy 2017—2019: Hear More, Do More, Be More, where GN has set ambitious financial targets:
|2017 – 2019 strategy targets||GN Hearing||GN Audio||GN Store Nord|
|Effective tax rate||~22%|
The financial outlook for 2019 assumes continued strong profitable growth:
|Financial guidance for 2019||GN Hearing||GN Audio||GN Store Nord|
|Effective tax rate||~23%|
* Before extraordinary one-off costs related to the acquisition of Altia Systems Inc (announced on February 19, 2019), which impact GN Audio’s EBITA margin negatively by around 1 percentage point in 2019. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to GN Audio’s financials from 2020 EBITA in “Other” is expected to be around DKK (150) million ($23 million USD). GN reports that the majority of the cost is related to shared functions servicing both GN Hearing and GN Audio. In addition, GN reports it will continue to actively research and explore future business opportunities outside the current area of operation in GN Hearing and GN Audio, leveraging on the core knowledge and competencies of the Group.
In 2019, GN Store Nord will target a double-digit percentage increase in earnings per share (EPS).
“I am excited to take over the baton and drive further innovation and growth. Our current products and our pipeline are very strong, which bodes well for 2019 and beyond,” said Jakob Gudbrand, CEO of GN Hearing.
“We have fortified our position as the undisputed world leader in Unified Communications with products that help businesses achieve productivity improvement and work smarter,” said René Svendsen-Tune, CEO of GN Audio. “This is a market that will continue to expand and we will continue to lead with the most innovative products and the best commercial team.”
“In 2018, we delivered on our guidance, fully and again—and we returned DKK 1.2 billion ($183 million USD) to our shareholders via dividends and share buybacks. For 2019, we have set ambitious financial targets, which would result in us taking further market share across businesses and to drive continued shareholder value,” said Marcus Desimoni, CFO of GN Store Nord.
Source: GN Store Nord