THE NATURE, SCOPE AND LOCATION OF THE GROUP.
MøllerGruppen Bil is MøllerGruppen's car business unit. The Group sells, services and repairs Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Audi and Škoda vehicles in Norway, Sweden and the Baltic States. The company's strategy is to grow with the Volkswagen Group's brands.
In terms of operational organisation, MøllerGruppen has until now been run as a group with a group management structure. The Group has been organised into six business areas: Car Imports, Car Dealers Norway, Car Dealers Sweden, Cars Baltics, Car Finance and Real Estate. As part of the natural development of the legal and financial structure that was established in 2011, the car and real estate businesses will be run as two independent groups with autonomous boards from April 2014. The parent company will consequently become a pure holding company focusing on asset management, capital allocation and other ownership matters. The holding company will change its name to Aars AS, while the car business will change its name from MøllerGruppen Bil to MøllerGruppen. The real estate group's name will continue to be MøllerGruppen Eiendom. The change is being made because the businesses differ so much that it makes little sense to manage them together as a single group. However, car related properties will remain an important part of the real estate business, meaning the car and real estate businesses will continue to work together extensively.
The car business will continue to be run as a group with a single group management team and will continue to work with the same business areas as mentioned above, apart from real estate. The Group has a management model in which each business area is cultivated with an emphasis on independent responsibility and authority within the agreed framework of strategies and targets, to achieve long-term value development. Meanwhile, shared functions and economies of scale are adopted across the business areas where appropriate. The Group's administrative staff that worked in the parent company, MøllerGruppen AS, were moved down to the parent companies of the car and real estate business areas, MøllerGruppen Bil AS and MøllerGruppen Eiendom AS, respectively, on 1 January 2014.
Cars Baltics consists of car dealers and importers in the Baltic States. These two units are gathered in one business unit under shared management. The reason for this is that given the stage the company is at in these countries, there is a great need to coordinate activities and focus areas across importers and dealers. The car dealers in Norway and Sweden operate under the chain name Møller Bil, while dealers in the Baltic States operate under the chain name Møller Auto. The dealers in Norway, Sweden and the Baltic States are run as independent units since they also differ significantly as far as the dealer chains' levels of development and maturity are concerned.
There is coordination where appropriate and any lessons that have been learned are shared. The long-term strategy is to build a single international dealer chain. Car Finance operates in Norway and is run by the company Volkswagen Møller Bilfinans. This is a jointly controlled company with Volkswagen Financial Services AG.
MACRO-ECONOMICS AND FRAMEWORK CONDITIONS
The global macro-economy continued to a relatively stable growth, but weak, throughout 2013. There is still some uncertainty about the economic trend, but there were signs of improvement in Europe towards the end of 2013. Generally, most markets are still experiencing slow economic growth, low inflation, relatively high unemployment and very low interest rates. Thanks to its strong state finances, Norway has coped better than other parts of Europe, but still saw somewhat lower growth in 2013 than in the last few years. Low interest rates and low unemployment continued to produce a very good car market in 2013. In Sweden the economic trend was weaker than it has been in the last couple of years as a result of the export industry's exposure to Europe. This has resulted in a weaker car market, although sales have still exceeded the historical average. The Baltic States have enjoyed stable growth in the last few years. The economies in these countries have stabilised, but are at low levels compared with before the financial crisis. Estonia has seen the best economic development after the financial crisis, but still experienced relatively weak growth in 2013. Latvia is the country in the region that is lagging behind the most. Growth in these countries is being hampered by the fact that so many skilled people emigrated during the financial crisis. So far these people have yet to be seen returning to their native countries.
There were no substantial changes in the tax systems or framework conditions in our markets. Sales of diesel cars in Norway continue to fall relative to petrol cars. Part of the reason for this is that the world's car manufacturers have improved the efficiency of today's petrol engines and thus significantly reduced fuel consumption. However, it is also clear that tax policy, including the focus on NOx, is contributing to this sales trend. Despite this, 2013 still saw the sale of more diesel cars than petrol cars. Our brands are well positioned with both petrol and diesel products, meaning that we do not expect further changes to significantly affect our market position.
Norway has Europe's most favourable tax system for electric cars. It has now been decided that this will be continued until at least 2017 or until 50,000 electric cars have been sold. A relatively large number of electric cars have been sold thanks to the tax system.
Sales doubled in 2013 in relation to 2012, with electric car sales accounting for 5.5 per cent of total car sales in 2013. Volkswagen launched its e-up! electric car towards the end of the year and we know that the Volkswagen Group will launch a number of new products in this segment in the next few years. It will particularly focus on chargeable hybrid cars that are more versatile than pure electric cars. Chargeable hybrids still do not enjoy the same tax advantages as pure electric cars. In our opinion, sales of chargeable hybrids will be decisive with regard to whether or not Norway achieves its targets for greenhouse gas emissions. Norwegian importers are actively lobbying politicians to adapt the tax system so that chargeable hybrids can compete on price with other technologies. We are optimistic that our brands will continue to capture a significant share of this market.
The car market
Some 142,151 new cars were registered in Norway in 2013, an increase of 3.0 per cent compared with 2012. 43.3 per cent of these cars were sold to the corporate sector in 2013, compared with 41.6 per cent in 2012. The total number of new commercial vehicles ended at 30,859 vehicles, down 3.1 per cent on 2012. 269,363 new cars were sold in Sweden, compared with 279,478 cars in 2012, a decrease of 3.6 per cent. The market for commercial vehicles shrank further and ended up at 37,333. The market has thus decreased by around 9,000 vehicles in the last two years. The vehicle market in the three Baltic States is stable and ended at 42,493 cars and 7,323 commercial vehicles.
Annual financial statements
2013 was a good year for MøllerGruppen Bil with its highest ever turnover and one of its best results to date. Despite a very strong car market in Norway, the business suffered a decline compared with 2012. This was due to tough competition with squeezed margins and market shares for new cars, especially in Norway. Sweden and the Baltic States experienced good progress due to fine market performances by our dealers. Car Finance achieved its best result to date due to very high sales, good net interest income and low losses. MøllerGruppen Bil's financial statements include the results from its subsidiaries and the Group's share of the results from associated companies.
On a consolidated basis, MøllerGruppen Bil achieved total operating revenues of NOK 18,841.7 million compared with NOK 18,726.4 million in 2012. The increase in turnover comes from the Baltic States, used cars and the aftersales markets in Norway and Sweden, while the turnover from new cars fell in both of these markets. Profit before tax amounted to NOK 701.1 million compared with NOK 795.3 million in 2012. Tax payable amounted to NOK 154.3 million. Deferred tax amounted to a net cost of NOK 35.5 million, which gives a total tax cost of NOK 189.8 million.
Net profit for the year therefore amounted to NOK 511.3 million. Total cash flow measured in terms of EBITDA amounted to NOK 848.3 million compared with NOK 971.0 million in 2012. Net cash flow from operations amounted to NOK 554.7 million compared with NOK 311.3 million in 2012. The cash flow from operations is significantly lower than EBITDA because it includes payable taxes, financial costs and changes in working capital.
The Board is satisfied with the result and market performances of the Group in 2013.
Capital expenditures, liquidity and funding
The Group's investments amounted to NOK 286.3 million in 2013, an increase of NOK 135.5 million on the previous year. NOK 29.5 million of fixed assets were sold during the period. The stock of new and used cars at the end of 2013 amounted to NOK 2,387.0 million. This is a decrease of 2.7 per cent from 2012. Other stock amounted to NOK 232.0 million, which is a reduction of 0.7 per cent on the previous year.
The Group's financing consists of short-term overdraft facilities and a multi-currency loan agreement with a limit of NOK 1,000 million, which expires in July 2016. At 31 December 2013, NOK 200 million had been utilized of the facility. The Group had net interest-bearing liabilities totalling NOK 43.3 million at 31 December 2013.
At 31 December 2013, the Group's equity amounted to NOK 2,372.8 million, corresponding to 44.4 per cent of the total capital. This gives MøllerGruppen Bil a very strong financial position. The Group's dealers have obligations totalling NOK 3,937.4 million linked to the repurchase of cars from financing companies. This is an increase of 11.5 per cent from 2012. The Group is exposed to market-based risk in that the market price for cars could fall below the guaranteed repurchase value. Provisions have been made for estimated losses in the portfolio. The Board is of the opinion that this risk is under satisfactory control based on the current financial position and
When importing cars and parts the transaction currency used is the euro, except for imports of Škoda, where payment is made in Norwegian kroner. Prices in euro are regulated according to currency agreements with the individual suppliers, which involve most of the risk being covered by the supplier. MøllerGruppen bears the transaction risk within one month, as well as a long-term strategic risk associated with the eurozone's competitiveness. Forward contracts and options are used to reduce short-term risk. The Group's investments in Sweden and the Baltic States are also subject to currency fluctuations.
At the end of 2013, these investments were not hedged beyond the debt financing of activities being recorded in local currency.
Car Imports Norway: Harald A. Møller AS, the importer of Volkswagen, Audi, and Škoda, saw total revenues of NOK 9,486.5 million, a decrease of 3.3 per cent from 2012. Profit before tax amounted to NOK 455.2 million in 2013 compared with NOK 587.7 million in 2012. The lower result is due to reduced margins on new cars and parts due to a very tough market situation in the new car market in 2013. However, the result is, historically, still one of the company's best. Harald A. Møller AS retained its position as the largest car importer, and our car brands had a total market share of 25.7 per cent of the Norwegian car and commercial vehicle market, compared with 27.6 per cent in 2012. The reduction was due to lower market shares for Volkswagen passenger cars and Audi. Both brands were affected by the fact that they were not represented in the fast growing electric car market until towards the very end of 2013. However, Volkswagen was the most sold car brand for the eighth year in a row, and the Volkswagen Golf was the most popular car model for the seventh year in a row in 2013. Škoda experienced a weak start to the year before sales of the new Octavia properly got going, but following a strong second half of the year it ended up with a market share of 4.9 per cent, which is the same as in 2012. Audi became the largest in the premium segment with a market share of 5.3 per cent, down from the record 6.0 per cent in 2012. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles had a fantastic year with a market share of 35.3 per cent, up from 35.1 per cent in the previous year. Sales of parts and accessories increased by 2.1 per cent in 2013. Operating costs amounted to 11.1 per cent of revenues, which is 1.1 per cent higher than in 2012. Net financial costs are low, as a result of strong cash flow and low rates on operational credits.
Car Dealers Norway: MøllerGruppen Bil owns a significant part of the dealer network through Møller Bil AS. The Møller Bil chain covers around 60 per cent of the Norwegian market for Volkswagen and Audi, with a primary focus on the biggest cities. Škoda has a share of around 45 per cent. The car dealers saw a total increase in revenues of 1.6 per cent in 2013 to NOK 10,934.6 million, resulting in a profit before tax of NOK 145.3 million, compared with last year's NOK 100.5 million. Provisions of NOK 41.5 million were made for costs in 2012 in connection with the separation of brands between Volkswagen and Audi at Skøyen and the need for a new facility structure in Oslo West. Since the plans for a new structure have been further clarified, NOK 21.0 million of these provisions were reversed in 2013. The underlying result for these last two years is therefore on the same level. However, the composition of the result changed in that there was a decrease for new cars due to lower turnover and tight margins. The positive trend for used cars almost fully compensated for the setback for new cars, while the aftersales market also saw a slight, positive development.
Given the busy car market in 2013, a profit margin of 1.6 per cent for the dealer chain is, overall, too low. However, there is a large spread in the results between the strongest and weakest dealers, and there will be a general focus on improving the earnings of the weakest dealers in 2014. Møller Bil showed very a positive trend in customer satisfaction in 2013 with regard to both sales and the aftersales market. The Board is satisfied with this positive development, which is a result of several years of hard work and focus on this area. Customer satisfaction is crucial for the chain's success and there is still room for improvement. This work will continue in 2014.
Car Dealers Sweden: MøllerGruppen Bil owns around 9 per cent of the dealer network that sells Volkswagen's brands in Sweden. The business comprises 10 dealers in Mälardalen. The dealer business in Sweden had revenues totalling NOK 2,263.7 million in 2013, a slight increase of 1.4 per cent compared with 2012. The increase was due to a weaker exchange rate for the Norwegian kroner. In terms of local currency, revenues decreased due to a slightly weaker overall market for new cars. The turnover for used cars was, in local currency, on a par with 2012, while turnover in the aftersales market showed a pleasing improvement of 9.2 per cent. The result before tax was a loss of NOK 38.1 million compared with a loss of NOK 20.6
million in 2012. The results for both years were charged with non-recurring write-downs linked to brand separation and the restructuring of most of the car facilities in Sweden. This amounted to NOK 59.6 million in 2013, while NOK 13.5 million was written down in 2012. Underlying operations therefore improved by NOK 28.6 million. This was due in particular to improved market performances for new cars, although improvements in both the aftersales market and used cars also contributed.
The dealers in Sweden have demonstrated good progress in customer satisfaction in both sales and the aftersales market. However, the Swedish dealers are still lagging slightly behind the levels we have achieved in Norway. Therefore, active steps are being taken to improve this further, including by comparing and coordinating measures with Møller Bil Norway. The Board is very satisfied with the positive trend in Sweden.
Cars Baltics: MøllerGruppen Bil imports Volkswagen in all the Baltic States and Audi in Latvia and Lithuania. The Group is also represented by Volkswagen dealers in all three Baltic States and Audi dealers in Latvia and Lithuania. The operations are organised as a single business unit since this relatively young organisation needs strong coordination between importers and dealers. We have seen the positive effects of this in 2013.
The Baltic States were characterised by weak, yet stable, economic growth in 2013. The car market also appears to have stabilised at the level it has been at in recent years, which seems to be a more sustainable level than that before the financial crisis in 2008. Overall revenues from the car business were NOK 1,577.7 million, an increase of 9.9 per cent from 2012. This was due to better market performances for new cars and used cars, as well as the aftersales market.
Volkswagen passenger cars have a market share of 12.9 per cent, while Audi has a market share of 2.9 per cent. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles have a market share of 13.3 per cent. The market shares are on a par with those in 2012, and Estonia in particular has great potential for improvement in terms of both cars and commercial vehicles.
The profit before tax was NOK 32.9 million compared with NOK 17.9 million in 2012. There has been progress in all areas despite the relatively flat market. The Board is pleased that the organisation is starting to settle in after the acquisitions in 2011 and 2012, and that this is starting to yield results.
MøllerGruppen Bil now holds a very strong strategic position in the Baltic States, but some work still remains to be done in relation to developing the chain in line with what has been achieved in Norway and Sweden.
Car Finance: Since 2009, the business has been run through Volkswagen Møller Bilfinans AS, a joint venture between Volkswagen Financial Services and MøllerGruppen. The company sells car finance and insurance products in Norway. MøllerGruppen's stake is 49 per cent. MøllerGruppen also owns 49 per cent of Møller Bilfinans AS, which is a joint venture with SEB. This company has no operations of its own beyond winding up existing financing portfolios. At 31 December 2013, the residual portfolio was transferred to Volkswagen Møller Bilfinans. The company is thus empty and the plan is to wind it up during 2014. However, in 2013, the results within car financing came from these two companies, and the Group's share of the result after tax totalled NOK 66.3 million compared with NOK 56.4 million in 2012. This result is the highest ever and is due to high volume growth, continued relatively good interest rate margins, and low losses. The company is also run very cost-effectively.
Confirmed losses and loss depreciations corresponded to 0.61 per cent of the year's average total assets. This is an increase of 0.3 per cent from 2012. The increase is attributable to changed calculation methods for group write-downs in provisions for losses.
The high volume of new car sales has resulted in significantly greater demand for financing services. We have also achieved a higher degree of financing, especially due to an increase in private leasing. Therefore, compared with 2012, total assets increased by 8.6 per cent to NOK 9,292.9 million at 31 December 2013.
PERSONNEL, WORKING ENVIRONMENT, THEENVIRONMENT AND CORPORATE SOCIALRESPONSIBILITY
At year-end 2013, MøllerGruppen Bil had 3,712 employees, an increase of 102 from the year before.
There were 538 in Sweden, a total of 574 in the three Baltic States, and 2,600 in Norway.
The proportion of women in the Group is relatively stable. The proportion of women in Norway at year-end 2013 was around 16 per cent, and we are always looking to increase this. We have five female general managers in Norway, two in Sweden, two in Latvia, and one in Lithuania.
MøllerGruppen has for the first time ever produced a specific report for corporate social responsibility in 2013. This deals with personnel, the working environment, the external environment and corporate social responsibility. A more detailed description of these areas is provided in this report.
MØLLERGRUPPEN Bil AS
The parent company, MøllerGruppen AS, is in a solid financial position. The financial statements for 2013 have been prepared on the assumption that the parent company and the Group are going concerns and the Board confirms that the basis for this assumption exists. It is the Board's opinion that the annual financial statements and accompanying notes provide comprehensive information about the company's operations and financial position at 31 December 2013. There have been no events following the end of the year that would affect an assessment of the company. In 2013, MøllerGruppen AS had a profit after tax of NOK 382.6 million, which the Board proposes be allocated as follows:
Dividends and group contributions NOK 377.3 million
Transferred to other equity NOK 5.3 million
Total allocated NOK 382.6 million
The company had a book equity of NOK 1,775.1 million. The company had no employees at 31 December 2013. The company does not pollute the external environment. The company's head office is in Oslo.
PROSPECTS FOR 2014 AND BEYOND
2013 was a very good year for sales of new cars in Norway with the highest total market since the 1980s. The market in the Baltic States remained stable, but low, while the total market in Sweden dipped a little compared with 2012. Sales of used cars were good in all markets and the aftersales market also showed some progress in all markets. In Norway, the strong market for new cars is expected to continue into 2014, despite expectations of a slight fall compared with the year before. In Sweden, the market is expected to recover slightly in 2014, and in the Baltic States weak growth is expected based on the macroeconomy, which appears to have stabilised in the wake of the financial crisis. Continued tough competition and tight margins for new cars are expected due to the continuing weak situation in Europe. Imports of used cars took off in 2013 due to the weak NOK exchange rate, and this is expected to remain relatively low in 2014 as well, which will have a positive effect on margins, especially for newer used cars. Internationally, car markets are now showing signs of positive growth. Among other things, Europe has seen weak month-on-month growth relative to last year for the first time in several years. This is expected to continue in 2014.
Online shopping grew strongly in a number of sectors in 2013. It is still very limited in the car industry. However, there is no doubt that technological developments and the customers' associated expectations will result in the car industry also being more strongly affected by this trend in the next few years.
There is considerable uncertainty about the future development of the world economy. There appears to be broad consensus that the sovereign debt crisis in a number of large countries will put a damper on global growth, but the debt situation could also result in a new economic setback. Political unrest associated with the oil market is also an important factor that could affect the world economy negatively in the next few years. Meanwhile, positive signs remain that the labour markets in large countries, such as the US, are improving. There is also uncertainty about economic growth in the US due to the huge budget cuts that were implemented in 2013. Any major negative consequences of these will affect the world economy and thereby also our markets.
The Board is moderately optimistic about the car markets in our geographical areas. The prospects of continued low interest rates and improving unemployment will contribute to the continued positive development of the economic situation in these countries.
The car facilities will still be significantly upgraded in 2014 in order to adapt them to the manufacturers' requirements, especially in Sweden.
Continuing strong pressure on margins for new cars is expected in 2014, but given a continued good market and the expected growth in market shares for our brands, the Board expects the overall result for 2014 to be on a par with 2013. In general, the Board is of the opinion that uncertainty about important framework conditions outside the company's control will continue. This applies to the economic picture, but also to some extent the car manufacturer's arrangements and the authorities' influence through laws, taxes and duties.