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Suominen: CMD notes; wiping trends are strong - Evli Research

Volumes are up globally due to cleaning and disinfection

The pandemic has lifted volumes in all markets and Suominen expects elevated demand to persist at least for the next few months. Permanently higher demand is likely within cleaning and disinfection products. Suominen estimates it has an above 15% wiping market share in Europe and is thus the leading player. All segments have enjoyed strong demand, household wiping especially so. Americas’ development has been similar and stores in the US still often have trouble shelving enough household cleaning products. Nielsen Homescan estimates 79% of US households now consider disinfecting wipes a staple item (vs 50% prior to the outbreak). Certain interesting consumer behavior anecdotes were discussed e.g. how Uber riders can now check before boarding whether the ride will feature Clorox disinfecting wipes. Luckily the new assets in Bethune and Green Bay were ready to meet surging demand. Indeed, the plant in Bethune was able to finally reach performance targets. In general, Suominen aims to grow with its current major customers and we see the company well-positioned to capture above market growth (thanks to competitive product portfolio), according to the long-term financial targets updated previously this year. Margins should stay relatively high in the short-term and Suominen might even be able to defend its nonwovens pricing, despite lower raw materials prices, as high wiping demand continues to persist together with the pandemic.

Our estimates remain unchanged for now

The CMD did not lead us to revise our estimates at this point. We expect some softening in gross margin and thus in EBITDA following the exceptionally strong Q2 (Suominen posted a 14.7% EBITDA margin, compared to the above 12% long-term target).

Further improvement not very easy but multiples are low

2020 will be a new record year for Suominen in terms of financial performance and in our view further gain in EBITDA next year can prove tricky. However, we continue to view current valuation attractive (EV/EBITDA is ca. 5.5x on our estimates for this year and next). We retain our EUR 5.5 TP and BUY rating.


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