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Suominen: Profitability outlook is now strong - Evli Research

Raw materials prices imply gross margin should hold high

Suominen posted a big gross margin jump in Q1 as the figure gained almost 400bps q/q to 12.1%. Improved product mix and production efficiency as well as low raw materials prices fueled the rise. Moreover, Suominen upgraded FY ’20 outlook in June by changing the wording from clear to significant improvement in comparable EBIT. The update had only a minor impact on our estimates since we changed our FY ’20 EBIT estimate from EUR 23.1m to EUR 24.0m. Perhaps more important was the fact that Suominen removed the previous disclaimer according to which estimating the result for H2 was hard due to the pandemic. It seems Suominen’s strategy is proceeding according to plan and financial performance is on a solid upward trend thanks to strong outlook for value-add end-uses such as household and workplace wipes. With respect to raw materials prices Suominen is unlikely to suffer cost inflation pressure for a while. We see the outlook for pulp prices muted, while the same is only true at best for oil-based inputs polyester and polypropylene. In fact, raw materials prices have developed so soft Suominen faces some negative pressure on nonwovens pricing. We expect gross margin further improved modestly to 12.5% in Q2, and see the figure settling on this level in the short-term.

Recent dollar weakness a (small) negative for top line

The dollar has lately declined by some 5% against the euro, the implication being a negative translation impact on US revenue. We update our estimates to reflect the headwind, which we estimate at some EUR 10m on an annual level. The overall result of our update is that we now estimate Q2 EBIT at EUR 6.8m (previously EUR 6.2m). We now see FY ’20 EBIT at EUR 24.4m.

Multiples are low while figures are on a solid trend up

Suominen trades some 6x EV/EBITDA on our estimates for this year while the multiple for next year is about 5.5x. We view these multiples attractive now that profitability is on a steep improvement path. Our TP is now EUR 4.75 (4.25), remain BUY.


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