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Epiroc on the hunt for more M&A

Swedish mining equipment manufacturer and supplier Epiroc (ex-Atlas Copco) needs to “continuously … make acquisitions” to meet its long-term growth objectives and gain access to new technologies and markets, president and CEO Per Lindberg said this week as the company posted a 25% year-on-year increase in sales to US$1.16 billion in a December quarter in which it bought four companies.
Epiroc on the hunt for more M&A Epiroc on the hunt for more M&A Epiroc on the hunt for more M&A Epiroc on the hunt for more M&A Epiroc on the hunt for more M&A

Looking up: Epiroc confident markets, acquisitions can drive new growth

Staff reporter

"Our target is to grow at least 8% per year on average over a business cycle," Lindberg said.

"While we grew well beyond that in Q4 and in 2018, we believe we continuously need to make acquisitions to secure long-term growth as well as access to new technologies, markets and geographies."

Epiroc, spun out of Atlas Copco last year and listed on the Stockholm Nasdaq in June (STO: EPI-A), added ASI Mining, Fordia, New Concept Mining and Sautec to the "family" - and about SEK1.2 billion a year (US$130 million) of revenues - in the December quarter.

It said orders received rose 17% in the December quarter to SEK9,468 million (US$1,308 million), with 11% of the growth put down as organic. Revenues were up 25% overall to SEK10,558 million (US$1.16 billion), with organic growth fuelling 19% of that rise.

Operating profit was about US$240 million, including costs related to the split from Atlas Copco, and the operating margin was at 20.5% for the period.

Describing the results as a "solid finish" to 2018, Lindberg said record December quarter revenues came on the back of increased manufacturing and service capacity to meet market demand.

"In our first year as Epiroc we achieved strong growth in both top and bottom line, in parallel to a successful split and introduction of the new company," he said.

"The customer demand for our equipment, services and tools remained at a good level during the quarter.

"In mining we continue to see that the majority of the equipment orders are for expansion, including also some orders for greenfield projects. The mineral prices did not change materially during the quarter and our customers seem reasonably confident about the future.

"While we expect the demand to continue to remain at the current level in the near-term, there are uncertainties related to the development of the economic cycle and global trade tensions.

"Our customers are ready for a major technology shift towards more automation, digitalization and battery power. While the complete transition will take time, it is exciting to already now see the positive customer reactions."

Lindberg said Epiroc would continue to expand its automation and digital offerings.

"Noteworthy also is that we have signed a cooperation agreement with leading communications technology provider Ericsson to jointly help mining companies achieve optimal wireless connectivity in their operations through 5G technologies," he said.

Epiroc shares traded about 5% lower Tuesday at SEK85.8, capitalising the company at SEK101.65 billion (US$11.15 billion).


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