KONGSBERG achieves strong results and record-high order backlog in 2020

Kongsberg Gruppen (KONGSBERG) has delivered strong results and good operations, and at the same time strengthened all its business areas. At the end of 2020, a year characterised by global uncertainty, the company had a record-high order backlog. The Board will propose that the General Meeting authorises a dividend pay-out and the repurchase of additional shares equal to a combined total of MNOK 1,840, just above NOK 10 per share.

Key yearly figures 2020:

  • The order intake was MNOK 28,818, equal to a book-to-bill ratio of 1.13
  • The operating revenues were MNOK 25,612 compared to MNOK 23,245 in 2019, an increase of 10%
  • The EBITDA was MNOK 3,250, up from MNOK 2,113 in 2019, an increase of 54%
  • The EBITDA margin was 12.7% compared to 9.1% in 2019

4th quarter

  • The order intake was MNOK 11,381 compared to MNOK 6,645 in Q4 2019, an increase of 71%
  • The operating revenues were MNOK 7,148 compared to MNOK 7,938 in Q4 2019, a decline of 10%
  • The EBITDA was MNOK 948 compared to MNOK 825 in Q4 2019, an increase of 15%
  • The EBITDA margin was 13.3% compared to 10.4% in Q4 2019

"The 2020 results confirm that KONGSBERG's operations have been good in an extraordinary year characterised by the pandemic and the challenges that follow from it. The company has demonstrated that we are world leaders in our defence segments and are scaling up in line with demand. We have also become an even more competitive and complete maritime partner through the thorough job we've done of integrating Commercial Marine. The rollout of our dynamic digital twin has been accelerated, and we have further strengthened our leading position in industrial digitalisation," says Geir Håøy, the President and CEO of KONGSBERG, adding:

"The fourth quarter was also a good one for the company, and the order intake for the defence operations led to a record-high order backlog entering 2021."

The Board will ask the General Meeting on 6 May 2021 to authorise an ordinary dividend of NOK 3 per share plus an additional dividend of NOK 5 per share, a total of NOK 8 per share (MNOK 1,440). In addition, the Board will propose a share-buy-back programme for cancellation, equal to a total of MNOK 400. The total repayment to shareholders will amount to around MNOK 1,840, equal to just over NOK 10 per share.

Effective measures

Like other companies, KONGSBERG has been affected by the global unrest. The defence sector activities have managed to maintain operations at a more or less normal level, while the civilian sector activities have faced greater challenges both related to demand and in the service system. The Group's profitability is nonetheless improving and in general the entire organisation has a satisfactory order intake, given the circumstances.

"Customers, partners and the organisation have handled the situation relating to COVID-19 in an impressive manner. We took action immediately when Norway and a lot of the world in practice closed down in March last year. This action entailed changes to procedures, cost-saving measures and other prioritisations that, together with generally good project execution, contributed to us achieving strong results in 2020," says Håøy.

At most, the company had temporarily laid off 750 employees, but most of these had returned to work by the end of the year.

Better maritime margin

Kongsberg Maritime (KM) achieved an improved margin of 10.7 per cent in Q4, up from 7.8 per cent in Q4 2019. The level of activity is affected by the pandemic and the newbuilding market is still very low. However, KM is strengthening the cross-sales from its extended portfolio and realised MNOK 700 related to this in 2020.

"As regards our maritime operations, we are maintaining the order intake and order backlog at the same level as at the end of 2019, despite a challenging market. Some segments have almost come to a complete halt, while the demand in other segments has remained more at the same level. The company benefits from having a broad, diversified portfolio, and we have also managed to adapt well to the situation," says Håøy.

Defence growth

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) is continuing to grow and did so in Q4 as well. The sound execution and composition of projects resulted in an operating margin of 19.6 per cent compared to 18.1 per cent in Q4 2019. The business area secured a strong order intake at the end of 2020. In November, it signed an MEUR 410 contract for the delivery of the NASAMS air-defence system to Hungary. In December, KDA entered into a new follow-up contract with Japan for the delivery of Joint Strike Missiles (JSMs) valued at MNOK 820.

"On the defence side, we ended the year strongly, with an additional BNOK 7.3 order intake for our world-leading defence products. Hungary is the 12th country to buy NASAMS. This business area has never had a higher order backlog," says Håøy.

Strong foundation provides grounds for optimism

KONGSBERG's sound order book provides predictability and grounds for optimism about the future, according to Håøy.

"I expect continued growth in our defence operations. On the maritime side, the markets are still in part very challenging, but we've never been better positioned for a possible upturn in the market. The past year has accelerated and underlined the importance of safety, sustainability and digitalisation in our industries. We have deep domain knowledge, world-leading technology solutions and strong industrial positions in all these areas. That makes me confident that our foundation is stronger than ever," he says.