Brexit uncertainty hitting Antalis’ sales

By Max Goldbart, Friday 27 October 2017

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Antalis experienced a sales slowdown in the first three quarters of 2017 and is expecting a similar slowdown in Q4 as Brexit-related uncertainty continues to hit demand on the UK and Ireland, which represents around 26% of overall sales.

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Sequana cited a decline in paper volumes and the depreciation of sterling

Making the announcement at the publication of parent company Sequana’s Q3 results, Antalis posted sales of €1.77bn (£1.34bn) for the period January to September 2017, a 3.8% fall on the same period from the previous year, with the acquisition of Irish independent paper merchant Swan Paper adding €19m to the final figure.

Sales for the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and Austria were down 5.6% on last year’s figure, from €908m to €899m, partly mitigated by a 4% increase in sales for the rest of the world outside of Europe. 

In the statement accompanying its results, Sequana said the fall reflected a decline in paper volumes, especially in the UK, due to Brexit uncertainty and the depreciation in sterling, and predicted a similar outlook for Q4. Sales for the UK and Ireland represent 26% of its overall sales. Antalis UK was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Earlier this month it upped the price of its uncoated papers and envelopes by between 6% and 10%, a similar rise to a multitude of other paper merchants, and it is anticipating a coated paper rise before the year is out.

Sequana said it still expects Antalis’ full-year consolidated sales to register a low single-digit increase compared with 2016 and that EBITDA margin should come in at around 3.5%, reaping the benefits of its margin protection policy, the growing contribution of the packaging and visual communication sectors and reduced overheads due to supply chain flexibility.

In its overall results, Sequana posted a 2.6% fall in sales, from €2.17bn to €2.11bn, with EBITDA down 10% (2016: €80.9m, 2017: €72.8m) but operating income up 3.9% to €50.3m.

Sequana’s Arjowiggins division, which posted sales of €472.6m - a 1.3% drop that it said reflected lower fine paper volumes – posted its results on a restated data basis without the contribution of Arjowiggins Security BV and Arjowiggins Healthcare, which were sold in July 2017 and July 2016 respectively.

Earlier this year, Sequana completed the Paris Stock Exchange listing of Antalis, following a defeat in the latest round of its long-running High Court battle with BAT industries.  

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