Utenos Trikotažas Group achieves 13.4% growth in 2017
Utenos Trikotažas AB, the largest textile group in Central and Eastern Europe, grew rapidly during 2017, with group sales increasing 13.4% from the previous year to EUR 25.8 million. The Group’s pre-tax profit for 2017 was EUR 435 thousand. The pre-tax profit was negatively impacted by a substantial increase in raw materials prices which was not fully transferred to client prices for products. Wage costs also rose significantly.
Sales of products and services for the company Utenos Trikotažas AB itself increased 15% in 2017 to EUR 22.6 million, of which 82.2% was for export. The Company’s pre-tax profit for the year was EUR 2.25 million, compared with EUR 674 thousand in 2016. Growth of the Company’s pre-tax profit was due to income from subsidiary companies dividends and capital reduction.
“Last year’s sales growth sets a positive tone – sales grew in all business segments. Factors behind that include the groundwork done in export markets and work with new clients as well as expansion of our chain of own-brand stores and the creation of new collections. I’m convinced the Group’s potential to grow rests on the two pillars of our business strategy to be “organically innovative”: first, we focus completely on meeting clients’ needs for top quality manufacturing and product innovation, and second, we take great care to ensure production processes are environmentally friendly and consumer-friendly. Our clients both in Lithuania and abroad really value that,” said Algirdas Šabūnas, the general manager of the Utenos Trikotažas AB group.
Compared to 2016, when the Group had a pre-tax profit of EUR 1.22 million, its smaller pre-tax profit in 2017 was due to sharply increased prices for raw materials as well as complications in the supply of materials which prevented fulfilment of the full potential for client orders. Rapid growth of wages in the Group was partially offset by increased production volumes and orders.
Exports made up 78.7% of the Group’s product sales last year, which is 14.7% more than in 2016. The largest export markets (accounting for 68.1% of all exports) remain Scandinavia and the German-speaking countries Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Exports of goods and services to these regions grew 14.5% during the year to EUR 17.6 million.
Sales in Lithuania also grew significantly and were up 9,0 % in 2017 compared to 2016. Own-brand sales increased 18.0% and made up 13.6% of all Group sales. That was thanks to the renewed UTENOS brand, which is attracting more and more consumer attention, and expansion of the UTENOS chain of branded stores. Late last year 4 new stores were opened – in Mažeikiai, Alytus, Tauragė and Kaunas. In total the Group owns 15 stores throughout Lithuania.
During 2017, the Group invested EUR 0.8 million (twice the 2016 amount) to increase manufacturing capacity and acquire new technological equipment. The same types of investments also dominate plans for 2018.
“The growing scale of operations lets us continue increasing capacity and production efficiency, thus addressing the challenges of rising labour costs. Operational efficiency is one of the top priorities this year. We hope it will allow us to not only control operating costs, but also successfully fulfil growing client orders,” Algirdas Šabūnas noted.
The Group ended 2017 with rapid growth: sales of goods and services in the last quarter of the year grew 20.8% versus the same period of 2016. Positive growth dynamics also continue in 2018 – in January the company Utenos Trikotažas AB’s sales exceeded the EUR 3 million mark for the first time in a decade. The last time the company had a bigger monthly result was February 2008, when sales were EUR 3.49 million.
At the start of last year, the Utenos Trikotažas AB group of companies joined Greenpeace’s “Detox” project to promote fashion without pollution. In joining, the Group committed itself by 2020 to eliminate from its production chain any chemical substances that have an adverse effect on people or the environment.