Record year despite challenges in the business environment
Although 2022 brought many challenges, the KWH Group’s turnover and profit reached their highest levels in the company’s history. The year also included significant investments in the sustainability efforts of KWH Group’s business divisions.
Business was challenged by global shortages of raw materials, materials, components and containers, as well as increased costs. The Russian invasion of Ukraine significantly worsened the situation, which escalated into an energy crisis and rising inflation. Despite the challenging business environment, Group turnover increased to EUR 619.0 (592.8) million and the operating profit to EUR 73.7 (71.3) million.
Mirka accounted for 63% (60%) of group turnover, KWH Logistics for 28% (31%), Freeze for 4% (4%) and Prevex (KWH Invest) for 5% (6%). Mirka strengthened its position in automation and robotics with the acquisition of shares in Flexmill Oy. Automation and artificial intelligence are driving future developments, with robotics playing a major role in the abrasives sector.
The growth in business activity was also reflected in the Group’s average number of employees, which increased by 125 people. At the end of the year, the Group employed 2 554 (2 524) people, of whom 822 (799) worked abroad. The Group’s gross investment remained more or less the same as in the previous year at EUR 64.2 (69.9) million.
– We have continued to strengthen the business areas in which we operate, including the recruitment of key talent and specialist skills. We have also continued to develop remote working concepts, while also working hard to safeguard our corporate culture and strengthen the sense of belonging, says Group President Kjell Antus.
Focus on sustainability
Global initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set a clear future agenda for the world. At the European level, we are now seeing increasingly stringent initiatives with increased regulatory requirements for companies, which also includes us at the KWH Group.
– To manage the long-term competitiveness of the KWH Group, we conducted an analysis to understand the sustainability aspects for which we have the greatest impact and which reflect the expectations and requirements we have from our stakeholders. The analysis resulted in a Group-wide sustainability strategy. This year we will continue to implement our new strategy.
2023 is likely to remain challenging due to the global situation and will require a rapid response to possible changes in the operating environment.
– As the outlook for demand is more cautious, we will focus this year on securing earnings and cash flow. This strategy, combined with our financial strength, also gives us room to expand, invest in new projects and companies, and face any challenges, Antus says.
Read the KWH Group’s Annual Review 2022.