FlexQubes report for the second quarter 2023
THE PERIOD 1 JANUARY – 30 JUNE 2023
- Order intake decreased by 46.9 percent to 54.6 MSEK (102.9). Adjusted for foreign exchange rate effects between the comparison periods, orders received decreased by 53.0 percent.
- Net sales decreased by 33.2 percent to 66.5 MSEK (99.6). Adjusted for foreign exchange rate effects between the comparison periods, net sales decreased by 38 percent.
- Operating profit before depreciation (EBITDA) amounted to -20.6 MSEK (-3.3) and operating profit before financial items (EBIT) amounted to -23.4 MSEK (-5.6).
- Profit before tax amounted to -24.4 MSEK (-5.9).
- Earnings per share amounted to -3.0 SEK (-0.7).
- Cash flow amounted to -12.3 MSEK (0.3), of which -27.7 MSEK (-13.6) from operating activities, -8.2 MSEK (-3.7) from investment activities and 23.6 MSEK (17.7) from financing activities.
- Liquid assets amounted to 18.4 MSEK (35.5) at the end of the period.
SECOND QUARTER 2023
- Order intake decreased by 65.6 percent to 18.9 MSEK (54.9). Adjusted for foreign exchange rate effects between the comparison periods, order intake decreased by 70.3 percent.
- Net sales decreased by 33.7 percent to 37.2 MSEK (56.1). Adjusted for foreign exchange rate effects between the comparison periods, net sales decreased by 39.2 percent.
- Operating profit before depreciation (EBITDA) amounted to -8.7 MSEK (1.5) and operating profit before financial items (EBIT) amounted to -10.1 MSEK (0.3).
- Profit before tax amounted to -10.8 MSEK (0.2).
- Earnings per share amounted to -1.3 SEK (0.0).
- Cash flow amounted to -13.3 MSEK (-0.1), of which -4.5 MSEK (-8.8) from operating activities, -4.2 MSEK (-1.9) from investment activities and -4.6 MSEK (10.6) from financing activities.
- Liquid assets are amounted to 18.4 MSEK (35.5) at the end of the period.
- FlexQube annual report for 2022 is published and available on the company's website.
- The company received an order of approximately 1.8 MSEK from an existing customer for three different production facilities in Australia, marking a new market for FlexQube.
- In April, FlexQube participated in Logimat Germany, one of the largest logistics exhibitions in Europe. Among other things, we revealed our innovative AMR system, FlexQube Navigator, that was showcased for the first time at a trade show in Europe.
- In June, Mårten Frostne formally assumed the position as new CEO for the company.
- FlexQube sets a new record on the quarter for product gross margin.
EVENTS AFTER THE END OF QUARTER
- FlexQube is granted a patent in Europe for its innovative AMR system, FlexQube Navigator. Equivalent patents are expected to be granted in the USA shortly, and applications are also under review in South Korea, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico, and India.
- The company obtained loan guarantees of 10 MSEK, through respective managing companies, from main owners Christian Thiel and Anders Fogelberg, which can be utilized as needed.
Link to the report for the second quarter 2023: https://www.flexqubegroup.com/secure-file.php?file=6529703edfa79c41cd2fe4aa298b71fb.pdf
The entire quarterly report is also attached to this press release.
SHORT-TERM CAUTIOUS MARKET, YET ACHIEVING A RECORD HIGH ROBOTICS SALES
After working my first few weeks, I can confirm that FlexQube has just as much potential as I envisioned, which was the reason I chose to accept the job. During the initial period, I have met with our staff to familiarize myself with the operations and with customers to understand their perspective on FlexQube. In my second week alone, I visited our facilities in Duncan, South Carolina, USA, and Aguascalientes, Mexico, as well as multiple customers in these markets. It is truly amazing to witness how our products are appreciated by customers for their flexibility and durability. I also saw examples of customers adapting our existing carts to fit new products in their operations – a unique opportunity offered by the FlexQube concept. Furthermore, it is evident that our customers have a significant interest in transitioning from mechanical carts and embarking on the journey towards automation through our AGV and AMR systems, while our mechanical carts will continue to have a place in many operations, even in the future.
However, what brings me the greatest joy as the new CEO is meeting all our dedicated and skilled employees in the company. The staff is the foundation for us to continue our journey towards becoming a leading automation company, and without talented and engaged personnel, it would not be possible to achieve.
I can also confirm that we are operating in markets with favorable conditions, even though market uncertainty due to war, inflation, and rising interest rates negatively impacts our customers. In Mexico, significant investments are being made in new industrial facilities as part of European and American companies “nearshoring”, as Mexico proves to be a better alternative for many firms than Asia, offering cost-effective labor compared to the United States. We also observe substantial initiatives in both the United States and Europe towards electrification. All these factories require new material handling equipment. However, the greatest potential lies within existing factories, where we have only scratched the surface. Many are working to enhance their production processes in various ways, and we can provide different solutions based on the customer needs and level of automation maturity.
FLEXQUBE’S ROBOTIC CONCEPT
The positive trend for our automation products continues, both in terms of sales and, above all, in the ongoing development of the AGV system, eQart® Line, and the work on launching our AMR system, FlexQube Navigator.
During the quarter, 22 AGV systems were delivered, and we have already exceeded last year's total sales. Several major projects have been installed, including our largest AGV order in Europe to a customer in Slovakia consisting of seven eQart® Line robots. During the quarter, the final important product features have also been developed and implemented. The product is now entering a new phase with a focus on sales efforts and partnerships with distributors to increase the volume of sales.
For our AMR system, FlexQube Navigator, the first pilot AMR has been installed at the world's largest car manufacturer, which has invested in two robots and several different carriers. The customer showed early interest in our unique "non-load-bearing" AMR that can move carts with a wide variation in size and load weight. The feedback on functionality of the performance early in the products lifecycle is crucial for FlexQube.
Phase 1 of product development is now completed, and the focus, similar to our AGV system, is shifting from development to scaling up sales through our own salespeople and distributors. Delivery times and component shortages have been a challenge, but we have secured materials to build 50 AMR systems in the coming quarter, and we see a positive development regarding availability and delivery times for additional volume.
We have worked closely with TÜV SÜD, who has assisted us with the entire certification process, which will be completed in the third quarter. Several interesting procurement processes are ongoing, especially with existing customers in the automotive and heavy equipment industries, and we are ready to receive orders.
After the end of the quarter, an important patent has also been granted in Europe, providing protection for our innovation with a non-load-bearing AMR which is connected to a motorized FlexQube platform that is lifted from the ground. A patent that is expected to offer significant commercial advantage, and we are optimistic about obtaining similar patents in our other main markets, as well as having our additional patent applications approved for our AMR system.
RESULT AND DEVELOPMENT
As we communicated for the first quarter, the market continues to be characterized by slower customer processes and uncertain sentiment among our customers purchasing departments, which negatively affects our order intake. The order intake decreases by 64% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. However, market activity remains high despite the decline in our order intake, our quoted values increased by 22%. In addition to the uncertainty surrounding our customers general economic conditions, our increased focus on AGV and AMR robots also leads to a short-term decline in order intake, as sales processes are longer, and more resources are allocated to these products. It should also be noted that we previously had the luxury of working reactively in our sales, as the influx of good projects was substantial. However, in a more challenging market, we must now work more strategically with our existing customers and the significant investments being made in the market, as well as develop distributor sales, to generate a more predictable order pipeline. Our opportunities are fantastic in the market, and we have only scratched the surface. With a more strategic sales approach, we should be able to grow despite challenging market conditions.
Although the transition from Anders Fogelberg to me as the new CEO has worked very well, it has had short-term effects on order intake over the past 6 months. Anders has placed a significant amount of focus over the past six months on preparing the company for me, which I am grateful for, and which is important in the long term. However, considering how important Anders has been for sales efforts, it is evident that this has affected the order intake. There has also been some personnel turnovers in our American sales organization during the spring, which also had an impact in the order intake, but after a much-needed vacation and parental leave during the summer, Anders will from mid-August start a full-time role as responsible for New Business Development, that will focus on large customers, both new and existing, as well as providing support to me and the sales team with his deep knowledge of selling FlexQubes various concepts.
The discrepancy between actual order intake, historical closing frequency, and the activity we observe in the market is high during the first half of the year, with some of the reasons mentioned above. However, we still have strong confidence that our current project pipeline and product offerings will lead to increased order intake in the long run and a favorable outcome for the second half of 2023. There is a good amount of patience and confidence within the organization, and we assess that the quality of the project pipeline is good.
As of now we have a new sales manager that just started in the Nordics, and we now have a well-staffed sales organization. If we determine that there is a requirement for extra sales and product resources in the upcoming autumn months to fully cater to our customers needs, then we will allocate our resources accordingly. We are now fully focused on increasing sales, with a very good cost control. In April, we exhibited at one of the largest trade shows in Europe, Logimat in Germany. This was also the first time we physically showcased our AMR system, FlexQube Navigator, at a European trade show, generating significant interest, and we expect to see the impact of this later in the year.
With lower revenue and ongoing significant investments in our robot concept, as well as sales activities such as trade shows and launch costs for the AMR system, this leads to lower profitability. It is, of course, never pleasant to report a deterioration in results, and now we have a strong focus on maximizing the impact of every cost and increasing the efficiency of existing resources in general. This needs to be balanced against the opportunity costs it entails, and even though we will have a strong cost focus in the short term until we see more positive developments, we need to continue investing in the company's strategy to achieve profitability in the long run. Despite challenging order intake and sales figures, it is still pleasing to see that we are achieving a new record level for our product gross margin. We are expected to continue increasing this as we further enhance efficiency, and robot sales become a larger part of the sales in the coming years.
Cashflow is of the highest priority to support our efforts and is something our finance and operations departments work on daily to optimize. Working capital has developed positively during the quarter, and after the quarter's end, we have also secured a loan guarantee of 10 million SEK from some of our larger shareholders to ensure we have an adequate buffer.
In summary, despite a challenging market, I can conclude that we have a fantastic product offering that is complete following the launch of our AMR system, FlexQube Navigator. We are in interesting markets, we have satisfied customers, and a fantastic team.
Moving forward, the requirement is to continue developing our company towards becoming an automation company in terms of organization, processes, and sales channels. This requires a lot of hard work, but also prioritizing our resources in the best way.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the former CEO, Anders Fogelberg, for a good collaboration during the transition to me, and I look forward to working together and taking this company to new heights.
CEO FlexQube AB (publ)
FlexQube is a technology company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden with subsidiaries in USA, Mexico, Germany and England. FlexQube offers solutions for cart-based material handling using a patented modular concept. FlexQube develops and designs customized solutions for both robotic and mechanical cart logistics. Through the own developed and unique automation concept FlexQube can offer robust and self-driving robotic carts. FlexQube has more than 1000 customers in 37 countries with primary markets being North America and Europe.
FlexQube’s customers can be found within the manufacturing industry, distribution- and warehousing. We represent some of the most successful companies in the world with a significant share being represented on the Fortune 500 list. These companies exist within automotive, electric vehicle manufacturing, online retail, heavy-duty trucks, industrial automation and retail logistics.
For more information, contact:
CEO, Mårten Frostne
+46 721 55 19 37
CFO, Mikael Lindbäck
+46 761 04 10 28
The share (FLEXQ) is traded on Nasdaq First North. FNCA Sweden AB, telephone +46 8-528 00 399, is the Company's Certified Adviser. Read more at www.flexqube.com
This information is insider information that FlexQube AB (publ) is obliged to disclose in accordance with EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was provided by the above contact persons for publication on Aug 9, 2023, at. 08:00 CET.