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Aspo: Navigation is still challenging - Evli Research

Some beacons of light but still surrounded by thick fog

ESL’s top line declined by 23% y/y and at EUR 32.9m was clearly below our EUR 40.1m estimate. Q2 EBIT, at EUR 0.6m, thus didn’t meet our EUR 1.6m estimate. Steel industry cargo volumes fell steep and energy industry activity wasn’t much better. Smaller vessels continued to perform quite well but many larger ones operated in weak spot markets. ESL managed to shave fixed costs by EUR 0.9m and Aspo says cost measures will be fully realized in Q3, however Q3 outlook is not bright as steel industry volumes will be low with rebound now expected for Q4. Meanwhile Telko posted EUR 4.2m EBIT (vs our EUR 1.1m estimate), a strong show given that revenue declined by 26% y/y to EUR 59.5m (vs our EUR 63.1m estimate). Telko’s performance is clearly on an improving trend thanks to efforts addressing e.g. working capital efficiency. It however seems Q2 EBIT margin was exceptionally high and current outlook is challenging especially in Ukraine and Russia. Leipurin Q2 revenue fell by 17% y/y and the EUR 0.3m EBIT didn’t meet our EUR 0.6m estimate as certain machinery deliveries bound for Russia were postponed to H2.

We cut estimates due to cautious market comments

Aspo’s H1 figures already reflected the pandemic shock yet Q3 remains challenging especially for ESL. We now expect ESL EBIT at EUR 0.4m and EUR 2.9m respectively for Q3 and Q4. In our view Aspo’s unofficial soft guidance for Telko FY ’20 (flat y/y absolute profitability i.e. some EUR 8m) seems a bit conservative given the EUR 6.6m accumulated already in H1. We expect Telko Q3 EBIT at EUR 2.3m. We cut our H2 EBIT estimate all in all by EUR 4.0m to EUR 7.2m, reflecting Aspo’s cautious comments.

Strong rebound remains a possibility yet not imminent

It’s clear this year will be quite soft figurewise with ESL only beginning to rebound in Q4. There’s thus clear upside relative to long-term estimates, yet in our view given the prolonged pandemic uncertainty it takes a lot of conviction to rely on that outlook. In terms of SOTP there’s potential with respect to the ’19 and ’20 average, however that approach relies on Telko’s FY ’20 improvement. Our TP remains EUR 6, rating HOLD


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