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Report by the Board of Directors

Financial performance

Net sales and profit for 2016

The Group’s net sales were €10,180 million, which is 17.3% up on the corresponding period of the previous year (€8,679 million). Acquisitions and disposals excluded, net sales in local currencies grew by 1.6%. Suomen Lähikauppa Oy has been consolidated into Kesko Group as of 12 April 2016, Onninen Group as of 1 June 2016 and Oy Autocarrera Ab as of 1 December 2016. The Russian business of the grocery trade is included in the figures until 30 November 2016 and Anttila was included in the figures for the comparative period until 16 March 2015.

In the grocery trade, the 12.0% net sales growth was significantly attributable to the acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa. Net sales in local currencies, excluding Suomen Lähikauppa and the Russian business, were down 0.2%. In the building and technical trade, net sales increased by 26.2% and in local currencies, excluding Onninen and Anttila, by 2.1%. In the car trade, net sales were up markedly, by 13.5%, and excluding the acquisition of AutoCarrera, by 13.0%. The Group’s net sales in Finland increased by 15.3%, and acquisitions and disposals excluded, by 1.1%. In the other countries, net sales increased by 26.0% and in local currencies, acquisitions and disposals excluded, by 3.9%. International operations accounted for 20.3% (18.9%) of net sales.

1–12/2016 Net sales, € million Change
%
Change in local currency excl. acquisitions and disposals, % Operating profit,*
€ million
Change, € million
Grocery trade 5,236 +12.0 -0.2 175.9 -1.5
Building and technical trade 4,100 +26.2 +2,1 97.9 +34.4
Car trade 849 +13.5 +13,0 29.5 +3.4
Common functions and eliminations -5 (..) (..) -30.5 -7.7
Total 10,180 +17.3 +1,6 272.9 +28.5
* Comparable
(..) Change over 100%

The Group’s comparable operating profit was €272.9 million (€244.5 million). In the grocery trade, profitability was good. Comparable operating profit remained at the previous year’s level while an intensive reform of business operations was carried out, the acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa was implemented and its integration into Kesko’s business operations was started. The real estate arrangement completed in June 2015 had a €6.5 million negative impact on the comparable operating profit of the grocery trade. In the building and technical trade, profitability was improved by the acquisition of Onninen during the financial period, the disposal of Intersport’s business in Russia, the good profit performance in the building and home improvement trade in Lithuania and Sweden, in the agricultural and machinery trade and in the furniture trade, as well as the divestment of Anttila completed in the previous year. In the car trade, profitability continued to improve thanks to good sales performance. The total impact of the real estate arrangement completed in June 2015 on the Group’s comparable operating profit in the grocery trade and the building and technical trade was €-8.4 million.

The operating profit was €146.8 million (€194.6 million). The items affecting comparability totalled €-126.2 million (€-49.9 million). The most significant items affecting comparability included a €69.2 million loss on the disposal of the Russian grocery trade, €30.0 million in impairment charges, €11.4 million in costs related to the conversion of Suomen Lähikauppa’s chains, and €6.9 million in asset transfer taxes on acquisitions included in structural arrangements. Due to the change in the Russian real estate market, the functional currency of the building and home improvement trade’s Russian properties was changed from euro to rouble on 31 December 2016, and as a result, a €15 million impairment charge was allocated to the properties. In the previous year, the items affecting the comparability of the operating profit included a €130 million loss on the divestment of Anttila and €101 million in gains on the disposal of real estate.

Items affecting comparability, € million 1–12/2016 1–12/2015
Comparable operating profit 272.9 244.5
Items affecting comparability
+gains on disposal +4.2 +101.2
-losses on disposal -71.0 -131.8
-impairment charges -30.0 -
+/-structural arrangements -23.1 -19.3
+/-others -6.3 +0.0
Total items affecting comparability -126.2 -49.9
Operating profit 146.8 194.6

The Group's profit before tax was €145.2 million (€188.0 million). The Group’s earnings per share were €0.99 (€1.03). The Group’s equity per share was €20.44 (€21.82).

K Group's (i.e. Kesko's and the chain stores') retail and B2B sales (VAT 0%) were €12,463 million, up 14.6% compared to the previous year. The K-Plussa customer loyalty programme gained 73,218 new households in 2016. At the end of December, there were 2.3 million K-Plussa households and 3.6 million K-Plussa cardholders.

Finance

The cash flow from operating activities was €170.2 million (€276.4 million). The cash flow from investing activities was €-501.1 million (€217.1 million). The cash flow impact of the disposal of the Russian grocery trade business on the cash flows from investing activities was €167.0 million.

At the end of December, liquid assets totalled €391 million (€887 million). Interest-bearing liabilities were €515 million (€439 million) and interest-bearing net debt was €123 million (€-448 million) at the end of December. The equity ratio was 48.6% (54.7%).

The Group's net finance costs were €1.0 million (€7.1 million).

Taxes

The Group's taxes were €31.4 million (€70.7 million). The effective tax rate was 21.6% (37.6%).

Capital expenditure

The Group's capital expenditure totalled €743.1 million (€218.5 million), or 7.3% (2.5%) of net sales. Capital expenditure in store sites was €216.7 million (€166.7 million), in acquisitions €461.6 million, in IT €29.3 million (€20.4 million) and other capital expenditure was €35.5 million (€31.4 million).

Personnel

The average number of personnel in Kesko Group was 22,476 (18,956) converted into full-time employees. The increase was due to the acquisitions of Suomen Lähikauppa and Onninen.

At the end of December 2016, the number of personnel was 27,656 (21,935), of whom 14,845 (10,081) worked in Finland and 12,811 (11,854) outside Finland. The number of Suomen Lähikauppa’s personnel was 3,129, that of Onninen 3,068 and that of AutoCarrera 37.

Segments

Seasonal nature of operations

The Group’s operating activities are affected by seasonal fluctuations. The net sales and the operating profits of the reportable segments are not earned evenly throughout the year. Instead, they vary by quarter depending on the characteristics of each segment. In terms of the level of operating profit, the second and third quarter are strongest, whereas the impact of the first quarter on the full year profit is smallest. The acquisitions of Suomen Lähikauppa and Onninen increase the seasonal fluctuations between quarters. The operating profit levels of Onninen and Suomen Lähikauppa are lowest for the first quarter.

Grocery trade
1–12/2016 1–12/2015
Net sales, € million 5,236 4,673
Comparable operating profit, € million 175.9 177.5
Comparable operating margin, % 3.4 3.8
Capital expenditure, € million 238.1 128.9
Net sales, € million 1–12/2016 Change, %
Sales to K-food stores 3,161 0.0
K-Citymarket, home and speciality goods 588 +0.0
Suomen Lähikauppa 575 -
Kespro 804 +1.5
K-ruoka, Russia 105 -1.9
Others and eliminations 4 -85.9
Total 5,236 +12.0

The net sales of the grocery trade were €5,236 million (€4,673 million), representing a growth of 12.0%. Suomen Lähikauppa and the Russian business excluded, net sales performance was -0.2%. The grocery sales of K-food stores in Finland increased by 0.5% (VAT 0%) (excluding Suomen Lähikauppa) and Suomen Lähikauppa included, by 12.1%. In the grocery market in Finland, retail prices are estimated to have changed by approximately -0.6% compared to the previous year (VAT 0%; Kesko’s own estimate based on the Consumer Price Index of Statistics Finland) and the total market (VAT 0%) is estimated to have increased by approximately 1% (Kesko’s own estimate).

The acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa was completed on 12 April 2016 and the conversion of the Siwa and Valintatalo stores into K-Market stores was begun in May. By the end of the year, 223 Siwas and Valintatalos had been converted into K-Markets. At the same time, the renewal of the entire K-Market chain started. As a result of the acquisition, Kesko’s neighbourhood retail services improve significantly and the acquisition provides significant economies of scale and synergies for Kesko. In November, the Russian grocery trade was disposed of, the growth of which would have required significant capital expenditures.

The comparable operating profit of the grocery trade was €175.9 million (€177.5 million). Comparable operating profit remained at the previous year’s level while an intensive reform of business operations was carried out, the acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa was implemented and its integration into Kesko’s business operations was started. Profitability was improved by cost savings and the synergies achieved from the acquisition of Suomen Lähikauppa. The real estate arrangement completed in June 2015 had a €6.5 million negative impact on comparable operating profit. The operating profit of the grocery trade was €93.0 million (€249.4 million). The items affecting comparability were €-82.9 million (€71.9 million) the most important of which are the €69.2 million loss on the disposal of the Russian grocery trade and the €11.4 million expenses related to the conversion of Siwas and Valintatalos into K-Markets. Suomen Lähikauppa contributed €-7.4 million, and taking synergies into account, €-3.2 million to the comparable operating profit.

The capital expenditure of the grocery trade was €238.1 million (€128.9 million), of which €159.6 million (€117.7 million) was in store sites and €54.3 million in acquisitions.

Building and technical trade
1–12/2016 1–12/2015
Net sales, € million 4,100 3,250
Comparable operating profit, € million 97.9 63.6
Comparable operating margin, % 2.4 2.0
Capital expenditure, € million 451.7 55.3
Net sales, € million 1–12/2016 Change, %
Building and home improvement trade, Finland 826 +4.1
K-rauta, Sweden 217 +3.6
Byggmakker, Norway 402 -3.8
K-rauta, Russia 174 -9.5
Kesko Senukai, Baltics 486 +5.7
OMA, Belarus 101 -12.7
Onninen 908 -
Agricultural and machinery trade 608 -1.1
Intersport, Finland 178 +2.1
Indoor 187 +4.3
Others 30 -70.9
Total 4,100 +26.2

The net sales of the building and technical were €4,100 million (€3,250 million), up 26.2%. Net sales in local currencies, excluding acquisitions, increased by 2.1%.

The net sales of the building and technical trade in Finland were €2,142 million (€1,719 million), up 24.6%. Acquisitions and disposals excluded, net sales in Finland grew by 0.5%. The net sales from foreign operations were €1,959 million (€1,530 million), up 28.0%. In local currencies, excluding acquisitions and disposals, the net sales from foreign operations increased by 3.9%. Foreign operations contributed 47.8% (47.1%) to the net sales of the building and technical trade.

The acquisition of Onninen was completed on 1 June 2016. Onninen’s net sales were €908 million. The acquisition accelerates the implementation of the international growth strategy of Kesko’s building and technical trade and provides significant synergy potential.

The net sales of the building and home improvement trade were €2,196 million (€2,181 million), an increase of 0.7%. In local currencies, net sales were up by 3.7%. In respective local currencies, net sales grew in Sweden by 4.7%, in Norway by 0.6% and in Russia by 0.3%. In the building and home improvement trade, growth strengthened especially in B2B trade. In the building and technical trade, the market share of K Group’s building and home improvement trade is estimated to have strengthened especially in Finland, Sweden, the Baltics and Belarus. K Group's sales of building and home improvement products in Finland increased by a total of 4.3% and the total market (VAT 0%) is estimated to have grown by approximately 1.9% (Kesko's own estimate).

The net sales of the agricultural and machinery trade were €608 million (€615 million), down 1.1% compared to the previous year. Net sales in Finland were €479 million, down 4.2%. The net sales from foreign operations were €129 million, up 12.3%. The retail sales of the K-maatalous chain in Finland were €424 million, down 3.1%.

The net sales of the leisure trade in Finland were €197 million (€193 million), an increase of 2.0%.

The net sales of the furniture trade were €187 million (€179 million), which was up 4.3%.

The comparable operating profit of the building and technical trade was €97.9 million (€63.6 million), up €34.4 million compared to the previous year. Profitability was improved by the acquisition of Onninen during the financial period, the disposal of Intersport’s Russian business, as well as the good profit performance of the building and home improvement trade in Lithuania and Sweden, in the agricultural and machinery trade and in the furniture trade. The profit for the comparative period includes a €12.7 million operating loss from Anttila divested in March 2015. Onninen’s contribution to the comparable operating profit was €18.2 million, adversely impacted by the fair value allocations of inventories written off in the amount of €5.1 million.

The operating profit of the building and technical trade was €60.8 million (€-57.2 million). The most significant items affecting comparability are the €15 million in impairment charges related to the change of the functional currency of the Russian properties and the €5.8 million in asset transfer taxes related to acquisitions. In the previous year, the most significant items affecting comparability included a €130 million loss on the divestment of Anttila and €28 million recognized in gains on the disposal of real estate.

The capital expenditure of the building and technical trade totalled €451.7 million (€55.3 million), of which €380.1 million was in acquisitions and €55.8 million (€40.8 million) in store sites. The acquisitions include €364.1 million for the acquisition of Onninen and €10.0 million for increasing the ownership interest in the Belarusian OMA.

Car trade
1–12/2016 1–12/2015
Net sales, € million 849 748
Comparable operating profit, € million 29.5 26.1
Comparable operating margin, % 3.5 3.5
Capital expenditure, € million 41.4 16.0
Net sales, € million 1–12/2016 Change, %
VV-Auto 845 +13.0
AutoCarrera 4 -
Yhteensä 849 +13.5

The net sales of the car trade were €849 million (€748 million), up 13.5%. The combined market performance of first registrations of passenger cars and vans was 10.2% (2.8%). The combined market share of passenger cars and vans imported by VV-Auto was 18.8% (19.1%) and Volkswagen was the most registered passenger car brand in 2016.

On 1 December 2016, VV-Auto acquired the share capital of Oy Autocarrera Ab and as a result, the import and retailing of Porsche transferred to VV-Auto. In December, AutoCarrera’s net sales were €4.4 million. The net sales growth of the car trade, excluding AutoCarrera’s impact, was 13.0%.

The profitability of the car trade continued to improve thanks to good sales performance. The comparable operating profit was €29.5 million (€26.1 million). The operating profit was €28.9 million (€26.1 million). Comparability was affected by the €0.6 million expenses related to the acquisition of Oy Autocarrera Ab. AutoCarrera’s impact on comparable operating profit was €0.0 million, and the profit was adversely impacted by the fair value allocations of inventories written off in the amount of €0.1 million.

The capital expenditure of the car trade was €41.4 million (€16.0 million).

Changes in the Group composition

Kesko implemented the arrangement it had agreed in the autumn of 2015 to centralise its Baltic building and home improvement trade in UAB Senuku Prekybos centras (Senukai). The company's name has been changed to Kesko Senukai. In the arrangement, Kesko sold the shares in its wholly owned companies responsible for the operations of K-rauta stores in Estonia and Latvia to its subsidiary Senukai, in which Kesko has a majority interest. (Stock exchange release on 1 April 2016).

Kesko Food Ltd, a Kesko Corporation subsidiary, acquired the whole share capital of Suomen Lähikauppa Oy from the private equity investment firm Triton. (Stock exchange release on 12 April 2016). Suomen Lähikauppa Oy was renamed to K-Market Oy in August.

Kesko Corporation acquired Onninen Oy's whole share capital from Onvest Oy. The acquisition does not include Onninen’s steel business or Russian subsidiary. (Stock exchange release on 1 June 2016).

In June, the Group’s ownership interest in the Group’s Belarusian subsidiary OMA increased to 25% (previously 9%).

In July, Kesko Corporation disposed of the Intersport business in Russia.

In September, Kesko acquired the Russian project business from Onvest Oy.

Kesko Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiaries Rautakesko Ltd, Keslog Ltd and Musta Pörssi Ltd merged into Kesko Corporation on 31 October 2016.

In November, Kesko Food Russia Holding Oy, part of Kesko Group, sold its grocery trade business in Russia and the real estate companies related to the operations to Lenta Ltd. (Stock exchange release on 30 November 2016).

In December, Kesko Corporation's subsidiary VV-Auto Group Oy acquired the whole share capital of Oy Autocarrera Ab. As a result of the transaction, the import and retailing of Porsche have transferred to VV-Auto (Stock exchange release on 14 November 2016, 24 November 2016 and on 1 December 2016).

Shares, securities market and Board authorisations

At the end of December 2016, the total number of Kesko Corporation shares was 100,019,752, of which 31,737,007, or 31.7%, were A shares and 68,282,745, or 68.3%, were B shares. At 31 December 2016, Kesko Corporation held 746,109 own B shares as treasury shares. These treasury shares accounted for 1.09% of the number of B shares, 0.75% of the total number of shares, and 0.19% of votes attached to all shares of the Company. The total number of votes attached to all shares was 385,652,815. Each A share carries ten (10) votes and each B share one (1) vote. The Company cannot vote with own shares held by it as treasury shares and no dividend is paid on them. At the end of December 2016, Kesko Corporation's share capital was €197,282,584.

The price of a Kesko A share quoted on Nasdaq Helsinki was €31.12 at the end of 2015, and €43.85 at the end of December 2016, representing an increase of 40.9%. Correspondingly, the price of a B share was €32.37 at the end of 2015, and €47.48 at the end of December 2016, representing an increase of 46.7%. The highest A share price was €44.54 and the lowest was €28.98. The highest B share price was €48.48 and the lowest was €29.56. The Nasdaq Helsinki All-Share index (OMX Helsinki) was up by 3.6% and the weighted OMX Helsinki Cap index by 8.2%. The Retail Sector Index was up by 40.6%.

At the end of December 2016, the market capitalisation of A shares was €1,392 million, while that of B shares was €3,207 million, excluding the shares held by the parent company as treasury shares. The combined market capitalisation of A and B shares was €4,598 million, an increase of €1,429 million from the end of 2015.

In 2016, a total of 1.7 million (2.4 million) A shares were traded on Nasdaq Helsinki, a decrease of 26.7%. The exchange value of A shares was €65 million. The number of B shares traded was 51.6 million (59.4 million), a decrease of 13.2%. The exchange value of B shares was €2,015 million. Nasdaq Helsinki accounted for 55% of the Kesko A and B share trading in 2016. Kesko shares were also traded on multilateral trading facilities, the most significant of which were BATS Chi-X with 27% and Turquoise with 16% of the trading (source: Fidessa).

During the financial year, the Board had the authority to decide on the transfer of a maximum of 1,000,000 own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares. On 3 February 2016, the Board decided to grant own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares to persons included in the target group of the 2015 vesting period, based on this share issue authorisation and the fulfilment of the vesting criteria of the 2015 vesting period of Kesko’s three-year share-based compensation plan. This transfer of a total of 137,054 own B shares was announced in a stock exchange release on 17 March 2016, and the transfer of 2,670 own B shares was announced in a stock exchange release on 27 April 2016. Based on the 2014-2016 share-based compensation plan decided by the Board, a total maximum of 600,000 own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares can be granted within a period of three years based on the fulfilment of the vesting criteria. The Board decides on the vesting criteria and the target group separately for each vesting period. The share-based compensation plan was announced in a stock exchange release on 4 February 2014. During the year, a total of 8,256 shares granted based on the fulfilment of the vesting criteria of the share-based compensation plans (the 2011-2013 and the 2014-2016 share-based compensation plans) was returned to the Company in accordance with the terms and conditions of the share-based compensation plans. The returns during the reporting period were notified in a stock exchange release on 17 March 2016, 31 March 2016, 27 April 2016, 30 May 2016 and 15 November 2016.

Kesko’s Annual General Meeting held on 4 April 2016 authorised the Company’s Board to make decisions concerning the transfer of a total maximum of 1,000,000 own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares (the 2016 share issue authorisation). The authorisation cancelled the earlier share issue authorisation corresponding in content. Based on the authorisation, own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares can be issued for subscription by shareholders in a directed issue in proportion to their existing holdings of the Company shares, regardless of whether they own A or B shares. Shares can also be issued in a directed issue, departing from the shareholder's pre-emptive right, for a weighty financial reason of the Company, such as using the shares to develop the Company's capital structure, to finance possible acquisitions, capital expenditure or other arrangements within the scope of the Company's business operations, and to implement the Company's commitment and incentive scheme. Own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares can be transferred either against or without payment. A share issue can only be without payment, if the Company, taking into account the best interests of all of its shareholders, has a particularly weighty financial reason for it. The authorisation also includes the Board’s authority to make decisions concerning any other matters related to share issues. The amount possibly paid for the Company’s own shares is recorded in the reserve of unrestricted equity. The authorisation is valid until 30 June 2020.

The Annual General Meeting held on 4 April 2016 also approved the Board's proposal for its authorisation to decide on the acquisition of a maximum of 1,000,000 own B shares of the Company (the 2016 authorisation to acquire own shares). B shares are acquired with the Company's distributable unrestricted equity, not in proportion to the shareholdings of shareholders, at the market price quoted in public trading organised by Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd ("the exchange") at the date of acquisition. The shares are acquired and paid in accordance with the rules of the exchange. The acquisition of own shares reduces the amount of the Company's distributable unrestricted equity. B shares are acquired for use in the development of the Company's capital structure, to finance possible acquisitions, capital expenditure and/or other arrangements within the scope of the Company's business operations, and to implement the Company's commitment and incentive scheme. The Board makes decisions concerning any other issues related to the acquisition of own B shares. The authorisation is valid until 30 September 2017.

In addition, the Board has a share issue authorisation according to which the Board is authorised to issue a maximum of 20,000,000 new B shares (the 2015 share issue authorisation). The authorisation is valid until 30 June 2018. The shares can be issued against payment to be subscribed by shareholders in a directed issue in proportion to their existing holdings of the Company shares regardless of whether they hold A or B shares, or, departing from the shareholder's pre-emptive right, in a directed issue, if there is a weighty financial reason for the Company, such as using the shares to develop the Company's capital structure and financing possible acquisitions, capital expenditure or other arrangements within the scope of the Company's business operations. The amount paid for the shares is recognised in the reserve of invested non-restricted equity. The authorisation also includes the Board's authority to decide on the share subscription price, the right to issue shares for non-cash consideration and the right to make decisions on other matters concerning share issues.

At the end of December 2016, the number of shareholders was 39,404, which is 125 less than at the end of 2015. At the end of December, foreign ownership of all shares was 32%. Foreign ownership of B shares was 46% at the end of December.

Flagging notifications

Kesko Corporation did not receive any flagging notifications during the reporting period.

Key events during the reporting period

Tomi Korpisaari, a member of Kesko Corporation's Board of Directors, announced that he would resign from the Company's Board of Directors for reasons of health as of 1 March 2016. Kaarina Ståhlberg was appointed General Counsel and member of the Management Board of Posti Group Corporation as of 1 March 2016, as a result of which Ståhlberg announced that she would resign from Kesko Corporation's Board of Directors as of 1 March 2016. (Stock exchange release on 5 February 2016 and 15 February 2016)

The arrangement agreed by Kesko in the autumn of 2015 to centralise the Baltic building and home improvement trade in UAB Senuku Prekybos centras (Senukai) was completed. The company's name has been changed to Kesko Senukai. In the arrangement, Kesko sold the shares in its wholly owned companies responsible for the operations of K-Rauta stores in Estonia and Latvia to its subsidiary Senukai, in which Kesko has a majority interest. (Stock exchange release on 1 April 2016)

The transaction agreed between Kesko Corporation's subsidiary Kesko Food and the private equity investment firm Triton to acquire Suomen Lähikauppa was completed. The debt-free price of the acquisition, structured as a share purchase, was €54 million. In 2015, Suomen Lähikauppa's net sales were €935.7 million, it had around 600 Siwa and Valintatalo stores and around 3,800 employees. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) announced their approval of the acquisition on 11 April 2016. The permission contains conditions imposed by the FCCA. The FCCA made the acquisition conditional on the sale of 60 stores of Suomen Lähikauppa Oy to competitors. In case the sale of some store or some stores is not possible, the selling obligation imposed on Kesko Food Ltd will cease. (Stock exchange release on 11 April 2016 and 12 April 2016)

The transaction agreed between Kesko Corporation and Onvest Oy to acquire the whole share capital of Onninen Oy was completed. The acquisition does not include Onninen’s steel business or Russian subsidiary. In 2015, the pro forma net sales of the acquired business were €1,465 million and the EBITDA was €39 million. The price of the debt-free acquisition, structured as a share purchase, was €364 million. (Stock exchange release on 12 January 2016, 20 April 2016 and 1 June 2016)

Johan Friman, 51, Master of Science (Economics), was appointed Executive Vice President responsible for Kesko's car trade and President of VV-Auto Group Oy. He also became a member of Kesko's Group Management Board. Johan Friman took over his new position on 1 January 2017 and Pekka Lahti, the current Executive Vice President for the car trade, will retire on a pension in accordance with his service contract on 1 April 2017. (Stock exchange release on 21 September 2016)

Kesko Food Russia Holding Oy, part of Kesko Group, sold its grocery trade business in Russia to Lenta Ltd. The aggregate consideration for the disposal including sales price adjustment was approximately RUB 11.4 billion (approximately EUR 163 million). (Stock exchange release on 30 November 2016)

Kesko Corporation's subsidiary VV-Auto Group Oy acquired the whole share capital of Oy Autocarrera Ab. As a result of the transaction, the import and retailing of Porsche transferred to VV-Auto. The price of the acquisition, structured as a share purchase, was approximately €27 million (Stock exchange release on 14 November 2016, 24 November 2016 and 1 December 2016)

Events after the reporting period

The court of arbitration dismissed Voimaosakeyhtiö SF's action against Kestra Kiinteistöpalvelut Oy concerning the further financing of the Fennovoima nuclear power plant project. (Stock exchange release on 10 January 2017)

Resolutions of the 2016 Annual General Meeting and decisions of the Board's organisational meeting

Kesko Corporation's Annual General Meeting, held on 4 April 2016, adopted the financial statements and the consolidated financial statements for 2015 and discharged the Board members and the Managing Director from liability. The General Meeting also resolved to distribute a dividend of €2.50 per share as proposed by the Board, or a total amount of €248,195,187.50. The dividend pay date was 13 April 2016.

The General Meeting resolved to leave the number of Board members unchanged at seven. The term of office of each of the seven (7) Board members elected by the Annual General Meeting on 13 April 2015, i.e. retailer, Business College Graduate Esa Kiiskinen, retailer, Master of Science in Economics Tomi Korpisaari, retailer, eMBA Toni Pokela, eMBA Mikael Aro, Master of Science in Economics Matti Kyytsönen, Master of Science in Economics Anu Nissinen and Master of Laws Kaarina Ståhlberg, will expire at the close of the 2018 Annual General Meeting in accordance with Kesko's Articles of Association. Korpisaari and Ståhlberg had resigned from the membership of the Company's Board of Directors as of 1 March 2016. The General Meeting resolved to replace them by retailer, trade technician Matti Naumanen and Managing Director, Master of Science in Economics Jannica Fagerholm until the close of the Annual General Meeting to be held in 2018. In addition, the General Meeting resolved to leave the Board members' fees and the basis for reimbursement of expenses unchanged.

The General Meeting elected the firm of auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers Oy, Authorised Public Accountants, as the Company's auditor with APA Mikko Nieminen as the auditor with principal responsibility.

The General Meeting approved the Board's proposal for share issue authorisation according to which the Board may decide on the transfer of a total maximum of 1,000,000 own B shares held by the Company as treasury shares (the 2016 share issue authorisation). The General Meeting also approved the Board's proposal for the authorisation to acquire own shares, according to which the Board may decide on the acquisition of a maximum of 1,000,000 own B shares of the Company (the 2016 authorisation to acquire own shares).

In addition, the General Meeting approved the Board's proposal for its authorisation to decide on the donations in a total maximum of €300,000 for charitable or similar purposes until the Annual General Meeting to be held in 2017 and to decide on the donation recipients, purposes of use and other terms of the donations.

After the Annual General Meeting, Kesko Corporation's Board of Directors held an organisational meeting in which it elected M.Sc. (Econ.) Jannica Fagerholm as the Chair of the Audit Committee, re-elected eMBA Mikael Aro as its Deputy Chair and M.Sc. (Econ.) Matti Kyytsönen as its member. Business College Graduate Esa Kiiskinen (Ch.), Mikael Aro (Dep. Ch.) and M.Sc. (Econ.) Anu Nissinen were re-elected to the Board's Remuneration Committee.

The resolutions of Annual General Meeting and the decisions of the Board’s organisational meeting were announced in more detail in stock exchange releases on 4 April 2016.

Corporate responsibility

Kesko was the best trading sector company (Food & Staples Retailing) on 'The Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations' list of 2016. Kesko placed 15th on the list.

In February, Kesko, Arla Finland, HKScan Finland and Unilever Finland initiated a Finnish soy commitment in cooperation with WWF Finland. The members of the commitment pledge to ensure that by 2020, all the soy used in the production chain of their private label products will be responsibly produced, either Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) or ProTerra certified soy.

At the beginning of April, the Pirkka Thank the Producer product range expanded from meat products to milks. A certain proportion of the price of the products in the range is paid directly to Finnish producers. The objective of K Group is to support Finnish producers with hundreds of thousands of euros through the Thank the Producer operating model in 2016.

Kespro was granted the MSC and ASC Chain of Custody - the traceability certificate - in April. All phases of Kespro's fish and shellfish supply chain have been audited, and Kespro and its certified customer restaurants can use MSC and ASC ecolabelling in their marketing.

Kesko and the child rights organization Plan International Finland continue cooperating to improve the responsibility of the fishing industry and the situation of migrant workers in Thailand. As a part of the project, already 60 children from migrant families have been able to start school.

Kesko's grocery trade and the Finnish cancer foundation Syöpäsäätiö signed an agreement on main sponsorship in the Pink ribbon campaign in May. The objective is to generate tenfold donations to the fundraising from K-food stores compared to what they were before.

Pirkka Street Basket events were arranged in 16 localities in Finland in May. Pirkka Street Basket 2016 is part of the Little Wolves project by the Finnish Basketball Association and Kesko's grocery trade that aims to promote physical activity for children.

Kesko had Finland's largest property-specific solar utility built on the roof of K-citymarket Tammisto in Vantaa in May-June. The peak power of the solar utility is 503 kWp and it generates electricity for the property.

The K-maatalous Experimental farm made a Baltic Sea Commitment to Baltic Sea Action Group, BSAG, in June. The Experimental farm's commitment concentrates on developing soil condition and nutrient usage measurement practices and technology.

Kesko has completed a human rights impact assessment in compliance with UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and published a human rights commitment on its web pages in September.

In January-September, Pirkka 'Thank the Producer' products sold at K-food stores generated a support amount of approximately €170,000 to be remitted to Finnish producers. The aim is to add more products to the product group, provided that their good sales performance continues.

In September, K-food stores and Kesko joined the Consumer Association's Food Waste Week Campaign to promote the reduction of food wastage and increase the appreciation of food.

In September-October, K-food stores took part in the Pink Ribbon campaign raising funds for Finnish breast cancer research and cancer counselling. The aim is to increase tenfold the amounts donated by K-food stores to the Pink Ribbon campaign.

K-rauta is a partner in the Liiteri tool rental service trial targeted at urban home renovators, which was launched in September at Teurastamo, Helsinki.

Kesko received the A– score in CDP’s Climate Change Disclosure inquiry.

Kesko participates in the 2017–2025 action plan of the commerce sector Energy Efficiency Agreement. In accordance with the agreement, Kesko commits itself to reducing its energy consumption by 7.5% through various saving measures. All K Group store chains are included in the agreement.

K Group is committed to the EU’s aim to keep the annual consumption of plastic bags below 40 bags per inhabitant. Actions to achieve this target include charging a price for plastic bags and providing alternative shopping bags.

Kesko’s updated operating principles, the K Code of Conduct, outline the shared guidelines for the work of all Kesko personnel and business partners.

Kesko is committed to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs, in its operations. The website ’UN Sustainable Development Goals and Kesko’, published in November, explains about the actions taken to contribute to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

In December, K Group started the building of seven new solar power plants on the rooftops of K-food stores. By summer 2017, there will be as many as 15 solar power plants operating in connection with K-food stores. The new investments will make K Group the biggest producer and user of solar power in Finland. 

Information contained in the notes to the financial statements

Information on the Group’s personnel is disclosed in note 6. Related party transactions are disclosed in note 33.

Risk management

Risk management in Kesko Group is guided by the risk management policy approved by Kesko's Board of Directors. The policy defines the goals and principles, organisation, responsibilities and practices of risk management in Kesko Group. The management of financial risks is based on the Group's finance policy confirmed by Kesko's Board of Directors. The managements of the business and the common functions are responsible for the execution of risk management. Kesko Group applies a business-oriented and comprehensive approach to risk assessment and management. This means that key risks are systematically identified, assessed, managed, monitored and reported as part of business operations at the Group, division and function levels in all operating countries.

Kesko Group's risks are considered by the Kesko Board's Audit Committee in connection with the quarterly interim reports, the half year financial report and the financial statements. The Audit Committee Chair reports on risk management to the Board as part of the Audit Committee report. The most significant risks and uncertainties are reported to the market by the Board in the Report by the Board of Directors and any material changes in them in the interim reports and the half year financial report.

The following describes the risks and uncertainties assessed as significant.

Significant risks and uncertainties

Trends in purchasing power and trading sector demand especially in Finland

The uncertain outlook for the Finnish economy, increases in taxes and public payments resulting from the indebtedness of the public sector as well as high unemployment weaken purchasing power and consumer confidence and can cause a long-term decline in the level of demand. This would have negative repercussions especially on Kesko's building and technical trade and car trade in Finland.

Decline in price levels and intensification of price competition in Finnish grocery trade

The level of food prices in Finland declined further in 2016. As consumers' purchasing power has fallen in recent years, competition has become more intense and stores have lowered their prices in order to increase market shares. The decline in price levels and the intensified price competition can weaken the profitability of Kesko's grocery trade and retailers.

Neighbourhood market strategy of grocery trade

In 2016, Kesko acquired Suomen Lähikauppa as part of the neighbourhood market strategy implementation. The integration of Suomen Lähikauppa’s business operations into those of Kesko, the conversion of Siwa and Valintatalo stores into K-Markets as well as the replacement of the stores’ business model by the retailer business model are significant change projects and the achievement of their objectives involves operational and financial risks.

Business arrangement of building and technical trade

The integration of the Onninen acquisition into Kesko’s business operations and the combination of Kesko Senukai’s business in the Baltics are demanding and extended projects. The integration of business operations and the creation of uniform operating models involve risks that can make the achievement of the operational and financial objectives and targets set for the arrangement more difficult.

Strong change in the trading sector caused by digitalisation

In the midst of the retail transition, the achievement of business objectives requires an active approach and strong expertise in the development of digital services and online stores that are attractive to customers, and the use of a multichannel approach with supporting customer communications. There is a risk that some of the traditional brick and mortar stores become unprofitable and that the progress of e-commerce and digital service development projects is outpaced by competitors. Competition can also be intensified by companies entering the value chain of trade by introducing new business models.

Employee competencies and working capacity

The implementation of strategies and the achievement of objectives require competent and motivated personnel. There is a risk that the trading sector does not attract the most competent people. The acquisitions in progress as well as other significant business and development projects, coupled with an increased need for special competencies increase the key-person risk and the dependency on individual expertise.

Suppliers and distribution channels

In divisions strongly dependent on individual principals and suppliers, such as the car trade, ownership arrangements and changes in the strategy of a principal or a supplier as well as changes in product selections, product pricing and distribution channel solutions can mean weakened competitiveness, a decrease in sales or loss of business.

Product safety and supply chain quality

A failure in product safety control or in the quality assurance of the supply chain can result in financial losses, the loss of customer confidence and reputation or, in the worst case, a health hazard to customers.

Store sites and properties

With a view to business growth and profitability, good store sites are a key competitive factor. The acquisition of store sites can be delayed by town planning and permit procedures and the availability and pricing of sites. Considerable amounts of capital or lease liabilities are tied up in properties for years. When the market situation changes, the business is rearranged, the significance of e-commerce grows, or a chain concept proves inefficient there is a risk that a store site or a property becomes unprofitable and operations are discontinued while long-term liabilities remain.

Business interruptions and information system failures

The trading sector is characterised by increasingly complicated and long supply chains and a higher dependency on information systems, data communications and external service providers. Failures can be caused by hardware failures, software errors or external cyber threats. Extended malfunctions in information systems, payment transfers, or in other parts of the supply chain, can cause significant losses in sales and weaken customer satisfaction.

Responsible operating practices and reputation management

Various aspects of corporate responsibility, such as ensuring responsibility in the purchasing chain of products, fair and equal treatment of employees and environmental protection, are increasingly important to customers. Any failures of corporate responsibility would result in negative publicity for Kesko and can cause operational and financial damages.

Compliance with laws and agreements

Compliance with laws and agreements is an important part of Kesko's corporate responsibility. Non-compliance can result in fines, claims for damages and other financial losses, and a loss of confidence and reputation.

Reporting to market

Kesko's objective is to produce and publish reliable and timely information. If any information published by Kesko proved to be incorrect, or communications failed to meet regulations in other respects, it can result in losing investor and other stakeholder confidence and in possible sanctions. Significant business arrangements, tight disclosure schedules and the dependency on information systems create challenges to the accuracy of financial information.

Risks of damage

Accidents, natural phenomena and epidemics can cause significant damages to people, property or business. In addition, risks of damage may cause business interruptions that cannot be prevented. There is also the risk that insurance policies do not cover all unexpected accidents and damages, or covering them with insurance is not profitable.

Crime and malpractice

Crimes are increasingly committed through data networks and crime has become more international and professional. A failure, especially if it affects the security of payment transactions and personal information, can cause losses, claims for damages and reputational harm.

Outlook

Estimates for the outlook of Kesko Group's net sales and comparable operating profit are given for the 12-month period following the reporting period (1/2017-12/2017) in comparison with the 12 months preceding the end of the reporting period (1/2016-12/2016).

The general economic situation and the expected trend in consumer demand vary in Kesko’s different operating countries. In Finland, the trading sector is expected to grow slightly. In the Finnish grocery trade, intense competition is expected to continue. The market for the Finnish building and technical trade is expected to improve slightly. In Sweden and Norway, the market is expected to grow but at a somewhat slower rate. The trend in the Russian market is expected to remain modest. In the Baltic countries, the market is expected to grow.

Kesko Group's net sales for 2017 are expected to exceed the level of the previous year. The comparable operating profit for 2017 is expected to exceed the level of 2016.

Proposal for profit distribution

The parent's distributable profits are €1,006,169,969.92, of which the profit for the financial year is €147,927,559.98.

The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting to be held on 3 April 2017 that a dividend of €2.00 per share be paid on shares held outside the Company at the date of dividend distribution. No dividend is paid on own shares held by the Company as treasury shares at the record date of dividend distribution.

At the date of the proposal for distributions of profits, 1 February 2017, a total of 99,273,643 shares were held outside the Company, amounting to a total dividend of €198,547,286.00.

Annual General Meeting

The Board of Directors decided to convene the Annual General Meeting at Messukeskus Helsinki, on 3 April 2017 at 13.00. Kesko Corporation will publish a notice of the General Meeting at a later date.

 

 

 

Net sales

Comparable operating profit

Profit before tax

Comparable return on equity

Comparable return on capital employed

Equity ratio

Capital expenditure

Comparable earnings/share and dividend/share

* Proposal to the General Meeting

Payout ratio

* Proposal to the General Meeting