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Boule Diagnostics AB (publ) Year-end report January-December 2019

New record in number of instruments sold, continued strong growth and improved profitability

Quarter October-December 2019

  • Net sales amounted to SEK 129.3 million (106.2), up 21.7 percent. Adjusted for the change in exchange rates, this corresponds to an increase of 17.9 percent.
  • Number of instruments sold in the quarter was 1,231 (1,104), an increase of 11.5 percent.
  • Cash flow from operating activities amounted to SEK 19.7 million (6.6).
  • Operating profit was SEK 15.1 million (3.4) which corresponds to an operating margin of 11.7 percent (3.2).
  • Net profit amounted to SEK 7.2 million (1.4).
  • Earnings per share before and after dilution amounted to SEK 0.37 (0.07).

 Full year January-December 2019

  • Net sales amounted to SEK 498.9 million (424.4), up 17.6 percent. Adjusted for the change in exchange rates, this corresponds to an increase of 12.0 percent.
  • Number of instruments sold in the period was 4,598 (4,167), an increase of 10.3 percent.
  • Cash flow from operating activities amounted to SEK 54.0 million (22.7).
  • Operating profit was SEK 70.0 million (54.8) which corresponds to an operating margin of 14.0 percent (12.9).
  • Net profit amounted to SEK 37.5 million (41.0).
  • Earnings per share before and after dilution amounted to SEK 1.93 (2.11).
  • The Board of Directors proposes a dividend of SEK 0.60 per share for 2019 (0,55).

Significant events during the quarter

Jesper Söderqvist appointed CEO

Jesper Söderqvist has been appointed new CEO and Group President with effect no later than May 11, 2020. Jesper has 15 years of experience from senior management positions in medtech companies and a broad experience in sales, marketing, development and production. Jesper arrives most recently from the First North listed company Arcoma AB. As of January 19, 2020, the date on which Fredrik Dalborg leaves the company, until when Jesper Söderqvist assumes his position, Christina Rubenhag, CFO, will assume the position of acting CEO and Group President. During this period, the Chairman of the Board, Peter Ehrenheim, will assume the role of working Chairman of the Board to support the Management team.

Significant events after the period

Strengthening of production
To strengthen the production organization, responsibility has been divided between the production of instruments and consumables. Eduardo Pagani, production manager for the site in Florida, assumes global responsibility for the production of consumables. In February, the responsibility for the production of instruments will be assumed by Mikael Ekholm. Both of whom will be part of the management team, as a part of this change, Hans Johansson, SVP of Production, will leave the company after many years of service.

Fredrik Ekdahl leaves Boule
Fredrik Ekdahl, head of Boule's system development, has after seven years with the company decided to seek new challenges. Fredrik will continue to drive the system development with a strong commitment until June 10, 2020. The recruitment process of his replacement is underway.

Comments from acting CEO Christina Rubenhag

“On January 19 I assumed the position of acting CEO and Group President in addition to my position of CFO, a role I've had since 2017. Although the position of CEO is exciting, I'm looking forward to May 11 when Jesper Söderqvist arrives to Boule.

Fourth quarter 2019

The good sales growth that was established during the first nine months of 2019 continued in the fourth quarter. The number of instruments sold increased by 11.5 percent to a new record of 1,231 instruments, and consumables sales increased by 31 percent. Growth was solid in most regions during the quarter, except for Eastern Europe, which had a slightly weaker development following an otherwise strong year. Growth continued in the US, although the sales development for own instruments during the quarter was somewhat weak. However, the positive development for the OEM products that we saw earlier in 2019 continued in the fourth quarter. The sales of consumables continued to develop well, and I am glad to see that the sales of consumables for the instruments sold via the tender in India at the end of 2018 has now started to consume consumables even if it is somewhat later than expected. A second shipment of consumables, corresponding to approximately one year's of consumption, has been shipped for the African tender won at the end of 2017. The gross margin improved compared to the same period last year thanks to a higher proportion of consumable sales and increased prices, but was slightly weaker than the average for the year due to the geographical mix and a high number of instruments sold, of which a large proportion was delivered to Asia.

Full year 2019

In 2019, we managed to reverse some of the factors that negatively impacted sales in 2018. New five-part systems were launched and the quality problems with the existing five-part system, Quintus, were solved. The recently launched veterinary products were well received by the market. A strengthened commercial organization could effectively market and sell the updated and broader product portfolio.

Profitability improved significantly in the last six months of the year. This development was partly driven by increased sales of consumables as instruments in previously won tenders were gradually installed and put into large-scale use. Additionally, the changes in the distributor structure implemented in 2018 and 2019 resulted in improved margins and increased sales while it at the same time also brought Boule closer to the end customers.

Trimming the organization

For the production teams, the focus is on further improving the quality work, cost efficiency, preparations for the production of the new five-part platform and establishing the production of consumables in Russia. To increase the pace of this work, a reorganization was made and the responsibility has been divided between production of instruments and production of consumables. Eduardo Pagani, who previously was the production manager for the plant in Florida, has been promoted to the management team with responsibility for the global production of consumables. An external recruitment to the management team has also been made and starting February, Mikael Ekholm, who has long experience from the automotive and truck industries, contract manufacturing and laboratory medicine, will be responsible for the production of instrument.

Improved quality processes

Since 2017, a strong focus has been to improve quality processes and strengthening resources. In 2019, the action plan based on the warning letter received in 2018 was completed. In July 2019, the FDA conducted a follow-up inspection, and the action plan from that inspection was completed in January 2020. The dialogue with the FDA about the next steps in this process continues in a constructive way. The internal quality processes have achieved new levels that Boule will maintain and further develop.

Boule 2020

Boule enters 2020 with a strong positive trend in sales growth and with improved profitability. With the six new products launched in 2017 and 2018, and a strengthened commercial organization, the conditions for a continued healthy growth are good. Resources, organization and processes in research and development and production have been strengthened, and the efforts to streamline and improve these areas will continue.

I would like to thank Fredrik Dalborg, who after about three years with Boule left the company on January 18 to become the CEO of another Swedish medical device company.”

THE YEAR-END REPORT FOR JANUARY-DECEMBER 2019 IN ITS ENTERITY IS FOUND BELOW.

For further information, please contact:
Christina Rubenhag, acting CEO and Group President and CFO,
Boule Diagnostics AB, phone +46 (0)705-46 72 22


About Boule Diagnostics AB (publ)
Boule Diagnostics AB is a global diagnostics company that develops, manufactures and markets instruments and consumable products for blood diagnostics. The company serves hospitals, clinics, laboratories and companies within blood diagnostics, in both human and veterinary hematology. The company operates via subsidiaries in Sweden, the USA, Mexico and Russia. The company products are sold globally primarily through distributors, supported by Boule’s own local sales and support personnel. The Boule shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm since 2011. www.boule.com

This information is information that Boule Diagnostics AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above at 15:00 CET on February 7, 2020.