Waberer’s announce reduced turnover, but figures suggest its business is recovering

You can read this article in 5 minutes

Year-on-year turnover of the Hungarian transport and logistics group Waberer’s International declined further again in 2020, according to the financial results published this week.

However, Waberer’s broke even in the last quarter of the year and the company believes it is on the road to recovery. CEO Barna Erdélyi says a change to the company’s business model, together with a significant reduction in its fleet and the number of drivers in the international transportation segment, played a vital role in the recovery.

Waberer’s turnover at the end of 2020 was 569.3 million euros, which is 18.2% lower than in 2019. The operating result before taxes (EBITDA) fell by 5.3% to 55.3 million euros year-on-year.

However, when it comes to the Q4 results, the EBITDA was 16 million euros, an increase of 1% compared to the last quarter of 2019.

It’s also unquestionably positive news that the company has started reducing its net loss. Although Waberer’s was still 15.2 million euros in the red at the end of last year, it was still an improvement on the net loss of 23.4 million euros in the previous year.

International transport generated less revenue

In terms of business areas, international transport remained the largest part of the Hungarian group’s business. Sales in this segment accounted for 55% of total sales. Although Waberer’s recorded a decline of a third here – to 331 million euros, at the same time, sales increased in the other segments.

In July, the company introduced a new business model in this area. According to CEO Erdélyi,  EBIT improved significantly after the changes compared to the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2019.

Severe reductions in the fleet and the number of drivers

Last summer, the Hungarian logistics company changed its business model operating in the international transport segment. In doing so, Waberer’s switched from the “taxi-model” to the trade lane model, in which the vehicles are used for scheduled services for regular customers and recurring orders.

To this end, Waberer’s sold almost 1,000 lorries in 2020 alone, which corresponded to around a third of the fleet. Also, the company has been operating with 1,500 drivers less this year, which is an even higher rate of reduction than of the fleet.

But, based on the initial experience with the Trade Lane model and the actual fleet and staff size in the international transport segment, Barna Erdélyi, CEO at Waberer’s, rates the new operating model as successful and expects further increases in efficiency.

Flourishing Regional Contract Logistics

While the international transport business had difficulties last year, the regional contract logistics segment recorded a sales increase of 17.1% in 2020 year-on-year. In this area, the company achieved 173.5 million euros. Waberer’s attributes the growth to a major order from the automotive industry.

The last segment, which mainly deals with liability insurance for the transport sector, also recorded an increase in turnover in 2020 compared to 2019 (by 5.5%) to 72.2 million euros.

Change in the investors and state aid

At the end of last year, Waberer’s received state aid of 2.7 million euros to implement a warehouse logistics capacity expansion and development program.

Moreover, the company announced changes in the ownership structure: 21% of the company’s shares were bought by MHB and 20% by High Yield. The latter asset management company is owned by György Wáberer, the former owner of the company.

Waberer’s shares are  now owned by:

  • Trevelin holds the majority of the shares – 30.99%. It is a Hungarian-American-owned investment management group whose main activity is purchasing real estate and debts.,
  • MHB Optimum, Hungarian investment company operating in the field of asset management – 21%,
  • Wáberer’s HIGH YIELD: 20%
  • Other institutional and retail investors: 28.01%.

The change in the ownership structure is hoped to provide a stable financial background for the company’s operations in the long term, Erdélyi said.

 2020 was important not only because all our segments managed to improve their performance compared to previous year despite the challenging environment, but because the announcements of new strategic owners and the long-term agreement with our financing partners provides additional trust and stability for the Company. As we announced recently, the financing agreements were signed by all parties 2 weeks ago. Regulatory approval for the share purchase agreement is also expected to be received in the coming weeks – he added.

Photo credits @ Waberer’s International