More difficulties than usual
Infrastructure problems are part of our everyday work, and we have learned to adapt and deal with them. In 2019, however, the large number of events combined with political instability almost exceeded what can reasonably be managed. The situation was already difficult in the previous year, but everyday obstacles became a dominant element in the 2019 fiscal year. Management was required to react quickly to interruptions in operations, even where the duration could not be gauged or there were no contact persons for finding a solution. The result is a worsened EBIT margin. Although it is still above the industry average, it does not satisfy our standards. We have proven in the past that higher profitability is possible, and we will achieve it again.
Working capital increased again by EUR 1.0 million, of which EUR 2.5 million is due to inventory build-up. Because of the reduction in deliveries and invoicing, accounts receivable decreased by about EUR 2.7 million and accounts payable by EUR 0.9 million. This means our tied-up capital now amounts to 43.5 % of net sales (previous year: 36.9 %). The objective continues to be to achieve a reasonable level of about 25 %, which would mean cash flow of EUR 2.5 million. Net debt at PW Gabon increased by EUR 4.5 million over the previous year.