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2021-10-26

Attendo's report for the third quarter 2021: Increased demand and good organic growth

Attendo's report for the third quarter of 2021 shows continued good organic growth and a higher operating profit compared to the same period of 2020. The improvement in profit is led by Scandinavia, where higher demand has led to a clear improvement in occupancy compared to the spring. In Finland, the improvement slowed down somewhat during the quarter, mainly due to temporary shortages of substitutes staff during the summer months.

Comments from Martin Tivéus, president and CEO

"After a long period defined by the pandemic, we are pleased that we have been able to fill more beds in existing and new homes and once again demonstrate good organic growth in both Finland and Scandinavia. The trend is positive and sales are returning to normal in Scandinavia, although it will take some time until we are back to normal occupancy levels. Demand in Finland remains good, but a shortage of temporary summer substitutes due to high demand for workers for Covid testing and vaccination clinics, has prevented us from filling beds to meet the demand. This also led to higher personnel costs over the summer.

Scandinavia: Inflow of customers to nursing homes back to normal levels

Following the year of the pandemic that resulted in a historically low rate of move-ins of new customers to nursing homes in Sweden, we saw a distinct normalisation of the move-in rate in the third quarter. The result is an increase in the total occupancy rate, which is now about 78 percent, as opposed with the lowest level of 75 percent in April. We expect continued normalisation of demand in the fourth quarter.

Heading into 2020, we had a strong pipeline of new projects to meet the expected demand for new nursing home beds and opened about 800 new beds in Scandinavia during the pandemic, which put further pressure on occupancy and profitability during a period when the move-in rate was low. In the initial phase of the pandemic, we have adjusted our expansion plans and will open only about 200 additional beds in the next year. The goals are to further reinforce occupancy and enhance the customer experience in 2022.

Net sales in Attendo Scandinavia rose by 7.5 percent to SEK 1,516 million due to a combination of higher occupancy and acquisitions. Lease adjusted EBITA amounted to SEK 158 million, up about 30 percent over the preceding year. The improvement was driven primarily by an increase in the number of beds sold and lower pandemic-related effects.

Government support for sick pay paid by employers and other pandemic-related government relief will be withdrawn in the fourth quarter of 2021. Sick leave is expected to remain at a higher than normal level in upcoming periods as employees are still required to stay home if they have any symptoms of illness.

Finland: Competition for staff affected costs and occupancy during the summer

There is still a substantial need for nursing home beds in the Finnish market. Staff provision in Finnish care for older people was particularly strained in the summer of 2021 because vaccination programmes and other pandemic-related healthcare operations demanded additional health workers. Consequently, it was more difficult to recruit temporary substitute staff this summer and we were forced to replace some employees on holiday with nurses from staffing agencies.

This led to higher personnel costs and slowed the occupancy trend during the summer, when the new staffing law requires us to have more staff on duty to welcome new customers.

Society's need for nurses to manage the pandemic is expected to gradually decrease in the autumn combined with a seasonally lower need for holiday substitutes. We thus expect continued normalisation of staff provision in the fourth quarter.

Currency-adjusted net sales in Attendo Finland rose by about 13 percent in relation to the comparison quarter in 2020, to SEK 1,744 million. Lease adjusted EBITA was SEK 66 million for Finland in the third quarter, a 12 percent improvement compared to last year. Price effects in 2021 have largely been offset by higher costs to meet stricter staffing requirements related to the new staffing law. Personnel costs rose during the quarter due to wage increases in accordance with collective agreements.

Price negotiations are now in progress ahead of 2022. We intend to present the outcomes in connection with the year-end report for 2021.

Improved overall results driven by Sweden

Organic growth was 5.6 percent, driven primarily by higher customer inflow in Finland and Sweden. Lease adjusted EBITA for the third quarter was SEK 208 million, an improvement of nearly 30 percent compared to last year. The improvement in Sweden was the main driver of the higher profit.

Attendo is still experiencing adverse financial impact from the Covid pandemic. For the third quarter alone, effects of the pandemic had a net negative effect on profit of about SEK 25 million. The negative effects of the pandemic are expected to subside in upcoming quarters, as will opportunities for government compensation.

The aftermath of the pandemic

Societies across the Nordic region reopened during the quarter. Most restrictions were lifted while we at Attendo are continuing the efforts to prevent the spread of Covid 19. A comprehensive project is ongoing to encourage as many employees as possible to get vaccinated and thus provide greater protection for our customers and colleagues. Internal information campaigns are being carried out, employees have the opportunity to be vaccinated during working hours and we are considering more far-reaching measures. The work to vaccinate all care staff will continue to be a top priority for us going forward.

As I previously mentioned, we consider it important to gather insights and thoughts from employees who worked most closely with our customers during the pandemic.  We held group discussions at hundreds of local operations all over Sweden during the quarter. We are now compiling the results so that we can make use of employees' suggestions for improvement and communicate the overall picture of our efforts during the pandemic. There were many profoundly sad stories told, but also anecdotes about moments of joy in the midst of the tragedies brought by the pandemic.

The care of the future

In parallel with the evaluation process, we have initiated several development projects to build the care solutions of the future. Not least, we believe it is important to broaden perspectives related to quality from the purely technical to the actual outcomes. We believe it should be considered just as important to measure, monitor and improve quality of life, meaningful days and social interaction as it is to work with the more technical quality improvement systems of today. The introduction of automated drug dispensers in home health care that help customers take their medicines at home is one example of quality improvements implemented during the quarter. The aim is to provide greater independence and decrease medication errors.

There are many exciting solutions for the care of the future that can raise quality while creating scope for more people to gain access to care. It is essential that numerous actors are involved and participate and that cooperation between private and public providers is welcomed. We at Attendo have been pioneers in developing good care for more than 35 years and we look forward to continuing to develop new and innovative solutions in the decades to come."

Summary of the third quarter 2021

  • Net sales amounted to SEK 3,260m (2,983). Organic growth was 5.6 percent.
  • Lease adjusted EBITA, i.e., EBITA according to the previous accounting standard, was SEK 208m (162), corresponding to a lease adjusted operating margin of 6.4 percent (5.4). The effects of the pandemic reduced profit by an estimated SEK 25m (40).
  • Operating profit (EBITA) amounted to SEK 319m (269), corresponding to an operating margin of 9.8 percent (9.0).
  • Profit for the period amounted to SEK 95m (64). Diluted earnings per share were SEK 0.58 (0.40). Adjusted earnings per share after dilution were SEK 0.83 (0.64).
  • Free cash flow amounted to SEK -114m (-128).

Summary of the January-September period

  • Net sales amounted to SEK 9,529m (9,223). Organic growth was 4.1 percent.
  • Lease adjusted EBITA, i.e., EBITA according to the previous accounting standard, was SEK 335m (288), corresponding to a lease adjusted operating margin of 3.5 percent (3.1). The effects of the pandemic reduced profit by an estimated SEK 41m (120). The comparison period includes a capital gain of SEK 41m.
  • Operating profit (EBITA) amounted to SEK 664m (604), corresponding to an operating margin of 7.0 percent (6.5).
  • Profit for the period amounted to SEK 67m (-908). Diluted earnings per share were SEK 0.41 (-5.65). Adjusted earnings per share after dilution were SEK 1.27 (1.12).
  • Free cash flow amounted to SEK 96m (296).
  • There were 20,935 (20,107) beds in Attendo's homes at the end of the period. Occupancy in the homes was 83 percent (81).

Telephone conference

A telephone conference will be held on 26 October 2021 at 10.00 (CET) with Attendo's CEO Martin Tivéus and CFO Fredrik Lagercrantz. For participation please dial in on the following number:

SE:                      +46 8 505 583 55
FI:                       +358 9 231 944 78
UK:                     +44 3 333 009 260

You can follow the presentation and the conference on the following page:
https://tv.streamfabriken.com/attendo-q3-2021

The quarterly report and related information material can be found on:
https://www.attendo.com/ (https://www.attendo.com/investor-relations)

Financial Calendar

Year-end report January-December 2021                                10 February 2022
Annual General Meeting                                                             26 April 2022
Interim report January-March 2022                                          6 May 2022
Interim report January-June 2022                                             21 July 2022
Interim report January-September 2022                                   26 October 2022

Attendo AB (publ)

For further information, please contact:

Andreas Koch, Communications and IR-Director Attendo
Phone: +46 705 09 77 61   I   email: andreas.koch@attendo.com

Stefan Svanström, Head of Community Communications Attendo
Phone: +46 708 67 38 07   I   email: stefan.svanstrom@attendo.com

This is information that Attendo AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above at 08.00 CET on 26 October 2021.

attendo.com (http://www.attendo.com)

Attendo - the leading care company in the Nordics   I For over 35 years, supporting and strengthening people with care needs has been the starting point of everything Attendo does. In addition to care for older people, Attendo provides care for people with disabilities and social care for individuals and families. Attendo has approximately 25,000 employees and is locally anchored with more than 700 facilities in around 300 municipalities in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Every day Attendo has tens of thousands of encounters with its customers. These encounters manifest Attendo's shared values of care, commitment and competence.

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