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The high level of orders received during the record year of 2018 resulted in net sales amounting to MSEK 37.1 for the period, a strong result and a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year. Orders received was in line with the previous year, ending at MSEK 31.2 compared to MSEK 32.7 in the year before.
In 2018, JLT established a new production and service facility together with a partner in Atlanta, Georgia, to strengthen our offer and create scalability for the US market. The use of an external service provider impacts the operating result positively, but also affects the gross margin. This structural change, combined with quarter-to-quarter fluctuations in the mix of customers, had a negative impact on the gross margin. It amounted to 41.7 percent for the period, compared to 44.0 percent in the previous year.
We have continued our efforts to offer our customers a wider integrated solution, and several important steps have been taken during the quarter. We have launched new software products that improve the customers' connections in unstable network conditions, such as in large warehouses. As the first hardware supplier to do so, we have also entered a five-year validation agreement with NAVIS, a leading provider of terminal operating systems for ports, to offer customers assurance that JLT's comprehensive solution always will work. In addition, two major service contracts were closed in the US in April, amounting to MSEK 3.2 in total. The contracts will run for one year, guaranteeing service levels and repair times at a fixed cost.
As part of our active marketing, we attended NAVIS World in San Francisco and SITL in Paris during the quarter. In April, we attended Promat in Chicago. A number of new business opportunities were identified, and our sales team is now working on them.
Positive results for several years have led to abundant liquidity, and the cash available amounted to MSEK 50.1 at the end of the period. This healthy cash balance gives us maneuverability to intensify our acquisition strategies. At the same time, we are increasing the dividend policy to correspond to 50-70 percent of the profits after tax (previously 30-50 percent).
Per Holmberg, CEO
Major shareholders by end of 2018
Jan Olof Olofsson m familj
Grenspecialisten förvaltning AB
Försäkringsbolaget Avanza Pension
Jerry Fredriksson m företag
Nordnet Pensionsförsäkring AB
Consortium Capital Investments
Per Holmberg Larne Wallisson m företag
Danica Pension Försäkrings AB
Larne Wallisson m företag