2020 was a year with little office coffee and even less catering, which is clearly visible in the annual figures of the Miko Group, which specializes in coffee and plastics. But CEO Frans Van Tilborg looks beyond the pandemic with confidence. “This is not the end of the world.”
Do you also miss them, those moments where you can catch up with a colleague at the coffee machine at the office? Then console yourself with the thought that Frans Van Tilborg, the CEO of Miko Group, probably misses them a little more. Because those moments are what the more than 200-year-old company must have.
Miko in Turnhout specializes in coffee service and plastic packaging. It should come as no surprise that the first branch, traditionally accounting for about 57 percent of the group’s turnover, has had a difficult year. ‘Our main clientele is in the hospitality industry and companies,’ says Van Tilborg. ‘The catering industry was closed for a significant part of the year and in the companies many employees worked from home for months. That cannot but have consequences. ‘
Annual figures 2020 Miko Group
Turnover: 195 million euros (-13.1%)
Operating profit: 9.6 million euros (-20.8%)
Net profit: 5.7 million euros (-15.9%)
Earnings per share: 4.81 euros
Miko tried to mitigate the corona blow somewhat by focusing more on retail sales. ‘We had actually more or less stopped doing that in the 1970s,’ says Van Tilborg. ‘Then the big coffee groups emerged, with marketing budgets we couldn’t match.’ That reality is still there today, but Miko sees a possible opening here and there in certain niches, which in the current circumstances could have access to a little more attention and budget.
Van Tilborg: ‘Before the crisis, we had already decided to upgrade the West Flemish coffee brand Bruynooghe. We even opened a concept store for this this year, in Kortrijk, something we had never tried before. We get very good responses to that. And we also pay more attention to e-commerce. With Coffee @ Home we are setting up our own platform with which we want to offer a whole range of coffees for home consumption. Normally that is not our market, but in the current circumstances it is worth an experiment. ‘
Logically, those small initiatives could not make up for the blow to the core business. The coffee branch’s turnover declined 27.3 percent to 93.8 million euros. Gross operating profit (EBITDA) ended at 11.7 million euros, a decrease of more than 28 percent.
This decline was mitigated somewhat by the good performance of the plastic packaging division. It saw its turnover grow by 4.7 percent to 107.3 million euros. This makes the plastics division larger than the coffee division for the first time in the company’s history. The gross operating profit of the department even increased by 32.6 percent to 18.4 million euros.
I hear from many people that they mainly want to go back to the office. I get it. Working from home one day a week already drives me crazy.
Together, this resulted in a revenue decline of 13.1 percent for Miko to 195 million euros. Net profit fell by 15.9 percent to 5.7 million euros. This evolution requires Miko to be cautious. The group will not pay a dividend for the lockdown year 2020. ‘We want to behave with due diligence,’ says Van Tilborg. ‘Build up a buffer, out of caution. After this crisis we will see again what can happen with that piggy bank. ‘
Van Tilborg does not lose heart. ‘The business that we have now lost will normally come back. This is not the end of the world. In our opinion, the question is mainly when things return to normal. But we are confident that it will normalize. ‘
Is he not concerned that this crisis will definitely change office work? ‘I hear that here and there. But above all I hear a lot of people who are longing to go back to the office. I get it. I work from home one day a week, and I’m already going crazy. ‘