On Monday, 8 June 2020, BTC held its general meeting of shareholders, including a presentation of the company’s revised annual report for 2019. As many as 95.38 percent of eligible voters participated in the assembly meeting, while all the resolutions passed unanimously, with a 100 percent majority. The results for 2019 show that the company once again validated its developmental dynamics, ensured stable growth, invested in development, and took important steps in seeking innovative solutions.
The total sales revenues for 2019 amounted to EUR 71,739,821.00, which constitutes a 3.1 percent increase compared to the previous year. EBITDA grew by 14.4 percent, amounting to EUR 20,077,149.00 in 2019, while the net profit or loss amounted to EUR 7,325,832.00, which is 19.2 percent more than the previous year due to windfall revenues; as such, it should be noted that the net profit or loss from business alone amounted to EUR 6,400,000.00. The assembly passed a resolution on the use of distributable profits accounted for on 31 December 2019 in the amount of EUR 21,817,484.26. EUR 17,000,000.00 were allocated to other reserves from profits, a distributable profit in the amount of EUR 2,748,383.06 remained undistributed, with its use to be determined in the following fiscal years, and a distributable profit in the amount of EUR 2,069,101.20 was allocated to dividend payments. This year, shareholders will receive dividend payments in the amount of EUR 9.30 gross per share, a drop of 15 percent compared to last year. This reduction is a consequence of the drop in business activities during the epidemic that occurred this spring, which resulted in decreased company liquidity.
Despite reducing and prematurely repaying long-term loans, the company stayed committed to its investment policy, investing EUR 6,400,000.00 in further development. At the same time, it reduced its indebtedness by EUR 4,000,000.00 and became one of the first Slovenian companies to acquire the internationally renowned platinum AAA credit excellence certificate awarded by rating agency Bisnode. The certificate is awarded to companies that achieve the gold AAA credit excellence rating at least three years in a row, certifying the company to be financially stable and reliable.
In 2019, investments were aimed at renovating and upgrading commercial and other business premises, the public-private partnership project of renovating the old Ljubljana airport, investments in energy, infrastructure upgrades, the horticultural landscaping of outdoor areas, technological logistics upgrades, etc. By fortifying its existing and developing new business partnerships with enterprises that are blazing new trails with the help of cutting-edge technology, automation and digitalisation, the company has strengthened the position of BTC City as a place of innovation. On the premises of RoboticsX in BTC City, for example, a new European centre for the development and testing of robot prototypes for renowned global industry corporations (e.g. Yaskava, Fanuc) is emerging, opening doors to young engineers and accelerating the process of transferring this high-tech science to Slovenia.
In addition, key strategic projects came together last year, which helped position BTC as a company of the future. Chief among them is the smart grid project NEDO, which is being developed by BTC in cooperation with Eles, Hitachi and the Japanese development agency NEDO. The project EliPay by Eligma continued in 2019 under the name GoCrypto, enabling cryptocurrency payment at more than 100 locations in BTC City. Due to its openness, technologically advanced innovation and a high concentration of vendors that allow cryptocurrency payment, BTC City caught the eye of the American media, in particular, who even proclaimed it the first Bitcoin city in the world. Meanwhile the ABC Hub, an innovative multi-purpose centre, where startups develop their solutions, interconnect and educate themselves, making the hub an invaluable part of the Slovenian startup ecosystem, received the 2019 European CESA award for best co-working space.
Furthermore, after several years of efforts aimed at bringing the shopping centre IKEA to Slovenia, the autumn of 2019 saw the laying of the foundation stone for the first Slovenian IKEA store west of the Crystal Palace. Not only our visitors but also all other Slovenian consumers will be most happy to see it open.
Last year, the company launched a project aimed at the digital and technological upgrade of logistics, which is being implemented with the introduction of the newest information technologies and further digitalisation, robotization and artificial intelligence. With processes that enable efficiency and transparency along the entire supply chain, logistics are getting even closer to the goals of business partners.
Last year, the company adopted a one-tier management system, which proved efficient and successful in practice. All strategic and highly important long-term decisions in the company are made in the spirit of responsible cooperation and the greatest possible coordination between the board of directors and the chief executive officer and his flexible team. The board of directors and the chief executive officer are currently preparing the company strategy for a future after the coronavirus epidemic, since the company will have to face the fact that it will not be able to realise its otherwise ambitious business plan for this year. From March 16 until May 18, 95% of commercial, hospitality and other services establishments were closed by government decree; therefore, the company adopted a contingency plan, checked future cash flows and potential impact on liquidity. Based on a review of costs, it opted for a responsible approach to their optimisation and rationalisation, reduced the scope of investments, and decreased costs in other business segments with a view to managing cash flows and viability until the end of the year. A 25 percent drop in revenue from managing commercial real estate and leisure activities in Atlantis Water Park and Sports Centre Millenium is projected for this year. However, since the company has a much diversified business portfolio, including logistics management, the total drop of revenue on the level of the company as a whole should be about 10 percent.
The outbreak of the new coronavirus will cause a prolonged crisis followed by recovery, and the company will need a longer period of time to return to the same business parameters it operated with in the past years. Nevertheless, it will remain loyal to investment in development, social responsibility and innovation, sustainability, and the preservation of jobs. This is also why it is important that it achieved good business results in 2019, that it focused on ongoing development and restructuring, and that it successfully moved in the direction of progress and growth.
Mag. Damjan Kralj
Chief Executive Officer of BTC, d. d.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of BTC, d. d.