Sales reached 244.2 million crowns in the first nine months. At the same time, it was “only” 190 million crowns for the whole of last year. A total of 805,000 square meters of hides were sold, and for the first time in the history of the company, the milestone of one million square meters of hides produced and sold should be surpassed in the whole year. In addition, the company wants to continue setting records next year.
“The year 2024 will be a turning point for us for many reasons. We are expanding our production programs and intend to commercially fulfill the potential of our two production plants. This year, the sale of one million m2 of leather is a milestone for us, but next year it will be an attack on an EBITDA profit of 100 million crowns,” says financial director Jakub Hemerka.
EBITDA is the company’s operating result, i.e. profit before interest, taxes and depreciation. Although the company did not disclose profit figures for nine months, in a presentation for Start Day at the Prague Stock Exchange, it recently told investors and analysts that EBITDA for the whole year should amount to 27 million crowns.
Last year, the sales of Karo Leather reached 191 million crowns and the operating profit EBITDA amounted to 23 million. And to give you an idea – in 2021 it was 145 million, or less than 18 million.
According to Hemerka, the company is currently registering a lot of interest from new customers, both furniture manufacturers and shoe companies. After all, the company recently started cooperation with the Zlín shoe company Vasky and is also negotiating with Prabos from Slavičín. “We are the only production of its kind in the region, and not only that, but that now brings us new customers,” adds Hemerka.
Intelligent skin sorter
Already in the middle of this month, the Karo Leather company will start trial operation in the new production plant in Brtnice near Jihlava. Until now, it only produced in Boršov, also in Jihlavsk. The pride of the factory in Brtnice will be an automatic skin sorter that uses software based on artificial intelligence. The machine is thus able to sort processed leather by itself according to hundreds of different parameters and, according to representatives of the Karo Leather company, it is unique in the world in its segment.
Also due to investments in the expansion and modernization of production, the company went public last year for new capital. On the Start market, it sold new shares worth 132 million crowns, while the investment fund of the state-owned National Development Bank also participated in the public offering.
The majority, 79 percent shareholding in the group, which originally only traded in leather and also started its own production in 2015, is held by the three largest shareholders: founder and CEO Pavel Klvaňa, financial director Jakub Hemerka and the investment fund Czegg Ventures from the Starteepo financial group of financier František Bostel. Another 21 percent of the shares belong to small investors, mutual funds and pension funds.
In the future, the company would like to move its shares from Start to one of the regulated markets of the Prague Stock Exchange. Because of this, it plans to switch to international accounting standards IFRS and also to change the accounting currency from the Czech crown to the euro.