Glamox sales edge up, but spending on digital development hits bottom line

May 29, 2024
An early Easter and inflation also contributes to a first quarter loss. Efficiencies are coming, such as a new tool for designing ship lighting that’s already in place.

Sales edged up for Norwegian LED lighting vendor Glamox AS in the first quarter as the maritime and wind sector gained by 3.4%, while activity in the larger professional buildings was virtually flat at 0.6% growth with renovations outpacing a stagnant new build market.

The bottom line showed a loss, however, as the Oslo company spent on developing new digital processes for use both internally and with customers, and as the early Easter — a holiday that normally falls in the second quarter — chipped away at both profits and sales. Inflation was also a factor, although the currency effects of the previous quarter have settled down, CEO Astrid Simonsen Joos told LEDs Magazine.

For the three months ending March 31, total revenue was NOK (Norwegian kroner) 1.06 billion ($99.7 million), up 1.3% from NOK 1.04 billion in the same period a year earlier. The company lost NOK 14.5 million ($1.35 million) compared with profit of NOK 5.3 million in 2023’s first quarter.

“In the first quarter, we delivered a steady performance, marked by sales growth and investment in initiatives to improve operational performance and cost efficiencies,” Simonsen Joos said in the company’s first-quarter financial report.

Glamox is privately held but trades bonds on the Oslo Stock Exchange, so it reports financial results like a public company.

“Compared to the first quarter last year, our top line was impacted by the timing of Easter which fell in the first quarter this year versus the second quarter last year,” Simonsen Joos said. The Easter factor echoed the dip reported by Swedish vendor Fagerhult earlier this month.

Actions are currently in place to support growth initiatives and operational improvements. We anticipate these and other cost-improvement measures will bear fruit in the latter half of the year.

“This timing effect also impacted adjusted EBITA along with general inflation affecting cost items,” the Glamox boss continued. “Actions are currently in place to support growth initiatives and operational improvements. We anticipate these and other cost-improvement measures will bear fruit in the latter half of the year.”

The performance and cost initiatives include ongoing development and deployment of automated processes both internally and externally, such as the Microsoft Copilot chatbot, Simonsen Joos told LEDs.

The company has also started using a digital tool based on machine learning to more efficiently and effectively analyze spaces on ships for lighting design purposes, she noted.

Simonsen Joos herself is steeped in a technology background, having taken over as Glamox CEO in August 2022 after serving as global chief digital officer and head of transformation at Signify. When LEDs spoke with her today, she was heading to a Google AI conference in Oslo.

In an effort to boost the shift to digital processes at Glamox, Simonsen Joos recently created the post of chief digital officer, for which she hired Terje Løken from Oslo software, data and AI firm Cognite. Løken started in February. While his main job is to oversee the company’s development of smart lighting management systems, his remit also includes developing digital business methods.

LEDs plans to report more on the digital initiatives at Glamox in a separate article.

Glamox has staked out a reputation as a provider in what it calls the Marine, Offshore & Wind (MOW) sector, which is the smaller of its two divisions.

In the first quarter, MOW sales were NOK 274 million ($25.9 million), up 3.4% from NOK 265 million a year ago.

Sales in the larger Professional Building Solutions (PBS) were virtually unchanged at NOK 782 million ($73.85 million) compared with NOK 777 million in the first quarter last year. Revenue in PBS continue to be driven by renovation activity rather than by new builds, with energy savings being one driver along with the replacement of fluorescent lights, which are now banned by the European Union for hazardous substance reasons.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.