- Cloud computing and online trading as growth drivers
- Further improvement in operating profitability
- Debt further reduced, equity ratio 54.48 %
- Forecast for the 2019 financial year significantly raised following the sale of a property
Marburg, 14 August 2019 – As expected, 3U HOLDING AG (ISIN DE0005167902) significantly increased its consolidated revenue in the first half of 2019. It grew by 11.47% to EUR 25.46 million (H1 2018: EUR 22.84 million). In the second quarter of 2019, however, with a plus of 3.38 % the high growth rate of the first quarter was not achieved. As expected, this was due not only to weaker wind yield but also to a further decline in revenue in the telephony business with private subscribers. The main growth drivers in the first six months were again the Cloud Computing and Online Trading divisions, which increased their respective revenues before consolidation by 54.24% and 29.51% respectively.
Other income of EUR 1.07 million was generated in the first half of 2019. The higher other income in the first half of 2018 included income of EUR 2.20 million from the sale of the data center property in Hanover. The lower income from the sale of assets influenced the overall earnings situation. Operating margins – adjusted for income from the sale of properties – continued to improve slightly at Group level.
The cost of materials increased by 5.6% compared with the same period of the previous year. The cost of materials ratio (cost of materials as a percentage of revenue) fell from 58.3 % in the first half of 2018 to 55.2 % in the first six months of 2019. Personnel expenses rose by 11.6% to EUR 5.56 million (H1 2018: EUR 4.99 million), in particular due to the further increase in cloud computing personnel. The personnel expense ratio (personnel expenses as a percentage of revenue) remained constant at 21.8% in the first half of the year (H1 2018: 21.8%), but increased in the second quarter to 23.2%. At 14.6 %, the share of other operating expenses in revenue was also at the previous year’s level (H1 2018: 14.4 %).
In the first six months of the 2019 financial year, the Group generated EBITDA of EUR 3.47 million (H1 2018: EUR 4.42 million). The fact that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were lower than in the first half of 2018 is mainly due to the lower other income in the 2019 reporting period.
As a result, the second quarter of 2019 saw a slightly negative consolidated result of EUR – 0.03 million (Q2 2018: positive consolidated result of EUR 1.80 million). For the first six months of 2019, the Group generated a net profit of EUR 0.46 million (H1 2018: EUR 2.16 million).
As expected, the ITC (Information and Telecommunications Technology) segment recorded a 9.2% decline in revenues from EUR 7.58 million to EUR 6.88 million. On the other hand, the other business areas recorded a positive development. The share of cloud-based solutions in segment revenue rose to more than 30% for the first time. The decline in revenue was offset by a significant improvement in margins. The EBITDA margin rose from 11.4 % in the first six months of fiscal 2018 to 20.4 %, corresponding to a segment EBITDA of EUR 1.40 million in the first half of 2019 (H1 2018: EUR 0.86 million).
In addition to the increasing share of the high-margin cloud computing business, the stabilisation and improvement of profitability in the telephony segment is responsible for the pleasing earnings development.
After the strong wind yield in the first quarter of 2019, income from wind farms was significantly lower in the second quarter but remained at a good level. Segment revenue in the renewable energies segment rose by 26.3 % from EUR 3.24 million in the first half of 2018 to EUR 4.09 million in the reporting period. Segment EBITDA also improved from EUR 2.62 million in the prior-year period to EUR 3.26 million in the first half of 2019.
The SHAC (Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning Technology) segment (H1 2018: EUR 11.77 million) also achieved strong revenue growth of 23.8% to EUR 14.57 million. The increase is mainly attributable to the strategically important online trading segment. EBITDA deteriorated from EUR 0.05 million in the previous year to EUR – 0.10 million in the first half of 2019. While the online trading business operated by the Group company Selfio more than doubled EBITDA from a low level, expenses for the expansion and optimisation of the supply chain are currently having a negative impact on segment EBITDA. The measures introduced could lead to an improvement in margins in this segment in the future as planned.
Financial Resources and equity at a good level
Cash flow from operating activities developed positively and reached EUR 2.02 million (H1 2018: cash inflow of EUR 1.24 million). At EUR 0.77 million, the cash inflow from investing activities in the first half of 2019 was significantly lower than in the first six months of 2018 (EUR 8.55 million), which was characterised by the sale of properties in Hanover and the outflow of liquidity in connection with the acquisition of the Klostermoor wind farm. Cash flow from financing activities was negative at EUR – 3.12 million (H1 2018: EUR – 6.41 million). This was mainly due to payments for the repayment of loans (EUR – 1.75 million) and leasing liabilities (EUR – 0.34 million) as well as for the distribution of dividends to the shareholders of 3U HOLDING AG. The available financial resources declined slightly to EUR 8.06 million (01.01.2019: EUR 8.38 million), but remain at a good level.
Total assets increased to EUR 75.28 million as of June 30, 2019 (December 31, 2018: EUR 74.49 million). The balance sheet extension is mainly attributable to the first-time application of the new accounting standard IFRS 16 (Leasing). Capitalised rights of use amounting to EUR 3.24 million are offset by leasing liabilities amounting to EUR 3.22 million. As a result of business operations, inventories increased to EUR 7.90 million (31.12.2018: EUR 6.99 million). Current loan repayments led to a 7.52% decline in non-current and current financial liabilities to EUR 21.45 million (31.12.2018: EUR 23.19 million). Net debt (financial liabilities minus cash and cash equivalents) was reduced by 13.1 % to EUR 9.47 million (31.12.2018: EUR 10.89 million). Equity reached EUR 41.01 million (31.12.2018: EUR 41.44 million). In essence, the equity ratio fell slightly to 54.48 % (31.12.2018: 55.63 %) due to the balance sheet extension.
Forecast for 2019 significantly raised
Against the backdrop of the sale of the Marburg site, the Management Board has raised the forecast for the 2019 financial year issued at the end of February as follows. The sale of the property will result in a profit contribution before tax of around EUR 5 million and, after the repayment of existing loan obligations, a net inflow of funds of around EUR 9.7 million. The income means that the guidance for the 3U HOLDING AG Group given at the end of February will probably be significantly exceeded. Contrary to the proceeds from the sale of the site, there will be one-off write-downs, and the tax result is expected to deteriorate. The sale of a wind farm included in the previous forecast will also be suspended for the time being and will probably not be realised in the current financial year.
The Management Board therefore continues to expect consolidated revenue of EUR 51 million to EUR 55 million for the 2019 financial year. For EBITDA, it anticipates earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between EUR 10 million and EUR 12 million (previous forecast for FY2019: EBITDA between EUR 7 million and EUR 9 million; actual 2018: EUR 6.7 million). This will result in a consolidated net income of between EUR 4 million and EUR 5 million (previous forecast for FY2019: consolidated net income between EUR 1 million and EUR 2 million; actual 2018: EUR 1.9 million).
3U HOLDING AG regards the transaction as a contribution to the pursuit of its growth strategy and the associated financing concepts. The proceeds are intended to be used for possible acquisitions in the cloud computing environment and could thus support the preparation of a possible IPO of the subsidiary weclapp SE.
In the renewable energies segment, the postponement of the originally planned sale of a wind farm will result in the announced significant revenue, EBITDA and earnings growth being weaker there. The forecast for the two other segments ITC and SHAC remains unchanged from the statements made in the annual report for the 2018 financial year.
“In many areas we made progress in the second quarter of 2019 and since then on our course of profitable growth,” emphasises Michael Schmidt, CEO of 3U HOLDING AG. “True to our growth strategy of focussing increasingly on the growth areas of cloud computing and online trading, we are opening up financing options and giving the Group a new profile step by step”.
Half-Year Financial Report
The half-year financial report for the first six months of the 2019 financial year will be published today, 14 August 2019. It can be downloaded from the Company’s website (www.3u.net) under “Investor Relations/Reports“.
Dr Joachim Fleïng
Head of Investor Relations
3U HOLDING AG
Tel.: +49 (0) 6421 999-1200
Fax: +49 (0) 6421 999-1222
3U HOLDING AG (www.3u.net) has its headquarters in Marburg, Germany, and was founded in 1997. It is the operating management and investment holding company at the head of the 3U Group. It acquires, operates and sells companies in the three segments of Information and Telecommunications Technology (ITC), Renewable Energies (RE) and Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning Technology (SHAC). The 3U Group has successful and profitable business models based on megatrends in all three segments. It continues to expand its business activities dynamically, particularly in its strongest growth areas of cloud computing and online trading, in which it is striving to achieve leading positions in the market. 3U HOLDING AG’s shares are traded on XETRA, Tradegate and on the German regional stock exchanges (ISIN: DE0005167902; identifier: UUU).