3U Group continues growth course

  • Positive special effects from COVID-19 measures – only selective curtailments
  • Cloud computing grows by 50 %, with high contribution to earnings
  • High demand for telecommunications services
  • Forecast confirmed: 3U expects significant sales and EBITDA growth in financial year 2020

Marburg, 12 August 2020 – 3U HOLDING AG (ISIN DE0005167902) continues its growth course within the Group and increased sales and earnings in the first half of 2020. The restrictions introduced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have only had a selective impact on business. Instead, there were positive special effects in some business areas. The Management Board confirms the revenue and earnings forecast for fiscal year 2020.
Consolidated sales of 3U HOLDING AG rose by EUR 4.95 million in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year, from EUR 25.46 million to EUR 30.41 million, which corresponds to growth of 19.4 %. All three segments contributed to this development. The Cloud Computing business area in particular was again able to increase its revenues by more than 50%, as planned. The Telecommunications business area also recorded a renewed upturn in business.

Neither 2019 nor 2020 saw significant one-off effects from the sale of assets in the 3U Group in the first half of the year. The half-year financial statements therefore provide a clear insight into the operating business success of the Group and the segments.
The ITC (Information and Telecommunications Technology) segment generated 29.7 % (H1/2019: 27.0 %) of consolidated revenues, the Renewable Energies segment 18.0 % (H1/2019: 16.1 %) and the SHAC (Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning Technology) segment 53.0 % (H1/2019: 57.2 %).

The cost of materials increased disproportionately by 14.9 % compared with the prior-year period. The cost of materials ratio (cost of materials as a percentage of revenue) fell from 55.2 % in the first half of 2019 to 53.1 % in the first six months of 2020.
Personnel expenses rose by 16.0 % to EUR 6.45 million (H1/2019: EUR 5.56 million). The personnel expenses ratio (personnel expenses as a percentage of revenues) declined slightly to 21.2 % in the first half of the year (H1/2019: 21.8 %). In contrast, the personnel expenses ratio in the SHAC segment rose – mainly due to the temporary, extensive use of temporary staff at the distribution centre in Montabaur. In order to protect employees from possible infections, work was carried out there in two shifts, which could only be carried out with additional personnel.

In the first six months of fiscal 2020, the Group generated EBITDA of EUR 4.69 million (H1/2019: EUR 3.47 million). The improvement in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation is attributable to the growth in sales and the consistently lower cost ratios. The EBITDA margin (EBITDA as a percentage of sales) rose from 13.6 % in the same period of the previous year to 15.4 % in the first half of 2020.
In the second quarter of 2020, a slightly negative net result of EUR -0.13 million was recorded due to higher depreciation and taxes (Q2/2019: net result EUR -0.03 million). For the first six months of 2020, a positive consolidated net income of EUR 0.74 million was generated (H1/2019: EUR 0.46 million), an increase of 58.6.

ITC segment (Information and Telecommunications Technology)
In the first half of 2020, business in the area of cloud-based solutions continued to grow by more than 50% compared to the same period of the previous year. As a result, the share of segment revenue attributable to cloud-based solutions rose to more than one third for the first time (H1/2019: around 30%).

As a result of the measures taken to combat the COVID 19 pandemic, particularly due to contact restriction measures and the widespread use of home office work in many companies, demand for telecommunications services has risen significantly since the second half of the first quarter. The Telecommunications business area was able to continuously expand its business in the first half of the year. Following the declines of the previous year, this also led to revenue growth in the Voice Retail business area from EUR 1.02 million to EUR 1.19 million. However, the 24.2% growth in the Telecommunications business area is also due to the further increase in revenues from value-added services.
Total revenues in the ITC segment rose by 31.3% to EUR 9.03 million (H1/2019: EUR 6.88 million).

The EBITDA margin rose from 20.4% in the first six months of the 2019 fiscal year to 26.4% in the first half of 2020, corresponding to a segment EBITDA of EUR 2.38 million in the first half of 2020 (H1/2019: EUR 1.40 million).

Renewable Energies Segment
In the Renewable Energies segment, segment sales increased by 34.0 % from EUR 4.09 million in the first half of 2019 to EUR 5.48 million in the reporting period. The Roge wind farm acquired at the beginning of the year contributed EUR 1.24 million to segment sales. Even without this contribution, the segment would still have recorded revenue growth, because after the exceptionally strong wind volume in the first quarter, earnings from wind turbines were significantly lower in the second quarter due to seasonal factors, but remained at a satisfactory level.

The segment EBITDA also improved from EUR 3.26 million in the same period of the previous year to EUR 4.52 million in the first half of 2020. The EBITDA margin in the Renewable Energies segment was 82.5 % in the reporting period (H1/2019: 79.7 %).

SHAC segment (Sanitary, Heating and Air-Conditioning Technology)
While turnover in the SHAC segment was again increased, the earnings trend remains unsatisfactory. Sales in the first half of the year were increased by 10.6 % from EUR 14.57 million (H1/2019) to EUR 16.11 million (H1/2020). In particular, the Online Trade business area showed significant growth. However, the cost of materials ratio in the SHAC segment rose again, from 77.5% to 78.6%. This development is expected to be reversed in the coming quarters with an increased use of private labels in the product range.
EBITDA declined from EUR -0.10 million in the previous year to EUR -0.56 million in the first half of 2020. While the online trading business at the Group company Selfio recorded a slightly positive EBITDA, the expenses for the expansion and optimisation of the supply chain and the two-shift operation to protect employees at the Montabaur site are currently affecting the segment EBITDA.

Summary of second quarter results
The first quarter is regularly stronger in terms of sales and earnings than the second. This also applies to the current financial year. Group sales rose by 16.9 % to EUR 14.42 million in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the second quarter of 2019 (Q2/2019: EUR 12.34 million) but did not reach the volume of EUR 15.99 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. The ITC, Renewable Energies and SHAC segments increased their revenues compared to the same quarter of the previous year. With the exception of the SHAC segment, which recorded a decline in earnings for the reasons mentioned above, the operating business areas generated higher earnings than in Q2/2019. A detailed presentation of the segment development can be found in the notes to the half-year financial statements.

Group EBITDA for the second quarter of 2020 reached EUR 1.79 million, exceeding the figure for the same quarter of the previous year (EUR 1.41 million) by 26.8 %.

Financial and asset position
In order to secure liquidity and due to the custodian fees charged by banks for higher credit balances, the 3U Group invested around € 3.0 million in gold holdings as a short-term investment. In addition, the 3U Group has cash and cash equivalents of EUR 17.41 million (31 December 2019: EUR 20.55 million). Cash and cash equivalents thus exceed total current and non-current financial liabilities by EUR 0.44 million (31 December 2019: net assets EUR 2.83 million).

The balance sheet total of EUR 82.97 million as of 30 June 2020 was EUR 2.49 million higher than as of 31 December 2019, when it amounted to EUR 80.48 million. The balance sheet extension is mainly due to the acquisition of a site in Koblenz and the business-related increase in inventories and trade receivables.

Long- and short-term financial liabilities were further reduced. They amounted to EUR 16.97 million as of 30 June 2020 after EUR 17.72 million as of 31 December 2019. At EUR 4.91 million, non-current and current lease liabilities as of June 30, 2020 were EUR 0.58 million higher than at the end of 2019 (31 December 2019: EUR 4.33 million). Provisions in the amount of EUR 1.65 million were only slightly higher at the end of the half-year than at the 2019 balance sheet date (EUR 1.45 million).

Thanks to the profit carried forward of EUR 1.54 million and the consolidated net income of EUR 0.74 million, consolidated equity reached EUR 47.79 million (31 December 2019: EUR 46.51 million). The equity ratio was thus almost unchanged at 57.6% at the end of the first half of 2020 (31 December 2019: 57.8%).

Forecast confirmed
After a good first half year, the Management Board reaffirms its forecast and continues to expect a strong increase in revenue despite the ongoing restrictions to combat the COVID 19 pandemic. In 2020, revenues of between EUR 58.0 million and EUR 63.0 million are expected. In addition, income from the sale of assets has been included in the planning. EBITDA of between EUR 10.0 million and EUR 12.0 million is expected. Based on current planning, consolidated earnings will be between EUR 2.0 million and EUR 3.0 million due to higher depreciation and amortisation and higher tax expenses. At present, it is not possible to predict whether and to what extent the economic restrictions will remain in place throughout the year and whether this could necessitate corrections to the forecast in the further course of the year.

“Our strategic focus on cloud computing and online trading has once again proven its worth in the first half of 2020. Even in view of the impairments caused by the measures to combat the pandemic, we are recording high demand throughout the Group, particularly for our telecommunications services,” summarises Michael Schmidt, Speaker of the Management Board of 3U HOLDING AG. “We are tackling the remaining weaknesses; we are consistently expanding our strengths. We continue to see great potential for profitable growth in the second half of the year and beyond”.

Half-year financial report
The interim financial report for the first six months of the 2020 financial year will be published today, 12 August 2020. It can be downloaded from the company’s website (www.3u.net) under “Investor Relations/Reports“.


Further information:
Dr. Joachim Fleïng
Investor Relations
Tel.: +49 6421 999-1200
Fax.: +49 6421 999-1222
E-Mail: ir@3u.net

About 3U:
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 ITC (Information and Telecommunications Technology), Renewable Energies and SHAC (Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning Technology). 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).