- Sales growth in the Renewable Energies and ITC segment
- SHAC segment gains market share despite sales decline
- Management Board expects catch-up effects in the SHAC market and reaffirms forecast for 2023
Marburg, August 14, 2023 – Group revenue of 3U HOLDING AG (ISIN DE0005167902) from continued operations of EUR 25.09 million in the first half of 2023 (H1 2023) was at the level of the first half of 2022 (H1 2022: EUR 25.36 million). Revenues in the two high-margin businesses ITC (Information and Telecommunications Technology) and Renewable Energies increased further compared to the previous year. Sales in the SHAC (sanitary, heating and air conditioning technology) segment also once again outperformed the German online retail sector as a whole, but suffered a year-on-year decline against the backdrop of the downturn in the construction industry, particularly in the second quarter. This development of the strongest segment in terms of sales in the 3U Group could not be fully compensated by the pleasing growth of the other business units. Consequently, the sales proportions of the segments in the Group also changed slightly. The segment ITC generated 25.2% (H1 2022: 24.0%) of total revenues in the first half of the year, the segment Renewable Energies 17.3% (H1 2022: 16.4%) and SHAC 58.7% (H1 2022: 60.7%).
The interim financial statements as at 30 June 2023 no longer comprise the information of the cloud computing business in the subgroup of weclapp SE which was deconsolidated in the financial year 2022. Consequently, the figures from continued operations from the first half of 2022 respectively the second quarter of 2022 are used for year-on-year comparison.
In the first half of 2022, 3U HOLDING still recorded other operating income of EUR 9.01 million, mainly from the InnoHubs property development project. In the current reporting period, this income was significantly lower at EUR 0.84 million. The cost of materials ratio (cost of materials as a percentage of sales) was slightly lower than in the first half of 2022 at 62.8%, while the personnel expense ratio was slightly higher at 16.7%. Despite increased maintenance expenses due to the repair of a wind turbine in Roge in the first quarter of 2023, the ratio of other operating expenses to sales was now significantly lower than in the previous year at 14.3% (H1 2022: 33.2%), largely due to the costs incurred at the time in connection with the sale of InnoHubs space in the comparable period of the previous year.
Against this backdrop, Group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) decreased to EUR 2.59 million in the first half of the 2023 financial year (H1 2022: EUR 5.99 million). As a result, the EBITDA margin at Group level reached 10.3% after 23.6% in the first six months of the previous year.
At EUR 1.69 million, depreciation and amortisation in the first half of 2023 was at the same level as in the corresponding period of the previous year (H1 2022: EUR 1.67 million). As expected, 3U recorded a positive financial result of EUR 1.44 million in the first six months of 2023 (H1 2022: EUR -0.14 million).
The consolidated result attributable to the shareholders of the parent company amounted to EUR 1.60 million in the first half of 2023 (H1 2022: EUR 2.47 million). Earnings per share were EUR 0.04 (basic and diluted) in the reporting period.
The ITC segment posted revenue growth of 4.2% in the reporting period. In the first six months of 2023, segment revenue of EUR 6.33 million was achieved (H1 2022: EUR 6.08 million). The Data Center & Managed Services business was able to significantly increase its revenue by more than 46%. Due to internal efficiency improvements and thanks to increasing service revenues, the segment’s EBITDA increased by 13.9%. It reached EUR 1.80 million after EUR 1.58 million in the first half of 2022. The EBITDA margin of the ITC segment was thus 28.5% (H1 2022: 26.1%).
Wind yield and solar radiation were around 15% lower in the first half of 2023 than in the same period of the previous year, when wind and sun were strong. In addition, the temporary standstill of a wind turbine at the Roge wind farm in the first quarter of 2023 had a negative impact on sales. In contrast, the improved delivery conditions from the electricity supply contracts agreed for 2023 for the Klostermoor and Roge wind farms made a significant contribution to the revenue growth of the Renewable Energies Segment. Revenue increased by a total of 4.6% to EUR 4.34 million (H1 2022: EUR 4.15 million). Against the backdrop of the repair costs for the turbine in Roge, the segment EBITDA reached a total of EUR 3.21 million, which corresponds to a slight decline of 1.8% (H1 2022: EUR 3.27 million).
The Management continues to believe that the prospects for the SHAC segment, with its focus on the megatrends of e-commerce and climate-friendly or CO2-neutral heating systems, are excellent in the medium to long term. In the reporting period, however, the current business was not able to decouple itself from the overall economic environment. According to the Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel (BEVH), sales in the German online trade industry shrank by 12% in the second quarter of 2023, while the number of building permits issued for residential buildings nationwide slumped by 36%, according to the Federal Statistical Office. Thus, although business in the SHAC segment again outperformed the industry environment, it still recorded a decline in revenue and earnings. At EUR 14.72 million, segment revenue in the first half of 2023 was 4.4% lower than in the same period of the previous year (H1 2022: EUR 15.40 million). EBITDA declined from EUR -0.06 million in the same period of the previous year to EUR -0.44 million in the first half of 2023 due to lower contribution margins.
Cash flow and financials
Cash flow from operating activities amounted to EUR 0.03 million in the first six months (H1 2022: EUR 2.18 million), which, in addition to a lower result, is mainly due to a significantly lower increase in current trade payables and the change in other liabilities. Investing activities in the reporting period resulted in a cash outflow of EUR 3.74 million (H1 2022: cash outflow of EUR 3.52 million). Investments in investment property relate to the acquisition of office space in the InnoHubs building in Würzburg originally used by the former Group company weclapp, which is now intended for letting to third parties. Investments in tangible assets mainly comprise the acquisition of a plot of land for the construction of a new company headquarters in Marburg.
The cash outflow from financing activities came to EUR 117.97 million in the reporting period (H1 2022: EUR 0.57 million) and is mainly due to the distribution of the dividend for the 2022 financial year in the amount of EUR 3.20 per share. In total, cash and cash equivalents decreased as expected by EUR 121.68 million (H1 2022: decrease of EUR 1.91 million). Cash and cash equivalents amounted to EUR 68.03 million on 30 June 2023 (31 December 2022: EUR 189.70 million and 30 June 2022: EUR 10.80 million).
The almost complete distribution of the balance sheet profit of 3U HOLDING AG to the shareholders is also reflected in the Group’s equity. As of 31 December 2022, the consolidated net income was mainly increased by the sale of weclapp SE and amounted to EUR 159.0 million. The profit carried forward as of 30 June 2023 totalled EUR 45.74 million. As debt was also EUR 3.40 million lower as of 30 June 2023 than as of 31 December 2022, the consolidated balance sheet continues to show a very solid equity ratio of 76.9% (31 December 2022: 86.7%).
“At the half-year 2023, we are very satisfied with the development of our segments ITC and Renewable Energies,” affirms Uwe Knoke, member of 3U HOLDING AG’s management board. “However, the fact that many do-it-yourselfers and homeowners were irritated by the political debates about the so-called heating law hampered us in the SHAC segment in the second quarter and left its mark on the half-year results. However, the sharp downturn in the sector leads us to expect catch-up effects in the coming months. With the imminent launch of our innovative ThermCube, ‘the all-in-one cabinet-housed heat pump heating system’, we are very well positioned for this.”
The Management Board affirms its guidance announced in March and anticipates strong organic growth in 2023. Revenue in 2023 is expected in a range of between EUR 55.0 million and EUR 60.0 million. In view of the lower level of other income in line with expectations and the significantly higher proportion of lower margin retail business, the Management Board anticipates EBITDA of EUR 6.0 million to EUR 8.0 million. Net profit of the 3U Group is therefore expected in a range of between EUR 2.5 million and EUR 3.5 million.
The actual operating result may be higher or lower than forecast here due to the acquisition or sale of the Group’s operating units. The resulting effects can only be planned for to limited extent, however. The 3U Group remains true to its corporate purpose of creating value in the interest of its shareholders and all stakeholders and will continue to pursue its strategic course of expanding successful parts of the business successfully in the long term and, given the relevant demand, of selling them at attractive conditions.
In harmony with the corporate strategy, the Management Board is addressing a series of investment undertakings. Along with purchasing companies or customer bases in the financial year 2023 this pertains notably to repowering the Langendorf wind farm. Options for further very promising investments are meticulously assessed on a running basis.
Uwe Knoke explains further: “The medium- and long-term perspectives of 3U, as we presented them in our MISSION 2026, remain favourable, and we continue to work consistently on the implementation of our strategic measures. Temporary downturns in the industry environment can be balanced out by us as a diversified management and investment holding company. They strengthen us in our operating activities in the intact megatrends of digitalization, e-commerce and renewable energies, and in our aspiration to increase value in the interests of all stakeholders.”
Half-year financial report
The interim statement on the first half of the 2023 financial year will be published on today, 14 August 2023. The report can be downloaded from the company’s website (www.3U.net) under the “Investor Relations/Publications” heading.
For further information:
3U HOLDING AG
Tel.: +49 (0)6421 999-1200
Fax: +49 (0)6421 999-1222
Founded in 1997, 3U HOLDING AG (www.3U.net) has its headquarters in Marburg, Germany. It heads up the 3U Group as the operating management and investment holding company. With the aim of enhancing value for the shareholders, the employees, customers, suppliers and all stakeholders, 3U acquires, operates and sells companies in the three segments of ITC (Information and Telecommunications Technology), Renewable Energies and SHAC (Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning). The 3U Group operates successfully and profitably in megatrends through its business models in all three segments and strives to achieve leading positions in the various markets, especially with its e-commerce business model. 3U HOLDING AG shares are traded on XETRA, Tradegate and on German regional stock exchanges (ISIN: DE0005167902; stock symbol: UUU).