- Significant increase in revenues and consolidated earnings in fiscal 2019
- Operational growth and successful sale of properties
- Proposed dividend EUR 0.04
- Despite corona pandemic: situation and prospects good
Marburg, 25 March 2020 – 3U HOLDING AG (ISIN DE0005167902) confirms the preliminary figures announced on March 4, 2020 and today publishes its annual report for the 2019 financial year. Consolidated revenues increased significantly year-on-year by EUR 3.5 million or 7.3% from EUR 48.0 million to EUR 51.5 million.
In addition to the pleasing expansion of the Group’s business activities, 3U also recorded higher other income compared to the previous year. They result primarily from the sale of the company premises in Marburg and at EUR 8.0 million are 67.8% higher than in the previous year (2018: EUR 4.8 million). The absolute and relative increase in personnel expenses and other operating expenses was more than offset by these positive developments. At EUR 10.1m, EBITDA was therefore EUR 3.4m or 50.3% higher than in the previous year (2018: EUR 6.7m). At EUR 4.1 million, the consolidated net income attributable to the shareholders of the parent company for the 2019 financial year is EUR 2.2 million higher than the consolidated net income of the previous year (2018: EUR 1.9 million).
Proposed dividend: EUR 0.04 without tax deduction
In view of the continued positive business development in the Group, the Management Board and Supervisory Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 0.04 per share be paid (dividend payment 2019: EUR 0.03). The dividend would be paid from the tax deposit account without tax deduction.
Profitable business models in all three segments
The strategically most important business lines, cloud computing and online trading, were again the most important growth drivers. Together they account for almost half of the Group’s revenues (2018: around 40%). Among the Group’s segments, Renewable Energies and SHAC recorded strong growth, while revenues in the ICT segment declined as expected. The ITC segment generated 27.3% (2018: 30.8%) of the Group’s revenues, while the Renewable Energies segment generated 14.0% (2018: 13.1%) and the SHAC segment 59.1% (2018: 55.6%).
Revenues in the ITC segment declined slightly from EUR 14.8m in the previous year to EUR 14.1m in fiscal year 2019. The segment EBITDA, however, increased by more than 45% to EUR 2.8m (2018: EUR 1.9m). A strong improvement in gross profit – mainly due to lower transit fees in telecommunications – was offset by higher personnel expenses, especially in cloud computing. In this fastest growing business line, 3U was able to increase the number of employees in the 2019 financial year in view of the planned further growth. The EBITDA of the subsidiary weclapp SE involved in this area was increased by more than 55% to EUR 1.3 million (2018: EUR 0.8 million).
After project development in the Renewable Energies segment had to be scaled back due to the moratorium imposed by the State of Brandenburg, revenues are mainly dependent on weather conditions. Good sunshine and wind conditions contributed significantly to the growth in revenues. Segment revenues rose from EUR 6.3 million in the previous year to EUR 7.2 million in the year under review. EBITDA increased from EUR 4.0 million in the previous year to EUR 4.9 million in the 2019 financial year.
Revenues in the SHAC segment exceeded the EUR 30 million mark for the first time, rising from EUR 26.7 million to EUR 30.4 million. With this increase of EUR 3.7 million or 13.9%, the strong revenues growth of the 2018 fiscal year was again exceeded (2018: 13.3%). The increase is largely attributable to the online trading segment. The revenues of the Group company Selfio GmbH grew by 18.3% to EUR 20.6 million (2018: 17.4%). At 76.6%, the cost of materials ratio in the SHAC segment remained at the previous year’s level (2018: 76.9%). However, EBITDA was slightly negative at EUR -0.09 million and worsened compared to the previous year, when EUR 0.41 million were generated. This decline in EBITDA is mainly due to the increase in personnel expenses and other operating expenses in the course of the optimization and expansion of the supply chain and the preparation of the move to a new distribution center. The space at the new location, which is three times larger than before, will enable significantly more efficient processes and make a significant contribution to improving margins in the SHAC segment.
Higher cash and cash equivalents and equity
The operating cash flow for the past fiscal year was EUR 4.7 million (2018: EUR 0.6 million), primarily due to the positive result for the period. Cash flow from investing activities of EUR 9.2m (2018: EUR 8.1m) was EUR 1.1m higher than in the previous year. It is mainly influenced by the inflow of liquidity in connection with the sale of the distribution centre in Montabaur and the company premises in Marburg.
Scheduled and extraordinary loan repayments and payments to shareholders contributed to a net cash outflow from financing activities of EUR 5.6 million (2018: net cash outflow of EUR 8.2 million). Overall, cash and cash equivalents increased by EUR 8.3m from EUR 12.3m at the beginning of the year to EUR 20.6m as of 31 December 2019.
Total Assets as of 31 December 2019 amounted to EUR 80.5m (31 December 2018: EUR 74.5m) and was thus EUR 6.0m higher than on the balance sheet date of the previous year. EUR 3.7 million of the changes are attributable to the capitalization of rights of use due to the first-time application of IFRS 16. On the liabilities side, leasing liabilities of EUR 4.3 million were reported under IFRS 16. The sale of the distribution centre in Montabaur and the company premises in Marburg are reflected in the decline in property, plant and equipment. On the other hand, this transaction contributed significantly to the increase in cash and cash equivalents.
The financial ratios improved at the end of fiscal 2019, substantially in some cases. In the course of the sale of the distribution center and the company premises, a considerable amount of non-current and current financial liabilities were reduced beyond the scheduled repayments. As of December 31, 2019, they totaled only EUR 17.7 million (December 31, 2018: EUR 23.2 million). The gearing ratio declined from 79.8% at the 2018 reporting date to 73.0%. Borrowings as a percentage of total assets amount to 42.2%, down from 44.4% as of December 31, 2018, and net debt of EUR 10.9m as of December 31, 2018 was fully reduced. Cash and cash equivalents exceeded financial liabilities by EUR 2.8m as of December 31, 2019. At the same time, working capital increased by 53.1%, reaching EUR 23.5m as of the reporting date (December 31, 2018: EUR 15.4m).
3U HOLDING AG continues to have a solid equity ratio of 57.8% (31 December 2018: 55.6%). The increase in the absolute amount of equity from EUR 41.4 million to EUR 46.5 million is due to the profit of EUR 4.4 million in the 2019 financial year and in particular to the sale of treasury shares.
Despite corona pandemic: sustainable profitable growth planned
As a matter of course, the Management Board has also been closely monitoring the social and economic development caused by the Corona pandemic for several weeks now and regularly assesses the resulting risks. On this basis and based on current knowledge, it considers the financial situation and operating prospects of the 3U Group to remain good and confirms the positive outlook given on 4 March 2020.
For the 2020 financial year, the Management Board anticipates a significant increase in revenues with stable earnings. In 2020, revenues in the range between EUR 58.0 million and EUR 63.0 million are expected. Income from the sale of assets has also been included in the planning. EBITDA in the range of EUR 10.0 million to EUR 12.0 million is expected. On the other hand, consolidated net income will be between EUR 2.0 million and EUR 3.0 million according to current planning due to higher depreciation and amortisation and higher tax expenses.
In particular, the strategically most important business lines, Cloud Computing and Online Trading, will continue their growth course as planned, thanks in part to online marketing, which again received several awards in 2019, and the gradual international expansion of Cloud Computing, which has already been intensified in recent months. In addition, 3U is pursuing options to give this area additional growth impetus through acquisitions, including customer bases. The relevant 3U Group companies have clear competitive advantages, also in technological terms. Initiatives in research and development, particularly with regard to the use of artificial intelligence, are intended to further strengthen and expand them. Higher contributions to earnings are also expected from the Telecommunications division.
“In the current, globally critical pandemic situation, we are doing everything in our power to meet our responsibility as an employer, as a business partner, but also simply as a fellow citizen,” emphasises Michael Schmidt, Speaker of the Management Board of 3U HOLDING AG. “Many of our products and services are helpful in easing the restrictions that reason and caution currently impose on all of us. And we continue to see that our long-term growth strategy continues to bear fruit. Our goal is and remains to take leading positions in our strategic business areas. We are consistently pursuing this path and remain confident that we can make 2020 an even more successful year than 2019.”
The annual report for the 2019 financial year is going to be published today, 25 March 2020. It can be downloaded from the company’s website www.3u.net under “Investor Relations/Reports”.
Dr. Joachim Fleïng
3U HOLDING AG
Tel.: +49 6421 999-1200
Fax.: +49 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 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).