- Revenue and consolidated net profit increased in the 2018 financial year
- Dividend proposal of EUR 0.03
- 2019 strategy: enhance technologies, eradicate barriers to growth, tap potential
Marburg, 25 March 2019 – 3U HOLDING AG (ISIN DE0005167902) is confirming the provisional figures reported on 28 February 2019 and publishing its annual report for the 2018 financial year today. It generated consolidated revenue of EUR 48.0 million, corresponding to growth of 2.3% (2017: EUR 46.9 million). The main drivers of growth were the cloud computing and e-commerce business areas, which together already account for over 40% of revenue within the Group.
Gross profit improved considerably due to the encouraging expansion of the Group’s business activities overall as well as the higher level of other income compared with the previous year. This was offset by a rise in staff costs and other expenses, resulting in EBITDA at the previous year’s level of EUR 6.7 million. Consolidated net profit increased by over 70% from EUR 1.1 million to EUR 1.9 million thanks to improved net interest income and lower tax expense.
Dividend proposal: EUR 0.03 without tax deduction
In view of the continued positive performance of the Group, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board will propose the distribution of a dividend of EUR 0.03 per share to the Annual General Meeting (2018 dividend payment: EUR 0.02). The dividend would be paid out of the tax deposit account without the deduction of tax.
Profitable business models in all three segments
In the Information and Telecommunications Technology (ITC) segment, revenue rose by 13% to EUR 14.8 million (2017: EUR 13.1 million). Segment EBITDA increased by 12% to EUR 1.9 million (2017: EUR 1.7 million). The strongest revenue growth was again achieved by the cloud computing business. 3U increased the number of employees in this business in the financial year in light of the plans for further growth. The EBITDA of the relevant subsidiary weclapp GmbH was boosted by 125% to EUR 807 thousand (2017: EUR 358 thousand). Earnings also improved in the data centre business.
Non-recurring effects influenced the development of earnings in the Renewable Energies segment. Due to the sale of a wind farm in the 2017 financial year and the lower wind level in the 2018 financial year, revenue declined by 35% to EUR 6.3 million (2017: EUR 9.7 million). The lower revenue is also apparent in the segment’s EBITDA, which – also on account of a non-recurring intra-Group settlement of EUR 0.5 million – fell by 36% to EUR 4.0 million (2017: EUR 6.2 million).
The Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning Technology (SHAC) segment achieved revenue growth of 14% to EUR 26.7 million (2017: EUR 23.5 million). The strategically important e-commerce business in this segment also grew in double digits as expected, although demand was somewhat weaker than had been assumed in the planning on account of the long spell of hot weather. EBITDA was slightly below the previous year’s level (2018: EUR 0.41 million; 2017: EUR 0.66 million). The measures initiated to optimise processes and expand logistics capacity are expected to result in a marked margin improvement in the future.
Cash and equity increased
In the past financial year, the operating cash flow amounted to EUR 0.6 million (2017: EUR 6.7 million).Cash flow from investing activities is shaped among other things by the cash inflows in connection with the sale of a data centre property. Cash inflow from investing activities of EUR 8.1 million is therefore EUR 9.3 million higher than in the previous year (2017: cash outflow of EUR 1.2 million). Scheduled loan repayments and payments to shareholders resulted in cash outflow from financing activities of EUR 8.2 million (2017: cash outflow of EUR 5.7 million). In total, cash and cash equivalents increased by EUR 1.0 million from EUR 11.3 million at the start of the year to EUR 12.3 million as of 31 December 2018.
The sale of the property is also significantly responsible for the lower total assets of EUR 74.5 million (31 December 2017: EUR 81.2 million). For this reason, the share of current assets rose from 28.1% to 35.5%. Under equity and liabilities, the reclassification of the Lüdersdorf wind farm, previously recognised as held for sale, and scheduled repayments resulted in a transfer between current and non-current financial liabilities. As of 31 December 2018, non-current financial liabilities amounted to EUR 19.6 million (31 December 2017: EUR 14.9 million), current financial liabilities to EUR 3.5 million (31 December 2017: EUR 7.1 million). Equity attributable to shareholders of 3U HOLDING AG increased to EUR 42.4 million (31 December 2017: EUR 41.2 million). Overall, 3U has a very solid equity ratio of 55.6% (31 December 2017: 49.2%).
Sustainably profitable growth planned
The Management Board expects revenue to grow substantially in the 2019 financial year. Revenue in the range between EUR 51.0 million and EUR 55.0 million is anticipated for 2019. EBITDA is expected to be between EUR 7.0 million and EUR 9.0 million. According to current planning, consolidated net profit will amount to between EUR 1.0 million and EUR 2.0 million once again owing to higher depreciation and amortisation and higher tax expense.
In particular, the strategically most important cloud computing and e-commerce businesses will keep growing as planned. This includes an additional focus on international expansion in the current financial year. In addition, 3U is pursuing options to lend these businesses extra impetus through acquisitions, including of customer bases. 3U subsidiaries also have a clear competitive edge in terms of technology. This is to be further strengthened and enhanced through initiatives in research and development, especially with regard to the use of artificial intelligence. Higher earnings contributions are also expected from the telecommunications business.
“After a successful 2018, we are expanding from a sound foundation in 2019,” says Michael Schmidt, CEO of 3U HOLDING AG. “In 2019, our attention is focused on innovatively enhancing our technologies, eradicating barriers to growth and tapping new potential. Our aim is to take up leading positions in our strategic business areas. To achieve this more quickly, we are currently reviewing various additional financing options, up to and including a potential IPO in the short or medium term. We are successively and consistently implementing our growth strategy. We want to give our shareholders a share in this success not only via a higher dividend but also by increasing our enterprise value.”
The annual report for the 2018 financial year will be published today, on 25 March 2019. It can be downloaded here.
Dr Joachim Fleïng
3U HOLDING AG
Tel.: +49 (0) 6421 999-1200
Fax: +49 (0) 6421 999-1222