Marburg (pta/10.08.2022/07:00) -
3U HOLDING AG (ISIN: DE0005167902) recorded a sharp increase in its consolidated sales in the first half of 2022 (H1 2022) compared with the year-earlier period (H1 2021). Earnings came in at EUR 33.40 million, reflecting a year-on-year increase of 22.1% (H1 2021: EUR 27.34 million). All three segments contributed to this growth. The ITC segment generated a share of 42.6% (H1 2021: 39.6%) in consolidated revenues, while the Renewable Energies segment delivered 12.4% (H1 2021: 11.4%) and the SHAC segment 46.1% (H1 2021: 50.6%).
As a result of the greater numbers of personnel in Cloud Computing, both new staff hired and the additional employees in the subsidiaries acquired in 2021, the Group's personnel expenses rose disproportionately to EUR 10.01 million (H1 2021: EUR 6.49 million). The personnel expenses ratio (personnel expenses as percentage of revenue) posted 30.0% in the first half year, thereby significantly exceeding the year-earlier figure (H1 2021: 23.8%).
Profitability was nevertheless improved in the first six months of the financial year 2022 and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of EUR 5.81 million was achieved (H1 2021: EUR 4.59 million). The EBITDA margin (EBITDA as a percentage of revenue) in relation to substantially higher consolidated revenue increased from 16.8% in the first six months of 2021 to 17.4% in the reporting period.
Adjusted for non-recurrent expenses in connection with a possible IPO and other financing options of weclapp SE, EBITDA would have come in at EUR 6.54 million (H1 2021: EUR 4.73 million), which corresponds to an adjusted EBITDA margin of 19.6% (H1 2021: 17.3%).
Depreciation and amortisation amounted to EUR 2.41 million in the first half of 2022 (H1 2021: EUR 2.01 million). The increase is primarily attributable to the higher level of depreciation due to the acquisition of ITscope GmbH.
The financial result which stood at EUR –0.25 million fell only marginally short of the first six months of 2021 (H1 2021: EUR –0.20 million). On the other hand, tax expenses rose to EUR 1.09 million in the first half of 2022 (H1 2021: tax expense of EUR 0.70 million).
A positive consolidated result of EUR 0.31 million was delivered in the second quarter of 2022 (Q2 2021: consolidated result of EUR –0.35 million). In terms of the first six months of 2022, consolidated net income of EUR 1.69 million was achieved (H1 2021: EUR 1.47 million), reflecting an increase of 15.0%. Group earnings per share (basic and diluted) therefore stood at EUR 0.05 in the first six months of the financial year 2022.
The ITC segment delivered strong revenue growth again. Segment revenue rose by 31.4% to EUR 14.23 million in the first six months of 2022 (H1 2021: EUR 10.83 million). With growth of 77.8%, the Cloud Computing business in the weclapp SE subgroup remains the key driver of expansion within the Group and in the ITC segment. ITscope GmbH, acquired in 2021, also contributed to this growth. As a result, the share of Cloud Computing in segment revenue rose to almost 60% as against only one third in the first half of 2021.
As expected, the revenue growth of weclapp SE as a separate company accelerated in the second quarter compared with the first quarter of 2022 (year-on-year revenue growth came in at 32.2% in Q2 2022 as against 19.2% in Q1 2022). A comparison of the figures posted in June 2022 and in June 2021 shows that monthly recurring revenues (MRR) as a factor decisive for the future grew faster than weclapp SE's revenue in the first six months of 2022 (MRR growth in June 2022 versus June 2021: 29.9%; weclapp SE's revenue growth in H1 2022 versus H1 2021: 25.6%).
At EUR 2.44 million, ITscope GmbH's revenue also fully meets expectations. Compared with the year-earlier period (H1 2021: EUR 4.68 million), revenue of weclapp SE as a separate company recorded strong growth to EUR 5.88 million in the first six months of 2022.
At EUR 5.63 million, the Telecommunications business line generated sales revenue at the year-earlier level, thereby meeting expectations (H1 2021: EUR 5.70 million). The slight decline in Voice Retail and Voice Business was offset by growth in data centre services. Management intends to continue its pursuit of the underlying strategy which consists of compensating the declines anticipated in Voice Retail by generating growth in other parts of the Group's operations.
Against the backdrop of the successful hiring of additional personnel in the area of cloud-based solutions, along with the employees joining in the companies acquired in 2021, personnel expenses in the ITC segment have more than doubled: from EUR 3.44 million to EUR 7.01 million. The personnel expenses ratio rose accordingly, from 31.8% to 49.3%. The proportion of other operating expenses as a percentage of revenues also increased, from 15.3% to 21.5%, which was due, among other things, to the aforementioned increase in expenditure in connection with company acquisitions in Cloud Computing and to preparations for a possible IPO and other financing options of weclapp SE.
The higher costs pared down the segment results. Segment EBITDA of EUR 1.85 million was generated in the first half of 2022 (H1 2021: EUR 2.55 million). The EBITDA margin declined from 23.6% in the first six months of the financial year 2021 to 13.0% in the reporting period.
Net of these extraordinary expenses in Cloud Computing, adjusted EBITDA would have amounted to EUR 2.58 million, corresponding to an adjusted EBITDA margin of 18.1%.
The result of the ITC segment stood at EUR 1.00 million in the first six months of 2022, down 38.0% year on year (H1 2021: EUR 1.61 million), which was essentially due to the higher costs.
Wind yield and solar irradiation was considerably more powerful in the first six months of 2022 than in the year-earlier period when there was little wind. The favourable weather conditions, along with significantly improved power purchase agreement conditions, boosted the Renewable Energies segment's key performance indicators. Whereas, in the first half of 2021, segment revenue of EUR 3.12 million was generated, revenue in the period under review came in at EUR 4.15 million, reflecting growth of 33.0% in the first six months of 2022.
Segment EBITDA of EUR 3.27 million in the first half of 2022 also significantly exceeded the figure of EUR 2.44 million posted in the year-earlier period. Against the backdrop of generally consistent cost ratios in the period under review, the Renewable Energies segment's EBITDA margin of 78.8% approximated the year-earlier level of 78.3%, however. The segment result was raised substantially to EUR 1.59 million (H1 2021: EUR 0.37 million), which was also attributable to the lower level of depreciation and amortisation.
The SHAC segment which comprises our 3U e-commerce operations has returned to its growth trajectory following a difficult year in 2021. The segment's revenue rose by 11.3% to EUR 15.40 million in the period under review, up from EUR 13.84 million in the first six months of 2021.
This segment's business is nevertheless adversely affected by the drastic price hikes in materials and components observed across the entire construction industry. While this trend triggered a slight increase in the cost of materials ratio to 81.2% (H1 2021:79.9%), the measures introduced to lower other expenses and to enhance efficiency served to improve earnings performance. The proportion of other costs in revenue declined from 12.2% in the first half of 2021 to 10.0% in the first six months of 2022. EBITDA improved from EUR –0.22 million in the previous year's period to EUR –0.06 million in the first half of 2022. Positive segment EBITDA of EUR 0.12 million was generated in the second quarter (Q2 2021: EUR -0.28 million). Personnel expenses rose slightly in the first half of 2022: The personnel expenses ratio (personnel expenses as a percentage of revenue) nevertheless decreased from 10.2% (H1 2021) to 9.5%.
Despite improvements in the second quarter of 2022, another negative segment result was delivered in the first half of 2022 (H1 2022: EUR -0.53 million; H1 2021: EUR -0.48 million). The initiatives introduced in procurement and for the purpose of raising process and cost efficiency are aimed at improving earnings.
Revenue of EUR 0.96 million was reported under Other Activities in the first half of 2022 (H1 2021: EUR 0.73 million). This revenue largely pertains to intra-group management services.
Other income of EUR 3.16 million (H1 2021: EUR 2.08 million) was generated in the first half-year, in particular from the sale of units and further progress made in construction of the InnoHubs property.
Both the personnel expenses and other operating expenses from other activities exceeded the year-earlier level in the first half of 2022. Expenditure for employees in the holding company totalled EUR 1.45 million (H1 2021: EUR 1.52 million). Other expenses from other activities amounted to EUR 1.23 million (H1 2021: EUR 1.41 million). EBITDA came in at EUR 1.44 million (H1 2021: EUR –0.12 million). The result from Other Activities/Reconciliation of kEUR –0.37 remained in negative territory in the first half of 2022. In the year-earlier period, the result from this area almost reached breakeven at EUR –0.02 million.
Summary of second quarter results
The first quarter is generally stronger in terms of revenue and results than the second. Consolidated revenue in the second quarter of 2022 declined only marginally by 1.6% compared with the first quarter of the year. As against the second quarter of 2021 when EUR 13.24 million was generated, consolidated revenue rose 25.0% to EUR 16.56 million. The SHAC segment performed especially well in a year-on-year comparison of quarters, raising its revenue by 21.5% to EUR 7.86 million in the second quarter of 2022, up from EUR 6.47 million in the previous year's period.
Over the period from April to June 2022, the Group generated EBITDA of EUR 2.04 million, reflecting a sharp increase compared with the year-earlier figure (EUR 1.24 million). The EBITDA margin advanced to 12.3% in the second quarter of 2022 compared with 9.3% in the year-earlier period. Accordingly, the Group recorded profit for the period of EUR 0.31 million in the second quarter of 2022 following a loss in the same period in 2021 (Q2 2021: EUR -0.35 million).
Net assets and financial position
Total assets had increased to EUR 136.58 million as of 30 June 2022 (31 December 2021: EUR 119.05 million). The balance sheet extension is essentially due to events in connection with the InnoHubs building project. From 3U HOLDING AG's standpoint, the project has meanwhile been brought to a successful conclusion. In the second quarter of 2022, a contractual agreement was reached specifying the sale of 3U HOLDING AG's participating interest in InnoHubs GmbH to the co-shareholder. This process is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2022. The assets and liabilities pertaining to InnoHubs were therefore reclassified in the interim financial statements as at 30 June 2022 and disclosed separately as held for sale. On the assets side, this relates to assets of EUR 34.50 million. Specifically, the value of construction progress amounting to EUR 9.68 million, trade receivables of EUR 6.37 million from buyers of units in the office complex, as well as the balance on the developer account of EUR 17.64 million were items reclassified to this position. The corresponding items of non-current and current assets were adjusted in the process of these transfer postings.
Along with the reclassifications, the decline in current trade receivables is attributable to payments remitted by the buyers of units in the InnoHubs complex. Including time deposits and restricted cash deposited as collateral of EUR 2.80 million, the 3U Group had cash and cash equivalents of EUR 10.80 million at its disposal as of 30 June 2022 (31 December 2021: EUR 12.72 million).
The assets held for sale item is offset by reclassified liabilities amounting to EUR 23.69 million in connection with the disposal, essentially comprising loans to finance the construction.
Non-current and current financial liabilities declined by EUR 9.72 million. As of 30 June 2022, they stood at EUR 21.16 million compared with EUR 30.88 million on 31 December 2021. Non-current and current leasing liabilities totalled EUR 3.67 million on 30 June 2022, down EUR 0.49 million compared with year-end 2021 (31 December 2021: EUR 4.16 million).
The increase in current trade payables which rose by EUR 2.18 million to EUR 6.07 million (31 December 2021: EUR 3.88 million) is largely due to business developing well in the subgroup of weclapp SE where customer prepayments incurred trade payables from usage of the software, but partly also due to higher levels of goods purchased and deliveries as of the reporting date in the e-commerce business.
Group equity settled at EUR 62.79 million (31 December 2021: EUR 62.11 million). At the end of the first half of 2022, the equity ratio stood at around 46.0% due to the balance sheet extension (31 December 2021: 52.2%). Equity attributable to shareholders of the parent company posted EUR 55.46 million (31 December 2021: EUR 55.25 million).
The cash inflow from operating activities totalled EUR 2.18 million in the first half of 2022 (H1 2021: EUR 2.61 million). Other non-cash changes resulted in an adjustment of EUR 5.21 million (H1 2021: cash inflow of EUR 0.01 million). These changes result from the balance of the aforementioned reclassifications into assets and liabilities held for sale.
Cash outflow from investment activity stood at EUR 3.52 million (H1 2021: cash outflow of EUR 0.70 million). Investment in property, plant and equipment pertains to weclapp SE's acquisition of office space in the InnoHubs building. The investment in intangible assets results from own work capitalised at subsidiary ITscope GmbH.
Disbursements for the repayment of loans and leasing liabilities in an amount of EUR 1.39 million (H1 2021: cash outflow of EUR 1.34 million) and payments of EUR 1.77 million (H1 2021: cash outflow of EUR 1.78 million) to 3U HOLDING AG's shareholders and minority interest were offset by borrowing of EUR 2.59 million (to finance construction work on the InnoHubs building complex). Cash outflow from financing activity therefore came in at EUR 0.57 million (H1 2021: EUR 2.54 million).
The key financials as of 30 June 2022 are partly of little informative value due to the agreed, but not yet concluded, sale of the shares in InnoHubs GmbH. The debt-to equity ratio advanced to 117.5% (31 December 2021: 91.7%). Net indebtedness (current and non-current financial liabilities minus cash holdings) stood at EUR 10.36 million as of 30 June 2022 (31 December 2021: EUR 18.16 million). Working capital (current assets minus current liabilities) amounted to EUR 16.42 million (31 December 2021: EUR 34.21 million).
Forecast for 2022 confirmed
The Management Board confirmed the guidance issued in March and anticipates a double-digit increase in consolidated revenue, which will derive support from the strong organic growth of the operating units in the financial year 2022. Sales revenue in 2022 is expected to settle within a range of between EUR 65 million and EUR 70 million. Moreover, earnings in the single-digit million range from the disposal of assets have been incorporated into planning. In view of the measures introduced to strengthen profitability, on the one hand, and the higher level of expenses for expanding cloud computing, on the other, the Management Board anticipates earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation of EUR 10 million to EUR 12 million. Profit of the 3U Group is therefore expected in a range of between EUR 2 million and EUR 4 million.
The actual performance of business may be higher or lower than forecast here due to the acquisition of companies by 3U HOLDING AG or other Group companies, or from selling operating units of the Group. The resulting effects can only be planned for to limited extent, however.
Predicting with any degree of certainty to what extent the war in Ukraine, potential further interest rate hikes by central banks, or even recently more stringent economic restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, will impact on business activities is not possible.
Half-year financial report
The half-year financial report on the first half of the 2022 financial year will be published on today, 10 August 2022. The report can be downloaded from the company's website (www.3U.net) under the "Investor Relations/Publications" heading.
For further information:
Dr. Joachim Fleïng
3U HOLDING AG
Tel.: +49 (0)6421 999-1200
Fax: +49 (0)6421 999-1222
3U HOLDING AG (www.3U.net) 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 shares are traded on XETRA, Tradegate and on German regional stock exchanges (ISIN: DE0005167902; stock exchange symbol: UUU).
3U HOLDING AG
|Contact Person:||Dr. Joachim Fleing|
|Phone:||+49 6421 999-1200|
|Stock Exchange(s):||Regulated Market in Frankfurt, Free Market in Berlin, Free Market in Dusseldorf, Free Market in Hamburg, Free Market in Munich, Free Market in Stuttgart, Open Market in Tradegate|