USU Software AG reports half-year figures for 2018
- Half-year revenue rises 7.5%; half-year earnings down as forecasted owing to targeted future investment
- Group headcount expands by 9.1%
- Financing remains very solid; Group liquidity stable year-on-year
- Management Board anticipating clearly positive business performance in second half of 2018 and confirms planning for 2018 as a whole and medium-term guidance for 2021
Thanks above all to strong consulting business, consolidated revenue of USU Software AG and its subsidiaries (“USU Group” or “USU”) in line with IFRS climbed by 7.5% year-on-year to EUR 41,774 thousand in the first half of 2018 (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR 38,871 thousand). This resulted not least of all from the restructuring of the unymira division and the associated prioritization of the growth area of digitization. While consulting business dominated domestic revenue in particular, revenue generated outside Germany amounted to EUR 12,204 thousand (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR 11,063 thousand), a year-on-year increase of 10.3%. Accordingly, USU increased the international share of its consolidated revenue from 28.5% in the previous year to 29.2% in the first half of 2018, primarily as a result of the strong first quarter of 2018. By contrast, international revenue fell short of the previous year’s level at EUR 2,157 thousand in the second quarter of 2018 (Q2/2017: EUR 3,158 thousand). This temporary decline in international revenue was caused essentially by the stronger trend towards software-as-a-service (SaaS) projects and the postponement of several projects with a relatively high project volume. However, the Management Board of USU Software AG is forecasting a significant increase in international revenue in the second half of 2018, and has therefore specifically continued its investment in the future of international business. As a result of modest international business, the growth in Group-wide revenue was relatively moderate in Q2/2018, rising by 3.9% to EUR 20,769 thousand (Q2/2017: EUR 19,984 thousand).
As anticipated, the earnings performance of the USU Group in the first two quarters of fiscal 2018 was softer than in the previous year. This was partly as a result of future investments in international markets and the related 9.1% rise in headcount to 697 (June 30, 2017: 639). There were also the effects of project postponements referred to above. EBITDA amounted to EUR 947 thousand in the first half of 2018 (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR 1,777 thousand). Adjusted for depreciation and amortization of EUR 1,419 thousand (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR 1,352 thousand), USU generated EBIT of EUR -472 thousand in the same period (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR 425 thousand), while consolidated earnings declined from EUR -53 thousand in the first half of 2017 to EUR -678 thousand in the first six months of 2018. Earnings per share amounted to EUR -0.06 (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR -0.01).
Adjusted for extraordinary effects relating to acquisitions, adjusted EBIT for the first half of 2018 was also down on the prior-year figure at EUR 255 thousand (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR 1,565 thousand). At the same time, adjusted consolidated earnings fell to EUR -360 thousand (Q1-Q2/2017: EUR 1,010 thousand). Adjusted earnings per share declined accordingly from EUR 0.10 in the previous year to EUR -0.03 in the period under review.
Looking at just the second quarter, EBITDA contracted from EUR 981 thousand in the second quarter of 2017 to EUR -144 thousand in Q2/2018. At the same time, EBIT decreased to EUR -855 thousand (Q2/2017: EUR 286 thousand) while adjusted EBIT was also negative in the second quarter of 2018 at EUR -497 thousand (Q2/2017: EUR 876 thousand). The USU Group’s consolidated earnings (IFRS) fell from EUR 62 thousand in the previous year to EUR -1,151 thousand in the reporting quarter, corresponding to earnings per share of EUR -0.11 (Q2/2017: EUR 0.01).
As of June 30, the equity of the USU Group decreased slightly to EUR 62,262 thousand (December 31, 2017: EUR 63,006 thousand). Concurrently, the USU Group’s reduced its current and non-current liabilities to EUR 33,032 thousand as of the end of the reporting period (December 31, 2017: EUR 36,380 thousand). With total assets of EUR 95,294 thousand (December 31, 2017: EUR 99,386 thousand), the equity ratio thus improved to 65.3% as of June 30, 2018 (December 31, 2017: 63.4%). Together with the reduction in liabilities, cash and cash equivalents (cash on hand and bank balances plus securities) declined slightly to EUR 15,615 thousand as of June 30, 2018 (December 31, 2017: EUR 15,729 thousand). USU therefore still has extensive liquidity on hand within the Group for future acquisitions and its financial position remains extremely solid without any liabilities to banks.
After the modest first half of 2018, the Management Board of USU Software AG is forecasting a significant increase in revenue and earnings in the quarters ahead, and assumes that the positive growth trend of recent years will continue in fiscal 2018 as a whole, though the trend towards SaaS business will slow growth to a small degree. From the third quarter onwards, investment outside Germany will have an increasingly positive effect, and the projects postponed from the second quarter will also contribute to positive international business in the third and final quarters of 2018 in particular. Furthermore, the expansion of the portfolio in the field of knowledge management will be positively reflected in the markets outside Germany, including in the US especially. At the same time, however, domestic business is also set to continue to develop successfully, leading to a further expansion in product business. Finally, service business is primed to enjoy further growth as a result of the focus on digitization. In line with previous guidance, the Management Board therefore expects that USU’s growth over 2018 as a whole will significantly outpace the IT market overall, thereby more than making up for the weaker performance of the first half of the year. Key indicators supporting this guidance figure include the current license forecast and the Group-wide orders on hand, which rose by 6.6% year-on-year to EUR 45,845 thousand as of June 30, 2018 (June 30, 2017: EUR 43,023 thousand). Accordingly, the forecast for 2018 still anticipates an increase in Group-wide revenue to between EUR 93 million and EUR 98 million, accompanied by a strong rise in adjusted EBIT to between EUR 7.5 and EUR 10 million. In addition, the Management Board is reiterating its medium-term planning of consolidated revenue of EUR 140 million with adjusted EBIT of EUR 20 million by 2021. Strategic planning is focused on the three established growth pillars of the USU Group: the expansion of internationalization, the development and launch of new product innovations and growth through acquisitions.
Based on the above assumptions, the shareholders of USU Software AG are also set to participate in the company’s operating performance for fiscal 2018 as in previous years – in accordance with the shareholder-friendly dividend policy that stipulates that a dividend will never be lower than in the previous year and that it should amount to approximately half the profit generated.
USU Software AG’s full report on the first half of 2018 can be viewed and downloaded at https://www.usu.de/en/investors/financial-reports/#show-all.