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First quarter of 2021 at 3U: organic growth and increase in earnings in core businesses lines




In the first quarter of 2021, the consolidated revenue of 3U HOLDING AG (ISIN DE0005167902) declined slightly compared with the first three months of 2020, in line with planning. Consolidated revenue came in at EUR 14.10 million, down 11.8?% compared with the figure posted in the year-earlier quarter (Q1 2020: EUR?15.99 million). The Lüdersdorf wind farm and ClimaLevel Energiesysteme GmbH were sold in the fourth quarter of the financial year 2020 and are no longer part of the group. Their joint contribution in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to around EUR?2.4 million. Continued operations reported significant revenue growth, as forecast.

The EBITDA margin at Group level was raised significantly, with support initially stemming from other operating income of EUR 2.27 million (Q1 2020: EUR?0.62 million). These earnings largely originate from concluding the disposal agreed in 2020 of parts of the Adelebsen property not used by the company. Ongoing operational improvements in various cost positions are also positively reflected here. The Group?s cost of materials stood at EUR?7.82 million in the first quarter of 2021, down 4.3?% year on year (Q1 2020: EUR?8.17 million). In relation to the lower level of consolidated revenue, the cost of materials ratio (cost of materials expressed as a percentage of revenue) increased, however, due to the higher weighting of revenue from the ITC and SHAC segments, from 51?% in the first quarter of 2020 to 55.5?% in the period under review.

Significant changes in the headcount are attributable to ClimaLevel s employees leaving the Group and a countereffect emanating from hiring new staff in Cloud Computing. The Group?s personnel expenses of EUR 3.14 million therefore remained at the year-earlier level (Q1 2020 EUR?3.20 million). The personnel expenses ratio (personnel expenses expressed as percentage of revenue) posted 22.3?% in the first quarter of 2021, which exceeds the year-earlier figure due to the lower level of revenue (Q1 2020: 20.1 %). Also, the share of other operating expenses in revenue came in at 15.5?%, slightly above previous year?s figure (Q1 2020: 14.0?%).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 15.5?% to EUR?3.35 million in the first quarter of the financial year 2021 (Q1 2020: EUR?2.90 million). Along with healthy earnings contributions from the ITC segment and improvements in the SHAC segment, the increase is attributable to the sale agreed back in 2020 of parts of the Adelebsen property not used by the company. The EBITDA margin (EBITDA in relation to revenue) therefore reached 23.8?% (Q1 2020: 18.2?%).

The proportion of the consolidated result attributable to shareholders of the parent company soared by 110.9% to EUR 1.82 million in the first quarter of the current financial year (Q1 2020: EUR?0.86 million). Earnings per share stood at EUR?0.05 (basic and diluted).

Segment results

The ITC segment achieved strong growth in revenue and profit. Segment revenue of EUR 5.46 million was generated in the first quarter of 2021, marking growth of 25.5?% compared with the first three months of 2020 when revenue was reported at EUR?4.35 million. The Cloud Computing business in subsidiary weclapp SE remains the most important driver of expansion within the Group and in the ITC segment. Its revenue increased by 51.9% to EUR 2.39 million in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 2020: EUR?1.57 million). weclapp?s EBITDA margin rose on the back of the disproportionately low development of personnel expenses and other operating expenses by approximately 33% to currently around 38?%. The Telecommunications business also contributed to the segment?s growth, lifting revenue by 10.9?%, up from EUR 2.58 million in the first quarter of 2020 to EUR?2.86 million in the first three months of the current financial year. As part of the programme of measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, increased demand for telephony offerings was observed on occasion. This special influence will no longer manifest as restrictions are lifted in the future. Management?s strategy remains focused on compensating the declines anticipated through growth in other parts of the Group. The segment?s EBITDA improved disproportionately in the first quarter of the financial year 2021, rising by 32.9?% to EUR?1.54 million (Q1 2020: EUR?1.16 million). The segment result grew by 28.8?% to EUR?0.96 million (Q1 2020: EUR?0.75 million).

Following the exceptionally good first quarter of 2020 (segment revenue Q1 2020: EUR 3.49 million), revenue in the Renewable Energies segment was significantly lower at EUR?1.48 million in the first three months of the period under review. The decline of 57.5?% is due, on the one hand, to the disposal of the Lüdersdorf wind farm at the end of the financial year 2020. On the other, there was little wind in first quarter of 2021, and solar irradiation did not match the healthy year-earlier figures either. Moreover, the lower rate for electricity fed back into the grid from wind turbines no longer subject to subsidies under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) also pared down revenue. As a result, segment EBITDA also dropped notably to EUR?1.07 million, down 63.8?% in a year-on-year comparison (Q1 2020 EUR?2.86 million). In view of the lower level of depreciation and amortisation and an improved financial result, the segment delivered a profit of EUR 0.16 million (Q1 2020: EUR?1.32 million).

Following the derecognition of ClimaLevel Energiesysteme GmbH from the Group and also from the SHAC segment, effective 1 December 2020, segment revenue decreased by 10.7?%. Revenue, now generated almost exclusively from strategically important e-commerce, came in at EUR 7.37 million (Q1 2020: EUR?8.25 million). The e-commerce business of subsidiary Selfio expanded by 2.0?%. Price increases from producers were offset, and the segment?s cost of materials ratio remained stable at 79.1?% in the first quarter. By contrast, personnel expenses and other operating expenses declined as a proportion of revenue. Segment EBITDA therefore stood at kEUR?59; a negative EBITDA of EUR 0.36 million was reported in first quarter of the financial year 2020. As an individual company, Selfio GmbH achieved an EBITDA margin of 4.2?%, also thanks to the 12-Point Plan implemented in the summer of 2020 to raise earnings.

Revenue from Other Activities/Reconciliation, in particular from management services, were reported at EUR 0.38 million in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 2020: EUR?0.51 million).?The holding?s personnel expenses of EUR 0.75 million remained around the year-earlier level (Q1 2021: EUR?0.74 million). Other operating expenses of EUR 0.87 million increased significantly (Q1 2020: EUR?0.63 million). Other operating income of EUR?1.97?million resulted from concluding the partial sale of the Adelebsen property, bringing the EBITDA into positive territory at EUR?0.73 million (Q1 2020: EUR??0.74 million).

Growth in cash and cash equivalents and equity

Cash inflow from operating activities stood at EUR 1.51 million (Q1 2020: cash inflow of EUR?1.73 million). The high cash inflow from investing activities, essentially due to the partial sale of the Adelebsen property, made a substantial contribution of EUR 4.11 million to the positive cash flow (Q1 2020: EUR?1.08 million). Cash and cash equivalents rose accordingly to EUR?23.62 (31 December 2020: EUR?17.46 million). Free cash flow advanced to EUR 4.86 million in the first three months of the financial year (Q1 2020: EUR?1.48 million).

Total assets increased to EUR?88.60 million as of 31 March 2021 (31 December 2020: EUR?85.90 million). The higher value of total assets is principally due to the rise in current assets, which mainly pertains to the higher level of liquid funds. The portfolio of inventories climbed to EUR?8.96 million (31 December 2020: EUR?8.57 million), and trade receivables of EUR?3.94 million exceeded the level at the end of the financial year 2020 (31 December 2020: EUR?3.80 million).

As of 31 March 2021, the key financials had improved again. Scheduled repayments resulted in another decline in non-current and current financial liabilities to EUR?16.73 million (31 December 2020: EUR?17.10 million). The debt-to-equity ratio dropped from 65.2?% on to 64.1?%. Net cash (cash and cash equivalents minus financial liabilities) rose to EUR?13.80 million (31 December 2020: EUR?9.32 million). Thanks to the pleasing consolidated results and profit carried forward, equity increased to EUR?53.99 million (31 December 2020: EUR?52.00 million). Despite the balance sheet extension, the equity ratio rose to 60.9?% (31 December 2020: 60.5%).

Forecast for 2021 reaffirmed

The Management Board reaffirms the forecast communicated in March for the financial year 2021 and anticipates consolidated revenue at the year-earlier level. Strong organic growth in the other parts of the company is unlikely to fully compensate for the absence of proceeds from the sale of the shares in ClimaLevel Energiesysteme GmbH and the Lüdersdorf wind farm. Sales revenue in 2021 is expected to settle within a range of between EUR?58 million and EUR 63 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 and the rising proportion of higher margin business, the Management Board expects a slightly higher EBITDA of between EUR?11 million and EUR?13 million, leading to expectations of profit for the 3U Group of between EUR?2 million and EUR?4 million.

?The purpose of our company is to add value. Achieving this end is realised through disposals. This strengthens the financials, but initially leads to a loss of revenue. We were and are naturally aware of this. Our strategic core businesses of Cloud Computing and e-commerce are developing in line with planning. A year down the line at the latest, consolidated revenue will reach new highs solely through organic growth,? emphasises Michael Schmidt, spokesman of 3U HOLDING AG?s Management Board. ?We will, however, use freed up cash to raise the value even further. Acquisitions will lend additional acceleration to growth in Cloud Computing, and ultimately the preparations for a successful launch on the stock exchange of our subsidiary weclapp SE will also make a significant contribution.?

Quarterly announcement

The quarterly announcement on the first quarter of the 2021 financial year will be published today, 12 May 2021. It can be downloaded from the company?s website (www.3U.net) under the ?Investor Relations/Reports? heading. The first questions and answers relating to the virtual Annual General Meeting on 20 May 2021 can be found under ?Investor Relations/Annual General Meeting?.

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).





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