- Sales growth of 8.8% to EUR 29.6 million
- SaaS sales up 34.8% to EUR 3.3 million
- EBITDA grows by 8.7% to EUR 3.5 million
- Liquidity increases further to EUR 30.0 million
- Orders on hand reach new all-time high of EUR 76.7 million
- Management Board confirms forecast
Möglingen, May 19, 2022. USU Software AG and its subsidiaries (hereinafter also referred to as the USU Group or USU) successfully continued on their growth path in the first quarter of 2022. According to the figures published today, the leading provider of solutions for digital IT and customer services increased its consolidated sales by 8.8% to EUR 29.6 million (Q1 2021: EUR 27.2 million).
This was due to a number of new and follow-up orders that also led to an all-time high in terms of orders on hand, which increased by 18.8% year-on-year to EUR 76.7 million at the end of the first quarter of 2022 (March 31, 2021: EUR 64.6 million). Like in the previous year, USU benefited in particular from domestic customers’ digitization projects in the first quarter of 2022. Broken down by sales type, SaaS sales saw above-average growth of 34.8% year-on-year to EUR 3.3 million (Q1 2021: EUR 2.4 million). However, this was mainly due to the sales generated in the previous quarters. At the same time, the USU Group’s maintenance income rose by 4.1% year-on-year to EUR 6.0 million (Q1 2021: EUR 5.8 million). USU thus increased its recurring revenue (maintenance sales including SaaS revenue) by 13.2% year-on-year to EUR 9.3 million in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2021: EUR 8.2 million), meaning that the share of total sales attributable to recurring revenue rose to 31.4% (Q1 2021: 30.2%). At the same time, USU increased its license revenue by 19.3% to EUR 2.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 thanks to numerous on-premises orders (Q1 2021: EUR 2.2 million). Irrespective of the general trend toward SaaS projects, various customers opted to purchase one-time licenses in early 2022. USU’s consulting sales also increased by 5.8% year-on-year to EUR 17.5 million in the first quarter of 2022 thanks to the sustained digitization trend (Q1 2021: EUR 16.6 million). Other income, which essentially comprises sales of third-party hardware and software, amounted to EUR 0.2 million (Q1 2021: EUR 0.2 million).
In addition to strong domestic business, USU also generated numerous orders from abroad, although most of the corresponding sales will not be recognized until subsequent quarters due to them taking the form of software-as-a-service (SaaS) projects. Accordingly, the USU Group increased its sales in Germany by 14.5% year-on-year to EUR 23.3 million (Q1 2021: EUR 20.4 million), whereas international sales declined by 8.2% to EUR 6.3 million (Q1 2021: EUR 6.8 million). As a result, international business accounted for 21.1% of USU’s consolidated sales in the first three months of 2022 after 25.1% in the same period of the previous year. The company expects to see a return to higher international sales as 2022 continues.
As a result of the business growth and the above-average increase in high-margin SaaS and license revenue, the USU Group also improved its operating profitability in the first quarter of 2022 as forecast. USU’s EBITDA increased by 8.7% year-on-year to EUR 3.5 million in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2021: EUR 3.2 million). As USU recorded almost equal sales and EBITDA growth in the first quarter, the EBITDA margin remained unchanged at 11.7% in the period under review (Q1 2021: 11.7%). Adjusted for total depreciation and amortization of EUR 1.2 million (Q1 2021: EUR 1.2 million), USU generated EBIT of EUR 2.3 million in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2021: EUR 2.0 million). This corresponds to a year-on-year increase in EBIT of 13.5%.
Net finance costs amounted to EUR -0.02 million in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2021: EUR 0.2 million). This was primarily due to lower income from currency differences in the USU Group’s financial instruments. Due to negative effects from deferred taxes, income taxes amounted to EUR 0.6 million in the first quarter of 2022 after EUR 0.2 million in the first quarter of 2021 as a result of the rise in profits. As a result, USU’s consolidated earnings declined by a notional 18.8% year-on-year to EUR 1.7 million in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2021: EUR 2.0 million). With an average of 10,523,770 shares outstanding, this corresponds to earnings per share of EUR 0.16 (Q1 2021: EUR 0.19).
USU’s cash flow from operating activities increased by EUR 1.5 million or 30.6% year-on-year to EUR 6.4 million in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2021: EUR 4.9 million). This increase primarily resulted from payments under maintenance and SaaS agreements invoiced at the start of the year for which the service will be rendered and the sales recognized later in the year.
Accordingly, the USU Group’s liquidity rose to EUR 30.0 million as of March 31, 2022 (December 31, 2021: EUR 24.3 million). At the same time, USU’s equity climbed from EUR 64.4 million as of December 31, 2021 to EUR 66.1 million as of March 31, 2022 as a result of the rise in profits. With total assets of EUR 125.2 million (December 31, 2021: EUR 116.0 million), the equity ratio was 52.8% as at March 31, 2022 (December 31, 2021: 55.5%). With this equity ratio, increased Group liquidity, and no liabilities to banks, the USU Group still has extremely sound and secure financing.
Following the positive first quarter and in light of the new all-time high in terms of orders on hand, the Management Board is confirming the full-year forecast for 2022 that it published on March 24, 2022. This forecast provides for sales growth to EUR 120-125 million with recurring revenue accounting for 45% of new product business, resulting in an increase in EBITDA to EUR 14.5-16.0 million. This will be driven in particular by the strong growth in high-margin SaaS business. Following the anticipated emergence from the coronavirus pandemic, which will allow the company to attend trade fairs, conferences and other events again, foreign business in particular is expected to return to high growth rates. The Management Board also anticipates positive effects and a further increase in efficiency in connection with the implementation of the “One USU” strategy. The Management Board is also confirming the current medium-term planning, which includes average organic sales growth of 10% in the next few years and, in view of the continued growth in SaaS business, an increase in the EBITDA margin to between 16% and 18% by 2024.