USU Group reports sales growth and above-average increase in earnings in first quarter of 2021
• Sales up 3.7% to EUR 27.2 million
• Adjusted EBIT rises 10.3% to EUR 2.2 million
• Further increase liquidity
• Consistently solid financing
• New record for orders on hand
• Planning anticipates further growth
USU Software AG and its subsidiaries (hereinafter also referred to as the USU Group or USU) continued to benefit from the trend toward business process digitalization in the first quarter of 2021. According to the figures published today, the leading provider of solutions for digital IT and customer services increased its consolidated sales by 3.7% to EUR 27.2 million (Q1 2020: EUR 26.2 million). This positive operating performance in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic was attributable in particular to extremely strong domestic business, which expanded by 11.0% to EUR 20.4 million (Q1 2020: EUR 18.3 million). By contrast, international sales declined to EUR 6.8 million compared with the high prior-year figure (Q1/20220: EUR 7.9 million) as a result of the coronavirus situation.
Broken down by type of sales, USU’s consulting revenue saw above-average growth of 11.6% year-on-year to EUR 16.6 million (Q1 2020: EUR 14.8 million). At the same time, it benefited from the sustained growth in cloud and maintenance business. Maintenance sales including sales from software-as-a-service (SaaS) business increased by 5.6% year-on-year to EUR 8.2 million (Q1 2020: EUR 7.8 million), of which EUR 2.4 million (Q1 2020: EUR 2.2 million) was attributable to SaaS sales alone. This represents an increase in SaaS sales of 12.0% as against the previous year. Due to the comparatively high share of new contracts attributable to SaaS business, license sales in the first quarter of 2021 were down 35.8% on the very strong prior-year figure at EUR 2.2 million (Q1 2020: EUR 3.4 million).
As a result of the business growth and the below-average increase in Group expenses, the USU Group recorded a further year-on-year improvement in profitability in Q1 2021. EBIT adjusted for extraordinary effects due to acquisitions (adjusted EBIT) increased by 10.3% to EUR 2.2 million (Q1 2020: EUR 2.0 million). On an unadjusted basis, EBIT rose by 16.6% year-on-year to EUR 2.0 million (Q1 2020: EUR 1.7 million), while EBITDA increased by 4.0% year-on-year to EUR 3.2 million (Q1 2020: EUR 3.1 million). The net result after taxes rose by 29.4% year-on-year to EUR 2.0 million (Q1 2020: EUR 1.6 million). With an average of 10,523,770 shares outstanding, this corresponds to earnings per share of EUR 0.19 (Q1 2020: EUR 0.15).
At EUR 4.9 million (Q1/2020: EUR 8.6 million), USU's cash flow from operating activities was once again clearly positive in the quarter under review, mainly due to the quarterly profit generated by USU. Accordingly, the USU Group increased its group liquidity to EUR 22.7 million as of March 31, 2021 (December 31, 2020: EUR 18.5 million). At the same time, USU’s equity climbed from EUR 61.8 million as of December 31, 2020 to EUR 63.6 million as of March 31, 2021. With total assets of EUR 122.2 million (December 31, 2020: EUR 115.5 million), the equity ratio was 52.1% as at March 31, 2021 (December 31, 2020: 53.5%). With this equity ratio, extensive Group liquidity, and no liabilities to banks, the USU Group continues to have extremely sound and secure financing even during the coronavirus crisis. Thanks to strong order development, USU also increased its orders on hand to a new record of EUR 64.5 million at the end of the period under review (March 31, 2020: EUR 57.8 million), up 11.6% on the previous year.
The Management Board expects the USU Group to record slight growth in sales and an improvement in adjusted EBIT to at least EUR 9-10 million in 2021. This development will be driven in particular by strong SaaS business, as well as positive effects and increased 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 operating margin on adjusted EBIT to between 13% and 15% by 2024. Strategic planning focuses on the three established growth pillars of the USU Group: increased internationalization, the development and launch of new product innovations and growth through acquisitions.