Mar 26, 2015

USU Software AG publishes final figures for 2014 – dividend expected to increase to EUR 0.30 per share

  • Consolidated sales increase by 5.8% to EUR 58,933 thousand
  • Strong growth of 78.5% in international business to EUR 15,595 thousand
  • Adjusted EBIT gains 43.1% to EUR 7,276 thousand
  • Consolidated net profit rises by 42.9% to EUR 5,512 thousand
  • 2014 dividend expected to jump by 20% to EUR 0.30 per share
  • Liquidity in Group as a whole expands by 32.9% to EUR 18,920 thousand
  • Group-wide orders on hand grow by 21.0% to EUR 28,172 thousand
  • Rise in Group sales revenue to EUR 64 – 68 million and expansion of adjusted EBIT to EUR 8 – 9.5 million for 2015 expected

USU Software AG (ISIN DE000A0BVU28) published its final figures for 2014 today. USU generated Group-wide sales growth of 5.8% year-on-year to EUR 58,933 thousand in the year under review (2013: EUR 55,713 thousand). This upturn is due to the USU Group’s sustained expanding international business, especially in the US. USU benefited from several major orders from leading Fortune 100 companies. The USU Group increased its international sales by 78.5% compared to the previous year to EUR 15,595 thousand in 2014 (2013: EUR 8,737 thousand) and thus expanded the share of sales generated outside Germany in consolidated sales revenue to 26.5% (2013: 15.7%).

Broken down by type of sales, USU’s license revenue rose by 0.7% to EUR 10,122 thousand (2013: EUR 10,056 thousand). Modest growth was due firstly to the postponement of investments in Germany and secondly to increased software-as-a-service (SaaS) projects by the USU Group, which are allocated to maintenance revenue in terms of sales. Accordingly, maintenance business increased significantly by 15.2% to EUR 14,242 thousand (2013: EUR 12,364 thousand). In addition to expanding SaaS revenue, USU also benefited from strong license business from the previous year and the related increase in maintenance income. USU increased its consulting revenue by 4.1% to EUR 32,982 thousand (2013: EUR 31,668 thousand) thanks to the positive development of product business. Other revenue, relating mainly to merchandise sales from third-party hardware and software, totaled EUR 1,587 thousand in fiscal year 2014 (2013: EUR 1,625 thousand).

In conjunction with an only slight expansion in costs, the sales growth achieved by the USU Group led to a significant rise in earnings in fiscal year 2014. For example, USU increased earnings before interest and taxes adjusted for extraordinary effects due to acquisitions (adjusted EBIT) by 43.1% year-on-year to EUR 7,276 thousand in 2014 (2013: EUR 5,083 thousand). In addition to the adjustment of acquisition-related amortization of intangible assets of EUR 1,257 thousand (2013: EUR 1,362 thousand), these extraordinary effects included income from the reversal of a purchase price provision of EUR 970 thousand in connection with the full acquisition of B.I.G. Social Media GmbH (BIG). USU grew its adjusted consolidated earnings to EUR 5,963 thousand (2013: EUR 5,169 thousand), a year-on-year increase of 15.4%. Adjusted earnings per share therefore improved from EUR 0.49 in the previous year to EUR 0.57 in the reporting period.

On an unadjusted basis, USU increased EBITDA by 61.9% year-on-year to EUR 8,886 thousand (2013: EUR 5,490 thousand). Including depreciation and amortization of EUR 2,213 thousand (2013: EUR 2,082 thousand), USU almost doubled its EBIT year-on-year to EUR 6,673 thousand (2013: EUR 3,408 thousand). In 2014, net financial income increased year-on-year to EUR 495 thousand (2013: EUR 112 thousand), mainly due to positive exchange rate effects. Financial expenses of EUR 572 thousand (2013: EUR 649 thousand) include primarily expenses from the scheduled interest cost of the purchase price obligation for the final BIG takeover. Taxes on income for 2014 were EUR -1,084 thousand (2013: EUR 775 thousand) and included income taxes from the reporting period as well as deferred taxes. After taxes, the USU Group increased its consolidated net profit in fiscal year 2014 by 42.9% to EUR 5,512 thousand (2013: EUR 3,646 thousand). Accordingly, USU improved its earnings per share from EUR 0.35 in the previous year to EUR 0.52 now.

In line with the distribution policy the Company has communicated and in the spirit of continuity, the Management Board and Supervisory Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting of USU Software AG a dividend distribution of EUR 0.30 per share for fiscal year 2014. This decision for the announced increase of the profit distribution of 20% compared to the previous year is taking place against the background of the successful development of the USU Group as a whole and the Company’s further positive business outlook.

In line with the increase in profits, USU generated net cash from operating activities of EUR 7,740 thousand (2013: EUR 9,855 thousand). The high figure from the previous year was influenced by factors such as payments of the partner CA Technologies Inc. as part of the partnership agreement. Despite the dividend distribution of EUR 2,631 thousand paid out in June 2014, USU expanded its cash and cash equivalents to a total of EUR 18,920 thousand as at the end of the 2014 fiscal year (December 31, 2013: EUR 14,231 thousand) thanks to the positive earnings development. At the same time, equity as at December 31, 2014 increased to EUR 55,608 thousand (December 31, 2013: EUR 53,232 thousand). With total assets of EUR 85,174 thousand (December 31, 2013: EUR 81,414 thousand), the equity ratio was 65.3% as at the balance sheet date (December 31, 2013: 65.4%).

The Management Board anticipates that the positive growth trend will successfully continue in fiscal year 2015 for USU Software AG and its subsidiaries. In doing so, international business, which was the central growth pillar of the USU Group in 2014, is expected to grow significantly in 2015 as well. The further penetration of the US market, the expansion of activities in Central Europe via partner business in England, Italy, and the Benelux countries, and USU's own development of the French market are expected to contribute to this. However, business in Germany is expected to further increase in 2015, too. The Management Board is expecting significant expansion of the high-margin Product business, primarily from the big-data related areas of license, IT and knowledge management and social business. The consulting-intensive Service business is also anticipated to increase slightly in 2015 according to current planning.

A positive indication of this is the year-on-year rise of 21.0% to EUR 28,172 thousand as at December 31, 2014 (December 31, 2013: EUR 23,276 thousand) in the Group-wide orders on hand for the USU Group. Overall, the Management Board expects to expand Group sales revenue in fiscal year 2015 to EUR 64 – 68 million and at the same time considerably increase adjusted EBIT to EUR 8 – 9.5 million. On the basis of this prognosis, the Management Board plans to allow the shareholders of USU Software AG to participate in the business success of the Company in 2015 as in previous years and thus continue the shareholder-friendly dividend policy. With international business strongly flourishing, potential on the German core market remaining high and the growth-oriented acquisition policy of the USU Group, the Management Board also continues to expect the successful implementation of its medium-term planning of sales of more than EUR 100 million with an adjusted EBIT margin in excess of 15% by 2017.