Sartorius Starts Off Fiscal 2015 with a Strong First Quarter

21-Apr-2015 - Germany

Sartorius started off fiscal 2015 with substantial double-digit gains in order intake, sales revenue and earnings. Group order intake rose 13.1%, excluding currency effects; this reported figure surged 22.7%. Sales climbed 17.2% in constant currencies; the reported figure, 27.0%. Operating profit1 for Sartorius also soared 48.7%; its respective margin after the first three months was 22.3%. Based on the company’s strong quarterly results, management raised its guidance for the full year of 2015. The company now expects sales to grow 6% to 9% and its underlying EBITDA margin before currency effects to rise to around 22%.

"Both divisions were off to a successful start into the fiscal year," commented CEO Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg. "Based on relatively low prior-year comparables, we had expected high growth rates for Bioprocess Solutions. Yet its business turned out to be even better than expected. For the Lab Products & Services Division, performance was robust as anticipated, and its Asian business also continued to stabilize. Our earnings showed highly positive development, too. We are benefiting from significant growth, and in addition, from the favorable development of foreign exchange rates."

Double-digit Gains in Order Intake and Sales Revenue

Group order intake climbed 13.1% to 276.1 million euros in constant currencies. Sales revenue also grew significantly by 17.2%, attaining 258.1 million euros after 203.1 million euros in the reporting period a year ago. The effects of currency translation had a noticeably positive impact: In the reporting currency, consolidated order intake surged 22.7% and sales revenue soared 27.0%.

In view of the divisions, Bioprocess Solutions showed outstanding performance yet again. Specializing in single-use products for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, this division recorded a gain in order intake of 18.3% in constant currencies (29.5% reported) to 204.7 million euros, which was fueled by strong development in all its product segments.  The division's sales revenue sharply increased 23.4% (35.1% reported), reaching 186.0 million euros.

For the Lab Products & Services Division, which supplies premium laboratory instruments and lab consumables, order intake in constant currencies rose 0.8% (6.6% reported) to
71.5 million euros. Its sales revenue was up 4.3% to 72.1 million euros (10.2% reported).

The Sartorius Group grew in double digits in all regions2. Business in the Americas increased at the highest rates, with an uptick in sales of 27.4%. Revenue from customers in the EMEA3 region rose by 14.8% and in the Asia|Pacific region by 10.7%. (All regional figures in constant currencies)

Significant Boost in Profitability

The Sartorius Group boosted its underlying EBITDA by 48.7% to 57.5 million euros. This increase was due to strong development of volume and the positive currency effects. The Group's corresponding margin was 22.3% relative to 19.0% a year ago. Earnings contributed by the Bioprocess Solutions Division climbed to 46.5 million euros; its respective margin rose from 21.5% in the year-earlier period to 25.0% as of the reporting date. The Lab Products & Sales Division also improved its profitability, reporting an underlying EBITDA of 11.0 million euros following on 9.1 million euros in the previous year. This equates to a margin of 15.2%, up from 13.9% in the respective prior-year period.

Group EBIT, including extraordinary items of -1.8 million euros (-1.2 million euros in Q1 2014), depreciation and amortization, was 42.4 million euros, reflecting a gain of 68.3%. The corresponding earnings margin rose year over year from 12.4% to 16.4%. Relevant net profit4 for the Group increased from 13.3 million euros to 22.1 million euros. Respective earnings per ordinary share were 1.29 euros, up from 0.77 euro in the prior-year quarter, and per preference share 1.31 euros, up from 0.79 euro in the previous period.

Full-year Forecast Raised for the Group

Based on the results of the first quarter in 2015, management revised its sales and earnings forecast upwards. The company thus expects sales to increase approximately 6% to 9% in constant currencies instead of 4% to 7% forecasted at the beginning of the year. The company's underlying EBITDA margin is projected to reach around 22% in constant currencies; previously, around 21.5% was anticipated. Sartorius continues to plan on investing around 10% of its sales revenue.

In view of the two divisions, Sartorius now expects that sales for Bioprocess Solutions will grow approximately 8% to 11% in constant currencies (previous guidance approx. 5% to 8%) and that its underlying EBITDA margin will rise to around 25.0% (previous guidance approx. 24.5%). For the Lab Products & Services Division, management confirms its current forecast, which projects that the division's sales revenue will rise about 2% to 5% and its underlying EBITDA margin will increase to around 15.5%.

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