By ET Bureau - March 24, 2022 4 Mins Read
After USU Software AG achieved the best results in its history in fiscal year 2021, the Management Board and Supervisory Board will propose the payment of a dividend of EUR 0.50 per share at the Annual General Meeting on July 1, 2022. This represents a year-on-year increase of 25% and is consistent with the company’s policy of distributing around half of the profit generated to its shareholders while also ensuring that the dividend is never lower than in the previous year.
According to the final figures published today, USU increased its consolidated sales by 4.3% year-on-year to a new record high of EUR 111.9 million (2020: EUR 107.3 million). The main driver was software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenue, which rose by 11.5% to EUR 10.8 million (2020: EUR 9.7 million). At the same time, maintenance income climbed 4.0% year-on-year to EUR 23.7 million (2020: EUR 22.8 million). All in all, USU increased its recurring revenue (maintenance income plus SaaS revenue) by 6.3% compared with the previous year to EUR 34.5 million in 2021 (2020: EUR 32.5 million). The USU Group also benefited from the sustained digitalization trend, increasing its consulting revenue by 5.8% year-on-year to EUR 63.7 million in the year under review (2020: EUR 60.2 million). License revenue declined as expected as USU transitions from non-recurring license business to SaaS. Despite numerous license orders from new and existing customers, license revenue fell by 7.5% year-on-year to EUR 12.0 million (2020: EUR 12.9 million). Broken down by segment, Product Business grew by 2.2% year-on-year to EUR 81.5 million (2020: EUR 79.8 million), while USU increased its consulting-related sales in the Service Business segment by 10.4% to EUR 30.2 million in the same period (2020: EUR 27.4 million).
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The operating cost base of the USU Group expanded by just 2.2% year-on-year to EUR 103.2 million (2020: EUR 100.9 million). As USU significantly increased its high-margin recurring revenue in the same period, there was an above-average rise in profitability compared with the previous year. The USU Group’s adjusted EBIT improved by 10.2% year-on-year to EUR 10.2 million (2020: EUR 9.2 million). On an unadjusted basis, the company increased its EBITDA by 7.6% year-on-year to EUR 14.4 million (2020: EUR 13.4 million), while its EBIT rose by 37.7% year-on-year to EUR 9.7 million (2020: EUR 7.0 million). Net finance result amounted to EUR 0.1 million in the reporting year (2020: EUR -0.2 million), largely as a result of exchange rate effects, while income taxes increased to EUR -3.0 million in the same period as a result of the earnings growth and negative effects from deferred taxes (2020: EUR -1.3 million). All in all, consolidated net profit improved significantly by 23.2% year-on-year to EUR 6.8 million (2020: EUR 5.5 million). This corresponds to earnings per share of EUR 0.64 (2020: EUR 0.52).
As a result of the positive development in income, the USU Group’s equity climbed from EUR 61.8 million as of December 31, 2020 to EUR 64.4 million as of December 31, 2021. With total assets of EUR 116.0 million (December 31, 2020: EUR 115.5 million), the equity ratio was 55.5% at the end of 2021 (December 31, 2020: 53.5%). On the back of the increase in profits, the USU Group’s liquidity rose to EUR 24.3 million (December 31, 2020: EUR 18.5 million). With this equity ratio, extensive Group liquidity, and no liabilities to banks, the USU Group continues to have extremely sound and secure financing.
For 2022, the Management Board is forecasting sales growth to EUR 120-125 million, with recurring revenue accounting for 45% of new product business. One positive indicator supporting this forecast is the year-on-year increase in orders on hand of 6.5% to EUR 65.9 million (December 31, 2020: EUR 61.9 million). At the same time, adjusted EBIT is expected to improve to EUR 10.5-12 million. This corresponds to a forecast increase in EBITDA to EUR 14.5-16.0 million. EBITDA will serve as the USU Group’s central planning and control parameter in the future. Accordingly, the Management Board is 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. This corresponds to an operating EBITDA margin of 16-18%.
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