Sartorius starts off 2017 with double-digit growth

24-Apr-2017 - Germany

Sartorius increased its sales revenue and earnings in the first quarter of 2017 by double digits. "Both divisions successfully started off the current year. Lab Products & Services achieved considerable organic growth, and with the acquisition of Essen BioScience, it added another innovative product family to its bioanalytics portfolio and further growth potential,” said CEO and Executive Board Chairman Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg.

Sartorius AG

Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg, CEO and Executive Board Chairman of Sartorius AG.

The substantially above-average market growth for Bioprocess Solutions over the past two years has returned to normal rates, as expected. "In particular, business development in the Americas region was somewhat more moderate in the first quarter; however, we expect demand to pick up over the year," emphasized Kreuzburg. Management confirms its guidance raised at the beginning of April due to consolidation of its acquisitions: sales for the full year are projected to grow by about 12% to 16% and the company's earnings margin is forecasted to increase by slightly more than 0.5 percentage points.

Business development of the Sartorius Group

In the first three months of 2017, Sartorius increased its sales revenue in constant currencies by 12.2% (reported +13.6%) from 301.9 million euros in the year-earlier period to 343.1 million euros. The Asia|Pacific region recorded the strongest growth, with sales up 33.3% to 80.0 million euros. Both Group divisions contributed double-digit gains to this development. In the EMEA region, Sartorius generated sales of 151.2 million euros, 8.9% more than in the comparable year-earlier period. First-quarter sales revenue for the Americas region was 111.9 million euros, up 4.9% from a year ago. (All regional figures in constant currencies)

Earnings in the reporting period rose overproportionately again relative to sales. Sartorius thus increased its underlying EBITDA by 17.0% to 84.6 million euros, and its respective margin from 24.0% to 24.7%. Relevant net profit for the Group grew by 17.7% from 29.3 million euros to 34.4 million euros. Earnings per ordinary share totaled 0.50 euros (Q1 2016: 0.42 euros) and earnings per preference share 0.51 euros (Q1 2016: 0.43 euros).

The Group's key financial indicators remained at very robust levels following its most recent acquisition of Essen BioScience. At the end of the reporting period, the ratio of net debt to underlying EBITDA stood at 2.4 and company's equity ratio was 34.2% (Dec. 31, 2016: 1.5 and 42.0%, resp.). At 12.8%, the capex ratio in the first quarter was within the range expected.

Business development of the divisions

The Bioprocess Solutions Division, which offers a broad range of innovative technologies for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, recorded first-quarter sales growth of 9.4% in constant currencies to 251.1 million euros. Following two years of strong above-average dynamics, market growth in this segment returned to normal rates, as expected. In particular, the development in the Americas region was influenced at the beginning of the year by softer customer demand as well as by temporarily limited delivery capacities for cell culture media. The division increased its underlying EBITDA overproportionately again with respect to sales, by 12.1% to 68.4 million euros; its margin reached 27.2% relative to 26.9% in the comparable year-earlier period. The acquisition of the software company Umetrics closed at the beginning of April 2017 did not have any effect in the first quarter.

The Lab Products & Services Division, which offers technologies for laboratories, primarily for the pharma sector and public research, significantly increased sales revenue in the first three months of the current year by 21.0% to 92.0 million euros (reported +22.7%). Based on strong demand in all regions and for all product segments, the division reported organic growth of around 10%. Altogether, around 11 percentage points of the division’s growth were contributed by portfolio expansion in the area of bioanalytics due to the acquisitions of IntelliCyt and ViroCyt in mid-2016, as well as Essen BioScience at the end of March 2017. Driven by economies of scale related to strong organic growth and acquisitions, the division's underlying EBITDA rose sharply by 43.1% to 16.3 million euros; its respective earnings margin improved from 15.2% to 17.7%.

Forecast for the full year confirmed

The Sartorius Group confirms its guidance for the current year, which it raised on April 3, 2017, due to its most recent acquisitions of Essen BioScience and Umetrics.

Management thus projects that Group sales revenue for the full year will grow by about 12% to 16% and underlying EBITDA margin will increase slightly more than by half a percentage point over the prior-year figure of 25.0%.

Regarding the two divisions, management anticipates that sales for Bioprocess Solutions will grow by about 9% to 13% and that the division's underlying EBITDA margin will rise by around half a percentage point (prior-year figure: 28.0%). For the Lab Products & Services Division, Group management projects that, assuming an overall stable economic environment, sales will increase by about 20% to 24% and the division's underlying EBITDA margin will rise by nearly two percentage points compared with the prior-year figure of 16.0%. (All forecasts are based on constant currencies)

The capex ratio for the current fiscal year is projected to remain at around 12% to 15%.

The ratio of net debt to underlying EBITDA at year-end is expected to remain about at the current level of 2.4 (Dec. 31, 2016: 1.5) as a result of the company's most recent acquisitions. Any further acquisitions have not been considered in these projections.

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