Report of the Executive Board

The 2019 financial year turned out to be a tale of two very different halves. The first half of the year was very good for ICT while the second half turned out to be quite challenging. During the summer we were surprised by adverse developments at a number of our customers which translated into a significant drop in productivity at ICT from the third quarter onwards. Our revenue for the full year increased by 20%; 3% organic growth, and an EBITDA margin of 10.6%.

Operational review

As a leading specialist in digital transformation ICT focuses on Smarter Cities, Smarter Industries and Smarter Healthcare. Digitising and converting data into operational business information is part of our DNA.

True international player

By expanding our business in Bulgaria and the acquisition of Additude in Sweden, among other things, we truly became an international player in the year under review. As a fast-growing company with a culture that is complementary to that of ICT, Additude is a welcome addition to the ICT family. Additude provides market-leading services within industrial innovation processes, project engagements and consultancy. Its customers include many of Sweden’s largest and technology-intensive companies.

1

Additude’s software and engineering consultancy services generate around € 15 million in annual revenue. This acquisition is a perfect fit with ICT’s international expansion strategy in which the Northern European countries are defined as an important spearhead.

In 2019 we have put more focus in our investment initiatives, with a specific aim at Mobility as a Service and the OrangeNXT solutions. It was also a year in which we made significant progress enhancing the social relevance of future projects. ICT contributes to inspiring projects that support initiatives aimed at creating a better world. One of these initiatives is a water purification system based on a bacteriological process that provides a 40% energy saving compared to traditional water purification systems. Also, in water management in cities and other residential areas ICT’s solutions contribute to a more sustainable world.

An example is our solution for the Delfland water board in the Netherlands. The water board controls water management, seeing to it that pumping stations and dams either pump away water during heavy rainfall or allow extra water in during periods of drought. ICT developed new, automated control units to further optimise surface water management.

Mobility as a Service

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platforms have the potential to change the way people travel and to a certain extent the ownership structure of vehicles. MaaS seeks to make transportation cleaner, faster and more comfortable while allowing users to plan, book and pay for door-to- door travel solutions using a single app.

To improve its position in this market, in March 2019 ICT acquired BNV Mobility, one of the leading smart mobility services firms in the Netherlands. During the remainder of the year ICT further developed the software into a new, commercially viable platform: TURNN. ICT and its partners are convinced that MaaS will become a real alternative for travelling by private transport. A crucial factor in this transition is high-quality service that connects all elements within the chain – bus, train, (shared) car, (shared) bicycle and taxi, seamlessly supporting the entire journey. For ICT providing solutions based on MaaS is about providing a smooth experience based on the traveller’s individual needs using all mobility means available based on real-time information. This increases the ease of travelling while reducing the environmental impact and costs. At the end of 2019 TURNN was involved in several MaaS pilots in Groningen, Drenthe, Limburg and the Eindhoven area.

In November ICT acquired Proficium, a fast-growing company that delivers consultancy and secondment services in the public infrastructure market. This acquisition will enable ICT to further strengthen its position in engineering and consultancy in Smarter Cities. Proficium will be integrated into NedMobiel.

OrangeNXT

OrangeNXT offers ready to use Software as a Service (SaaS) and provides our clients with a plug-and-play cloud platform that connects people, devices and data while simplifying processes. In 2019 OrangeNTX was involved in developing MobileNXT, a platform that provides field staff with a pocket-sized office. OrangeNXT welcomed HelloFresh, an innovative player in the meal-kit market, as a large new customer on the MobileNXT SaaS platform. The platform provides optimised routes for drivers, thus reducing no-shows, driving times and costs. Real-time customer messaging on the app also increases customer satisfaction.

Motar

Motar, a low-coding solution that responds to the robotisation of Operational Technology (OT), enables engineers without programming skills to create software. It facilitates quick and flexible model-based development at lower costs. Motar has been taken into production successfully by ASML.

Smarter Healthcare

In June ICT purchased the remaining 49% of the shares in BMA, as was agreed at the time of the initial acquisition. In the course of the year the various healthcare activities within ICT were integrated into one Healthcare Technology Solutions unit.

Nearshoring

In 2019 ICT acquired two start-ups to further expand its nearshoring position in Bulgaria: Kodar and Up2. Kodar collaborates closely with the University of Plovdiv, increasing ICT’s access to technical talents in the second-largest city in Bulgaria. Up2 provides ICT with access to talents in the world of app development.

Internal organisation

To create an optimum foundation for further internationalisation and sustainable growth at ICT, we continued to implement one way of working throughout the entire group this past year. Further integration and centralisation reduces complexity within our organisation, thereby increasing effectiveness and efficiency. To support this we have introduced a Group Steering Committee with responsibilities in line with the new breakdown into segments. Since 1 January 2019 the activities in the Netherlands are segmented based on end-markets: Engineering R&D, Industrial Automation, Infra & Mobility and Healthcare Technology Solutions. Bulgaria and Sweden are separate segments. The other entities, including Improve and OrangeNXT, are part of the ‘Other’ segment.

Technology Advisory Council

We introduced a Technology Advisory Council. This is a group of highly experienced technological experts who support management in both determining and executing ICT’s strategy. The council also advises on new technologies and the development of new propositions.

MARKET PROSPECTS

New digital technologies are rapidly emerging worldwide. Data leads the way to new opportunities in both the B2B and B2C markets. This is reflected in its ability to optimise the use of resources and infrastructure. Data also leads to new insights, new products and new services. Robotisation plays an important role in this as machines and devices become increasingly intelligent and independent. Established brands are no longer in the lead when defining a new product as consumers can directly and indirectly influence the development and future of the business.

With prediction techniques already in place for local processes in industrial automation, traffic control and smart mobility, ICT will focus on the next step: connecting these markets with the use of digital twin solutions. Digital twins will allow our clients to make predictions within their systems, also in the context of the real world. It is a development that is clearly taking place in IT, and OT will move towards these practices in the coming years. It also applies to the interpretation of data and algorithms with predictive values, which are already used in IT. These are also becoming increasingly important in OT.

Within the healthcare sector the availability of data and advanced models will drive the future of personalised healthcare. Data availability will also significantly increase the way in which treatments are used preventively. Patients can expect their treatment to be designed and developed to their own specific needs or in general as a precautionary measure.

Tailor-made consumer goods will be the new off-the- shelf product desired by customers. This will have a huge effect on both the capacity and complexity of engineering R&D and industrial automation processes. We are well equipped to assist our customers in this increasingly complex environment. At the same time the need to further reduce the time to market will continue and we therefore expect the creation of software to be more and more automated. We are already seeing an increase in the use of artificial intelligence to support our software specialists.

Notes to the result

Key figures

Performance of ICT Group

In 2019 ICT Group’s revenue came in at € 155.5 million, an increase of 20%, organically revenue increased 3%. Revenue growth was mostly attributable to the acquisitions of InTraffic (acquired and consolidated in April 2018), Additude (acquired in January 2019 and consolidated as of February 2019), BNV Mobility (acquired in March 2019 and consolidated as of April 2019) and Proficium (acquired in and consolidated as of November 2019). After a strong first half, organic revenue growth was significantly impacted by the termination of a number of projects in the second half.

Revenue added value increased 13% compared to 2018, reflecting an increase of projects and related equipment as well as an increase in use of freelance professionals.

The personnel costs increased 22% to € 93.6 million (post-IFRS 16: € 91.5 million) compared to € 76.7 million in 2018, mainly a combination of the increase in FTEs and higher wages.

Other operating expenses decreased slightly from € 24.0 million in 2018 to € 23.6 million in 2019 (post-IFRS 16: € 20.9 million), as a result of cost efficiency measures.
In 2018 other operating costs included one-off contract termination fees of € 0.8 million, following the acquisition of InTraffic. The costs related to strategic initiatives and the realisation of acquisitions and partnerships in 2019 increased significantly to € 0.7 million, compared to € 0.3 million in 2018.

EBITDA came in at € 11.7 million (post-IFRS 16: € 16.5 million), 13% down compared to € 13.5 million in 2018. The EBITDA margin decreased to 7.5% (2018: 10.4%). This was due to the lower productivity that impacted both the secondment business and projects in the second half of the year.

IFRS 16

IFRS 16 ‘Leases’ is effective as of 1 January 2019. Under this new IFRS standard an asset, defined as the right to use the leased item, and a financial liability, representing the present value of future lease payments to be made, are recognised. Consequently, IFRS 16 leads to a shift from operating lease costs to depreciation and amortisation and financial expenses. In 2019 IFRS 16 had an effect of € 4.8 million on EBITDA and an equal and opposite impact on depreciation and amortisation.

Performance per segment

Change in segmentation

In line with the new reporting structure, as of 1 January 2019 ICT changed its reporting segments. The activities in the Netherlands are segmented along the end- markets: Engineering R&D, Industrial Automation (including Raster IA), Infra & Mobility (including InTraffic, BNV, and NedMobiel) and Healthcare Technology Solutions (including BMA). In addition, Bulgaria and Sweden are separate segments. The segment Other includes Improve, OrangeNXT, ICT Belgium, CIS Solutions, ICT Motar and Group holding costs.

Engineering R&D

In this segment, ICT is active in the R&D of the industrial sectors Automotive, High Tech and Machine Building. In the first half of the year this segment benefited from the high demand in the Automotive industry which translated into a strong performance. In the second half market developments across the spectrum of industries ICT serves weakened. The abrupt termination of a number of projects significantly impacted profitability of this segment during the second half of the year.

Industrial Automation

In the Industrial Automation segment, Logistics & Transport, Industry and Outsourced services are the main business units for ICT. In the first half ICT divested Raster Products. Raster Industrial Automation remains part of the ICT Group. Port Logistics showed good growth in revenue and profitability, all other units showed a stable performance.

Infra & Mobility

In the public domain ICT focuses on services around capital assets in the area of Water, Energy, Road and Rail infrastructure as well as Mobility. InTraffic improved its margin to the average ICT Group level. The Infra & Mobility segment experienced lower productivity in the Energy and Water & Infrastructure activities and results were also impacted by the upfront outlays in Mobility as a Service.

Healthcare Technology

To strengthen the efficiency of the total Healthcare offering, the integration of the different activities into one ICT Healthcare, which started in the first half of the year, is now completed. Although the part of the healthcare market ICT serves stagnated, sales of foetal heart monitors increased, which resulted in an improved performance compared to last year. This performance was offset by a weak performance of the other secondment activities in the Healthcare entity.

Bulgaria
In Bulgaria, the nearshoring activities realised healthy growth in both revenue and EBITDA, mainly driven by ongoing demand for nearshoring services. The economies of scale are translating in better margins. The investments in the past period are bearing fruit and the nearshoring activities are performing within the desired margin bandwidth again.

Sweden
With the acquisition of Additude in January 2019, ICT expanded to Sweden. The integration into the ICT Group is completed and cross selling opportunities are being exploited. Given the business model of Additude, with a large pool of freelancers, it operates below the average ICT margin. Productivity in the second half was lower than anticipated, which impacted the margins.

In the segment ‘Other’, Improve showed a slightly lower performance. OrangeNXT doubled its revenue in 2019, driven by product development and new customers. Despite this successful year of operations, OrangeNXT posted start-up losses. Holding costs increased as a result of higher M&A costs.

Other financial information

ICT has attributed a value to and is amortising several intangible assets, including order backlog, software and customer relations of its acquisitions. Total amortisation for 2019 (pre-IFRS) amounted to € 5.4 million (2018: € 3.8 million). Depreciation (pre-IFRS) for 2019 amounted to € 1.4 million (2018: € 1.2 million).

The result from associates came in at a loss of € 0.9 million (2018: € 0.4 million loss). The loss is mainly attributable to GreenFlux which, as anticipated, is still loss-making and also reflects ICT’s share of an impairment by GreenFlux on its assets.

Financing expenses came in at € 1.1 million in 2019, an increase compared to € 0.9 million in 2018, due to increased financing.

Taxes in 2019 amounted to € 1.0 million compared with € 2.1 million in 2018. Net profit in 2019 included a one-off accounting gain of € 0.7 million, as a result of the revaluation of ICT Group’s stake in GreenFlux following the second round of investment by other shareholders. Net profit in 2018 included one-off accounting gains of € 4.1 million in total, of which € 3.5 million was related to the revaluation of the 50% stake in InTraffic already held by ICT and € 0.6 million to the revaluation of ICT Group’s stake in GreenFlux (first round of investment by other shareholders).

Reported net profit for 2019 came in at € 2.7 million (2018: € 9.5 million). This translates into earnings per share of € 0.27 (2018: € 0.99). As a result of stock dividend the number of outstanding ordinary shares increased to 9,565,010 at 31 December 2019 (31 December 2018: 9,463,878).

Cash flow developments

In 2019 the net operational cash flow amounted to € 14.4 million (2018: € 11.1 million). The increase is the net effect of increased tax payments, IFRS 16 effects and positive results of disciplined working capital management.

In 2019 the cash outflow on investment activities amounted to € 17.6 million, compared with € 10.2 million in 2018. The main elements of this outflow were the purchase price cash considerations for the acquisitions of Additude, BNV, the payment of the earn-out for the remainder of BMA and Proficium (€ 14.9 million) and investments in product development and housing facilities. Cash inflow concerned the sale of Raster Products.

The cash inflow from financing activities amounted to € 2.8 million (2018 cash outflow: € 0.9 million). The main elements are the net effect of dividend paid (€ 2.3 million cash outflow) and the increased acquisition financing and the lease liabilities (following IFRS 16).

The net cash position at 31 December 2019 was € 5.8 million (31 December 2018: € 6.2 million). The net cash outflow amounted to € 0.4 million in 2019 (2018: € 0.1 million).

Balance sheet structure

Shareholders’ equity increased to € 54.5 million at the end of 2019 from € 54.2 million at the end of 2018, mainly following the net effect of the dividend payment of € 2.3 million and net profit of € 2.7 million.

The balance sheet total increased to € 124.4 million at year-end 2019 from € 95.6 million at year-end 2018 as a result of the acquisitions of Additude, BNV and Proficium. In addition the implementation of IFRS 16 lease accounting caused a balance sheet increase of € 13.1 million (lease assets as well as liabilities). The solvency ratio (shareholders’ equity/total assets) stood at 44% at year-end 2019, although lower compared with 57% at year-end 2018, it reflects ICT’s sound financial basis.

Personnel

At 31 December 2019 ICT Group employed 1,413 FTEs (1,468 employees), 15% higher than the 1,227 FTEs (1,274 employees) at year-end 2018. The recent acquisitions and ongoing recruitment efforts contributed to this increase.

Dividend

ICT proposes a dividend of € 0.30 per share for the 2019 financial year (2018: € 0.38). The proposed dividend is subject to the approval of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) to be held on 13 May 2020. For the calculation of the proposed dividend, the net profit realised is adjusted for the accounting gains recognised in 2019 as well as non- cash amortisation amounts. This results in an adjusted net profit for the full year 2019 of € 7.2 million. The proposed dividend of € 0.30 per share represents a pay-out ratio of 40% of adjusted net profit, which is in line with ICT’s dividend policy. ICT offers the option of distribution of the dividend in cash or in shares.

ICT will calculate the dividend payment in shares one day after the end of the optional period on the basis of the weighted average price of ICT shares during the last five trading days of the optional period, which shall end on 2 June 2020. The dividend in cash or in shares will be payable on 4 June 2020.

OUTLOOK

ICT remains fully focused on profitable growth and will continue to execute its buy-and-build strategy; combining healthy organic growth with selective acquisition opportunities.

We foresee demand in the markets we serve in the first half of 2020 to be in line with the second half of 2019. The global economic circumstances are anticipated to remain uncertain in 2020. Despite these uncertainties we do see ongoing demand for digital transformation projects.

We therefore remain fully committed to deliver on our objective of increasing annual revenue to between € 200 and € 230 million by 2022, with a targeted EBITDA margin between 13% and 15% (including IFRS 16 effects).

GDPR Consent

The ICT Group website uses cookies for various functions in the website; Functional Cookies, Website Statistics, Personalised Advertising and Social Media. Advertising and Social Media cookies collect information about activities of individual users. This allows third parties to display personalised adverts to you and to allow you the option to share content from this site to Social Media platforms.

By continuing to use this website you are allowing us to place these cookies. The Cookie Settings voor de ICT Group website can be changed or revoked at any time. You can reach the settings through the Cookie Settings button as well as through the link in the footer of every page on this site.

Read our privacy policy here | Close this bar
Cookie Settings