FIRST HALF YEAR 2019: Strong revenue and EBITDA growth
International expansion and strengthened position in Smarter Cities mark important steps in strategic roadmap
Highlights H1 2019
- Revenue came in at € 79.8 million, an increase of 31%, organic growth was 9%
- EBITDA increased to € 8.8 million including IFRS 16 effects. Pre-IFRS 16 EBITDA increased 27% to € 6.4 million (H1 2018: € 5.1 million)
- Underlying net profit amounted to € 1.9 million, up 24% compared to H1 2018
- Acquisition of Additude marks international expansion into Sweden
- Mobility as a Service strengthened with acquisition of BNV Mobility
- Letter of intent signed to acquire Proficium to strengthen position of ICT in Smarter Cities
- Outlook 2019: ICT expects further growth in revenue and EBITDA in the second half of 2019 compared to the first half of 2019
Jos Blejie, CEO of ICT Group N.V.:
“In the first half of 2019 ICT Group showed strong revenue growth, on the back of both acquisitions and robust organic growth. The latter was in particular driven by the strong demand in the High Tech and Automotive sectors. Moreover, with the international expansion, the growth in our nearshoring capabilities and the strengthening of our market position in Infra & Mobility, we are well underway in delivering on our strategic agenda. Our efforts are clearly valued by our business partners, as demonstrated by various awards we received from a number of our key partners in the past months.”
On 23 January 2019 ICT completed the acquisition of Additude. In line with ICT’s strategic direction to expand business into new geographies, ICT foresees Additude to become the platform for the Northern European market offering high-profile industrial technology consulting services. The integration of Additude is ongoing and on schedule. The first cross selling opportunities are being explored.
On 27 March 2019 ICT completed the purchase of 65% of the shares of BNV Mobility, one of the leading Smart Mobility Services firms in the Netherlands with a software MaaS solution. The remaining 35% shares have been acquired in July 2019. Acquiring BNV is a logical next step for ICT to accelerate its position in the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) market. ICT will continue to invest in the enhancements and expansion of the BNV developed MaaS system.
In June 2019 ICT signed a letter of intent to acquire 100% of the shares of Proficium, a fast growing company delivering consultancy services and secondment in the Public Infrastructure market. With this acquisition ICT will further strengthen its position in engineering and consultancy in Smarter Cities.
Furthermore, as agreed at the time of acquisition, ICT purchased the remaining 49% of the shares in BMA in June 2019. Following the acquisition of BMA as a whole, the various health activities within the ICT group will be integrated into one Healthcare Technology unit by the end of this year.
To further increase its nearshoring position in Bulgaria, ICT recently acquired Kodar, a start-up closely collaborating with the University of Plovdiv, thereby expanding its access to technical talents in the second largest city of Bulgaria.
At 30 June 2019, ICT Group employs 1,412 people (1,290 FTEs), around 10% higher than at year-end 2018. The acquisitions and successful recruitment campaigns worldwide have contributed to this growth. This also results in one of every two recruits being non-Dutch, evolving the total personnel profile into a more international mix of around 40% being non-Dutch.
Notes to the results
Performance ICT Group
In the first half of 2019 ICT Group’s revenue came in at € 79.8 million, up 31% compared to € 60.9 million reported in H1 2018. Organically revenue increased by 9%. This was mainly driven by strong demand in the High Tech and Automotive sector. This organic growth partly excludes InTraffic (acquired and consolidated in April 2018), Additude (acquired in January 2019 and consolidated as of February 2019) and BNV Mobility (acquired in March 2019 and consolidated as of April 2019).
Personnel costs increased significantly to € 46.4 million (H1 2018: € 37.4 million), primarily because of the increase in FTE’s and salary increases.
Other operating expenses increased from € 12.1 million in H1 2018 to € 13.0 million in the first half of 2019 (post-IFRS 16: € 10.6 million), mainly because of the recent acquisitions and additional outlays in new business development and recruitment. The costs related to strategic initiatives and the realisation of acquisitions and partnerships in H1 2019 was at a high level amounting to € 0.5 million (H1 2018:
€ 0.1 million). In 2018, following the acquisition of InTraffic, one-off costs of € 0.8 million were incurred as contract termination fees.
For the first six months of 2019 EBITDA increased to € 6.4 million (post-IFRS 16: € 8.8 million), compared to € 5.1 million in the comparable period in 2018. The EBITDA margin decreased to 8.0% (H1 2018: 8.3%).
IFRS 16 ‘Leases’ is effective as of 1 January 2019. Under this new IFRS standard an asset, which is the right to use the leased item, and a financial liability, being 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 H1 2019 IFRS 16 had an effect of € 2.4 million on EBITDA and an equal and opposite impact on depreciation and amortisation.
Performance per segment
Change in segmentation
Since 1 January 2019 ICT changed its reporting segments in line with the new reporting structure. 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 holding costs.
In this segment, ICT is active in the R&D of the industrial sectors Automotive, High Tech and Machine Building.
In the first six months this segment benefited from the high demand in the Automotive industry. Despite this strong performance, we anticipate that the high growth levels will start levelling off in the second half of the year.
In the segment Industrial Automation Logistics & Transport, Industry and Outsourced services are the key markets for ICT. In the first half ICT divested Raster Products. Raster Industrial Automation remains part of the ICT Group.
The segment showed a strong performance, to which all units contributed. EBITDA increased significantly following improved productivity and project results. Furthermore Raster received the highest partnership award of Schneider Electric and was accepted at the Master Level of the Schneider Electric Alliance Program. Raster is one of only two European preferred partners within this Program.
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 is fully consolidated in this first half year and improved its margin to the ICT Group target level in the course of the first six months of 2019.
Although the addressable healthcare market stagnates, BMA’s performance improved compared to last year, driven by increased sales of foetal heart monitors. The integration of the different activities into one ICT Healthcare entity, aimed at strengthening the total Healthcare offering, started in the first half of the year and should be completed before the end of the year.
ICT’s nearshoring entity Strypes reported a considerable increase in revenue in the first six months of 2019. EBITDA grew at a somewhat lower pace due to one-off additional investments in sales and marketing and the costs related to the acquisition of Kodar. With the acquisition of Kodar, a start-up collaborating closely with the University of Plovdiv, ICT has expanded to the second largest city of Bulgaria.
With the acquisition of Additude in February this year, ICT expanded to Sweden. Additude continued its strong growth, in line with expectations. The tight labour market is impacting the margins as Additude hired a higher number of temporary staff than usual. The integration into the ICT Group is ongoing and on schedule. Cross selling opportunities are being exploited.
The segment ‘Other’ includes a number of small entities as well as the holding costs of the group. Improve performed in line with last year and was listed in the top 3 of best IT trainers in the Netherlands, published by Enigma Research. OrangeNXT, ICT’s Software as a Service engine, showed strong revenue growth over last year, driven by ICT’s proprietary products developed over the last few years. Furthermore, OrangeNXT was awarded Country Partner of the year 2019 by Microsoft Netherlands.
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. The amortisation for Additude in the first half of 2019 amounted to € 0.5 million. Total amortisation in the first half of 2019 (pre-IFRS) amounted to € 2.6 million (H1 2018: € 1.8 million). Depreciation (pre-IFRS) for the first half of 2019 amounted to € 0.7 million (H1 2018: € 0.5 million).
The result from associates amounted to a loss of € 0.3 million (H1 2018: € 0.2 million loss), mainly attributable to GreenFlux which is, as expected, still loss-making.
Financing expenses came in at € 0.5 million in the first six months of 2019, similar to the comparable period in 2018.
Taxes in the first half of 2019 amounted to € 0.5 million compared with € 0.7 million in the first half of 2018.
In the net profit for H1 2019 a one-off accounting gain of € 0.7 million was included as a result of the revaluation of ICT Group’s stake in GreenFlux following the second round of investment by other shareholders. The net profit in H1 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.
Reported net profit for the first six months of 2019 came in at € 2.5 million (H1 2018: € 5.7 million). This translates into earnings per share of € 0.27 (H1 2018: € 0.59). The number of outstanding ordinary shares increased during the first half year 2019 to 9,565,010 (31 December 2018: 9,463,878) due to stock dividend. Excluding the one-off accounting gains as explained above the underlying net profit came in at € 1.9 million in H1 2019 compared to € 1.5 million in H1 2018, an increase of 24%.
Cash flow movement
In the first half of the year, net operational cash flow amounted to € 3.8 million positive (H1 2018: € 3.7 million positive).
The net cash position per 30 June 2019 was € 1.6 million positive (31 December 2018: € 6.2 million positive). This decrease was the balanced effect of the purchase price paid for acquisitions, new financing arranged for acquisitions, the repayments of existing acquisition financing, the payment of dividend, investments in product development and normal working capital patterns.
Balance sheet structure
At the end of the first half of 2019, shareholders’ equity stood at € 53.3 million (31 December 2018: € 53.3 million). The balance sheet total increased from € 95.6 million at year-end 2018 to € 126.8 million at 30 June 2019. The main impact were the acquisitions of Additude and BNV. In addition the implementation of IFRS 16 lease accounting caused a balance sheet increase of € 12.9 million (lease assets as well as obligations). Solvency (shareholders’ equity/total assets) stood at 43% at the end of June 2019 (57% at year-end 2018), still reflecting a sound financial basis.
ICT is fully focused on profitable growth and will continue to execute its buy-and-build strategy; combining healthy organic growth with selective acquisition opportunities. The employment market for IT talents remains very challenging. Attracting and retaining the right people is a top priority.
ICT is fully committed and confident in its ability to deliver on its long-term objective of increasing annual revenue to between € 200 and € 230 million by 2022, with a targeted EBITDA margin between 10 and 12%.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, ICT expects further growth in revenue and EBITDA in the second half of 2019 compared to the first half of 2019.