Vita 34 successfully concludes also fourth quarter 2019 with organic growth
- Fourth-quarter revenue increases organically by 5.6 percent to EUR 5.1 million
- EBITDA 2019 exceeds full-year outlook with EUR 5.7 million
- Development project immune cells develops according to plan
Leipzig, 23 March 2020 – Vita 34 AG (ISIN: DE000A0BL849; WKN: A0BL84), one of the largest cell banks in Europe, closed the 2019 financial year better than expected in terms of earnings thanks to a significant expansion of margins over the year as a whole. The organic growth recorded since the beginning of the second half of the year continued in the fourth quarter.
Revenues increased by 5.6 percent to EUR 5.1 million in the fourth quarter (Q4 2018: EUR 4.9 million). For the year as a whole, the company was able to almost match the previous year’s level with revenues of EUR 20.2 million (2018: EUR 20.4 million), although this was marginally below expectations. “Due to the restructuring of the Scandinavian market and the change of sales partners, revenues in the first half of the year were, as communicated, still significantly less dynamic,” explains Falk Neukirch, CFO of Vita 34 AG. “It is now becoming clear that these steps were the right decisions for the profitability of Vita 34 and that there has also been a positive development in sales in the last two quarters.”
Against the background of the efficiency enhancement measures implemented, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) continued to develop very positively. At EUR 5.7 million, it grew by 21.7 percent, significantly above the previous year (2018: EUR 4.7 million) and slightly above the earnings forecast in the full-year outlook. At 28.4 percent, the EBITDA margin also increased significantly year-on-year (2018: 23.1 percent). “Our marketing and sales expenses in relation to sales are at the same level as in the previous year. However, we have invested the savings realized in Scandinavia in a directly targeted manner and primarily in the German market, which is reflected in higher expenditure in the fourth quarter than in previous quarters,” explains Dr. Knirsch, CEO of Vita 34 AG. “Initial feasibility studies in the R&D project immune cells have already been successfully carried out, so that the next steps to achieve the set milestones can continue to be implemented as planned”.
The dynamic development of the operating cash flow in the past fiscal year, which increased by 37.4 percent to EUR 6.3 million (2018: EUR 4.6 million), will support the financing of the development projects in 2020. Accordingly, cash and cash equivalents also developed positively, increasing by 30.8 percent to EUR 9.1 million (31 December 2018: EUR 7.0 million), thus already significantly exceeding loan liabilities of EUR 5.4 million in total at year-end (31 December 2018: EUR 7.7 million).
The key figures for business development in the 2019 financial year are as follows:
|in EUR ‘000 ||Q4 2019 ||Q4 2018 ||2019 ||2018 ||∆ |
|Revenues ||5,129 ||4,858 ||20,247 ||20,409 ||-0.8% |
|Gross profit ||3,126 ||2,968 ||12,612 ||11,974 ||5.3% |
|EBITDA ||1,204 ||1,442 ||5,746 ||4,722 ||21.7% |
|EBITDA margin [%] ||23.5 ||29.7 ||28.4 ||23.1 ||22.9% |
|EBIT ||585 ||948 ||3,282 ||2,631 ||24.7% |
|Net profit for the period ||122 ||-217 ||1,343 ||832 ||61.4% |
|Earnings per share ||0.03 ||-0.06 ||0.33 ||0.20 ||65.0% |
|Operating Cashflow ||— ||— ||6,318 ||4,597 ||37.4% |
|Cash and cash equivalents |
(vs. Ultimo 2018)
|— ||— ||9,102 ||6,960 ||30.8% |
The progress made in the development project “Storage of immune cells from peripheral blood” is also very satisfactory. “The feedback we are currently receiving from potential cooperation partners on this topic is extremely positive”, explains Dr. Wolfgang Knirsch, CEO of Vita 34, “We will continue the development efforts in this area as planned and will continuously intensify them with the successful completion of set milestones”. According to the current development plan, the company expects to launch the new product on the market at the end of 2022.
For the 2020 financial year, the Management Board expects revenues of between EUR 19.0 and 21.0 million and EBITDA of between EUR 4.8 and 5.8 million (excluding acquisitions). In general, the Management Board considers the sensitivity of the Vita 34 business model to economic fluctuations to be low. Even particularly drastic economic effects, such as after the attacks of 11 September 2001 or in the course of the financial crisis, did not have a significant impact on the business development of Vita 34. In the event of a moderate to slightly above-average influence of COVID-19 on the economy, the Management Board therefore currently does not expect a sustained negative impact on the business development resulting from this. The current assessment of the company’s development in fiscal year 2020 does not include effects of a significantly further spread of COVID-19.
At the same time, the company has taken a number of precautionary measures to minimize the potential impact of the spread of COVID-19 on business development, in order to remain efficient at all times, even if demand is forecast to remain stable. For example, a possible impending interruption of the supply chain on the procurement side was counteracted by an increased stockpiling of important procurement materials in the first quarter of 2020. Inventories should be able to cushion current supply bottlenecks while maintaining the comfortable liquidity situation. Personnel deployment planning has been optimized to such an extent that independently operating teams guarantee smooth operations at all times – even if the case of a possible infection of individual employees should arise. At the same time, hygiene regulations have been further increased and adapted to the special situation. From a regulatory perspective, no restrictions on operations are currently expected. The company has carried out an intensive risk prevention process in response to the possible effects of COVID-19, implemented appropriate precautionary measures as early as the first quarter of 2020 and will take further measures depending on developments. However, the company has no influence on temporary restrictions on the reach of sales and marketing measures, such as those foreseeable for the external sales force.
The Management Board will be available for further explanations on the business development in 2019 and the development potential in 2020 to analysts, qualified investors and press representatives in a conference call today at 1:00 p.m. CET. Registration for this is by email via the Investor Relations department (email@example.com).
The complete annual report 2019 is available for download on the Vita 34 AG website at https://ir.vita34.de/en/investor-relations/financial-reports/annual-reports/.
Vita 34 AG
Phone: +49 (0341) 48792 – 0
Mobile: +49 (0174) 9091190
Vita 34 was founded in Leipzig in 1997 and is today one of the leading cell banks in Europe. As the first private umbilical cord blood bank in Europe and a pioneer in cell banking, the company has since then been a complete provider of cryopreservation services for the collection, processing and storage of stem cells from umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord tissue. Based on the expansion of the business model in 2019, Vita 34 intends to also offer the storage of immune cells from peripheral blood as well as of stem cells from endogenous fat in the future. Nursing cells are a valuable source of medical cell therapy and are kept alive at temperatures as low as minus 200 degrees Celsius to be used as part of a treatment when needed. More than 237,000 customers from more than 20 countries have already provided for their family’s health with a cell depot at Vita 34.
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