- Consolidated sales revenues increased by 22 percent to 41.41 million euros (1H 2017: 34.08 million euros)
- Gross profit of 4.34 million euros (1H 2017: 4.31 million euros)
- Negative earnings before taxes (EBT): -0.24 million euros, but losses reduced by over 50 percent compared to the same period of 2017 (1H 2017: -0.51 million)
- Guidance 2018: steady growth in revenues and gross profit, EBT remains negative due to additional hiring and technology investments
- Growth plan 2018-2020: accelerating current growth through additional investments including capital increase scheduled for completion in Q4 2018
asknet AG, an ecommerce services company majority owned by the Swiss-listed international technology and media company The Native SA (www.thenative.ch), achieved a strong increase in consolidated sales revenues of 22 percent to 41.41 million euros in the first six months of 2018. The increase is partly due to the high number of new customers acquired in the eCommerce Solutions Business Unit in the first half of the year. In addition, new shops that had already been set up in the second half of 2017 were further ramped up. asknet AG also gained new customers in the Academics Business Unit, which contributed to the good sales revenues’ development.
Gross profit, the key performance metric for the asknet Group’s business, rose from 4.31 million euros in the prior-year period to 4.34 million euros in the first half of 2018. The gross profit margin in relation to sales revenues declined from 12.6 percent to 10.5 percent. The lower growth rate of the company’s gross profit compared with the strong sales revenue growth is mainly explained with longer income recognition periods in the Academics Business Unit. In addition, some projects were rescheduled to the second half of the year.
Overall, the asknet Group improved earnings before tax (EBT) to -0.24 million euros in the first six months of 2018, after -0.51 million euros in the same period of the previous year. The consolidated net result for the period amounted to -0.47 million euros (previous year: -0.51 million euros).
In the eCommerce Solutions Business Unit, the successful ramp-up of new shops in the reporting period led to a 29 percent increase in revenues, totaling 30.72 million euros (previous year: 23.81 million euros). Gross profit in this business unit also increased significantly by 17 percent to 3.21 million euros. The under-proportional increase is in particular due to the larger number of small and medium-sized customers, which results in a weaker margin on the one hand, but a broader and more stable customer spectrum on the other. In the Academics Business Unit, asknet recorded a 4 percent increase in sales to 10.69 million euros. Gross profit fell from 1.56 million euros to 1.13 million euros. The 27 percent decline is mainly due to completed transactions that were not yet booked to gross profit and project postponements to the second half of the year.
Taking into account the strong results from the first half of the year, the company’s Executive and Supervisory Boards approved on September 26, 2018 the new growth plan for 2018-2020. It aims at providing asknet AG with additional capital to achieve a larger scale of business and sustainable long term profitability. The main focus lies on reinforcing staff in the areas of sales and marketing and developing new technologies and systems allowing for faster onboarding new clients and improving their retention rates. In connection with the new growth strategy, the company also revised its targets for 2018 and onwards. While asknet is continuing to forecast a strong growth in sales revenues and gross profit for the full year 2018, negative earnings before taxes (EBT) in a high six-digit range are accepted in the current year in favour of stronger growth. In parallel to continued high investments, the growth plan aims at further accelerating top-line-growth and exceeding the break-even point in 2019. By 2020, the company intends to at least double its sales revenues and gross profit in comparison to the levels budgeted for the full year 2018, and to achieve strong and sustainable profitability on an EBT basis.
To finance the growth plan, asknet AG’s Executive Board with approval of the Supervisory Board recently decided to execute a capital increase from cash contributions, issuing up to 93,395 new shares at a subscription price of EUR 10.5 per share. Shareholders are granted their statutory subscription rights. An investor, who is currently not a shareholder of asknet AG, will guarantee the capital increase and underwrite the shares that were not subscribed by existing shareholders until the end of the subscription period. The public offer in connection with the capital increase is to be made without a prospectus, but with a securities information sheet, which has been submitted for approval by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). The approval will presumably be obtained in the course of the day. The subscription offer is expected to be published in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger) on October 4, 2018, with the capital increase to be fully exercised by the first week of November 2018.
Selected key figures of the Group
January 1 – June 30, 2018
Sales revenues: 41.41 million euros
Gross profits: 4.34 million euros
Gross profit margin (of sales revenues): 10.5%
EBT: -0,24 million euros
Net result for the period: -0,47 million euros
Financial debt: –
January 1 – June 30, 2017
Sales revenues: 34.08 million euros
Gross profits: 4.31 million euros
Gross profit margin (of sales revenues): 12.6%
EBT: -0.51 million euros
Net result for the period: -0.51 million euros
Financial debt: –
The full report on the first six months of 2018 is available on the company’s website at www.asknet.com as of today.