Neckarsulm, 15 May 2012 – In the first quarter of 2012, Bechtle AG generated revenues amounting to 487.6 million euros (prior year: 456.1 million euros), an increase of 6.9 per cent. In the reporting period, the gross margin climbed from 14.4 per cent to 15.3 per cent. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) dropped slightly by 2.9 per cent from 17.8 million euros to 17.3 million euros. The EBIT margin thus amounted to 3.6 per cent (prior year: 3.9 per cent). The earnings per share amounted to 0.59 euros, compared to 0.63 euros in the prior year.
"The year got off to a satisfying start. We succeeded in topping the prior quarter's excellent revenues and have continued to strengthen our competitive position. At the same time, we were once again able to grow faster than the market as a whole. We also made excellent progress in the IT solutions business," explains Dr. Thomas Olemotz, Chairman of the Executive Board of Bechtle AG.
Strong growth of system houses in Germany.
In the first quarter, the IT system house & managed services segment generated revenues of 321.6 million euros (prior year: 295.8 million euros), an increase of 8.7 per cent. This development was mainly driven by the home market Germany, where customer demand and willingness to invest remained high and resulted in an 11,1 per cent growth in revenue. Organically, the segment revenue amounted to 311.0 million euros, 5.2 per cent more than in prior year. EBIT in the IT system house & managed services segment increased 6.0 per cent to 10.7 million euros (prior year: 10.1 million euros). This outstanding development was mainly made possible by the higher service share and thus by the significantly increased contribution margin in the reporting segment. Despite a considerably higher headcount and the resulting higher personnel expenses, at 3.3 per cent, the EBIT margin fell just short of the prior-year figure (3.4 per cent).
Higher headcount affects profitability of trading business.
In the reporting period, the IT e-commerce segment increased its exclusively organic revenues by 3.5 per cent from 160.3 million euros to 166.0 million euros. The generated EBIT totalled 6.6 million euros, a decline of 14.6 per cent compared to the prior year (7.7 million euros). The reason for this development was the great price pressure in the trading-only business along with increased personnel expenses as a result of the considerably higher headcount (+ 13.7 per cent). The EBIT margin therefore contracted from 4.8 per cent to 4.0 per cent.
Stronger equity base, noticeably higher cash flow.
The balance sheet figures of the Bechtle Group indicate an improved assets position and financial structure. Cash and cash equivalents including time deposits and securities increased 3.9 per cent from 141.5 million euros to 147.1 million euros. In the reporting quarter, the equity went up 3.1 per cent from 419.0 million euros to 432.0 million euros. Despite extensive investments, the equity ratio improved from 52.2 per cent to 56.3 per cent. The cash flow from operating activities increased 156.5 per cent to 14.1 million euros (prior year: 5.5 million euros).
Significant growth in headcount.
As of the end of the quarter, the group had 5,584 employees. Thus, the number of employees went up by a total of 105 in the first three months. Year on year, the average number of employees in the group even went up by 745, a disproportionately high increase of 15.4 per cent. This increase largely resulted from new recruitment.
The Executive Board expects this year's business performance to surpass the industry average. "In the current year, we will do everything in our power to continue pushing our IT solutions business and invest in the qualification of our employees. We don't plan from quarter to quarter, but place emphasis on Bechtle's long-term growth. Our ambitious goal for 2012 remains to again surpass the prior year's record revenue and income," says Dr. Thomas Olemotz.