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Fuel Cell Developer SFC Energy AG Reports Strong 9-Month Figures – Very High Growth Momentum in the Third Quarter – Profitable Growth From Climate-Friendly Products and a Broad Customer Base

By November 15, 2021 10   min read  (1851 words)

November 15, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, hydrogen, sfc, energy, investing, fuel cells
  • Record result with EBITDA underlying up 160.1% to EUR 5,789k (9M/2020: EUR 2,226k), increase in the EBITDA underlying margin to 12.5% (9M/2020: 5.7%)
  • Group sales up 18.5% to EUR 46,476k (9M/2020: EUR 39,213k)
  • Order backlog more than doubles to EUR 23,345k (12/31/2020: EUR 9,881k)
  • Gross margin increases to 36.8% (9M/2020: 33.2%)
  • 2021 sales forecast concretized to EUR 61.0 million to EUR 65.0 million
  • Earnings forecast for 2021 raised to EBITDA underlying of EUR 5.7 million to EUR 7.3 million and EBIT underlying of EUR 1.6 million to EUR 3.1 million

Brunnthal/Munich, Germany – SFC Energy AG (“SFC,” F3C:DE, ISIN: DE0007568578), a leading supplier of hydrogen and methanol fuel cells for stationary and mobile hybrid power solutions, published its 2021 nine-month report today.

Report by the Management Board

Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy AG: “We are fully on track with our activities and were able to seamlessly continue the dynamic business development of the first half of 2021 in the past third quarter. In our Clean Energy and Clean Power Management business segments, we are seeing high demand for our EFOY hydrogen and methanol fuel cells as well as our power electronics products. We are particularly pleased with the strong sales growth across a wide range of user industries and national markets. This puts our profitable company growth on even broader footing and gives us greater visibility and a good degree of planning certainty. In this context, the increase in our earnings forecast (ad hoc announcement dated November 10, 2021) and our significantly higher order backlog, which more than doubled as of September 30 compared to the end of 2020, also deserve mention.

We are driven by the key question of how to meet the growing demand for energy, protect the climate, and make the power supply more decentralized. More and more, we are making a measurable contribution to the global race-to-zero by replacing conventional generators with our environmentally friendly EFOY fuel cells. Our largest order for EFOY fuel cells in the U.S. since the company was founded impressively underscores the huge market potential in this area, as well as in this region. In early September, our customer LiveView Technologies ordered more than 600 EFOY fuel cells for installation in mobile camera towers. The unique thing about this order is not only the large volume, but also the fact that, despite travel restrictions, we succeeded in convincing our customer of the many advantages the EFOY fuel cell offers over the generators previously used. Topics such as advancing digitalization, valid data transmission and reliable safety technology are gaining momentum overall. With our products, we address the market’s demanding needs and create clear added value for our customers from a single source by combining GreenTech and IoT applications.

We continue to keep a watchful eye on both the global pandemic and the potential supply bottlenecks currently associated with it. In the third quarter, we recorded shifts in sales amounting to approximately EUR 1.0 million to 1.5 million, mainly due to delivery delays for individual electronic components. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have managed to prevent stronger negative effects both by significantly increasing our inventories of critical components and through targeted near- and onshoring in procurement. In our ad hoc announcement dated November 10, 2021, we specified the upper end of our sales forecast for the current fiscal year accordingly based on the expected shifts in deliveries.

We continue to pursue our dedicated OEM strategy and enter into strong regional collaborations such as with our partners Toyota Tsusho, Jenoptik or Schneider Electric just recently. We thus gain access to additional markets in order to realize the considerable global growth potential of fuel cell technology.”

Higher sales and EBITDA underlying

Development of sales

In both the third quarter and the nine-month period, the Group achieved significant year-on-year sales growth of 33,4% to EUR 15,344k in the third quarter of 2021 (Q3/2020: EUR 11,503k) and of 18.5% in the first nine months of 2021 (EUR 46,476k; 9M/2020: EUR 39,213k). This pleasing development reflects the unchanged positive demand dynamics in both business segments, Clean Energy and Clean Power Management. The Clean Energy segment in particular benefited from the continued growth in demand for SFC’s fuel cells by posting sales growth of 24.2% in the reporting period.

Sales by segment in EURk 9M/2021 9M/2020
Clean Energy 30,280 24,372
Clean Power Management 16,196 14,841
Total 46,476 39,213

Development of the segments

Clean Energy

The Clean Energy segment realized significant sales growth of 41.5% to EUR 10,924k in the third quarter of 2021 compared to EUR 7,721k in the third quarter of 2020 due to the noticeable increase in demand for fuel cells. In the first nine months of the current fiscal year, the segment’s sales increased by 24.2% to EUR 30,280k (9M/2020: EUR 24,372k) and further increased its share of total Group sales to 65.2% (9M/2020: 62.2%). With sales growth of 42.4% compared to the previous year, the business with fuel cells for consumer applications in particular benefited from strong demand, which was also driven by the newly launched fuel cell generation and the continued high sales figures for mobile homes in Europe. Fuel cell applications in the oil and gas industry also showed a positive sales trend, significantly exceeding the previous year’s level and management’s expectations at the beginning of the year. In addition to the unique selling propositions of SFC’s solutions, including the reduction of customers’ carbon footprint and efficiency gains in processes, growth is enhanced by the trend toward rising oil prices. Sales in the defense business also increased significantly in the reporting period, following low sales in the prior-year period due to the pandemic. The delivery of an order to the Swiss defense authorities also contributed to this.

Clean Power Management

Momentum in the Clean Power Management segment picked up again significantly in the third quarter of 2021 with sales growth of 16.8% to EUR 4,420k (Q3/2020: EUR 3,782k). The segment achieved overall sales growth of 9.1% to EUR 16,196k in the nine-month period (9M/2020: EUR 14,841k). This growth was mainly the result of recovering demand and good capacity utilization in the segment’s end markets. The segment’s share of Group sales amounted to 34.8% in the reporting period (9M/2020: 37.8%).

Significant improvement in earnings

In the course of the increase in sales, SFC continued its successful fiscal year and again achieved gratifying operating results in the third quarter. Gross profit increased by 31.3% to EUR 17,090k in the nine-month period (9M/2020: EUR 13,016k). The positive development is attributable to organic sales growth, continued good price penetration and an improved product mix in favor of higher-margin products. The latter is expressed by both the increasing sales contribution of the high-margin Clean Energy segment and the higher gross profit margin of both segments. The resulting gross profit margin of the Group (gross profit as a percentage of sales) improved significantly to 36.8% in the reporting period (9M/2020: 33.2%).

Gross profit compared to the previous year for the individual segments is as follows:

Gross profit by segments
in EURk
9M/2021 9M/2020
Clean Energy 12,820 9,382
Clean Power Management 4,270 3,634
Total 17,090 13,016

EBITDA underlying adjusted for non-recurring effects was also extremely strong in the nine-month period at EUR 5,789k (9M/2020: EUR 2,226k), an increase of EUR 3,563k year-on-year. The EBITDA underlying margin increased significantly to 12.5% (9M/2020: 5.7%).

EBIT underlying adjusted for non-recurring effects increased significantly year-on-year to EUR 2,692k (9M/2020: EUR -433k). This resulted in an adjusted EBIT margin of 5.8% (9M/2020: -1.1%).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of the Group amounted to EUR -636k in the 9-month period (9M/2020: EUR -785k). The Group’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) declined to EUR -3,733k in the nine-month period (9M/2020: EUR -3,445k).

Both the negative EBITDA and the negative EBIT are due to the significant burden with the high non-recurring effects compared to the previous year, mainly resulting from the increase in provisions and the capital reserve for obligations from long-term share price-based variable remuneration programs for the Management Board and employees. This non-recurring effect amounted to EUR 6,615k in the reporting period (9M/2020: EUR 2,730k) and is included as an expense in EBIT and EBITDA. For the nine-month period, the consolidated net loss for the period was EUR -4,367k, compared to EUR -3,896k in the same period of the previous year. Earnings per share according to IFRS (basic and diluted) thus amounted to EUR -0.30 (9M/2020: EUR -0.30).

Order intake increased significantly to EUR 59,940k in the reporting period (9M/2020: EUR 36,733k) due to the dynamic demand resulting in an order backlog of EUR 23,345k as of September 30, 2021 (9M/2020: EUR 12,451k). Compared to December 31, 2020 (EUR 9,881k), this represents an increase of 136.3%.

Positive cash flow and solid capitalization

The extremely positive development of EBITDA underlying and of cash flow from operating activities before changes in working capital, which increased to EUR 5,299k in the reporting period (9M/2020: EUR 2,271k), also led to a significant improvement in cash flow from operating activities. This increased to EUR 395k in the nine-month period (9M/2020: EUR -1,393k).

The net financial position (freely available cash and cash equivalents less liabilities to banks) decreased to EUR 23,262k as of September 30, 2021 (December 31, 2020: EUR 26,915k). As of September 30, 2021, the SFC Energy Group had 296 permanent employees (December 31, 2020: 284).

Guidance

Following the strong development of sales in the first nine months, increased capacity utilization and the improved product mix, SFC Energy AG has concretized its guidance for the current fiscal year. Despite a few postponements of product deliveries by the company to fiscal year 2022 due to the delayed delivery of certain components, the key earnings figures of the Group are above the company’s previous expectations in this currently positive environment. The Management Board has concretized the forecast for the sales growth of SFC Energy AG compared to the previous year of between 15% and 22% to approximately EUR 61 million to EUR 65 million. With regard to underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA underlying), the Management Board is raising the range to EUR 5.7 million to EUR 7.3 million. In line with the results achieved in the first nine months of the fiscal year and the expectations described above, the Management Board is raising underlying earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT underlying) to a range of EUR 1.6 million to EUR 3.1 million.

SFC Energy AG’s medium-term planning remains unchanged.

Key 9M 2021/9M 2020 figures

n EURk 01/01 – 09/30/2021 01/01 – 09/30/2020
Sales 46,476 39,213
Gross profit 17,090 13,016
Gross margin 36.8% 33.2%
EBITDA -636 -785
EBITDA margin -1.4% -2.0%
EBITDA underlying 5,789 2,226
EBITDA underlying margin 12.5% 5.7%
EBIT -3,733 -3,445
EBIT margin -8.0% -8.8%
EBIT underlying 2,692 -433
EBIT underlying margin 5.8% -1.1%
Consolidated net result for the period -4,367 -3,896
Order book a) 23,345 12,451
  1. a) as of September 30

Detailed financial information

The interim report for the third quarter of 2021 of SFC Energy AG is available for download at www.sfc.com.

About SFC Energy AG

SFC Energy AG is a leading provider of hydrogen and methanol fuel cells for stationary and mobile hybrid power solutions. With the Clean Energy and Clean Power Management business segments, SFC Energy is a sustainably profitable fuel cell producer. The Company distributes its award-winning products worldwide and has sold more than 50,000 fuel cells to date. The Company is headquartered in Brunnthal/Munich and operates production facilities in Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and Canada. SFC Energy AG is listed on the Deutsche Boerse Prime Standard (GSIN: 756857, ISIN: DE0007568578).

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