- Adjusted EBITDA nearly triples to EUR 2,346 thousand (Q1/2020: EUR 820 thousand)
- Group sales increase by 5.4% to EUR 16,984 thousand (Q1/2020: EUR 16,119 thousand)
- Both Clean Energy and Clean Power Management segments above first quarter of 2020 and pre-coronavirus levels
- Significantly positive operating cash flow at EUR 2,151 thousand (Q1/2020: EUR -1,311 thousand)
- Forecast for 2021: sales forecast confirmed (EUR 61 million to EUR 70 million), earnings forecast substantiated in the upper half of the range (adjusted EBITDA: EUR 4.75 million to EUR 6.0 million, adjusted EBIT: EUR 0.35 million to EUR 1.6 million).
Brunnthal/Munich, Germany–SFC Energy AG (“SFC,” F3C:DE, ISIN: DE0007568578), a leading provider of hydrogen and methanol fuel cells for stationary and mobile hybrid power solutions, announced its figures for the first quarter of 2021 today.
Report by the Management Board
Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy AG: “We currently have strong momentum, which has now resulted in the best starting quarter in the company’s history. The ongoing momentum is being fueled by both segments: Clean Energy and Clean Power Management. We are seeing high demand across all customer markets. Fuel cells are a key technology for successfully finalizing the energy transition and thereby achieving the climate targets. Our success is based on our rapid adaptation to the new environment. With our efficiency program, we have set the right strategic course and successfully mastered the endurance test of the corona pandemic. An intensification of our R&D activities, the acceleration of the digital transformation and the expansion of our partner network have noticeably dynamized our growth process. Now it is our job to build on this positive development, which will enable us to stand out from the industry as strongly growing and operationally profitable company. Regional expansion is one cornerstone of our dedicated strategy. In Asia, we are starting to leverage the enormous local potential together with our partner Toyota Tsusho. In the civil and industrial sectors, we are at the same time continuing to focus on our OEM strategy, which has already been launched. Together with partners like AdKor, Jenoptik, ePropulsion and Leosphere, we are developing high-performance and, in particular, environmentally friendly solutions based on our fuel cell technology across industry boundaries: whether for cell phone towers, smart traffic systems, the wind industry or caravanning and green boating. We are seeing each and every day that the fuel cell is the key technology for a sustainable and decentralized energy supply. Our results encourage us and we are well on track to achieve our annual and medium-term goals resolutely,” said Dr. Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy AG.
Development of sales
The Group achieved a 5.4% increase in sales to EUR 16,984 thousand (Q1/2021: EUR 16,119 thousand) in the first quarter of 2021 (January 1 to March 31, 2021). This positive development resulted from high demand in both business segments, Clean Energy and Clean Power Management. Overall, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the first quarter was above the same quarter of the previous year, which was not yet significantly affected by the coronavirus.
Sales by segment in EUR thousands
Clean Energy 10,071 9,675
Clean Power Management 6,913 6,444
Total 16,984 16,119
Development of the segments
As the company had already announced when it published its 2020 Annual Report, as of the first quarter of 2021, SFC will no longer report by end-customer markets, but rather by technology platforms or the Group’s portfolio of products and services offered in the “Clean Energy” and “Clean Power Management” business segments.
Clean Energy achieved a 4.1% increase in sales to EUR 10,071 thousand in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1/2020: EUR 9,675 thousand) and thus remained the segment with the highest sales, accounting for 59.3% (Q1/2020: 60.0%) of total Group sales. The segment’s sales performance benefited in particular from strong demand from private customers, but also from the unchanged dynamic demand from professional / industrial customers compared to the same period of the previous year as well as to the fourth quarter of 2020.
Clean Power Management
Clean Power Management achieved sales growth of 7.3% to EUR 6,913 thousand in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1/2020: EUR 6,444 thousand). This growth mainly resulted from the ongoing recovery in demand, especially in the electronics sector. The Clean Power Management segment contributed 40.7% (previous year: 40.0%) to Group sales in the reporting period.
Development of earnings
Gross profit increased significantly in the first quarter to EUR 6,203 thousand (Q1/2020: EUR 5,245 thousand). This positive development is the result of the increase in sales revenues and the increase in the gross profit margin. The Group’s gross profit margin (gross profit as a percentage of sales) improved to 36.5% in the reporting quarter (Q1/2020: 32.5%). The gross profit margin in both the Clean Energy and the Clean Power Management segments was above last year’s level.
The gross profit for the individual segments compared to the previous year was as follows:
Gross profit by segment
in EUR thousands Q1/2021 Q1/2020
Clean Energy 4,096 3,653
Clean Power Management 2,107 1,592
Total 6,203 5,245
The Group’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) decreased to EUR -2,458 thousand in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1/2020: EUR 375 thousand). This development is attributable to the significant negative impact on EBITDA of the particularly high special effect compared to the previous year, which mainly resulted from the increase in provisions and the capital reserve for obligations from long-term variable remuneration programs in the form of Stock Appreciation Rights and stock option programs for the Management Board (“LTI programs”). This special effect amounted to EUR 4,804 thousand in the reporting period (Q1/2020: EUR 282 thousand) and is included in EBIT and EBITDA as an expense.
EBITDA adjusted for special effects, a significant financial performance indicator for managing the operating business, increased to EUR 2,346 thousand in the first quarter (Q1/2020: EUR 820 thousand) and was therefore EUR 1,525 thousand higher than in the previous year. The adjusted EBITDA margin increased significantly to 13.8% (Q1/2020: 5.1%).
Group earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) decreased to EUR -3,378 thousand in the first quarter (Q1/2020: EUR -432 thousand). The EBIT margin (EBIT in relation to sales) declined to -19.9% (Q1/2020: -2.7%).
EBIT adjusted for special effects was significantly higher than in the previous year at EUR 1,425 thousand (Q1/2020: EUR 13 thousand). This resulted in an adjusted EBIT margin of 8.4% (Q1/2020: 0.1%).
For the first quarter, the Group posted a net loss of EUR 3,635 thousand compared to EUR 630 thousand in the same quarter of the previous year. Accordingly, earnings per share according to IFRS (basic and diluted) amounted to EUR -0.25 (Q1/2020: EUR -0.05).
Incoming orders increased during the reporting period, resulting in an order backlog of EUR 15,647 thousand as at March 31, 2021 (previous year: EUR 15,878 thousand). This represents an increase of 58.4% compared to the level as of December 31, 2020 (EUR 9,881 thousand).
Positive cash flow and solid capitalization
Overall, cash flow from operating activities developed positively in the first quarter and amounted to EUR 2,151 thousand (Q1/2020: EUR -1,311 thousand). The main reasons for this positive development were the higher adjusted EBITDA and the virtually unchanged level of net working capital compared to the reporting date for 2020.
The equity ratio at the end of the reporting quarter was 57.6% (December 31, 2020: 63.5%). The decrease of 5.7% resulted from the loss for the period. The net financial position (freely available cash and cash equivalents less liabilities to banks) increased to EUR 27,729 thousand as of March 31, 2021 (December 31, 2020: EUR 26,915 thousand). As of March 31, 2021, the SFC Energy Group had 281 permanent employees (December 31, 2020: 280).
The good capitalization and the overall solid balance sheet enable SFC to forge ahead with key product developments, to further expand current market segments and tap into new market segments and additional regions, and to grow sustainably in the medium term.
Forecast for 2021
The Management Board confirms the forecast for the current fiscal year 2021 in terms of Group sales (EUR 61 million to EUR 70 million). With regard to earnings figures, the Management Board specified the forecast in its ad hoc announcement on May 10, 2021. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBIT are expected to be in the upper half of the previously communicated range, i.e. for adjusted EBITDA from previously EUR 3.5 million to EUR 6 million to now EUR 4.75 million to EUR 6 million and for adjusted EBIT from previously EUR -0.9 million to EUR 1.6 million to now EUR 0.35 million to EUR 1.6 million.
Key figures Q1 2021/Q1 2020
In EUR thousands 01/01-30/03/2021 01/01/-30/03/2020
Sales 16,984 16,119
Gross profit 6,203 5,245
Gross margin 36.5% 32.5%
EBITDA -2,458 375
EBITDA margin -14.5% 2.3%
djusted EBITDA 2,346 820
Adjusted EBITDA margin 13.8% 5.1%
EBIT -3,378 -432
EBIT margin -19.9% -2.7%
Adjusted EBIT 1,425 13
Adjusted EBIT margin 8.4% 0.1%
Consolidated net profit for the period -3,635 -630
Order book* 15,647 15,878
* as of March 31
Detailed financial information
The Quarterly Release for the first quarter of 2021 of SFC Energy AG is available for download at www.sfc.com.