Highly successful first 9 months of 2012 for United Internet
- Record growth of 860,000 new customer contracts to 11.53 million
- Sales up 14.9% to new all-time high of EUR 1.767 billion
- Strong earnings growth in established business fields
- Expansion course accelerated with heavy investment in new business fields
- Full-year guidance confirmed
Figures published today for the first nine months of 2012 reveal that United Internet AG continued its growth course as Europe's leading internet specialist also in the third quarter of 2012. In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, the company succeeded in raising both sales and customer contract figures to new record levels and significantly improved earnings in its established business fields. At the same time, considerable investments were made in the establishment and expansion of new business fields in order to tap further growth potential for the future.
Development of the Group
In the first nine months of 2012, consolidated sales of United Internet AG reached a new all-time-high of EUR 1.767 billion - representing year-on-year growth of 14.9%. Sales in established business fields rose by 13.8% to EUR 1.739 billion. There was particularly strong sales growth of 15.9% to EUR 1.169 billion in the Access segment (stationary and mobile internet access). In the Applications segment, sales in established business fields also rose sharply by 9.5% to EUR 569.5 million. In addition, there was revenue from new business fields of EUR 27.9 million (prior year: EUR 8.7 million) due to the encouraging international growth of the 1&1 MyWebsite with 170,000 new contracts (70,000 in same period last year). There was also a sharp rise in United Internet's other customer contract figures in the first nine months of 2012: with the addition of 860,000 new contracts (Access: +460,000 contracts, Applications: +400,000 contracts) to 11.53 million, the strong growth of the previous year (+610,000 new contracts) was easily exceeded again.
In its operating business, i.e. without consideration of special items, United Internet also improved earnings significantly in its established business fields during the first nine months of 2012. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 20.6%, from EUR 277.4 million last year to EUR 334.5 million, while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) improved by 24.1%, from EUR 215.8 million last year to EUR 267.8 million.
As already announced, this strong growth in earnings of the Group's established business fields was used to invest heavily in the development of new business fields. The main focus was placed on the international marketing campaign for the 1&1 MyWebsite and the development of De-Mail applications. In line with planning, EBIT-effective start-up losses of EUR 98.6 million (prior year: EUR 17.0 million) were incurred for these activities in the first nine months of 2012.
As a result of these start-up losses, there was an expected overall decline in earnings of United Internet AG in its operating business compared to the comparative figures of last year. Adjusted for special items, EBITDA amounted to EUR 237.7 million (prior year: EUR 261.1 million) and EBIT totaled EUR 169.2 million (prior year: EUR 198.8 million). Pre-tax earnings (EBT) stood at EUR 157.5 million (prior year: EUR 193.9 million), while earnings per share (EPS) reached EUR 0.55 (prior year: EUR 0.62).
Consistently strong free cash flow underlines the entire Group's ability to generate high levels of cash - while at the same time achieving strong qualitative growth. Despite high start-up costs in new business fields, this figure was only slightly down on the previous year at EUR 145.0 million (prior year: EUR 149.3 million).
"We still see both strong growth and very attractive margins in our established business fields. This gives us the strength to invest large sums in the development of our new business fields, such as the international roll-out of the 1&1 MyWebsite and the development of De-Mail. This will enable us to tap new growth potential for the future," states Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of United Internet, in his assessment of the company's first nine months 2012 and adds: "With the results achieved so far this year, we are well on track to meeting the targets we set for 2012 as a whole."
With the exception of Sedo Holding AG, all other business divisions of United Internet AG developed in line with planning. Against this backdrop, United Internet AG can confirm the guidance stated in its half-yearly report and expects full-year sales of approx. EUR 2.4 billion, growth in customer contracts of approx. 1.2 million, EBIT from established business fields of approx. EUR 367 million, start-up losses in new business fields of approx. EUR 120 million, and thus total EBIT from operating business of approx. EUR 250 million in our fiscal year 2012. Due to extraordinary non-cash-effective goodwill impairment of EUR 46.3 million for Sedo Holding AG, expected EBIT will be reduced to approx. EUR 200 million. EPS 2012 is expected to reach around EUR 0.58 (after approx. EUR 0.42 start-up losses in new business fields and after approx. EUR 0.24 Sedo impairments).
For 2013, United Internet expects further strong earnings growth with an EPS of around EUR 1.00 - EUR 1.10 (after approx. EUR 0.30 - EUR 0.40 start-up losses in new business fields).
The 9-Month Report 2012 and an overview of all key performance indicators can be accessed at www.united-internet.de in the Investor Relations / Reports section or the Investor Relations / Info-Center section.
United Internet AG
With over 11.5 million fee-based customer contracts and over 30 million ad-financed free accounts, United Internet AG is Europe's leading internet specialist. At the heart of United Internet is a high-performance "Internet Factory" with over 6,000 employees, of which more than 1,600 are engaged in product management, development and data centers. In addition to the high sales strength of its established brands (1&1, GMX, WEB.DE, united-domains, fasthosts, InterNetX, Sedo and affilinet), United Internet stands for outstanding operational excellence with around 42 million customer accounts worldwide. United Internet also holds equity interests in listed companies and owns numerous investments in young internet companies.