United Internet once again posts record figures. Earnings per share up 34.5%(PresseBox) (Montabaur, )
Consolidated sales of United Internet AG grew by 16.7% in the first half of 2008, from EUR 698.0 million (comparable prior-year figure) to EUR 814.4 million. Adjusted for currency fluctuations, sales growth amounted to 18.6%.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 20.9%, from EUR 142.1 million (comparable prior-year figure) to EUR 171.8 million. Due to the strategic investments in MSP Holding (freenet), Versatel and Drillisch, consolidated net income and earnings per share (EPS) were burdened by higher interest payments of around EUR 10 million and a negative net contribution to earnings from associated companies of EUR 10.2 million.
Despite these negative effects, consolidated net income of the United Internet Group improved by 27.9%, from EUR 70.6 million (comparable prior-year figure) to EUR 90.3 million. Earnings per share (EPS) rose by 34.5% from EUR 0.29 (comparable prior-year figure) to EUR 0.39.
"We are very satisfied with the development of our operating business," says Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of United Internet AG. "Our company continues to make strong progress. We were able to set new records in sales and earnings and post the best figures in the company's history. There is still dynamic growth in paid subscriptions in our Product segment. As of June 30, 2008 we had a total of 7.7 million customer contracts. This represents strong growth in all product lines over the past six months with a net addition of 550,000 new contracts."
"One of the key growth drivers was our foreign webhosting business. In this area alone, we raised the number of fee-based customer contracts by 270,000 in the first half-year to reach 1.82 million. Including Germany, we held a total of some 3.51 million contracts as of June 30, 2008 (31.12.2007: 3.21 million). In the field of Information Management we added 90,000 new contracts in the first six months to reach 1.30 million contracts and added around 170,000 new DSL contracts to reach 2.76 million customer contracts," explains Dommermuth. Around 60,000 further DSL contracts were still being processed at the end of the first half-year.
In the Product segment, with its core brands 1&1, GMX and WEB.DE, United Internet raised sales by 18.2% - from EUR 594.4 million in the first half of 2007 to EUR 702.6 million in the first half of 2008. Adjusted for currency fluctuations, sales growth amounted to 19.6%. EBITDA rose by 23.0%, from EUR 131.9 million to EUR 162.3 million, while EBT improved by 31.0% from EUR 105.3 million to EUR 137.9 million.
The development of sales and earnings in the Online Marketing segment was not satisfactory, although there were clear differences within the segment.
The AdLINK Media and affilinet brands continued to benefit from the positive development of the online advertising market, although growth was somewhat slower than in previous years. As expected, however, sales and earnings in the company's high-margin Domain Marketing business (Sedo) were down again in the second quarter and thus below the prior-year figures for the first half-year as a whole. This was due in particular to the sudden change in policy and algorithms of the company's most important partners in the field of search engines during the first quarter. Despite the aforementioned effects, sales in this segment grew by 7.9% from EUR 103.2 million to EUR 111.4 million (adjusted for currency effects sales growth amounted to 13%).
However, there was a considerable burden on earnings. EBITDA fell by 21.3%, from EUR 12.7 million to EUR 10.0 million, while EBT fell by 20.6% from EUR 10.7 million to EUR 8.5 million.
"We are very confident for the remaining months of fiscal 2008," states Dommermuth.