United Internet posts strong 1st half-year 2010 figures

(PresseBox) ( Montabaur, )
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- Sales in first 6 months up 14.1% to EUR 930.8 (815.7) million.
- EBITDA up 4.8% to EUR 182 (174) million in 1st half-year.
- Outlook for year as whole confirmed: sales growth of around 15% to EUR 1.9 (1.65) billion and stable EBITDA at record prior-year level.
- CEO Dommermuth: “Our DSL quality drive is showing success. At the same time, we are consistently investing in the growing Mobile Internet and Cloud Computing markets.”

United Internet AG, Europe’s leading internet specialist with brands such as 1&1, GMX and WEB.DE, posted growth in both sales and earnings in the first six months of 2010. This growth was driven by its DSL business as well as the strong domestic and international demand from private and commercial users for online applications. At the same time, the TecDax-listed company continued to invest steadily in its growing Cloud Computing and Mobile Internet business fields.

In the first six months of 2010, consolidated sales of United Internet AG grew by 14.1% to EUR 930.8 (815.7) million. Despite high expenses for the current DSL quality drive and the development of new business fields, consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved by 4.8% to EUR 182.0 (173.7) million.

Due to a scheduled increase in depreciation of EUR 10.8 million following the acquisition of freenet’s DSL customers, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were 3.7% down on the previous year at EUR 142.2 million (prior year: EUR 147.6 million). Earnings per share (EPS) fell accordingly to EUR 0.34 (0.36). There was a further strong increase in operative cash flow, however, of 13.9% to EUR 143.7 (126.2) million.

“We can look back on a successful first half-year 2010,” says Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of United Internet AG. “Our DSL quality drive is showing success. At the same time, we are consistently investing in the growing Mobile Internet and Cloud Computing markets.” In the second quarter, for example, the company launched its new cloud application “1&1 Online Office”. This was followed in early July by the “1&1 Do-it-Yourself Homepage” and the mobile internet campaign with the “1&1 All-Net-Flat”. Preparations were also made for the company’s expansion into Poland, scheduled for August 27, 2010.

“Despite the high pre-launch and development costs involved, we were able to raise both sales and earnings. And with our innovative products, marketing strength and business relations to millions of small firms and private users, we have an excellent opportunity to benefit from the booming Mobile Internet und Cloud Computing markets,” explains Ralph Dommermuth.

In view of the successful development in the first six months of 2010, the company has confirmed its forecasts: consolidated sales are expected to grow by approx. 15% to EUR 1.9 billion. Despite further high expenses for the current DSL quality drive and increased development and marketing costs for new business fields and further foreign expansion, EBITDA is expected to remain at the record level of 2009 (EUR 356.1 million – without positive special items).

The success of the first half-year is due largely to the addition of new customers. Following losses in fiscal year 2009, the number of fee-based contracts in the “Access” segment remained stable compared to December 31, 2009 at a total of 3.50 million, of which 3.31 million were DSL contracts. United Internet AG even succeeded in adding a further 190,000 complete DSL contracts (of particular importance for customer retention). In the “Applications” segment, 170,000 new contracts were added in the field of business customers (total 4.18 million). The same positive trend was seen in contract numbers for Consumer Applications, with the addition of 120,000 new contracts to 1.76 million. United Internet also benefitted from strong demand in its foreign markets (UK, France, USA, Spain, Austria, Switzerland): in the first six months of 2010, the number of international contracts grew by 130,000 to 2.35 million.
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