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Sartorius Off to a Good Start in 2012
Sartorius, a leading international laboratory and pharmaceutical equipment provider, started off fiscal 2012 with substantial gains in order intake, sales revenue and earnings. Based on the company's excellent quarterly performance, management confirmed its full-year guidance: "In all divisions and regions, we are well on track. It is also encouraging that we have made such good headway in implementing our investment projects and growth initiatives. We are accordingly confident in looking ahead to the remainder of the year," commented CEO Dr. Joachim Kreuzburg.
Dynamic Growth of Sales Revenue and Order Intake
In the first three months of 2012, Sartorius boosted its sales revenue from the year-earlier quarter by 20.9%, or 18.6% in constant currencies, to 208.1 million euros. The Biohit liquid handling business acquired at the end of 2011 contributed approximately 6 percentage points to this gain. In the same period, order intake rose 13.7%, or 11.4% in constant currencies, to 220.0 million euros.
All three Group divisions fueled this dynamic business performance. The Bioprocess Solutions Division thus significantly increased its sales revenue by 22.6%, or 20.2% in constant currencies, to 115.4 million euros; its order intake climbed 11.9%, or 9.6% in constant currencies, to 123.3 million euros. Demand was strong, especially for single-use products for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, such as specialty filters and aseptic bags. The Lab Products & Services Division pushed its first-quarter sales up 20.1%, or 17.4% in constant currencies, to 66.5 million euros, seeing an uptick in order intake of 23.1%, or 20.2% in constant currencies, to 70.9 million euros. Initial consolidation of the Biohit liquid handling business that Sartorius had acquired at the end of 2011 contributed some 19 percentage points to the division's growth, as expected. Sales revenue for the Industrial Weighing Division improved, also when seen against the backdrop of a moderate year-earlier revenue base, by 16.2%, or 14.6% in constant currencies, to 26.2 million euros, while its order intake at 25.8 million euros was nearly at the previous year's level (currency-adjusted: -0.9%).
This strong business performance was also widely bolstered by the company's regional segments. In the first quarter, Sartorius grew at double-digit rates in all regions. North America reported the highest growth, where sales were up 25.9%, followed by Asia|Pacific, with sales up 19.1%, and Europe, up 15.5% (all regional figures in constant currencies).Significant Gains in Earnings In line with its solid sales performance, Sartorius further boosted its earnings in the first three months of the current fiscal year above the figures reported for the year-earlier quarter. The Group's operating earnings1) surged by over a third (+33.2%) from 22.8 million euros to 30.4 million euros; the respective margin for the Group climbed from 13.3% to 14.6%. As part of this result, the Bioprocess Solutions Division substantially boosted its operating earnings 31.3% to 20.2 million euros; its respective margin rose from 16.4% to 17.5%. The Lab Products & Services Division increased its operating earnings from 6.8 million euros a year ago to 8.2 million euros, with its margin remaining unchanged at 12.3%.Following a weak comparative quarter a year earlier (0.6 million euros), the Industrial Weighing Division achieved operating earnings of 2.0 million euros; its respective margin jumped sharply from 2.5% to 7.6%.
Including extraordinary items of -3.2 million euros (Q1 2011: +0.3 million euros), Group EBITA soared year on year by 17.3% from 23.1 million euros to 27.2 million euros. These expenses essentially were related to integration of the Biohit liquid handling business, preparations for the transfer of single-use bag manufacture from the USA to Puerto Rico and to various cross-divisional projects. The corresponding EBITA margin was 13.0% (Q1 2011:13.4%). The Group's relevant net profit2) soared 34.2% from 10.6 million euros a year ago to 14.2 million euros. The respective earnings per share amounted to 0.83 euros, up from 0.62 euros a year earlier.
Positive Outlook for 2012
Based on the company's first-quarter performance, management confirms its guidance for sales and earnings growth for the current fiscal year. The company thus anticipates that fullyear sales will grow by about 10% in constant currencies. Around five percentage points of this gain are forecast to be generated by the initial consolidation of the Biohit liquid handling business. In addition, management continues to project that operating EBITA will likewise increase by around 10%.
In view of the three divisions, management expects that sales revenue and operating EBITA for the Bioprocess Solutions Division will grow 6% to 8% in constant currencies. For the Lab Products & Services Division, sales revenue is forecasted to increase by around 16% to 20% based on constant currencies, primarily due to initial consolidation of the Biohit liquid handling business. This division's operating EBITA is projected to rise at roughly the growth rates for sales. Currency-adjusted sales revenue and operating EBITA for the Industrial Weighing Division are expected to show stable development year over year.
Key Figures for the First Quarter of 2012 are available here