Stuttgart, Germany, April 26, 2018. TAKKT benefited in the first quarter of 2018 from the acquisitions of OfficeFurnitureOnline and Mydisplays. "Both companies are very successful in their niches, demonstrating that it is possible to generate not only good growth, but also good profitability in the B2B market with online models," says CEO Felix Zimmermann. Both acquisitions made a positive 3.5 percentage point contribution to sales development in the first quarter. However, currency effects, primarily from the weaker US dollar, had a negative impact of 6.9 percentage points on the growth rate. Reported Group sales decreased by 4.4 percent to EUR 276.1 (288.8) million.
The varying momentum in the two segments TAKKT EUROPE and TAKKT AMERICA continued in the first quarter of 2018. While TAKKT was able to achieve slight organic growth in Europe, the downturn in development in the US continued. Compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year, in which TAKKT achieved high sales growth, organic growth at the Group level was minus 1.0 percent. This was primarily caused by fewer working days in Europe (effect of about 1.5 percentage points) and sustained weak demand from customers of the Hubert group. As expected, the brand consolidations, which were started last year, also had a slight negative impact on sales development.
The gross profit margin decreased to 42.5 (43.7) percent. Contributing factors were, among others, a lower freight margin and the acquisition of OfficeFurnitureOnline, which was completed at the end of January and generates a gross profit margin below the previous TAKKT average as a result of the product range. EBITDA of EUR 33.4 (44.9) million was much lower than in the first quarter of 2017. About half of the earnings decline was attributable to currency or non-recurring effects. These include the weaker US dollar, the lower number of working days compared to the previous year's quarter in Europe and one-off costs at Hubert. The remaining decline resulted from weak sales growth together with simultaneously increasing costs as well as additional expenses for the digital transformation. The EBITDA margin was 12.1 (15.6) percent.
Progress was made with the implementation of the digital agenda. For the first time, more than half of order intake in the first three months of this year related to e-commerce. The increase was particularly strong in Europe. In February, the TAKKT investment company moreover invested in the Cologne-based start-up odoscope, a platform that delivers real-time, fully automated personalized content - even for anonymous users - on websites. More information about progress with the digital transformation can be found in the new publication "Digital Change," which is available at www.takkt.com/digital.
For 2018 as a whole, TAKKT continues to anticipate organic growth between two and four percent and an EBITDA margin in the middle third of the target corridor of 12 to 15 percent. Despite the weak first quarter, TAKKT maintains the forecast for the full year. "We had a very strong first quarter 2017, followed by a more restrained business performance in the three remaining quarters. In addition, despite apparent risks of possible international trade conflicts, economic conditions currently remain good in Europe and North America," explains TAKKT CFO Claude Tomaszewski.
The complete press release you will find here.