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 first quarter of 2011 by 20.9%, or 18.6% in constant currencies, to €208.1m. 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 €220.0m.
All three group divisions fuelled this dynamic business performance. The Bioprocess Solutions Division thus significantly increased its sales revenue by 22.6%, or 20.2% in constant currencies, to €115.4m; its order intake climbed 11.9%, or 9.6% in constant currencies, to €123.3m. 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 66.5m euros, seeing an uptick in order intake of 23.1%, or 20.2% in constant currencies, to 70.9m 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 €26.2m, while its order intake at 25.8m euros was nearly at the 2011'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, 2012, above the figures reported for the year-earlier quarter. The group's operating earnings surged by over a third (+33.2%) from 22.8m euros to 30.4m 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 20.2m euros; its respective margin rose from 16.4% to 17.5%. The Lab Products & Services Division increased its operating earnings from 6.8m euros a year ago to 8.2m euros, with its margin remaining unchanged at 12.3%. Following a weak comparative quarter a year earlier (0.6m euros), the Industrial Weighing Division achieved operating earnings of 2.0m euros; its respective margin jumped sharply from 2.5% to 7.6%.
Including extraordinary items of -3.2m euros (Q1 2011: +0.3m euros), Group EBITA soared year on year by 17.3% from 23.1m euros to 27.2m 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 10.6m euros a year ago to 14.2m 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 full-year 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.