Frankfurt/Main, March 23, 2021. The Amadeus FiRe Group confirms its preliminary figures for fiscal year 2020. In 2020, the markets for personnel services and training in Germany were also significantly impacted by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The demand in the personnel services segment collapsed dramatically with the start of the lockdown in March. The low point was reached by the middle of the year. Subsequently, the markets recovered steadily in the course of the second half of the year. However, the pre-crisis level has not yet been reached again. At Amadeus FiRe, the order backlog in temporary staffing was at its peak almost 30 percent below the previous year. Permanent Placement sales fell sharply in the second and third quarters due to a drop in demand and difficulties to conduct face-to-face interviews essential for the decision-making process. In the fourth quarter, though, sales were only marginally below the previous year's level.
The training segment had to cope with the cancellation of courses held in presence and with the shortfall in business with corporate clients. The demand for publicly subsidised training reacted anti-cyclically with rising unemployment and increased accordingly. At the same time, there was a counter-effect: the increasing number of potential training participants was confronted with a pandemic-related overload of the authorities and, as a result, an inhibited processing and issuing of training vouchers. Overall, training services experienced a significant digitalisation boost. With COMCAVE's fully digital training concept, the Amadeus FiRe Group was in an excellent starting position.
In fiscal year 2020, the Amadeus FiRe Group generated consolidated sales revenues of EUR 280.2m (previous year: EUR 233.1m), an increase of 20.2 percent. This was mainly due to the first-time inclusion of COMCAVE and GFN sales of EUR 66.8m within the training segment following the acquisition of these companies, while organic revenue declined by EUR 19.7m as a result of the pandemic.
Gross profit increased by 23.6 percent from EUR 110.6m to EUR 136.7m. The main reason for this is the inorganic increase in gross profit, while the organic gross profit declined by 8.8 percent due to the pandemic. The gross profit margin rose year-on-year by 1.4 percentage points to 48.8 percent due to the increased share of the structurally higher-margin training segment and despite newly included PPA depreciation. The operating gross profit margin without PPA depreciation was 51.1 percent.
Selling and administrative expenses rose by EUR 33.9m to EUR 106.0m. Inorganically determined, an increase of EUR 36.1m was recorded. Looking only at the organic development of expenses, costs were reduced by EUR 2.2m.
EBITA fell by 19.9 percent to EUR 31.0m (previous year: EUR 38.7m). EBITA was negatively impacted by purchase price allocation effects of EUR 10.1m, consisting of depreciation on orders backlog, trademarks, technological assets, certificates and the lecturers’ portfolio.
The most important performance indicator for the Amadeus FiRe Group, operating EBITA (before depreciation from purchase price allocation), reached a new high of EUR 41.1m (previous year: EUR 38.7m). This corresponds to growth of 6.1 percent.
Finally, the Amadeus FiRe Group's net profit for the period attributable to ordinary shareholders fell by 25.9 percent to EUR 17.8m in fiscal year 2020. The undiluted earnings per share for fiscal year 2020 were EUR 3.29 (prior year: EUR 4.62).
Uncertainties about the economic outlook remain high due to the coronavirus pandemic and the associated effects. The economic performance of 2019 will probably not be achieved again in 2021. In addition, the tightened "lockdown" since the beginning of 2021 will negatively impact economic activities in the first quarter of 2021. However, the effects will be much less severe than in the second quarter of 2020. The economic situation will probably improve in the second half of 2021. In view of the commencing "third wave", the basis for the following forecast is a cautious assessment of the further economic recovery process.
Compared to the crisis year 2020, a significant increase in turnover is expected for all services in both business segments. Despite the currently increasing pandemic-related uncertainties, the goal is to increase the results for both business segments. For 2021, total sales including the now full-year GFN sales are expected to grow by about 20 percent. The operating EBITA of EUR 41.1m achieved in 2020 is expected to be exceeded by more than 15 percent.
As announced previously, the Management Board and Supervisory Board want to return to a steady dividend policy. In consideration of the obligations arising from the company's debt financing, its equity base and its high operating earnings and liquidity power, 50 percent of the achieved Group earnings per share are to be distributed to the shareholders as a starting point.
At the Annual General Meeting, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board will propose to pay out a dividend of EUR 1.55 per share. With a profit after tax of EUR 17.8m, this corresponds to a payout ratio of exactly 50.0 percent.
The 2020 Annual Report will be published on the website of Amadeus FiRe AG on Thursday, March 25, 2021.