Sevenum / Venlo, the Netherlands, 3 March 2021. SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE N.V. is looking back on an extraordinary year: The e-pharmacy exceeded its repeatedly raised sales and earnings guidance and finished the year with group sales of EUR 968 million after EUR 701 million in 2019 (+38.1%). In 2020, a record number of 1.6 million additional active customers was gained, bringing the total number of active customers to 6.3 million.
The adjusted EBITDA margin, originally forecasted to break even in 2020, improved by 4.1 percentage points (pp) from -1.9% in 2019 to +2.2%. For 2021, the management expects a continuation of the dynamic growth course with an organically driven sales increase of around 20% or more. The adj. EBITDA margin is expected to improve again to 2.3 - 2.8%.
SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE CEO Stefan Feltens comments: “We want to express our deepest appreciation for the commitment of SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE’s employees who did an impressive job to ensure the supply of medications to patients across Europe in this highly unusual year. Despite unexpectedly high order volume peaks, we didn´t have to reject a single order due to capacity constraints. Moreover, our customer satisfaction continued to be on a very high level throughout the year. At the same time, we passed major strategic milestones to develop SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE from an online retailer into a truly customer-centric e-pharmacy platform.”
At 59.4%, gross profit grew significantly faster than sales, from EUR 137.7 million to EUR 219.5 million. As a proportion of sales, the gross margin was up by 3.1 pp, from 19.6% in 2019 to 22.7% in 2020.
Selling and distribution (S&D) expenses as percentage of sales improved by 1.3 pp to 19.2%, which is partly due to lower marketing spending in March 2020 at the beginning of the Corona outbreak.
Administrative expenses including depreciation and amortization grew by EUR 6.4 million from EUR 28.5 million in 2019 to EUR 34.9 million in 2020. Despite the growth-driven increase in absolute terms, SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE succeeded in lowering administrative costs as a percentage of sales from 4.1% in 2019 to 3.6%.
Administrative expenses included EUR 6.4 million (2019: EUR 5.2 million with adjustments in S&D) of extraordinary items and one-off costs. As always, adjustments only accounted for non-cash expenses for employee stock options and project-related one-offs; in 2020, mainly linked to the construction of the new logistics centre in the Netherlands.
The adjusted EBITDA for the group amounted to EUR 21.6 million compared to EUR -13.6 million in 2019, an improvement of EUR 35.2 million year over year. The adjusted EBITDA margin for the group increased from -1.9% in 2019 to +2.2% in the reporting period.
The operating result (EBIT) improved significantly from EUR -33.4 million prior year to EUR -0.9 million. After net financing cost and income tax, the net result was EUR -16.8 million after EUR -36.3 million in 2019.
DACH Remains Largest Segment, International Sales Grew Even More Strongly.
During 2020, the DACH segment (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) grew profitably at a rate of 32.5%. With sales of EUR 815.4 million, the DACH segment generated c. 84% of total group sales. In 2019, the DACH Segment sales had accounted for EUR 615.4 million or c. 88% of total sales. The segment’s gross profit margin improved by 3.1 pp from 18.9% last year to 22.0%. The adjusted EBITDA for the DACH segment rose from EUR -0.4 million to EUR 34.1 million – an improvement of EUR 34.5 million. The adjusted EBITDA margin stood at 4.2%, up 4.3 pp vs. prior year´s -0.1%. The sale of prescription drugs (Rx) increased by 17.6 % year-on-year, from EUR 186.5 million in 2019 to EUR 219.3 million in 2020.
With 78.4% sales growth, SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE’s International segment (Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands) rose even faster than total group sales – from EUR 85.6 million to EUR 152.7 million. International sales accounted for around 16% of 2020 total sales versus 12% in the year before. The gross margin reached 26.1%, 1.1 pp higher than the previous year. The adjusted EBITDA for the International segment improved by EUR 0.5 million from EUR -13.1 million to EUR -12.6 million.
SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE Well-Positioned to Execute Growth Strategy.
Jasper Eenhorst, CFO of SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE, comments: “During 2020, we successfully accelerated our organic growth by seizing the opportunities and investing in new customers. At the same time, we managed to improve our earnings power in all aspects, including better profitability and working capital. Considering our strengthened cash position, reduced costs of financing, and the more than doubling of our operational capacity, SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE is well-prepared on its path to become Europe´s leading e-pharmacy of the future.”
In October 2020, the first parcels left SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE´s new logistics centre in Sevenum – ahead of schedule. Since January 2021, the entire volume of the International segment has been processed from the new site and a significantly higher level of automation has been introduced. Once fully operational, scheduled this summer, more than 35 million parcels per year can be shipped from Sevenum, thus more than doubling capacities.
From a strategic perspective, in 2021 SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE will focus on the introduction of electronic prescriptions (e-Rx) in Germany. The e-pharmacy will be in pole position for the initial launch expected this summer – having a team of experts to leverage the company’s 20 years of Rx mail order expertise and applying the learnings from e-commerce.
SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE will further improve the customer experience with a focus on disease-specific digital medication management services, recently further strengthened by the acquisition of SMARTPATIENT and its leading medication management app MyTherapy. Other strategic focus areas towards the customer-centric e-pharmacy platform are the roll-out of the same-day delivery service NOW! to all German metropolitan areas and the next phase of the marketplace, which will provide customers with an even broader offering of healthcare related products and services. Furthermore, SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE will drive its ESG agenda delivering on targets in the areas of employee, customer and planetary health improvements.
Further Growth in Sales and Earnings Expected for 2021.
For 2021, the Management Board of SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE expects organically driven sales growth of around 20% or more and an adjusted EBITDA margin in the range of a positive 2.3% - 2.8%. This guidance accounts for the ban of Rx bonuses in Germany, even though the company regards the ban as a violation of European law. The guidance does not assume that the expected launch of e-Rx in Germany in July this year will lead to an increase of Rx sales prior to the mandatory use of e-Rx scheduled for January 1, 2022. The International segment is expected to continue to grow faster than the DACH sales. Capex guidance is 3.5% of sales for 2021 and includes the last phase of the new logistics centre in Sevenum.
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ABOUT SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE.
SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE is one of Europe’s leading and fastest-growing online pharmacies, currently operating in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Headquartered in the Dutch logistics hub of Sevenum near Venlo with locations in Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Warsaw, Milan, Paris and Tongeren, SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE offers its customers a broad range of more than 100,000 original products at attractive prices: OTC, beauty and personal care products as well as prescription drugs, supplemented by high quality natural food and health products, low carb products and sports nutrition. Currently, more than 6.3 million active customers trust SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE.
Since safe and reliable pharmaceutical advice are top priorities at SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE, the e-pharmacy provides comprehensive pharmaceutical consulting services.
In preparation for the introduction of electronic prescriptions in Germany in summer 2021, the company will further improve the customer experience with focus on disease-specific digital medication management services following the acquisition of SMARTPATIENT in January 2021. This is a key part of SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE’s strategy to transform itself from a pure online retailer into a truly customer-centric e-pharmacy platform.
SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE N.V. has been listed on the MDAX stock index since 21 September 2020.
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