Blue Cap AG achieves EBITDA margin (adj.) of 8.5% in 2023 and announces outlook for 2024

_Group revenue of EUR 273.3 million in line with guidance
_Adjusted EBITDA of EUR 23.2 million results in an adjusted EBITDA margin of 8.5 %
_Fourth quarter was characterized by increasing momentum and positive effects from turnaround measures
_Earnings expected to increase in 2024 with slight growth in revenue

Munich, March 13, 2024 According to preliminary and unaudited calculations, Blue Cap AG ("Blue Cap") can look back on a financial year 2023 with solid results. In a challenging economic environment, consolidated revenue (1) amounted to EUR 273.3 million (-6% compared to previous year: EUR 291.3 million). This was within the expected revenue range of EUR 265-285 million. The operating result (adjusted EBITDA(2)) amounted to EUR 23.2 million (-16% compared to the previous year: EUR 27.5 million). At 8.5% (previous year: 9.3%), the adjusted EBITDA margin reached the upper end of the forecast range adjusted in January 2024 (8.3-8.5%).

Overall, the 2023 financial year was characterized by considerable economic uncertainty, which led to great reluctance on the part of industrial customers and thus to reduced revenues. The recovery originally expected for the second half of 2023 did not materialize. In the fourth quarter of 2023, however, the Group saw an upturn in momentum thanks to improved revenues and positive effects from implemented turnaround measures. The companies in the Plastics segment successfully negotiated compensation payments with some customers due to reduced purchases. In the fourth quarter, the Group achieved revenues of EUR 64.3 million (previous year: EUR 68.4 million) and an adjusted EBITDA of EUR 7.3 million (previous year: EUR 3.9 million), which was reflected in a margin of 11.6% (previous year: 5.8%).

Overall, HY-LINE's growth, which was very high in the first half of the year in particular due to the strong order backlog, had a positive effect. This was offset by reduced call-offs, postponed projects and general restraints on the customer side in a weak economic environment. The sharp year-on-year decline in adjusted EBIT to EUR 6.8 million (previous year: EUR 15.1 million) is mainly due to the negative earnings contribution from the minority holding Inheco (at-equity consolidation).

Blue Cap continues to have a solid balance sheet and financing structure. The equity ratio remained stable at 37% compared to the end of 2022. At 2.5 years (31 December 2022: 2.6), the leverage ratio (including lease liabilities) remained well within the target corridor of less than 3.5 years. In addition, net financial debt was reduced significantly year-on-year and compared to the end of 2022 to EUR 58.9 million ((31 December 2022: EUR 70.1 million).

As at 31 December 2023, Blue Cap's continued portfolio contained seven majority shareholdings allocated to the segments Plastics, Adhesives & Coatings, Business Services and Others, as well as one minority holding.

In the Plastics segment, con-pearl was able to report a good result despite a noticeable decline in demand and the anticipated postponement of a major order from the logistics sector. This is primarily due to the positive momentum in the US market. At the end of the year, H+E benefited from successfully negotiated compensation payments due to lower purchase volumes. These compensated for the lower call-off volume compared to the previous year, which resulted from the weak economy and sales. As a result, H+E 2023 closed slightly better than in the previous year. With an adjusted EBITDA of EUR 11.6 million and a margin of 12.3%, the Plastics segment made the largest contribution to the Group's earnings.

In the fourth quarter, the Adhesives & Coatings segment benefited from the positive effects of the turnaround programme implemented at Neschen, resulting in a noticeable year-on-year improvement in the EBITDA margin to 6.4%. In addition, Neschen's order volume in both the Industrial Applications and Documents divisions picked up again in the second half of the year. Planatol, on the other hand, was affected by a significant decline in demand throughout the year, which was felt in almost all business units.

The Business Services segment performed slightly better in terms of revenue than in the previous year. Thanks to a strong first half of the year, HY-LINE was able to more than compensate for the reduced order intake in the second half of the year overall. Transline performed slightly better in 2023 than in the previous year. This is mainly due to the expansion of existing customers and the acquisition of several new customers. Successfully realised cost efficiency measures also had a positive impact.

In the Others segment, Blue Cap's smallest holding, nokra, was down on the previous year with regard to earnings due to increased costs while revenue remained constant. As a result of a significant slump in demand, a comprehensive turnaround programme was initiated at the minority holding Inheco, which focuses on a significant reduction in costs and an improvement in working capital. As a result, earnings stabilised over the course of the year and tangible improvements are expected from 2024.

Segment key figures (continued) at a glance
EUR mFY 2023 prel.FY 2022Change in % or bps(*)
Adjusted EBITDA11.616.9-31.5%
Adjusted EBITDA margin in % 12.3%15.3%-300 bps
Adhesives & Coatings
Adjusted EBITDA5.34.8+10.8%
Adjusted EBITDA margin in % 6.4%5.0%+140 bps
Business Services
Adjusted EBITDA6.66.5+1.2%
Adjusted EBITDA margin in % 7.2%7.5%-30 bps
Others (**)
Adjusted EBITDA0.40.2+92.3%
Adjusted EBITDA margin in % 4.5%2.1%+240 bps

Note: Rounding differences are possible
(*)bps=basis points; (**)The Others segment includes nokra, the Group's holding and real estate management companies, and the holding Gämmerler, which was already sold in financial year 2022.

Dr Henning von Kottwitz, CEO of Blue Cap AG, is confident about the coming months: "We have done our homework in 2023 and implemented key projects to increase earnings. This was already evident in the Q4 results. As a result, some of the companies in our portfolio are now commercially 'exit-ready'. In this respect, we are very optimistic about our goal of selling one or two companies this year. In addition, we are already actively looking for companies that meet our focussed acquisition criteria." Henning Eschweiler, COO of Blue Cap, adds: "We have proven in our existing portfolio that we are capable of turnaround and transformation. In deal sourcing, we concentrate on companies in special situations where we can achieve significant increases in earnings with our active portfolio management. After focusing on cost optimisation and efficient working capital management in 2023, we are increasingly looking at potential above gross profit in the current year."

The turnaround measures implemented last year lay a solid foundation for the further development of the portfolio. The start of 2024 confirms the slight improvement in business development that has been evident since Q4 2023. In this respect, the Management Board expects an increasing EBITDA margin (adjusted) for the year as a whole with only slight growth in revenue.

As already announced, the Management Board expects the NAV per share at the end of 2023 to be below the level at the end of the first half of 2023. This is due to noticeably reduced valuation multiples and the overall decline in earnings contributions from the portfolio companies. In the medium term, however, the Management Board sees significant potential for increasing the value of the Group and therefore still considers a net asset value per share of EUR 60 for the Group to be achievable by the end of 2026 (NAV as at 30 June 2023: EUR 30.40 per share). The core of the target is a significant increase in M&A transactions with a stronger focus on special situations and turnarounds as well as a continued successful increase in value through the transformation of the portfolio companies. The company's NAV target is based on the premise of positive economic development.

On the occasion of the published figures, a virtual conference call with the Management Board of Blue Cap AG will take place today at 1:00 pm. You can register via this link (see below). Following the conference call, the presentation will be available on our website at

The financial figures announced in this press release are preliminary and subject to audit. The 2023 Annual Report with the audited figures and further details will be published at the end of April.

(1) The information in this release always relate to continued operations unless otherwise stated. Continued operations include all portfolio companies with the exception of the Knauer-Uniplast Group, which was sold in June 2023.
(2) Adjustments: adjusted for extraordinary, out-of-period and other effects from reorganisation measures and one-off effects as well as for effects arising from purchase price allocations

Hello, my name is Lisa Marie Schraml

Investor Relations & Corporate Communications

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