asknet ends fiscal year 2014 with increased revenues and positive Group result
+++ Rising revenues and gross profits thanks to strong fourth quarter 2014
+++ Expansion of business activity and reorganization of segments at the turn of the year 2014/2015
+++ Outlook on 2015: almost unchanged gross profits and balanced result before taxes
Karlsruhe, March 25, 2015 – asknet AG, a leading provider of global e-commerce solutions, reported a positive sales and gross profits trend at Group level in fiscal year 2014. In addition, the shops and portals operated by asknet generated transaction revenues in excess of 100 million euros on an annual basis. Group-wide sales revenues increased by 9 percent on the previous year to 89.38 million euros. The resulting gross profits were up by 3 percent on the previous year to 10.64 million euros.
The situation in asknet Group’s individual segments differed in 2014. The ePortals segment recorded a strong increase in sales revenues and gross profits. Sales revenues for the full year were up by approx. 48 percent on the previous year, while gross profits were up by approx. 33 percent on the fiscal year 2013. By contrast, the Group’s eDistribution segment reported an 8 percent decline in sales revenues and a reduction in gross profits by approx. 9 percent in the reporting period. The main reason was the weaker performance of some top-selling existing customers.
As the ePortals segment generated higher revenues but generally posts lower margins than the eDistribution segment, the Group-wide gross profit margin declined moderately to 10.5 percent (2013: 10.8 percent).
In view of the anticipated decline in sales revenues and gross profit in the eDistribution segment, asknet had adjusted its forecast for 2014 in October 2014 and projected a negative Group result in the low to medium six-digit million euro range. Thanks to a strong final quarter, asknet Group now reported a moderate net profit of 0.10 million euros (2013: 0.23 million euros). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) as well as earnings before taxes (EBT) amounted to 0.11 million euros each.
To better exploit competitive advantages and ensure a sustainable positive development of the company in the coming years, asknet began to expand its business activity selectively in the past fiscal year. Besides providing software solutions for the distribution of digital products (eDistribution segment) and a wide range of software licenses and services for customers in the research and education sectors (ePortals segment), the company intends to tap new customer groups in the field of online distribution of physical goods going forward. It is also planned to leverage potential in the established segments more effectively through a stronger customer focus and increased product diversification.
To master the different challenges to which the Group is exposed, the business activity was therefore divided into new segments, namely Digital Goods, Physical Goods (formerly eDistribution) and Academics (formerly ePortals) with effect of January 1, 2015.
Tobias Kaulfuss, new CEO of asknet AG since November 2014, says: “By adding the sale of physical goods to our business activity, we will tap new, profitable growth potential in the dynamic yet fiercely contested e-commerce market. We are convinced that the sale of physical goods will bring to bear our main competitive advantage, i.e. the global usability of our e-commerce software solutions, even more than before. We are already in negotiations with some potential new customers. Nevertheless, we will first have to ensure visibility in the market in the fiscal year 2015 in order to generate sustainable growth in this field going forward.”
The Executive Board projects a loss for the first half of 2015 but, based on yet another strong second half-year, almost constant gross profits, a moderate increase in the gross profit margin (gross profits as a percentage of transaction revenues) as well as balanced earnings before taxes (EBT) for the full year 2015. The positive effects of the new business segment should then be felt more strongly in 2016.
The full Annual Report for 2014 will be published on the company’s website at www.asknet.com on April 30, 2015.
asknet, a pioneer in the development of global e-commerce solutions, offers extensive expertise and individual shop solutions to ensure worldwide electronic distribution of products of all kinds 24/7 in more than 190 countries. Customers benefit in selling digital and physical goods from both the possibility of handling a variety of international payment and logistics processes as well as the extensive experience of the company in the development and operation of successful e-commerce platforms. Founded in 1995 as a spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) the company is also a partner of around 80 percent of German universities and research institutions. Here asknet offers as a large account reseller for manufacturers such as Adobe and Microsoft a comprehensive range of software licenses and services related to the procurement and distribution of software. In addition, asknet distributes via the established internet platform "studyhouse.de" a wide range of software to students. For more information, visit www.asknet.com.