VARTA AG’s Market Results and Cylindrical Lithium-ion Cell Announcement

VARTA AG can look back with satisfaction on a year in which the Company recorded historic financial results. There was organic growth of 50% in revenue, while the increase in absolute terms totaled 140%.

Source: VARTA AG

In this context, adjusted Ebitda improved by around € 150m. The guidance, which had already been raised twice in the previous year, has once again been exceeded. The technology company based in Ellwangen (Baden-Württemberg/Germany) is also very optimistic for the current fiscal year. VARTA AG’s Market Results and Cylindrical Lithium-ion Cell Announcement’s revenue and profit will increase further on the back of an anticipated strong second half of the year. At yearend at the Ellwangen site, a high-performance lithium-ion round cell in 21700 format will be manufactured on a pilot production line. These cells offer advantages for applications such as power tools but can also be used for concepts in the automotive sector.

As previously announced, the Executive Board has resolved to make dividend payments totaling around € 100m to shareholders. The dividend totals € 2.48 per share, although approval from the Annual General Meeting in June is still pending. Herbert Schein, CEO of VARTA AG:

“We are proud of a historic fiscal year – the best so far in the 135 years of our company’s history. We recorded growth of 140% in the prior year, while organic revenue growth alone amounted to just below 50%. Growth for organic Ebitda totaled just below 100%. All business segments have exceeded their previous year’s successes once again. We will also continue on our growth path this year. With the new lithium-ion round cells, which will be manufactured on a pilot production line at the end of the year, we are seeking to tap into new business areas. Our cylindrical high-performance lithium-ion cells are another big step for VARTA following on from the success of CoinPower.”

Armin Hessenberger, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of VARTA AG, adds:

“VARTA AG has an equity ratio of 44% and is starting 2021 practically debt-free following a massive investment program (Net Debt to EBITDA ratio stood at 0.06% as at fiscal year-end 2020). VARTA AG is therefore well positioned for the next expansion steps.”

Group revenue rose by approximately 140% to around € 870m during fiscal year 2020. Excluding the first-time consolidation of VARTA Consumer, this growth stands at around 47%. By scaling the business model, growth in operating earnings outpaced that of revenue. Adjusted Ebitda increased by around 147% to approximately € 241m. Excluding the first-time consolidation of VARTA Consumer, this growth stands at around 92%. The adjusted Ebitda margin stands at around 27.7% (previous year: 26.9%)

Very strong growth for the “Microbatteries & Solutions” segment in fiscal year 2020

Revenue in the Microbatteries & Solutions segment increased very dynamically by 49% to approximately € 508m. By far the strongest revenue growth is again being recorded for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for high-tech consumer products, particularly Premium True Wireless Stereo Headsets (TWS). This is a consequence of continued high customer demand in a market subject to highly dynamic growth. As leaders in technology and innovation, VARTA AG is growing significantly faster than the market as a whole.

VARTA has been able to further expand its market position in the rechargeable hearing aid segment. High growth has continued in its business with smart, modular energy solutions (Power Pack Solutions) due to the new customer projects that were initiated over the course of the prior year. Once again, there was a step-change improvement in adjusted Ebitda, rising on this occasion by 96% to approximately € 187m, comfortably exceeding revenue growth in the process. The adjusted Ebitda margin has markedly improved by approximately 8.8 percentage points and now amounts to 36.9% of revenue.

Household Batteries segment makes further positive contribution to growth

The Household Batteries segment encompasses Consumer Batteries in addition to the Energy Storage Solutions business. In the previous year, only the Energy Storage Solutions business was included in the segment reporting. The revenue share of Consumer Batteries amounts to 91% and has developed better than expected over the reporting period. Profitability improved over the course of the year by focusing on the brand business, while the Energy Storage Solutions business has seen very dynamic growth that outpaced the market.

Outlook: Innovative cells open up new business areas, further revenue growth and above-average profit increase expected

At the end of the year, VARTA will start manufacturing a new lithium-ion round cell in 21700 format on a pilot production line. These cells are characterized by very low internal resistance, which enables very rapid charging and discharging. They are therefore above all suited for applications requiring a high energy output. Application areas could include supplying electricity for tools requiring high levels of power and torque such as drills, grinding machines and other devices. However, the cells also offer advantages in new drive concepts in the automotive sector.

VARTA AG has benefited from a funding commitment totaling around € 300m as part of an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI). The funds are to be put toward research and development in lithiumion technology and the development of new lithium-ion batteries.

The structural growth in the core markets, what they regard as their strong market position in these core markets and the planned expansion of production capacities for lithium-ion batteries will lead to positive business development in fiscal year 2021. The company is additionally very well positioned despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Production at their locations has been uninterrupted since the start of the pandemic, with supply chains unaffected as a result.

The group is anticipating high single-digit percentage organic revenue growth and a significant double-digit percentage profit increase for the current fiscal year. Revenue is expected to stand at around € 940m, above all boosted by strong growth in the second half-year. Above-average growth to up to 30% of revenue is anticipated for the relative margin of adjusted operating income. This equates to an increase of up to 2.5 percentage points and underscores VARTA AG’s earning power. The demand for rechargeable VARTA lithium-ion batteries for high-tech consumer products, above all TWS, remains very high.