Group Business Development
In the reporting year, the Sartorius Group developed very dynamically, recording double-digit gains. In addition, exchange rates had a positive effect. Due to the outstanding performance of its largest division, Bioprocess Solutions, Sartorius exceeded its growth target forecasted at the beginning of the year.
Consolidated sales revenue rose 16.0% to €1,114.8 million in constant currencies. The reported increase was 25.1%.
Sales Revenue and Order Intake
|€ in millions||2015||2014||Δ in % |
|Δ in % |
Both divisions contributed to growth in the reporting year. The Bioprocess Solutions Division was the major growth engine again. In light of the stronger-than-expected expansion of the global biopharmaceutical market and additional market share gains, the division posted significant double-digit growth. Sales revenue for Bioprocess Solutions surged 20.9% from €615.6 million to €809.2 million (reported +31.4%). BioOutsource Ltd. and Cellca GmbH acquired in the reporting year contributed nearly two percentage points in constant currencies to the division's sales expansion. The Lab Products & Services Division recorded sales growth of 5.0% in constant currencies from €275.5 million a year ago to €305.5 million in the year under review. The sales gain reported was 10.9%.
All rates of change shown in the following for regional development are in constant currencies, unless otherwise specified.
In the reporting year, Sartorius achieved substantial gains in all regions. In EMEA, the region contributing the highest share of sales revenue of around 45%, sales rose 15.7% to €505.5 million (reported +17.1% relative to €431.5 million). While the Bioprocess Solutions Division grew by 22.6% due to the strong demand for products in all of its segments, sales revenue for the Lab Products & Services Division rose 2.9%.
The Americas region, which accounted for around 34% of consolidated sales revenue in 2015, is a focus of Sartorius' growth strategy due to the region’s high market potential. In the reporting year, Sartorius achieved an increase of 21.1% to €371.7 million, the highest growth rates across all regions (reported +42.8% relative to €260.3 million). The Bioprocess Solutions Division gained further market share, recording an uptick of 25.9% in sales revenue. Sales for the Lab Products & Services Division rose 1.8% against high year-earlier comparables.
Driven by both divisions, sales revenue for the Asia | Pacific region that accounts for around 21% of sales improved in the reporting year by 9.8% to €237.6 million (reported +19.2% relative to €199.4 million). In the Bioprocess Solutions Division, order volume in 2015 rose by double digits, whereas sales, by comparison, grew 8.9% relative to a high revenue base a year ago. Sales revenue for the Lab Products & Services Division climbed 11.4%.
Development of Costs and Earnings
Sartorius slightly adjusted its reporting in 2015. As a result, regular amortization of capitalized development costs formerly disclosed in the research and development costs is now reported in the cost of sales. The prior-year figures were restated to facilitate better comparison.
In the reporting year, the cost of sales stood at €563.0 million. In comparison with sales revenue growth of 25.1%, the cost of sales increased underproportionately by 20.2%. The cost of sales ratio was 50.5% relative to 52.6% a year ago.
Functional costs for the Sartorius Group developed in fiscal 2015 as follows: Selling and distribution costs likewise rose underproportionately by 12.8% relative to sales revenue, to €225.9 million. The ratio of selling and distribution costs to sales revenue decreased from 22.5% in the previous year to 20.3%.
Expenses for research and development rose in the reporting year in both divisions. At Group level, these costs increased 20.5% to €52.5 million. This equates to 4.7% of sales revenue, compared with 4.9% in the prior year.
Concerning general administrative expenses, we reported a 12.8% increase to €65.7 million, which can be attributed, inter alia, to the expansion of specific functional areas, such as IT in connection with our Sartorius 2020 strategy. In relation to sales revenue, general administrative expenses dropped from 6.5% a year ago to 5.9% in the reporting year.
In fiscal 2015, the balance of other operating income and expenses was - €15.3 million relative to €5.5 million a year earlier. This year-on-year deviation was driven, inter alia, by effects relating to currency hedging and higher extraordinary items.
Overall, Group operating expenses rose 20.6% year over year. Accordingly, EBIT increased overproportionately with respect to sales revenue by 52.5% to €192.3 million. The Group's EBIT margin rose to 17.3% (2014: 14.2%).
The financial result improved to - €20.0 million in 2015 from €29.9 million in 2014. The prior-year figure was impacted by valuation effects from hedging transactions related to the refinancing of our syndicated loans, among other items. In the reporting year, income taxes totaled €55.0 million (2014: €32.4 million). The company's tax rate was 31.9% after 33.6% in the year before.
Net profit for the period rose from €68.4 million to €158.2 million. The Industrial Technologies Division to be reported as a discontinued operation accounted for €40.8 million (2014: €4.5 million), which includes the gain that resulted from the sale of this entity in the first quarter of 2015.
Net profit attributable to shareholders of Sartorius AG and including its discontinued operation rose in the reporting year to €126.3 million relative to €48.5 million in 2014. Non-controlling interest stood at €31.9 million (2014: €19.9 million), which essentially reflected shares in Sartorius Stedim Biotech S.A. not held by the Sartorius Group.
Statement of Profit or Loss
|€ in millions||2015||20141)||in %|
|Cost of sales||–563.0||–468.4||–20.2|
|Gross profit on sales||551.7||422.8||30.5|
|Selling and distribution costs||–225.9||–200.3||–12.8|
|Research and development costs||–52.5||–43.6||–20.5|
|General administrative expenses||–65.7||–58.3||–12.8|
|Other operating income and |
|Earnings before interest and |
|Profit before tax||172.4||96.2||79.1|
|Profit after tax from |
|Profit after tax from |
|Net profit for the period||158.2||68.4||131.4|
|Equity holders of Sartorius AG||126.3||48.5||160.5|
The Sartorius Group uses underlying EBITDA – earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and adjusted for extraordinary items – as its key profitability indicator. More information on extraordinary items is provided here.
Reconciliation from EBIT to Underlying EBITDA
|€ in millions||2015||2014|
|Amortization | depreciation||58.3||52.4|
In fiscal 2015, the Sartorius Group increased its earnings overproportionately yet again. Underlying EBITDA thus rose sharply by 40.9% to €263.2 million. The Group's respective underlying EBITDA margin improved, especially due to economies of scale, from 21.0% to 23.6%, exceeding our expectations communicated at the beginning of the year. The currency environment also had a positive effect in the reporting period, contributing around 0.5 percentage points to this margin increase.
€ in millions
|Lab Products & Services||48.8||16.0|
The Bioprocess Solutions Division significantly increased its underlying EBITDA by 47.3% from €145.6 million to €214.5 million. This gain was primarily driven by sales-related economies of scale. The division’s margin rose from 23.7% to 26.5%. The Lab Products & Services Division also substantially increased its earnings. Driven by sales growth and currency effects, the division's underlying EBITDA was up year over year by 18.4% from €41.2 million to €48.8 million. Its earnings margin improved from 15.0% to 16.0%.
Consolidated EBIT including extraordinary items of - €12.6 million (2014: €8.3 million), depreciation and amortization, totaled €192.3 million, up from €126.1 million a year ago. Extraordinary items essentially resulted from various cross-divisional projects and from the integration of BioOutsource and Cellca. The Group's respective EBIT margin was 17.3% relative to 14.2% in the previous year.
Relevant Net Profit
The relevant net profit attributable to the shareholders of Sartorius AG rose 45.6% from €73.7 million in 2014 to €107.4 million in 2015. This figure is calculated by adjusting for extraordinary items, eliminating non-cash amortization and and is based on the normalized financial result as well as the corresponding tax effects for each of these items. The respective underlying earnings per ordinary share climbed by 45.7% to €6.29, up from €4.32 a year earlier, and by 45.5% per preference share to €6.31 euros, up from €4.34 euros a year ago.
|€ in millions||2015||2014|
|Normalized financial result1)||–14.2||–20.2|
|Normalized income tax |
(2015: 30 %. 2014: 30 %)2)
|Underlying earnings after taxes |
and non-controlling interest
|Underlying earnings per share|
per ordinary share (in €)
per preference share (in €)
|Relevant net profit after |
|Underlying earnings per share|
per ordinary share (in €)
per preference share (in €)
1) Financial result excluding fair value adjustments of hedging instruments and non-periodic expenses and income
2) Underlying income tax, based on the underlying profit before taxes and non-cash amortization
3) Including discontinued operation
Appropriation of Profits
The Sartorius Group strives to enable its shareholders to participate adequately in the company’s success and has continuously raised dividends over the past years. In line with this objective, we basically follow a dividend policy of paying out an approximately stable share of relevant net profit (see definition here) to our shareholders.
The Supervisory Board and the Executive Board will submit a proposal at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on April 7, 2016, to raise dividends for fiscal 2015. According to this proposal, dividends are set to increase from €1.08 a year earlier to €1.52 per preference share, and from €1.06 in the year before to €1.50 per ordinary share. The total amount disbursed under this proposal would rise by 41.5% from €18.2 million to €25.8 million. The corresponding dividend payout ratio would thus be 24.0% relative to 24.7% in the prior year.
Research and Development
Spending on research and development (R&D) across the Sartorius Group amounted to €52.5 million during the reporting year, which represents a year-on-year increase of 20.5% (2014: €43.6 million). Due to strong sales growth and positive currency effects, the ratio of R&D costs to sales revenue stood at 4.7%, slightly below 4.9% a year earlier.
The IFRS require that certain development costs be capitalized on the statement of financial position first, then amortized over subsequent years. In the reporting year, these development investments amounted to €12.3 million, down slightly from €13.7 million the year before. This equates to a share of 18.9% (2014: 24.0%) of the Group's total R&D expenses. Amortization related to capitalized development costs totaled €5.5 million during the reporting period (2014: €6.9 million). As of fiscal 2015, these expenses are disclosed in the cost of sales. To ensure comparability, prior-year figures have been restated accordingly.
We pursue a strategic intellectual and industrial property rights policy across our divisions to protect our expertise. This entails a systematic program to detect any infringements of our rights, plus reviews based on a cost | benefit approach to determine which specific individual rights need to be maintained.
In 2015, we filed a total of 127 applications for intellectual and industrial property rights (2014: 167). As a result of these applications that included those of prior years, we were issued 264 patents and trademarks during the reporting year (2014: 228). As of the balance sheet date, we had a total of 3,190 patents and trademarks in our portfolio (2014: 2,987).
As planned, we increased capital expenditures considerably in the reporting year to €113.1 million from €80.9 million in 2014. The ratio of capital expenditures to sales revenue was 10.1%, compared with 9.1% in the previous year.
In fiscal 2015, a substantial part of our capital expenditures were related to investments in the expansion of our production capacities, in particular to our instrument and filter manufacture at the Goettingen site and the production of laboratory consumables in Stonehouse, U.K.
The multi-year project for consolidating and expanding Sartorius Group headquarters in Goettingen, Germany, continued to progress on schedule in 2015.
In addition, we invested in a new data center and rolled out our new ERP system at our locations in the USA.
The numbers of employees reported here include all staff members except for vocational trainees, interns, employees on extended leaves of absence and those participating in an early retirement plan. Numbers are reported as head counts.
On December 31, 2015, the Sartorius Group employed 6,185 people – 574 more than in the previous year. These figures include 132 employees from our two most recent acquisitions.
|Lab Products & Services||2,155||2,084||3.4|
At the end of 2015, the majority of the workforce – 65.2% – worked in the Bioprocess Solutions Division; 34.8% were employed in the Lab Products & Services Division. Employees in central administrative functions were allocated to the divisions in proportion to the duties they performed during the year.
Three percentage points of the 11.8% growth in employees in the EMEA region was attributable to our two acquisitions during the reporting year, with the remaining growth due primarily to the expansion of our production in France and Tunisia. At our Group sites in Germany, where 38.1% of our employees work, the increase amounted to 4.9%. The North American region charted a plus of 7.8%, down from stronger growth in recent years. The number of employees in the Asia | Pacific region grew by 5.6%.
When broken down by function, the workforce in production accounted for the largest share of staff, at 58.5% – an increase of 13.3% attributed primarily to the new employees Sartorius hired at its production sites in Aubagne und Mohamdia in response to strong demand for single-use bags. Around one quarter of the Group’s employees worked in marketing and sales. Sartorius has reinforced its sales teams in recent years, and in 2015 growth amounted to 2.4%. Our staff in Research & Development accounted for 7.2% in 2015, representing an increase of 8.2% that is partly due to the two acquisitions, since a majority of the employees in these companies work in R&D functions. Growth of 15.6% in administration was attributed especially to new hires in the Finance, IT and HR areas in France and Germany, as well as to new staff recruited for support functions in Puerto Rico. During the reporting year, administrative employees constituted 9.4% of the total workforce.
The following analyses do not include the 132 employees of BioOutsource and Cellca.
Employees by Age
|16 – 20 years||27||0.4||24||0.4|
|21 – 30 years||1,355||22.4||1,184||21.1|
|31 – 40 years||1,789||29.6||1,666||29.7|
|41 – 50 years||1,522||25.1||1,472||26.2|
|51 – 60 years||1,163||19.2||1,092||19.5|
|61 years and above||197||3.3||173||3.1|
Around half of our employees were between 31 and 50 years of age in 2015. At 40.5, the average age of all employees was just under the previous year’s average of 40.8 years.
As of December 31, 2015, 3,797 men and 2,256 were employed by the Sartorius Group, which corresponds to a share in the total workforce of 62.7% (2014: 63.2%) for men and 37.3% (2014: 36.8%) for women.
German legislation to promote the equality of participation among men and women in private sector management positions as of May 1, 2015, requires Sartorius to define targets for the proportion of women in management that need to be met by June 30, 2017. The proportion of women in the first tier of management below the Executive Board is scheduled to increase from 19% on the reporting date of June 30, 2015, to 25%, and in the second tier from 27% to 30%.
New Hires, Attrition Rate, Average Seniority and Absenteeism
|Attrition rate2), excluding expired |
fixed-term contacts (in %)
|Attrition rate22), including expired |
fixed-term contracts (in %)
|Average seniority (in years)||9.5||9.8|
|Absenteeism rate3) (in %)||3.7||3.6|
1) Owing to dismissals or layoffs by the company
2) Ratio of people leaving the company as a percentage of the average headcount (2015: 5,872.8), including contracts terminated by either the employee or the employer, retirements, and other reasons for leaving the company
3) Excluding time lost due to long-term health conditions and maternity, parental, sabbatical and unpaid leave
The attrition rate, which expresses the number of people leaving the company as a percentage of the average head count, was at a comparatively low level of 10.6% at Sartorius in 2015, and amounted to 7.1% when expired fixed-term contracts are excluded. In general, fluctuation is subject to sizable regional differences: Europe typically has the lowest levels of fluctuation, whereas changing employers is more common in Asia and fluctuation there is thus usually high. At Sartorius, too, staff fluctuation is the lowest at the Group’s German sites, at 3.1% (not including expired fixed-term contracts). In India, Sartorius has been able to reduce fluctuation significantly in recent years through a variety of measures aimed at increasing employee loyalty and motivation. As a result, fluctuation in this country dropped after many years of double-digit figures, to 8.2% in 2015 (not including expired fixed-term contracts).
The absenteeism rate, defined as the proportion of planned working time that is not worked due to general absences, is generally dependent on factors such as influenza waves. At Sartorius, absenteeism during the reporting remained roughly constant at 3.7%. The average number of days missed per employee due to illness slightly increased from 6.6 days in 2014 to 7.1 days in 2015.
Detailed information on Sartorius as an employer and on our personnel strategy and development is given in the chapter on Sustainable Corporate Management.