Bull Releases 2013 Financial Results

February 27, 2014

PARIS, France, Feb. 27 — Bull’s Board of Directors approved the Group’s 2013 consolidated financial statements on 26 February 2014. The consolidated financial statements have been audited, and the Statutory Auditor’s report will be issued once the requisite procedures for publication of the Annual Financial Report have been completed.

Key Figures

(€ millions)
2013
2012(r)
Change
Order intake
1,312.5
1,413.2
(7.1%)
Book-to-bill ratio*
1.04
 
1.10
Revenues
1,261.6
 
1,285.2
(0.8%)**
Gross profit
271.2
21.5%
294.4
22.9%
Operating expenses
224.7
 
242.0
EBITDA*
66.9
5.1%
74.2
5.3%
(0,16pt)
EBIT*
44.8
3.5%
52.1
4.1%
(0,51pt)

 

Philippe Vannier, Chairman and CEO of Bull, commented, “The economic environment in 2013 was tensed overall, particularly in the first half. In the second half of the year, we improved cash generation and profitability. With our “One Bull” strategic plan for 2014-2017, we will combine our key skills to become the trusted operator for enterprise data. Through this plan, we are also aiming to continue improving performance, with the target of doubling earnings by 2017 and achieving an EBIT margin of 7%.”

  • Revenues totalled €1,261.6 million, slightly down 0.8% at constant exchange rates and 1.8% at current rates.
  • Order intake in 2013 was €1,312.5 million, resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.04 and an increase in the total order backlog for the fourth consecutive year.
  • EBITDA margin was almost stable at 5.1%.
  • EBIT amounted to €44.8 million, with a sharp improvement in profitability in the second half.
  • Net income (Group share) was €10.9 million in 2013, compared with €28.6 million in 2012.
  • Net cash at the end of the year is solid at €212.6 million.
  • Operating cash flow showed an outflow of €10.4 million, but the second half of 2013 showed a significant year-on-year improvement.
  • The Security Solutions business line continued its development in 2013, with revenues up 5.9% and profit contribution up 75%.

Outlook

In January 2014, the Bull Group presented and launched the “One Bull” plan, which aims to position Bull as the trusted operator for enterprise data and to double EBIT margin to 7% by 2017.

Group Results

Order intake totalled €1,312.5 million in 2013, giving a book-to-bill ratio of 104%. This means that order intake exceeded revenues for the fourth consecutive year. Relative to 2012, however, order intake fell by €100.7 million. Half of the decrease was due to the high base for comparison, and the rest was mainly the result of wait-and-see attitude regarding IT infrastructure investment in France and Europe, affecting the Computing Solutions business line. At 31 December 2013, the total order backlog reached its highest level seen during the 2010-2013 period, materializing the successes in winning major multi-year contracts.

Revenues totalled €1,261.6 million, down 0.8% at constant exchange rates and down 1.8% at current exchange rates. Changes in the scope of consolidation did not have a material impact in 2013. The geographical breakdown of revenues (see Appendix 4) remained broadly unchanged in 2013. Growth outside France, at constant exchange rates, was around 2 points higher than the rate seen within France. However, movements in exchange rates cancelled out the impact on the breakdown of reported revenues by geographical zone. Europe posted growth of 0.9% at constant exchange rates, driven by solid growth in Eastern Europe.

Gross margin was 21.5% in 2013. In the second half, gross margin rebounded to 22.5%, close to the 22.9% seen in full-year 2012.

Research and Development efforts were maintained in 2013, and gross R&D spending was stable at €74.7 million, equal to 5.9% of 2013 revenues. Increased participation by customers and partners in Bull’s R&D efforts, along with a slight increase in spending eligible for the French research tax credit, pushed net R&D spending down €4.5 million to €12.5 million in 2013. Strict cost management, supported by some one-off factors in 2013, caused selling and administrative expenses to fall substantially to €212.2 million. As a proportion of revenues, this represents a 0.7-point improvement relative to 2012.

In 2013, foreign exchange losses on operating cash flows rose €1.3 million to €1.7 million,

EBIT was €44.8 million in 2013, equal to 3.5% of revenues, in line with the guidance set at the first quarter publication. The EBIT target of €50 million in the BullWay plan was achieved in 2012 (€52.1 million), but the  business tension in 2013 pushed EBIT below the plan’s initial target. However, the actions initiated before the summer limited the impact on EBIT to 0.5 point on a full year basis, and pushed the second half EBIT profit and margin slightly above that of 2012.

EBITDA margin stands at 5.1% (€66.9 million) almost stable year-on-year.

Income from disposals and other operating income and expenses represented an expense of €1.9 million in 2013 compared with an expense of €0.3 million in 2012. Negotiated severance payments rose from €7.3 million in 2012 to €12.0 million in 2013. Income from associates produced a loss of €3.1 million, mainly arising from the Group’s share in the results recorded by Numergy, whose development phase is still in process. These operating income and expense items represented a net expense of €17.0 million in 2013 compared with €2.2 million in 2012.

As a result, operating income fell from €49.9 million in 2012 to €27.8 million in 2013.

Net financial expense came to €6.8 million in 2013, improving from €9.3 million in 2012. In 2013, this item included a €5.2 million charge related to the discounting of pension liabilities, and a €2.9 million gain on the disposal of a financial asset. The tax charge fell from €12.3 million to €9.7 million. This includes €4.0 million of current tax, €7.5 million relating to the French CVAE levy and €1.8 million of income arising from the revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities.

Net income (Group share) was €10.9 million in 2013, as opposed to €28.6 million in 2012.

Cash Flow and Balance Sheet

Operating cash flows produced an outflow of €10.4 million in 2013, compared with an inflow of €17.4 million in 2012. In 2013, the conversion of EBIT into operating cash flows deteriorated a little more than expected. This was due to the change in the working capital requirement, which was affected by the increase in amounts receivable from the French government (CIR research tax credit, CICE competitiveness and jobs tax credit, financing). In the second half of 2013, however, the sharp improvement in operating cash flow relative to the same period of 2012 partly offset the deterioration seen in early 2012. After the payment of financial expenses and taxes and taking into account non-recurring operating cash outflows, the total cash outflow came to €42.2 million.

Gross cash at 31 December 2013 was €291.2 million. Financial debt amounted to €81.2 million at end-2013.

Net cash totaled €212.6 million at 31 December 2013, compared with €254.9 million at year-end 2012.

At the start of 2013, the amended version of IAS 19 put an end to use of the corridor approach and led to previously unrecognised items being recognised in equity. As announced a year ago, this resulted in adjusted equity of €138.7 million at 1 January 2012 and €132.6 million at 31 December 2012.

Aside from this adjustment, the structure of the Group’s balance sheet remains broadly unchanged, and equity amounted to €139.4 million at 31 December 2013.

Innovative Products & Computing Solutions

Innovative Products drives the Group’s development in supercomputers (High-Performance Computing, HPC) and high-performance servers. Computing Solutions designs, builds and runs critical IT infrastructures, including data centres, HPC infrastructures and cloud computing solutions.

Innovative Products & Computing Solutions
(€ millions)
2013
2012(r)
Change
Order intake
814.5
916.5
(11.1%)
Book-to-bill ratio
99%
110%
Revenues
820.0
835.6
(1.9%)
 of which HPC
172.1
176.3
 
Profit contribution
81.0
84.7
(4.3%)
Margin (%)
9.9%
10.1%
(0.2pt)

 

In 2013, order intake totalled €814.5 million, giving a book-to-bill ratio close to 100%. Order intake fell 11.1% compared with very strong levels in 2012, due to a decline in IT infrastructure investment. Orders for mainframes and high-performance “bullion” servers rose sharply.

Revenue totalled €820.0 million in 2013, slightly down 1.9% compared with 2012. Growth in “Le cloud by Bull” and outsourcing services almost offset the lower revenues from projects, products and maintenance for IT infrastructure. Revenues in extreme computing (HPC) followed the same pattern, totalling €172.1 million, although Bull’s new high-performance “bullion” servers continued to gain momentum and posted growth of over +70%.

The combined profit contribution from Computing Solutions and Innovative Products totalled €81.0 million, down €3.7 million relative to 2012. The contribution margin rose significantly in the second half, and over the full year was almost unchanged.

Business Integration Solutions

Business Integration Solutions provides consultancy, systems integration and application maintenance for critical business applications especially in the public sector, telecoms, finance, homeland security, energy, transport and healthcare.

Business Integration Solutions
(€ millions)
2013
2012(r)
Change
Order intake
362.0
359.1
+0.8%
Book-to-bill ratio
116%
110%
Revenues
311.7
326.9
(4.6%)
Profit contribution
7.3
10.3
(29.6%)
Margin (%)
2.3%
3.2%
(0.8pt)

 

Order intake in 2013 amounted to €362 million, and included a large multi-year contract to modernise one of France’s defence IT system. The book-to-bill ratio for the period was 116%, while order intake rose 0.8% year-on-year.

In the second half, Business Integration Solutions sold its ‘Bull Formation’ IT training business and acquired FastConnect to speed up its development in the cloud and big data segments. The net impact on revenues was not material.

Full-year revenues were down 4.6% to €311.7 million. Despite a significant fall in the contribution from software sales, the fall in the profit contribution as a proportion of revenues was limited to 0.8 points due to improvements in the fixed cost structure and an upturn in the resource utilisation rate toward the end of the period. The profit contribution was €7.3 million in 2013, versus €10.3 million in 2012.

Security Solutions

Security Solutions is an architect of security and critical systems. The business line acts as a manufacturer, consultant and integrator of end-to-end security solutions.

(€ millions)
2013
2012(r)
Change
Order intake
136.0
137.6
(1.2%)
Book-to-bill ratio
105%
112%
Revenues
130.0
122.7
+5.9%
Profit contribution before PPA
11.1
7.6
+46.0%
Margin (%)
8.6%
6.2%
+2.3pt
Profit contribution
9.3
5.3
+75.3%
Margin (%)
7.2%
4.3%
+2.8pt

 

Order intake was €136.0 million in 2013, giving a book-to-bill ratio of 105%. Relative to 2012, order intake was 1.2% lower.

Revenues grew +5.9% in 2013, driven by all the business line’s main activities. Growth in the cybersecurity activities (protection of IT systems and data) accelerated, driven partly by their integration into the Group’s global offering. The growth in critical systems business was supported by increased international activity.

Profit contribution grew 75% to €9.3 million, and rose by 2.8 points as a proportion of revenues. Before the amortisation charge for intangible assets related to the acquisition of Amesys (PPA), the profit contribution equalled 8.6% of revenues in 2013.

2013 Highlights

In 2013, Bull maintained its commitment to strategic market segments – big data and the cloud – and reaped the rewards of its investments in IT systems modernisation solutions, security and High-Performance Computing (HPC).

The Group has confirmed its ambition to step up development in the cloud and big data with the acquisition of FastConnect, a French company that leads the market in service oriented architectures, increasing its ability to provide a fully integrated cloud offering (see press release of 30/09/2013). Bull also announced the launch of its “Le cloud by Bull” portal, which covers all of its cloud solutions and enables users to configure all types of solutions on line via the portal. These include infrastructures, platforms and applications, in public or private Cloud mode, hosted in Data Centers operated by Bull or Numergy (14/10/2013).

The Group is also taking part in the world’s largest private cloud project involving Microsoft technologies. It consists of the project launched by EDF to renovate and unify all its collaborative and email solutions for its 160,000 employees worldwide. The Bull – Osiatis consortium will provide this turnkey cloud service. (02/12/2013).

Thanks to the cloud infrastructure and services provided jointly by Bull’s subsidiary AMG.net and Amazon Web Services, Polish airline LOT awarded Bull the integration and implementation of the project to modernise its online reservation and ticketing services. LOT is one of the world’s leading airlines using cloud technology on a global level, and it has received several awards for its approach (19/12/2013).

Bull significantly strengthened its position in big data, partly due to its “bullion” servers, which topped the rankings in SPECvirt’s standard virtualisation benchmark tests. By combining bullion technology with Sinequa’s big-data real-time search and analytics solution, the performance of the bullion-Sinequa appliance remains unmatched (23/09/2013). The bullion fast-data analytics appliance combines the power of Pivotal technologies with the robustness of bullion servers, speeding up big- and fast-data integration projects (01/10/2013).

As regards modernising information systems, Bull announced new Bull BNEX converged infrastructure solutions, based on bullion services and NetApp storage arrays. The solutions meet client requirements in terms of usage, data volume management and resource optimisation (16/10/2013).

In outsourcing, Carrefour entrusted Bull with its IT support chain (18/02/2013). Similarly, in Germany, Bull will handle a wide array of IT services for Tele Columbus, one of Germany’s leading suppliers of television, broadband internet and telephony services (30/05/2013).

In High Performance Computing, Bull inaugurated the Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming, the first centre of expertise in Europe dedicated to parallel programming and optimisation of high performance computing (22/03/2013). The first of the “bullx” supercomputers, featuring new direct-liquid cooling technology to reduce power consumption, was installed at Météo-France’s facility in Toulouse (19/06/2013).

The Group also strengthened its presence in Europe, with the scheduled delivery of a bullx supercomputer for the new Czech national centre of excellence for information technologies (27/02/2013). Finland’s CSC (IT Center for Science) also deployed a highly energy-efficient supercomputer designed by Bull and jointly financed by the European PRACE project (20/11/2013).

As a result of its technological developments, Bull received several awards from the HPC community in the 2013 HPCwire Readers and Editor’s Choice Awards (19/11/2013). GENCI also won a prize for the use of the Curie bullx supercomputer in the first-ever simulation of the evolving structure of the entire observable universe (21/11/2013). ROMEO, the Bull supercomputer at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, came fifth in the Green500 annual ranking of the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputers. The system includes a high-performance cooling system that uses the water-based Cool Cabinet Door technology developed by Bull, along with free-cooling cold water production (21/11/2013).

In security and the integration of complex solutions, Bull signed a major contract worth €40 million with the French defence procurement agency (DGA) to implement the Scorpion combat information system (SICS), which will equip all ground forces from 2016 onwards (17/06/2013).

Bull’s Cybersecurity expertise was also recognised, with its MetaPKI software securing the ANSSI’s standard qualification (09/04/2013). Evidian, a subsidiary of the Bull Group and European leader in identity and access management gained the “Best IAM Solution” prize at the SC Awards Europe 2013, which recognise excellence in information security in Europe (29/04/2013).

Bull launched Hoox, the first integrally secured European smartphone for professional use. Hoox complies with ANSSI rules, ensuring high-level security for users through a chip that encrypts voice, text messages, and all emails and data stored and exchanged (03/10/2013).

In application integration, the French defence ministry appointed Bull to industrialise its IT systems design and implementation chain and help streamline its IT, administration and management system (23/01/2013). The Group was also selected by Aena Aeropuertos, the world’s leading airport management company, to revamp and streamline application management in its enterprise information systems (10/06/2013).

Bull’s ongoing efforts in corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy were recognised by rating agencies, investors and customers alike. Bull’s CSR ranking from EcoVadis is in the top decile for IT companies. The Group also entered the GAIA Index, which ranks 230 companies listed on the Paris stock exchange (excluding CAC 40 companies) based on their performance in sustainable development (17/10/2013).

Fourth-Quarter 2013 (Unaudited Data)

In the fourth quarter of 2013 (see Appendix 5), revenues totalled €390.7 million. This represents a 2.6% year-on-year decline, mainly resulting from weak activity in Business Integration Solutions, particularly outside France. In fourth quarter of 2012, the Group won several major supercomputer orders. As expected, similar orders did not recur in 2013. At the Group level, therefore, order intake decreased to €432.0 million in the fourth quarter.

About Bull

Bull is the trusted operator for enterprise data. It provides cloud and big data services, as well as integrating and managing high-performance systems and end-to-end security solutions. Bull helps its clients to process all information at their disposal and use it in new ways. Bull transforms organisations’ data into value, in a fully secure manner. Bull currently employs around 9,200 people across more than 50 countries, with over 700 staff totally focused on R&D. In 2013, Bull recorded revenues of €1.3 billion. For more information, visit: www.bull.fr  www.facebook.com/Bull  www.twitter.com/bullfr.

—–

Source: Bull

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